Knowing what to pack for your first cruise can be overwhelming, but never fear! Our Ultimate Cruise Packing List is here to help you know exactly what you’ll need beyond just your clothes and your swimsuit.
This list is chocked full of things that you’d never think to bring. From creature comforts to sanitation essentials, you’ll be SO glad you brought these things along on your voyage.
Plus, everything on this list is available from Amazon.com, so you don’t even have to leave home to find all these essential items for your trip.
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Ultimate Cruise Packing List: Packing Your Bags
Let’s start with the first things first on our ultimate cruise packing list: All the things you’ll need to carry your gear on board the ship!
Cruise Friendly Suitcases
Luggage gets handled A LOT when you’re going on a cruise. From flying into your port city, to getting checked onto the boat, your bags will certainly see some bumps along the way.
We always recommend hardshell luggage to keep your things safe and secure during bumpy travel.
We love this 3 Piece Hardshell Spinner Suitcase Set from COOLIFE for several reasons. They’re affordable. The premium spinner wheels make them easy to maneuver in tiny cruise ship hallways. They can nest within each other for easy storage onboard. And they come in a variety of bright colors, making them easy to spot when cruise porters leave them in your hallway on embarkation day!
Keep Track Of Your Luggage
Checking a bag always stresses me out when I travel. It can be even more stressful when you’re on a cruise.
I LOVE using these Apple AirTags to keep track of my luggage on embarkation and debarkation days. I simply pop them into my luggage when I’m packing, and I can track where they are quickly and easily through my iPhone’s “Find My” app.
They prevent a ton of anxiety since I know exactly where my luggage is at all times.
And don’t forget a case for your AirTags! These durable waterproof cases keep your AirTags protected and attached to whatever you want to clip them to.
Hanging Closet Organizer
Cruise ship staterooms aren’t known for being spacious, so it’s essential that you make the most of your storage, especially if you’re going on a longer cruise.
These hanging closet organizers are perfect for keeping your clothes organized in a tight space.
Hanging Toiletry Organizer
Everyone wants to look nice on a cruise, especially during those evenings out enjoying the nightlife aboard the ship.
This hanging toiletry organizer keeps all those bottles and brushes in one secure, mess-free place. We really like the side pockets and water resistant features of this bag.
Like I said before, space is at a premium in a cruise ship stateroom, so this addition to our Ultimate Cruise Packing List is an absolute MUST HAVE.
Packing cubes are a phenomenal way to stay organized on a trip. But having travel cubes with a compression feature makes them absolutely essential.
We have these compression packing cubes and use them every time we travel. I was able to pack for a 12 day tour of Europe in just a carry-on sized suitcase and a small backpack by using my set of compression cubes (and we never did any laundry)!
The All Important Lanyard
The moment you set foot on a cruise ship, you’re going to want a lanyard. These fun and practical necklaces keep your hands free and your room key close which you’ll need frequently on board the ship.
We like these particular landyards because they’re waterproof, detachable, and retractable, which makes them perfect for all the uses they have on board a cruise ship.
Ultimate Cruise Packing List: Organizing Your Cabin
Cruise ship cabins are notoriously small. It helps a TON to get creative and bring along a few unusual items to help your room stay more organized. All the items on this section of our Ultimate Cruise Packing List are really helpful!
Find Your Cabin Easily
Almost every cabin hallway on every deck on a cruise ship looks alike, and it’s super easy to get a little bit turned around when looking for your room.
Having something on your door to identify your room is a great idea. We love these personalized magnets (the doors on the ship are metal)!
Use Your Wallspace To Your Advantage
When we first started cruising, we quickly realized that cruise ship cabins are constructed a little differently, and every wall is actually made of metal. This comes in handy for storage, if you bring along the right items.
These super strong magnetic hooks do the trick in a cruise cabin. They hold up to 25 lbs, and help make the walls of your cruise cabin into extra storage space. Use them for hanging towels or bags. Keep your jacket and lanyards handy by the door. There are so many uses for these, and we find them to be an essential part of our cruise packing list.
Make the Best Use of Those Outlets
Cruise ship cabins rarely have enough outlets to meet the needs of today’s technology. Cabins are usually equipped with just two outlets, and neither of them are located in very convenient places. They’re usually in the bathroom and at the dressing vanity.
From cell phones to smart watches, we ALWAYS have something we need to charge in our stateroom. To accommodate all our gadgets, we always bring along a multiplug outlet with USB capabilities.
They are a lifesaver when you have more than one guest staying in a stateroom. Plus the USB ports are great for charging phones and other electronics!
I use my phone for everything while on a cruise, from communicating with family back home to reading a book checked out on my library app.
Typical charging cables are NEVER long enough to reach from the outlet in a cruise cabin to anywhere comfortable to relax.
That’s why I always bring along an extra long charging cable. Now I can sit on the bed or anywhere in the room and use my phone.
Keep Your Cabin Comfortable
I sleep with a fan on year round. I love to keep the air moving in any room I sleep in.
That’s why I always travel with this small USB powered fan. It’s surprisingly powerful for such a small device and helps keep my cruise cabin or hotel room comfortable. It’s three speeds and 360 degree rotation make it a great option for travel.
Keep Smells To A Minimum
As we’ve said before, cruise cabins are notoriously small, and sharing a small space with multiple people can be very challenging. It’s a fact of life that everyone will need to use the toilet during your voyage, and being stuck in a tiny room with some big smells can be difficult.
Our family ALWAYS travels with a bottle of Poopourri Toilet Spray. This stuff is seriously a lifesaver! Just a tiny amount gets rid of the odors, and is super easy to carry with you.
Ultimate Cruise Packing List: Excursion Essentials
Most cruises give guests the option to take some pretty incredible excursions at their ports of call. There are activities for all ages and interests depending on your destination. From beach centered island experiences to historical tours, there’s always sure to be something you’ll find fun to do.
Even if you decide just to explore a port on your own, these items will come in super handy during your time off-ship.
External Battery Pack
Nobody wants to be out on their excursion and have their phone battery die. Having an external battery that can quickly and easily charge their phone is priceless.
I always look for a lightweight high capacity charger that has multiple types of outlets available to use. This external battery features USB A, USB C, and iPhone charging capabilities, doesn’t take up much space in your bag, and holds a good amount of charge to keep your devices going.
Easy To Pack Travel Backpack
When you’re leaving the ship, it really helps to have the right bag that can easily carry everything you’ll need on your adventure.
We have two of these great travel backpacks. They have roomy pockets, are water resistant and fold down into a really compact size for easy packing. Plus they come in an array of fun colors, which makes the wearer easy to spot in a crowd!
Microfiber Beach Towel
This addition to our ultimate cruise packing list has come in handy more times than I can count!
Lots of cruise destinations offer excursions that involve beach time or water sports. While you don’t need your own towels on board the ship, you just might need one when you’re off the ship.
We love carrying a microfiber towel with us for shore excursions. They are lightweight, compact, soak up a ton of water, dry very quickly and don’t retain sand like traditional towels do.
Bagail makes a great microfiber towel that comes in a variety of sizes and colors, plus it even has its own carrying case to help keep you organized.
When dreaming about destinations for a cruise vacation, most people visualized a beautiful white sandy beach, with soft, clean sand to walk on.
While some destinations live up to this vision, not all do. Having a pair of water shoes in your luggage can be a lifesaver on a rocky beach.
We love these “aqua sock” type shoes for this purpose. They’re lightweight, easy to slip on, dry quickly, and protect your feet from sharp rocks and shells while in the water.
Keeping your valuables close to you is always important when you travel, especially at popular tourist spots that can be targets for thieves.
We’re big fans of this waterproof fanny pack. It enables us to keep our valuables close by, but still enjoy the water without worry of ruining our stuff.
Ultimate Cruise Packing List: Staying Healthy
No one wants to feel unwell during a vacation. That’s why the items on this part of the list are so important to have with you on your cruise.
Motion Sickness Meds
No cruise packing list would be complete without motion sickness solutions.
Cruising can be difficult for anyone who is prone to motion sickness. Having the appropriate over the counter meds with you can be a lifesaver if you find yourself feeling ill when at sea.
There’s a reason that Dramamine is still the go-to solution for motion sickness. It just works.
Don’t like taking a pill? We’ve also got you covered with these motion sickness patches.
Our family is not a fan of the drowsiness that sometimes comes along with traditional motion sickness remedies.
Everyone in my family absolutely loves Sea Bands when we’re onboard a cruise. Sea Bands use acupressure points to relieve nausea quickly and effectively.
I love that they’re comfortable and reusable. We even use these when we visit Disney World and other theme parks to alleviate motion sickness on some rides.
Liquid Hand Soap
I really hate washing my hands with bar soap. And as with a hotel, only bar soap is provided on most cruises for this purpose in your stateroom.
I love these travel size foaming hand soaps. The size meets airline security regulations, and they work great for your hotel room.
Travel Pill Organizer
Part of staying healthy is keeping up with your daily medications.
We really like this travel pill organizer. It’s super compact and makes keeping your meds organized simple and easy.
Whenever you’re traveling, it’s always a good idea to stay hydrated.
We always carry a refillable water bottle for while we’re onboard the ship, and we love these collapsible ones that are easy to carry and easy to pack.
Also, these handy drink mixes help you replenish those all important electrolytes, especially after a long day in the sun or the day after being a little”over-served” at the bar.
First Aid Kit
No one wants to have to visit the ship’s medical clinic just for a simple scrape to the knee. We always bring along a small first aid kit with everything we’d need to treat a little bump or bruise ourselves when we travel.
This 85 piece travel first aid kit comes with a surprising amount of supplies to take care of just about any small injury.
These are just some of the things we never leave home without when we go on a cruise. Did we miss something essential? Tell us in the comments!
Planning a Royal Caribbean Cruise anytime soon? Check out our review of the Royal Caribbean Key Program and see if it’s a good fit for you to add onto your adventure!