15 Things NOT to Forget to Pack for a Cruise | Trey Tracy Travel Advisor (2023)

15 Things NOT to Forget to Pack for a Cruise | Trey Tracy Travel Advisor (1)

In the haste of packing for a trip, one can usually forget to pack something. We have all been there. When traveling to another American city, often it is not that big of a deal because you can just stop by the store and purchase what you left behind. However, cruises are a bit different. Onboard stores are limited and a bit pricier, and you don’t know what you may or may not find in port.

So, when you are working on your packing list for your upcoming cruise vacation, don’t forget to pack these essential items.

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1. Sweater or Light Jacket. This one is most important for the ladies. Even if you are traveling on a tropical cruise, the restaurants and theatre can often be a bit chilly. So, pack a light item that pairs well with all of your outfits that will be useful in keeping you warm in these venues.

2. Emergency Contact List. When an emergency strikes, we may not have quick access to our cell phones, or someone may need to call on our behalf. So, keep a list of emergency contacts on you in case something happens, and you need to reach help (or someone needs to call on your behalf) while you are on your vacation.

🛳Cruise Tip: It is a good idea to list the contact entry of your spouse or a close family member with “ICE” next to their name. This stands for IN CASE OF EMERGENCY. This is a quick way someone can identify you emergency contact if the need should arise.

3. Identification. Nothing would be more upsetting than to arrive for your cruise departure only to be denied boarding because you forgot your identification. Depending on your cruise, you may either need a valid passport or your driver’s license and official copy (with a raised seal) of your birth certificate. For cruises departing and returning to the United States, a passport is still recommended in the event you have to be offloaded in a foreign port due to an emergency of some kind.

4. Medication. Next to being denied boarding for failing to bring proper identification, forgetting your medications would be just as bad. While a limited selection of over-the-counter medications is available for sale, at a hefty price, in the onboard stores, your prescription medication won’t be.

🛳Cruise Tip: If you are checking your luggage with the porter at the cruise terminal, then be sure to pack your medication in your carry-on if you’ll need it before your luggage arrives at your stateroom later in the day.📌Recommended: Cruise Luggage Tags

5. Prepackaged Snacks. When you are busy having fun with your shore excursions, you may not want to take time to look for a place to eat. Therefore, it is handy to take your own snacks with you when in port. However, keep in mind that you cannot take food off of a cruise ship unless it is prepackaged and sealed.

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6. Power Strip. If you are bringing a lot of items that need recharging or to be plugged in, consider packing a power strip. Outlets in a cruise stateroom are very limited, and frequently not in the most ideal location.

📌Recommended: Travel Power Strip

7. Reusable Water Bottle. Cruise ships are moving away from one-use plastic bottles in an effort to help the environment. There are plenty of places where you can get free ice and water on board the ship. So do your part and help save the environment by taking your own reusable bottle.

8. Comfortable Walking Shoes. Be prepared for a lot of walking around the cruise ship and down the piers in port by wearing comfortable walking shoes.

9. Lanyard. Most cruise ships provide you with a plastic keycard that is used as your room key, for onboard purchases, and identification on/off the ship. They typically have a pre-punched hole for you to use with a lanyard or it can be slid into a plastic sleeve that attaches to a lanyard. This makes it easy to keep track of while not having to worry about toting your wallet or purse around all the time.

📌Recommended: Cruise Lanyard

10. Fan. Rooms on a cruise ship can get a bit warm and stuffy, especially in the tropical zones. Pack a small fan to use by your bedside or in the seating area of your stateroom.

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📌Recommended: Travel Fan

11. Over the Door Storage Hanger. Storage in your stateroom and countertop space in the bathroom is very limited. Using one of these storage hangers, it will give you the extra storage that will not be in the way for smaller items.

📌Recommended: Over the Door Storage Hanger

12. Small First Aid Kit. While there is a medical suite on your cruise ship, you don’t want to have to worry about being inconvenienced to go there for minor cuts and scrapes. Carry a small first aid kit with the essentials just in case.

📌Recommended: Travel First Aid Kit

13. Seasickness Prevention. If you are subject to seasickness, don’t forget to pack something to help with this. There are sea bands, ginger tablets, and over the counter medications to help. If you forget these or they don’t help, then stop by the ship’s medical suite to get a shot for a nominal fee.

📌 Recommended: Sea-Band Anti-Nausea Wristband📌Recommended: Dramamine Motion Sickness Relief

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14. Sun Protection. Most cruisers will enjoy time around the pool at some point during their cruise, especially if it is a warm-weather cruise. Therefore, don’t forget sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat.

15. Small Bills. When traveling in foreign ports, carry some $1, $5, and $10 bills to use for paying for small items or gratuities. Many foreign ports will accept the US dollar.

While there are many things that certainly can be added to this list, these are the things that I either often forget about, or my clients tend to forget about. The key to packing for a cruise, and should be for most trips, is to pack only what is necessary, and don’t overpack. Start by making a list and making necessary adjustments as you see what will and won’t fit into your suitcase.

Do you have an essential item you must always have with you on your cruise? If so, please post in the comments below to share with my subscribers.

Looking to take your first cruise but confused by all the options? Contact me and let me help you find the right cruise for you.

Note: Amazon pays a small commission to me for purchases made through the recommended links above. This is at no extra cost to you.

#packinglist #cruise #vacation #cruises #excursions #Travel #amazonaffiliate

(Video) 10 Must-Pack Items for Cruisers


What should you not bring on a cruise? ›

Candles, Incense, Coffee Makers, Clothes Irons, Travel Steamers & Hot Plates. (Items that generate heat or produce an open flame. This includes heating pads, clothing irons, hotplates, candles, incense, and any other item that may create a fire hazard.

Should you put your phone on airplane mode on a cruise ship? ›

Data use onboard a cruise ship is ridiculously expensive, especially because it tends to add up quickly. Always remember to put your phone in airplane mode or turn off data roaming before you head out to sea and don't want to be smacked with a hefty bill upon returning home.

What should I bring on my first day of cruise? ›

5 Things to Pack for Your First Cruise
  • Extra Bags. A day pack, a bag for dirty laundry, a plastic bag for wet bathing suits, Zip-Loc bags for snacks ... ...
  • First-Aid Kit. ...
  • Your Favorite (Nonalcoholic) Beverage. ...
  • Laundry Alternatives. ...
  • Power Strip.

Do cruises search your bags? ›

Just like the security screening at an airport, we also screen all luggage our guests bring onboard to ensure everyone's safety. If there is an item in your luggage that is prohibited or is believed to be prohibited, your bag will be taken to a screening location and will be inspected by our Security Team onboard.

Can I bring full size shampoo on a cruise? ›

3-1-1 Liquids Rule

You are allowed to bring a quart-size, zip-lock bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes though the checkpoint in carryon luggage. These combined items need to be less than 3 ounces.

How many bags can you bring on a cruise? ›

There is no real limit on how much luggage can be brought on a cruise. Most cruise lines encourage passengers to limit luggage to less than 100 pounds (around 2 suitcases). You can also bring carry-on luggage. However, it is ideal to check with individual cruise lines regarding this.

How can I avoid cell phone charges on a cruise? ›

If you want to avoid extra charges from your mobile phone service provider, put your smartphone on “airplane mode” sometime between boarding and when the ship sets sail.

Will my cellphone work on a cruise? ›

Do cell phones work on cruise ships? It's a common question with varying answers. Guests are free to utilize their cellular data or connect to our onboard Wi-Fi on any ship. But, please be aware that cellular data used on the ship or in certain ports of call will result in charges from your cell phone provider.

How can I text for free on a cruise? ›

Can You Still Text for Free in the Cruise Line's App if you Bring Your own HotSpot? Yes, of course! As long as you have the app downloaded on your phone and you're on their free wifi, you can use the app to text on a cruise ship for free.

How much spending cash should I take on a cruise? ›

So How Much Cash Should I Take on a Cruise? As a general rule, plan to have $50 to $100 each day in the local currency. Also, you may want to bring an extra $20 a day for tipping crew members. Make sure to include smaller bills for tips.

What is a good amount of money to take on a cruise? ›

What Is The Average Amount of Cash to Bring on a Cruise? On a cruise, most guests bring between $100-$120 in cash per day to be spent on transportation, tips, gifts, food, and shopping. In a survey of 850 cruisers, 71% stated that they took over $100 per person per day when cruising.

Where do you put your suitcases on a cruise? ›

There are closets in every cabin that can hold a suitcase or two. You can also store them under the cabin bed so that you don't have to worry about it taking up valuable space.

How much do you tip baggage handlers on a cruise? ›

Tipping Starts Before You Board Your Cruise Ship

So when you are pierside consider giving your luggage handler a $2- $5 tip per item, depending upon the size, weight and amount of your luggage. If you're travelling alone and with only one large piece of luggage, a $5 tip is appropriate.

Can I bring a 12 pack of soda on Carnival cruise? ›

While in port, a small quantity of non-alcoholic beverages (i.e., sparkling water, sodas, juice) packaged in cans or cartons may be brought on board. A small quantity is considered a maximum of 12 sealed, unopened cans/cartons of 12-ounces/354-ml each or less per person.

How early should you arrive at the port for a cruise? ›

Related: 27 cruise ship embarkation day do's and don'ts

Most cruise ships require all passengers to be on board no fewer than one to two hours before the scheduled departure time, which is almost always in the late afternoon or evening.

How many sodas can you take on a cruise? ›

Guests may also bring non-alcoholic beverages as carry-on items on boarding day. Non-alcoholic beverages may not exceed 12 standard (17 oz.) cans, bottles or cartons per stateroom.

Do cruise ships provide toothpaste? ›

Your cruise ship will provide basic toiletries for the shower, so there is no reason to waste precious luggage space on shampoo and conditioner. Check the bathroom before you leave to make sure you haven't left behind contact lenses, contact solution, glasses, medications, deodorant, mouthwash and hair gel.

Do cruise ships provide hair dryers? ›

2. Hair Dryer. Ships all come equipped with hair dryers. They may be wall-mounted in the bathroom, or in a closet or vanity drawer.

What deck on a cruise ship is best? ›

The nicest and most expensive cabins on any ship are generally on the highest decks. That typically means just below the pool deck. However, the pool deck is often the loudest during the day (and often well into the night).

What size suitcase is best for a cruise? ›

For longer cruises most travelers prefer a larger bag – like a 25” checked-through bag – which is a good size for a 2 week cruise and fully packed is usually under 50 lbs.

Can you pack full size toiletries for a cruise? ›

Cruise lines don't have restrictions on toiletries that you can take on your cruise. There are some items that are prohibited on a cruise, such as candles, irons and steamers, but toiletries are fine. You can even bring full size toiletries if you like.

How do I protect myself on a cruise? ›

On This Page
  1. Drink alcohol responsibly.
  2. Buddy up.
  3. Practice in-cabin safety.
  4. Be safe on your balcony.
  5. Use your safe.
  6. Get to know your steward.
  7. Don't carry large amounts of cash.
  8. Don't accept an invitation to crew quarters.

Do you get charged for texting on a cruise? ›

Decide if you want a data, messaging, or calling plan.

Wireless carriers offer data, messaging, and calling plans for cruise ships that are similar to on-land packages, so you can pick the one that best suits your needs. Data plans cost around $25 for 100MB, and text messages costs as much as 50 cents per text.

Can you send text messages while on a cruise? ›

When the ship is sailing on international waters, you will be able to text (SMS). Once in port, you can connect to local roaming networks as permitted by your home carrier.

Is Wi-Fi free on a cruise? ›

Although some cruise lines have moved towards free Wi-Fi onboard, you will most likely need to pay for internet when cruising. Those sailing on Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line can expect to spend anywhere from $20 to $30 per day per device onboard.

Do I need a plug adapter on a cruise ship? ›

If you're cruising in a cabin that has 3 plug sockets, 1 of which uses the plugs that you have and two that don't you might as well bring a couple of the other adapters. Travel adapters are one of the most important things that you'll bring on a cruise.

Can I use my phone as a hot spot on a cruise ship? ›

Do Hotspots Work on Cruise Ships? Portable wireless hotspots do work on cruise ships but only when the ship is docked or VERY close to land. Your phone's hotspot will also work on a cruise ship as long as you have cell service, are docked or close to land and roaming is included in your plan.

How do you talk on the phone on a cruise? ›

To use your cell phone on your cruise, you have two options — either connect to the ship's cellular service or connect to the ship's wi-fi. Both will cost you extra. For traditional cell service, today's modern cruise ships use providers such as “Cellular at Sea” or “Wireless Maritime Services”.

How much does it cost to get WIFI on a cruise? ›

The benefits of a basic package

With a basic package, you can expect to pay about $13 to $18 per device per day (you can save up to 20 percent if you book in advance of your cruise). That allows for some web browsing, social media posting, and checking email.

Can you receive phone calls on a cruise ship? ›

Service for voice calls, texting (SMS) and data is available onboard while the ship is at sea. Once the WMS network is switched on, while roaming on our cruise ships, you will see a distinct display on your handset that differs from your home carrier.

Is it better to take cash or card on a cruise? ›

We highly recommend paying for anything OFF of the ship in cash. Ports in tourist areas are typically safe from violent crime, but petty crime like theft — or credit card fraud — can happen. So if you plan to pay for meals and entertainment with a card, there is always the risk of being overcharged, charged twice, etc.

How much do you tip on a 7 day cruise? ›

In general, plan on giving $16–$23 in gratuities per day for each passenger. Note that the amount should be tabulated for each individual in your party—don't try to tip once per couple or group. So if you're planning to go on a 7-day cruise, expect to give a total of between $112 and $161 per person in gratuities.

Can you drink as much as you want on a cruise? ›

In general, passengers are permitted to drink pretty much anywhere and can take a drink from a bar and walk with it to their cabin or other onboard location. That said, most cruises are not drunken booze fests. You might come across someone who has had a few too many, but most passengers will be well behaved.

Do you tip cash on a cruise? ›

If you want to pay extra, we suggest simply handing cash directly to the people you want to recognize for their service. This happens regularly for passengers feeling generous or thankful for the staff's work during their trip. In fact, your cruise line might leave a few envelopes in your room exactly for this purpose.

Can I use my debit card on a cruise ship? ›

You can either link your card to a debit or credit account, or provide cash up front to fund your onboard spending. Be aware: If you link to a credit or debit account, the line might put a hold on your account until after you disembark the ship.

How much is the average drink on a cruise? ›

Beer Cost Average ($$$)Cocktail Average Cost ($$$)
Norwegian Cruise Line$9$12
Celebrity Cruises$6$12
Princess Cruises$7$9
6 more rows
Feb 27, 2021

Should you lock luggage on cruise? ›

Lock It Up

Simple locks can help keep your luggage safe, especially if you turn bags over to porters as you board the ship. Opt for TSA-approved locks that will be suitable for airline use as well, and you can be confident your bags are safe for all your travel plans.

How many suitcases can you take on a 7 day cruise? ›

For a general rule of thumb, bring one checked bag and one carry on per person for a 3-5 day cruise. For cruises 6 days or longer, guests can bring 2 checked bags and one carry on per person.

What do you tip housekeeping on a cruise? ›

There aren't any hard-and-fast guidelines for this type of tip since it's contingent on your experience, but $25 to $40 on behalf of a couple roughly works out to an extra $2 to $3 per person, per day, for a seven-night cruise.

Do you tip when they hold your luggage? ›

Add a few extra dollars for luggage. PORTER If you are storing bags with the hotel porters before or after your stay, tip a few dollars per bag when you leave them and when you retrieve them, to thank everyone who helped you.

Is it better to prepay gratuity on a cruise? ›

For most, prepaying gratuities is a great way to keep track of your overall cruise budget. If they're paid for and out of the way, you won't accidentally spend your gratuity money while onboard or in port or receive a large(r) bill at the end of the sailing.

How many bottles can you bring back on a cruise? ›

Specifically, “the law limits personal importation by an adult to once every 30 days with limits of: 1 gallon of distilled spirits, 3 gallons of wine, and 288 ounces of malt beverages (24 12-ounce containers). “ Keep in mind that this is per adult. So a couple can bring in twice as much.

Is water free on Carnival cruise lines? ›

Packages also include soft drinks. Free Lemonade & Iced Tea (and water too!) – One of the things I remember wondering before my first cruise was if I there was any complimentary beverages other than water.

How much is a Coke on Carnival cruise? ›

Stateroom Mini-Bar drinks prices of liquor, beer, soft drinks
BeveragesPrices (USD)
(beers) Amstel Light, Beck's, Heineken, Heineken Light$5,95
Rockstar, Rockstar Sugar-Free$4,75
Bottled Water (1,5L, Crystal Geyser)$4,25
Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Sprite, Orange Juice, Tonic Water$1,95
5 more rows
Nov 25, 2015

Do your bags get checked on a cruise? ›

Just like the security screening at an airport, we also screen all luggage our guests bring onboard to ensure everyone's safety. If there is an item in your luggage that is prohibited or is believed to be prohibited, your bag will be taken to a screening location and will be inspected by our Security Team onboard.

Is it better to check-in on a cruise early or late? ›

Avoid arriving at peak boarding time

We recommend getting to the terminal either early, before the rush, or late (after 2 p.m.), when most people are already onboard. You might still have a little wait, but it won't be anything compared to peak boarding time.

What time do you have to check out of a cruise? ›

On the final morning of a cruise experience in most countries all guests must leave the ship before the guests joining the next cruise can board. In most environments the latest time to leave the vessel will be between 10:00am and 11:00am.

Should you bring shampoo on a cruise? ›

Your cruise ship will provide basic toiletries for the shower, so there is no reason to waste precious luggage space on shampoo and conditioner. Check the bathroom before you leave to make sure you haven't left behind contact lenses, contact solution, glasses, medications, deodorant, mouthwash and hair gel.

Can you wear jeans on a cruise ship? ›

Acceptable attire includes sportswear, collared shirts, pants and jackets (if desired, but not required) for men and sportswear, casual dresses, or skirts and pants with blouses or knit tops for women. Regular, but not torn or distressed jeans, are fine.

Do cruise ships XRAY your luggage? ›

Do Cruise Ships X-Ray Your Luggage? Both your carry-on and checked luggage will be x-rayed and scanned when you board a cruise ship. You will have to pass your carry-on luggage through a scanner before you board. Your checked luggage will also pass through an x-ray scanner.

Can you bring a case of water on a cruise? ›

Guests may also bring non-alcoholic beverages as carry-on items on boarding day. Non-alcoholic beverages may not exceed 12 standard (17 oz.) cans, bottles or cartons per stateroom.

Can you bring toilet paper on a cruise? ›

The following items cannot be put in cruise ship toilets: Wipes. Paper towels (kitchen towels for example), toilet paper is fine! Condoms (no idea why anybody would do this, but DON'T)

Is laundry free on cruise? ›

Most cruise lines offer wash and press services onboard their cruise ships for a fee. Exceptions include smaller lines, such as Island Windjammers. There is typically a laundry bag located inside your stateroom that you can leave for your room steward to pick up.


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