Cruise Packing Tips: 15 Items to Add to Your Cruise Packing List

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Cruise Packing Tips: 15 Items to Add to Your Cruise Packing List

Bon Voyage, it’s cruise packing time! After our recent cruise vacation and with another one booked for June, I wanted to suggest some items that you may have known about but forgot to put on your cruise packing list. Or… they may be items that you hadn’t even thought of yet. Don’t forget to pack these…

15 Items to Pack for your Cruise.

Dollar Bills, y’all

Before you even embark on the ship, you are going to have to get to port somehow. You’ll likely need money for tolls (include coins!), luggage valets, porters, and even the bartender at your pre-cruise hotel.

Plus, I love ordering room service (late night cookies, please!) and tipping the delivery attendant is a nice gesture.

Room Service

Highlighter

Your cruise entertainment schedules will have loads of fun options. Delivered each night to your stateroom, this listing is your key to all the fun that can be had on the ship. Don’t want to miss the ice skating show, belly flop competition, wine tasting, line dancing, art auction, spa sale, or other fun activity? Bring a highlighter.

I like to highlight the activities of interest the night before to keep organized. Of course, I don’t make it to all the activities — sometimes a girl just wants to sit out in an ocean breeze with an adult beverage at hand. But at least when I’m up for an activity, I can quickly eyeball what’s available.

Small Purse

I have a few favorites that I like to take on vacation. Lately, I’ve been going with my Coach Crossbody “Carrie” bag as it goes from day to evening really well. It’s also lightweight and versatile. I also like the Vera Bradley Mini Hipster Cross Body. It’s lightweight and has handy compartments for keeping everything at your fingertips. Holds passports and more!

Coach Crossbody Purse

You’ll want to keep your daily activity sheet, a pen, glasses, and a small camera with you at all times. This is also where I store my room key/onboard ship account card. You may like the idea of a lanyard worn around your neck; I prefer the small bag. Use what works best for you. Personalize your cruise packing list!

Royal Caribbean Lanyard

Luggage Tags/Ribbon

You’ll want to make sure that your luggage stands out from the crowd. Unless you travel with a neon pink suitcase in leopard spots (good thinking, by the way!), you’ll want to be able to easily identify your luggage. This is especially true when disembarking a cruise ship. There are thousands of people looking for their bags too. And while there will be a semi-organized system in the terminal, you’ll still be grateful when you can easily spot your bags without a lot of effort. After all, it’ll be early in the morning and you may have been up late the night before savoring every moment at sea. So, put a colorful piece of duct tape, a ribbon, a mini scarf, or a super recognizable luggage tag on each piece of luggage that you’ll be giving to the porters.

Plus, I have to recommend luggage tag holders. They are very handy for cruisers. Print your luggage tags, insert them into the plastic protectors, and secure to your luggage. No worries.

Hair Dryer

Each time I cruise, I swear that I won’t step aboard a ship again without my travel hair dryer. Learn from my mistake. I have thick hair that takes a long time to dry and those onboard dryers… well, they don’t dry.

A Pool/Beach Bag

I have a lightweight Vera Bradley tote bag that has multi-uses when on a cruise vacation. I can pile in my book, sunscreen, cover-up, camera, etc. This bag can also be utilized for the evening when I want to bring a sweater along to venues where it may be chilly.

Vera Bradley Tote Bag

Motion Sickness Pills

Just in case. You may have never experienced a twinge of motion sickness in your life (lucky you!) but get on a ship, have some adult beverages, load up at the buffet, and then feel some good sized waves and you might find yourself wishing you could take a little nip. Personally, Bonine chewable tablet work the best for me and my family. And a little nip (about a quarter of a pill) is exactly what I take before the ship sails. Most days and evenings, I won’t need another dose but if I feel a twinge of upset, I quickly take a half of a pill. I’m a lightweight when it comes to medication and they make me extremely sleepy. If the ship is really rocking, I might need a whole pill and then a lot of sleep! Consult your doctor before you leave home. Start your cruise packing early!

Lysol Spray and Disinfecting Wipes/Room Deodorizer

So, let’s talk staying healthy and keeping things smelling fresh. Those little bathrooms in your stateroom are not going to always smell like fresh ocean air. Especially if you are now sharing with other family members. I’m talking about my teen son and husband here. I bring a little air freshener to mask the odors.

And we Lysol spray the room. Wipe down the door knobs, remotes, etc. with disinfecting wipes. I’ve had norovirus at a hotel and while rather memorable, it’s not the sort of excitement that you’ll want to document in your travel journal. So, wipe it all down, wash your hands, and stay healthy.

Vera Bradley Weekender Bag

After dropping our luggage with the porters, we bring individual carry-on bags with us. My Vera Bradley Weekender Bag is my favorite. It’s so lightweight and the compartments keep all my stuff organized.

Vera Bradley Weekender

We bring breakables and other necessities aboard with us; things we may need before our checked luggage arrives the stateroom. Medications, change of clothes, a jacket if rain is in the forecast, cameras and other electronics, etc.

Lightweight Sweater

If you’re headed to the Caribbean, this one might not seem so obvious. Sometimes it can be chilly on deck in the evenings or at some indoor venues.

Lightweight Sweater

Moleskin and Scissors

What? On a ship? Surely with all the lazy days at sea, blisters are out of the question. Um, nope. Unless you don’t get up from your lounge chair or out of the hot tub all week, you’ll likely be doing a lot of walking on ship. Plus, you’ll probably be wearing new shoes, or dress shoes that you haven’t worn in a while, or those sandals that look adorable but rub the wrong way.

On land, you’ll be doing more activities even if it’s just a walk across a sandy beach to your new favorite spot under a palm tree.

So, yes, pack moleskin and a small pair of scissors to cut strips with. Or better yet, pre-cut strips before you pack them.

Wrinkle Releaser Plus Fabric Refresher Spray

You’ll want to dress up on some nights and you’ll be wishing that you could pack a travel iron. But, travel irons are frowned upon (read: prohibited) at sea due to fire hazards.

Solution: My husband likes Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus. Follow the directions and it works! Spray, tug, and let the wrinkles release. It’s also great for refreshing a shirt that was worn already. But be realistic here, if you wore the shirt to play a game of dodgeball on the sports deck, it might be beyond a quick refresh!

Binoculars

We’ve seen a lot of interesting things at sea. Being able to zoom closer with binoculars enhances our cruise experience, especially when sailing into beautiful ports. What else have we spotted? A whale, dolphins, submarine, other cruise ships, a raft filled with refugees (yes, the ship brought them aboard!!), and more.

If you have a balcony, keep them nearby. If not, bring them along when you go up on deck.

Towel Clips/Clothespins

It can be breezy on your stateroom balcony and up on the pool deck so towel clips are a handy item to throw in your pool/beach bag. Also, clothespins have all kinds of uses. Pin curtains closed so that the morning light doesn’t awaken you too early!

Many of these cruise packing items can be packed in your luggage early.

Towel Clips

Night Light/Book Light/Battery Powered Candle

It can be very dark at night inside your stateroom. Bring a night light, book light, and/or battery powered candles for some helpful illumination.

These are 15 items that I recommend adding to your cruise packing list.

What’s On Your Cruise Packing List? Share in the comments below.

Kimberly LaPaglia

Kimberly shared her passion for Disney when she was selected for the inaugural Walt Disney World Moms Panel and then as the first Disney Cruise Line panelist. As a Disney Mom, she helped countless families plan their own dream-filled journeys. Blending her love for research, travel, and writing, Kim has been an editor for Disney Food Blog for nearly 8 years. At The Castle Concierge, she blogs about travel, parenting, celebrations, and the road to empty nesting.

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