Counting down to your cruise holiday? It’s never too early to start thinking about what to pack. With our ultimate cruise packing checklist, you can simply tick off the items and relax knowing you are prepared for the trip of a lifetime.
Whether it’s your first or your hundredth cruise holiday, you always face the same packing conundrum: what goes and what stays? You want to pack light, but at the same time, you want to be prepared for all the fun and activities the ship and on-shore destinations have to offer. To help you, we’ve put together the ultimate cruise packing checklist. If you need it, it’s on the list. Plus we’ve included savvy cruiser packing tips to help you pack light and pack smart.
Best of all, you can print out the checklist as a handy printable PDF or spreadsheet, so you can tick as you pack!
Every cruise ship is different, so here are a few quick things you need to check before you start:
What’s the dress code policy on your ship? Some cruises have a strict dress policy, especially for dinners and events. Typically, casual dress is worn during the day and a semi-formal dress is recommended for the evenings. Some cruise ships require formal attire for evenings though, especially on the last night of the cruise. Don’t be caught without the right outfit – check before you pack.
Where will your cruise stop and for how long? Depending on the activities and climate at each port of call, you may need to pack a few extra items.
Every cruise ship has different activities, facilities and amenities. For example, some provide quality toiletries, whereas others stick to the basics. Becoming familiar with these things before you go will help you pack the right items. Check out our detailed ship articles for more information on your chosen cruise ship.
Even if you forget everything else, DO NOT leave home without the following:
Savvy Cruiser Tip: Always pack your passport, medical records, tickets, and other important documents in your daypack or carry-on luggage.
Mobile phones, laptops, tablets, e-readers and digital cameras are part of everyday life. But when you consider all the things that come with them, it can be easier to leave them at home! Think about which gadgets you really want on your cruise.
With today’s cruise ships, you really don’t need to pack much entertainment! But here are a few things you might want to add to your list.
Packing Tip: To save space, invest in an e-reader or visit the onboard library. You will also find playing cards and other board games onboard.
Your cabin will provide soap, shampoo and conditioner but if you have favourites, be sure to pack them.
Savvy Cruiser Tip: Ships will sell a range of toiletries, including razors, toothpaste etc., in case you run out.
There are all sorts of things you can pack to make your cruise more enjoyable and relaxing. Bear in mind that most ships have a laundry service and dry cleaning, but don’t expect it to be cheap! Some of the bigger ships offer self-service washing machines and dryers.
Savvy Cruiser Tip: No need to bring beach or bath towels – these are all provided onboard!
You never know what weather or activities you might get on a ship or in port. Men, women and kids should pack the following items to be prepared for everything!
Be ready to move in shoes for every occasion, whether you’re lazing by the pool, beating your family on the sports court, or learning new dance moves!
To get the most out of your wardrobe, mix and match as much as possible. Pack light fabrics with neutral colours that go together easily.
Savvy Cruiser Tip: Check whether your ship offers a tuxedo hire service.
Choose versatile styles and neutral colours that you can easily mix and match throughout the cruise to keep your bag light.
Savvy Cruiser Tip: Accessorise! With a choice of scarves and jewellery, you can get more from your wardrobe.
Savvy Cruiser Tip: Pack a kid’s travel backpack full of snacks, activities and swimwear so you can explore while waiting for your bags to arrive in your cabin.
Savvy Cruiser Tip: Check whether you can hire baby equipment onboard.
Think ahead and pack the right items for every shore excursion.
Ready to get started? Print out this checklist and tick the items as you pack!
AN IMPORTANT NOTE: Each ship provides guidelines around what items are not allowed onboard the ships, which will include items like irons, candles, explosives, flammable liquids, weapons, power boards and extension cords. Be sure to check these guidelines. The local port authority will put your baggage through customs checks and have the right to confiscate any items at their discretion. Always be ready to declare items.