If you’re setting sail on your first cruise, congratulations! It’s a great way to relax, have fun, meet new people, and see a variety of places you may otherwise never get to. Because there are so many different activities to fill up your days and nights, the prospect of packing may seem a little daunting.
Don’t stress about it too much. You’ll be able to buy things on the cruise ship or at ports if necessary (though you’ll overpay). Focus first on special items of personal importance, like medications, that you won’t be able to purchase. It’s advisable to split crucial things between your carry-on and checked baggage, just in case something happens to one or there’s a delay in getting your checked bags.
Make a checklist in advance that you can refer to while packing. Start on it a few days ahead of time so you have the chance to think of things you overlook at first. A list is the easiest way to organize so you don’t forget anything.
Obviously, the destinations you’re stopping at on the cruise have some bearing on what you should take there. We can’t cover that here, so do some destination-specific travel research online for ideas about what to pack in that regard.
As for general items that anyone should pack for any cruise…
Things to Take on a Cruise
- All necessary travel documents, identification, and insurance information
- Medications in their original packaging and a note explaining any serious medical conditions you have
- Outfits for a variety of environments and levels of formality – Keep in mind that most cruises host events and have dining rooms with dress codes.
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Toiletries and personal hygiene products
- Bathing suits
- Sand & Surf Swimwear Wash – Many cruise ship pools are even more chlorinated than those on land, so protect your swimsuits by neutralizing the chlorine; this product is perfect if you’ll be stopping at beaches on your cruise, too.
- Waterproof sunscreen – Protect yourself from harmful UV rays, and from ending up with a sunburn that puts a serious damper on the fun!
- Workout clothes and shoes if you intend to use the on-board fitness facilities
- Swim Wipes – You’ll be grateful to have these convenience items after getting out of those excessively chlorinated pools!
- Camera – Don’t just rely on your cell phone to capture all the fun, memories, and beautiful scenery you’re bound to encounter.
- Extra glasses and/or contact lenses – They’ll be hard to replace if you lose your only ones, especially if they’re a prescription!
- Protection if you’re going on a singles cruise or hoping to have a romantic encounter
- Sandals or flip flops – Refrain from going barefoot around the pool, gym, and other public areas to protect your feet from infections like athlete’s foot and plantar warts.
- Reading material
- Travel guides for locations where you’ll have a significant amount of time ashore
- A small bag or backpack for taking items ashore or carrying souvenirs back to the ship
- Binoculars – There are often awe-inspiring sights off in the distance, both in the water and on land.
- Addresses of friends and family who you want to send postcards from your stopping points