10 Must-Pack Items For A Cruise

For first-time cruisers, packing can be overwhelming. You don’t know what to expect and it’s scary to think you’ll be floating in the middle of the ocean. There is no CVS and no mall. You can’t just run out and buy something if you forget it or realize you suddenly need something, but didn’t pack it.

I recently got back from a four-day cruise to the Bahamas on Carnival Victory. While this wasn’t my very first cruise, it was my first one as an adult. I was 12 during my first and only other cruise and remember very little. This was also my first big trip without my parents or any family members. It was just my fiancé and I.

I did some research before we left and there are tons of resources out there for what to pack on a cruise. I personally really liked Cruise Tips TV on YouTube. I brought some items on my cruise that proved to be lifesavers. I thought I would share them with others who may be gearing up to set sea.

Wrinkle release spray

Your clothes will get very wrinkled from being squished in your suitcase, and there isn’t an iron on board the ship. You probably don’t want to look like you grabbed your clothes from the bottom of the hamper and packed them in your luggage, especially on elegant night. I used the Downy Wrinkle Release Spray, and it works really well on most fabrics. Plus, it has a clean scent, so your clothes also smell like they’re fresh out of the wash.


On the cruise, your room key is not just your room key. Your credit or debit card is connected to your onboard card, which allows you to spend money on your cruise. So, you’ll swipe your key at your door, and also when you make on-board purchases, such as beverages, meals at specialty restaurants, items in the onboard shops and more.  It’s also your main source of identification when getting on and off the ship. A lanyard will come in handy so you don’t have to sift through your pocket to find it. And, you don’t have to worry about your card getting lost. It will always be easily accessible around your neck. Plus, you can get a fancy one so it will go nice with your outfits at night.

Motion sickness remedy

Nothing can ruin a cruise more than getting sea sick. Whether you think you’ll need it or not, be prepared with motion sickness medication like Dramamine or Bonine. You can also go down the medication-free route with Sea Bands. These bracelets go around your wrists and have a little plastic piece that pushes on a pressure point to keep your body in balance when in motion. I used both methods while on my cruise.

Travel document organizer

This was a last minute pack thanks to my mom who had this in her closet for years, unused. I didn’t think it was a major “must-have” until I used it. I am so glad I took it. When on the cruise, you’ll have many documents to keep track of – boarding passes for the ship and possibly a plane, a health questionnaire, receipts, cash, passports and more. It doesn’t seem like much but trust me, this thing is an organizer’s dream.


If you’re going to a warm tropical place on your cruise, like the Caribbean, you’re probably more focused on packing sleeveless dresses, bathing suits, shorts and t-shirts. But, the ship can get very chilly, especially in the dining room area. Bring a couple sweaters that you can wear with multiple outfits so you’re not freezing at night.

Trash bags

The staterooms are pretty small. There is just enough room for you, the people you’re with and your belongings. If you’re the type that wants to keep your dirty laundry out of the way while in the room, as well as keep it separate from your clean clothes you keep in your suitcase, a trash bag will come in handy. We stuck all our dirty clothes in a trash bag and put it in a drawer to keep it out of the way. When it was time to pack to leave, we put the whole bag in our suitcase and then threw all the clothes right in the washing machine when we got home.

Over-the-counter medication

If you get a headache, a cold, or an upset stomach, you’re probably going to want something to make you feel better so you can get on with your vacation. If you visit the stores on board the ship, you’ll be stuck paying double what you could pay at home. Think ahead and pack your go-to medicine.


For when you get ketchup on your favorite shirt or spill strawberry daiquiri on your dress. Enough said.

Power strip

We didn’t have many electronics with us, so it wasn’t necessary for us to pack this, but I can see why for some people it is. There are only a few electrical outlets in your room. If you have a lot of electronics with you, a power strip will be useful. You can charge your camera, your kids’ tablets, your phone and whatever else all at the same time. Otherwise, you’ll be fighting over not only who gets the charger next but who gets the outlet next.

Hand sanitizer or sanitizing hand wipes

There are thousands of people on the ship with you. Thousands. Really. There were 3,400 people on our ship. That’s a lot of hands touching door handles, stair railings and buffet utensils. Avoid the germs by packing some sanitizer.

Hope these tips are useful for you. Do you have any must-pack items for your cruise vacations? Share them below!


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *