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What should I bring on a cruise? Well, this depends on many variables such as

  • Duration of cruise
  • Destination
  • Time of year

If you take a short cruise, like 3-5-7 days, you will probably want to plan for each day and figure you will take home a suitcase full of dirty clothes. Will you be going to a formal/festive night in the dining room? Bring something you love – you can be as fancy as you want! Men are generally required to at least wear a jacket and tie to one of these events. 

Plan to eat your dinners in the dining room, not the buffet? Check the regulations. Some places won’t let you in wearing shorts or flip flops in the evening. So bring capri pants and a pair of non-flip-flop shoes for that.

The rest is pretty easy. Bring comfortable clothing, a bathing suit, exercise clothes if needed, pajamas if you wear them, lots of underwear and some sort of sweater or jacket. The ship is trying to compensate for the weather and keep thousands of people, including ladies with hot flashes, happy. I also bring a pair of socks for my bedside table. We have been in rooms that are too warm and rooms that felt like we were in the arctic. The ship folks do their best to fix the air conditioning if you let them know, but there’s no guarantee it will feel just right for you at any time.

If you are going on a longer cruise, be aware that most ships have a self-service laundry that usually includes soap, but you will need to bring your own dryer sheets. You can usually find an iron/ironing board in there. Shoe shining is free. There is also a laundry and dry cleaning service. These are not free.

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Other items to consider packing include:

  • A lanyard to hold your stateroom key card
  • Sunscreen
  • Mosquito spray
  • Under makeup moisturizer with a high SPF sunscreen
  • A small folding umbrella
  • Sunhat/sunglasses
  • A watch

Also, just in case, take

  • Dramamine – the non-drowsy kind
  • A sea band

The ship usually will provide Dramamine free of charge if you get sea sick, but it might not be the non-drowsy kind so you will not be seasick but you will miss part of your trip because you are asleep. And even people who are not normally seasick can become that way in extremely rough seas.

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  • A multiple plug extension cord to keep your electronics charged. There might not be a plug anywhere near the bed and/or enough receptacles in the room.

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  • A battery charger for your rechargeable batteries.
  • Binoculars, depending on where you are traveling and especially if you are taking an Alaskan cruise.
  • An empty duffle bag or large tote bag if you think you might be purchasing a lot of things and they won’t all fit in your suitcase.

Before you pack, check with your travel agent or the cruise line’s website for information about what that specific ship provides, what is free and what has an additional charge. 2016-02-13 Antigua2 (1)



What should I bring on a cruise? — 13 Comments

  1. Well sorry to say but I get sea sick when on a cruise ship. It would be fun stopping at different places but I dont think I want to go on a cruise anymore. Great tips tho. I know a few friends that like to go on cruises so I will forward it to them. thanks

  2. I haven’t done an ocean cruise in a long time (I was 8), but I have done a couple of river cruises and I suggest a kindle/books. You never know when you can steal a few minutes for yourself and get lost in a book while relaxing on deck!

  3. This is good to know, because if I have an opportunity to go on a cruise, I’m jumping on it! But I’d be clueless to know what to bring! or more rather, what not to bring!

  4. We went on our first cruise this January. It was a lot of fun. I can’t wait to do another one! 🙂

  5. I have never been on a cruise but hope to someday. This post will come in handy for me at that time.

  6. These are all great suggestions; I hadn’t thought about bringing mosquito repellent since I fortunately live in an area where we don’t get mosquitoes, so that’s very helpful for me if I do go on a cruise. Thanks for posting!

  7. I have never been on a cruise before and we are contemplating taking one this year. I found the article very helpful and enlightening and I took notes. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

  8. A cruise sounds fun. Although I honestly don’t know if I get sea sick or not. Its good thinking to bring something to take just in case though.

  9. I have never been on a vacation cruise before. Just a company luncheon on a local cruise company. But I have always wanted to! I love reading others adventures!
    You have some great suggestions. It seems like the airlines are always changing their policies – so I wonder if the cruise lines do the same thing?? Well, unfortunately, by the time I go, I’ll probably need a bag or room in my suitcase for some Depends! ?

  10. As a North Carolina girl I’ve never been on a cruise. I’ve had the opportunity to but just didn’t think it was for me. You all do list some great travel advise whether it’s a cruise your taking or traveling in another direction. Thanks for the tips!

  11. This is super helpful. I’ve never been on a cruise before, but my fiancé really wants to go. Tend to overpack when I haven’t done something before. This helps me create a list at least that isn’t too long.

  12. My sister and I are going on a cruise soon and I have been buying small bottles of this and that did not even think to bring mosquito repellent or binoculars really glad I read this.