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12 Essential Things To Pack For A Cruise (Cruise Packing List)

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I remember when I was deciding what to pack for a cruise for my first cruise. I would tell people I was going to go on my first cruise, and everyone responded with super unhelpful comments (pretty much everyone proclaimed I would get sea sick, which I did not!) I then took to the internet to see what other cruisers recommended, which as it turns out was a much better, more helpful solution for me. I managed to pack a small suitcase that had more than enough of what I needed, and I decided to share with you what I found to be the most necessary things that I was really glad I had packed with me for the cruise. 

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What To Pack For A Cruise: Cruise Packing List


This is especially true if you’re doing a cruise in the Caribbean because chances are you’ll want to take a dip in the ocean. Even if you’re cruising elsewhere, having a swimsuit can be really great to bring along just for pools or hot tubs on the cruise ship itself! Plus a swimsuit takes up next to no room in your suitcase, so you don’t have to worry about that! You may want to bring along two bathing suits so that they each get a chance to dry while you wear the other one, but I went with just one bathing suit and had no problems!

Related: Can You Travel Solo on a Cruise? Yep! Here’s How.

Swim Cover

If you’re walking around the ship to get to the decks, or if you’re walking to the beach, you might be more comfortable throwing a swim cover on top of your bathing suit instead of bringing a whole outfit with you. Sometimes it’s nice to throw the swim cover on after you’re done swimming too because it can help keep you warm while you’re still damp!


Sunscreen is super important if you’re going to be cruising in a tropical climate! You want to protect yourself from sun damage to your body, but you also want to avoid the pain of a sunburn because it’s definitely not great to try to have fun while it hurts to move your body!

Sunburn Relief

In case you either forgot to apply sunscreen, or maybe you missed a spot, or it wore off, it’s great to have a backup plan to take care of that. If you have aloe ointment or some other sunburn relief options with you, it should minimize your pain and healing time if you end up catching a bit too much sun!

Usual Toiletries

Of course you’ll want to bring your usual toiletries along with you (shampoo/conditioner, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste etc). If you happen to forget any of these you can typically buy them on the ship, but you’ll likely be paying quite a bit more for them than you would if you bought them on land. 


I bring my camera on every trip since that’s my job, but if you don’t want to bring an additional camera with you, using the camera on your phone is completely fine! If you want to bring along a real camera for some better quality photos of your experience, a small point and shoot camera can be what you’re looking for, but there are some great larger camera options that have interchangeable lenses as well if that’s more your style.

Nausea Relief (Just Incase)

Even though I didn’t experience sea sickness, I had brought multiple different anti-nausea solutions with me since everyone warned me that I would need them. Even though I didn’t, I was very thankful to have them because it gave me peace of mind to know I was ready in case my stomach started to turn. It’s better to be safe than sorry! Personally I carried Gravol with me (I think the American equivalent is Dramamine), some ginger chews, and I wanted to get a sea sickness bracelet, but didn’t have the chance to grab one before my trip. 

Dressy Outfit and Shoe Option

Something to remember if you don’t know what to pack for a cruise in terms of clothing is, there is usually at least one formal dinner night on cruise vacations. This is where you dress up nicely for dinner in the restaurants. My cruise had two nights like this, but we only attended one of the nights. This is a fun occasion to get dressed up, and there are photographers coming around to take pictures of you and your cruise companions. There is also an area on the cruise ship that sets up with different photography backdrops where you and your friends/family can go and pose for pictures. My friend and I had a lot of fun doing this and we ended up buying some of the pictures to bring home as souvenirs (we’re both photographers so took a ton of pictures of each other during our cruise, but it was just a fun way for us to remember our trip together!)

Minimal Makeup

Personally, I don’t wear much makeup so I made sure to keep my packing light with this category. If you love to play with makeup, or if you feel more comfortable wearing more makeup, then do what feels best for you! I brought along my usual favorite products like Covergirl TruBlend Powder foundation in translucent honey (this color works for me with or without a tan so it was a great one to bring on a Caribbean cruise). I also brought Better Than Sex mascaraTattoo eyeliner by Kat Von D, and what was at the time Erase Paste by Benefit and an eyebrow pencil by Anastasia Beverly Hills. I brought a few shades of lipstick as well, and that was it!

Skin Care

Between the flight to the cruise, the air on the cruise ship, and the change of climate, I brought along my most trustworthy skin care products. A lightweight face moisturizer, eye cream and a pimple fighting cleanser. Again, I tried to keep it pretty simple. My skin loved having some TLC with all of the changes it was going through. 

Reading Materials

On the cruise ship there is a tv you can use, and of course you can use a tablet to watch tv or play games, but I loved having a book to read on the cruise! We had two sea days during our trip, and there was some rain on our second sea day, so it was really great to curl up on the balcony chairs and spend a few hours here and there reading.

Clothing For The Climate

The type of clothing you’ll want to pack with depend on where you’re heading. On our cruise to the Caribbean I mostly had shorts and t-shirts then brought a pair of pants and a sweater in case the temperature got chilly at night. If you’re going on an Alaskan cruise for example, your clothing packing list will look a lot different! Do a bit of research on the weather in the area you’ll be visiting and plan your wardrobe packing from there!

This is pretty much the full list of what I brought with me on my 6 day Caribbean cruise, and all of it fit into a carry on suitcase! I hope this post on what to pack for a cruise is helpful to those of you who are planning to go on a cruise of your own, especially if it’s your first time going! I’d love to hear in the comment section below what your ‘must haves’ for travel are whether it’s for cruising or any other type of travel!

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