Packing for a Cruise

One thing we’ve gotten pretty efficient at over the years is packing. My wife and I maintain separate packing lists with quite a bit of overlap, which is probably somewhat inefficient, but it helps us ensure we don’t forget anything major. I also tend to go over mine two or three times *after* I pack to be sure I didn’t miss anything :). I figured I’d post our combined list in the event it helps anyone looking for cruise packing tips. Have something on your list that’s not on mine? Add it in the comments!


  • Camera gear: I take my Nikon DSLR, lenses and chargers in case I really need them, but the gear doesn’t leave the bag much after getting my Nokia Lumia 1020 last year.
  • Cell phone and charger. The phone stays in airplane mode, but as hinted above, the camera in it is outstanding 🙂
  • GorillaPod and Lumia 1020 camera grip
  • GoPro gear: Including charger, memory cards, dive housing, floaty back door and anti-fog inserts. The inserts are essential in places with high humidity, and you should have extra inserts to swap out during the trip
  • Power strips: We’ve been taking two of these Belkin travel strips with us the past few cruises. They work really well and we never have issues with them being pulled from the luggage
  • 2 pairs of sunglasses: I always take a backup pair in case something happens to my primary pair
  • Laptop & charger: Note that I only take this if I really need it for some reason, as I hate lugging the additional weight (photo backup is about the only reason)
  • iPad & charger: In addition, I always load up a couple of books in the Kindle app to read during any downtime on sea days
  • Load up some music on my phone to listen to while reading, or during morning runs (yea, right :))
  • Waterproof camera case as a backup in the event the GoPro has issues (this came from experience). I’ve got an older version of this AquaPac, which holds any of our phones


  • Pants
  • Shorts
  • T-shirts
  • Undershirts
  • Dinner shirts
  • Socks / underwear
  • Bathing suits (usually two or three)
  • Pajamas
  • A light jacket or hoodie for cool nights


  • Sandals (usually two pairs)
  • One pair tennis shoes
  • Water sandals, which come in handy for any excursions where you may get wet or muddy (ATV/dune buggy tours, for example)
  • Dinner shoes

Random Stuff:

  • Toiletries
  • Snorkeling gear. We generally drive to ports, so I don’t have to worry about fitting this in to checked luggage
  • Door organizer to hold all kinds of random items. Ours looks something like this
  • Medication, including any aspirin, ibuprofen, allergy pills, etc
  • Ponchos, just in case it’s raining while you’re in port somewhere
  • Downy wrinkle releaser
  • Zip lock bags. Good for packing wet bathing suits in for the flight or ride home. Also useful for storing snacks to take off o the ship (where allowed)
  • Extra hangers – Some lines will provide them if asked if you don’t want to carry your own
  • Sunscreen
  • Hot/Cold cup with a lid. That way you don’t have to keep refilling up their little cups with water, lemonade, juice, and coffee or ice tea

  • Post-it notes – good for leaving quick notes in the room for family members

  • Cash for on-shore purchases / tipping (including small bills)

  • Nightlight
  • Highlighter so you can highlight the interesting things to do in the ship’s dailies.

  • Duct tape- Many uses for this from fixing a broken suitcase to taping the drawers closed when there is bad weather.
  • Towel clips similar to these Boca clips
  • Old used gift card in case the in-room safe is card-controlled.
  • Waterproof money/card/ID holder similar to this for beach or rainy port days
  • Lanyard for those who find it easier to carry your ship ID card around your neck
  • Hat or visor

I think that about covers it, but if I find that I left anything off, I’ll add it later! Oh, and if this seems like overkill, it may very well be, but it works for us. We did take t0o many clothes this past trip somehow. My wife ended up with almost half a suitcase of stuff she didn’t wear 🙂

Author: Wanderlist Vacations

We're just an average family that loves to travel. I'd trade my desk for a balcony any day of the week!

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