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How to Pack For A Cruise - Travelers Guide

By Edited Oct 1, 2016 1 1

It's always exciting to travel in a cruise ship. Many travelers want to pack for comfort since life aboard a cruise ship is usually relaxing, laid-back and casual. Some cruise voyages will come across various climates so it's important to pack accordingly so that you'll enjoy the sceneries of the places that you'll be visiting. 

It's advisable that you start packing your things ahead of time if you're planning to have a long cruise. Remember that once you're on the ship and you need something, you have to patiently wait until the next port stop in order to get it and sometimes the thing isn't available too. The steps below will guide you how to properly pack for a cruise.



    • 1

      Take note of your destination's climate when determining what clothes to pack in your luggage. For example, if you're traveling to Alaska and Canada then bring a protective rain covering like water repellant jacket and hat for the rainy days. 

      If you're traveling to the Caribbean, be sure to bring sunscreen, hat, sunglasses and plenty of thin and cool clothing for the warm sunny days. A long cruise will have several stops and some will be in different climates so it's advisable to pack appropriate clothing and skin protection in case for mosquito bites. 

      You should also include footwear like sandals for walking if you're headed to some places with warm weather. You can look for the average temperature online during the time of year that you'll be visiting and when it gets closer to your departure time then you can just check for a specific forecast for that particular time.

    • 2

      Know if your cruise ship has a dress code requirement. Some cruise ships have formal night events, so men can bring a tuxedo or a formal dark suit while women can bring cocktail dress, pantsuit or any formal attire. If you don't want to bring these items, then it's fine because most cruise ships have have formal wear rental shops and casual dining venues to cater to those who are not interested in dressing up.

    • 3

      Use a hard-sided and wheeled luggage. A hard sided luggage can really protect some of your things inside and the wheels can also be easier for you to push it anywhere without taking a lot of effort. 

      Place a card with your name and address inside and outside your luggage. Generally, cruise ships have no weight limit for how much luggage or suitcase you bring but if you want to be sure, contact the cruise line.

    • 4

      Inquire in advance how big or spacious your cruise ship cabin is. Most cruise lines have websites and they will also give you the exact size of your room. They will also provide a map of its layout. It's important to know the size of your cabin so that you can estimate how large your suitcase or luggage you'll need to bring. 

      It's advisable to bring few smaller bags if you have a smaller room inside the cruise ship. Some of these small cabins have closets but they may be too shallow that a big luggage or suitcase will not fit inside.

    • 5

      Respect and follow local customs if your planning to visit a foreign country. You can read about the country's local customs to make sure you will not break one of them especially in countries that have particular ways on what women should wear. In some countries, tourists are not expected to wear shorts when they visit historic churches and other places considered holy. 

      In most Islamic countries, it's important for women to cover their hair with a scarf and their body in loose clothing as much as possible. Local residents may view scantily clad foreign women as offensive and disrespectful with regards to their cultural beliefs and tradition so pack appropriate clothing in order to respect the place that you'll be visiting.

    • 6

      Submit a medical release form to ensure proper treatment in case of an emergency because many cruise lines require that all guests with special medical needs submit this information to them before traveling. Pack a written list of any of your medication, with the name of those drugs including the dosage and how many times it will be taken. 

      If you carry a syringe for medical use then bring a letter from your doctor that you need to use it and if you're taking prescription medication make sure to pack sufficient enough for the entire voyage. Take note that most cruise ships only stock general medications. 

      You also need to pack over-the-counter medication that you may need and also consider the climate of the countries that you'll be visiting. In case you may have trouble adjusting to the constant motion of the cruise ship then bring a motion sickness medication for your nausea.

    • 7

      Pack important things in your carry-on bag like cash, credit or debit cards, travelers cheques, perishables, liquor, jewelry, business documents, travel and health insurance information, cell phones, cameras, binoculars, laptops, computer disks, etc. You may need cash onboard the big boat because some cruise lines require that you use cash for tipping. 

      It's also handy to use cash in ports. Most cruise ships have ATMs onboard but the service fee could be high. It's advisable to bring your travelers cheques and credit cards instead of a big amount of cash.

    • 8

      Bring a swimwear and water-proof wallet if you want to swim or just spend some time around the pool during warm-weather cruises. Many cruise ships have exercise facilities so if you plan on working out, pack your gym clothes and shoes. It is advisable that women bring cover-ups or sarongs because some cruise lines require that you wear more than a swimsuit when entering in their dining room area.

Tips & Warnings

  • Bring a night light for your cabin if you're used to sleep in a dim room. Pack small liquid containers in zipper seal bags to reduce the chance of leakage in your luggage or suitcase.

  • Make sure to pack a dressy jacket or sweater because some cruise ships have powerful air conditioning systems. You can also bring a versatile wrap that can give you an extra layer in the evening. 

    Do not forget a anti-wrinkle spray for your clothes that were placed inside your suitcase. Pack some loose-fitting clothes because most travelers put on a few extra pounds during a cruise.

  • Most cruise ships have laundry services just like when you're in hotels but it might be expensive. Check out if your ship has self-service laundry facilities so that you can pack a small amount of detergent for washing your clothes. You can also bring less clothing If you can do laundry in your cabin.

  • Never pack your medication, passport, visa, license, tickets or cruise documents in checked luggage. Always keep these important items with you. Be sure to bring photocopies of your medical prescriptions and passport in case these important items get lost.

  • Due to heightened airport security these days, there are items that you can't pack in your carry-on bag like Swiss army knives, nail clippers, sewing kits, scissors, knitting needles or anything that are sharp. These things will be confiscated if found, so make sure that they are placed in your checked luggage before proceeding to the airport. Lighters and matches with flammable liquid reservoirs as well as lighter fluid are prohibited.

  • It's important to read about the cruise lines information guide or visit their website prior traveling to avoid a lot of stress.



May 20, 2011 10:04am
Nice information on packing for a cruise. I have been on a couple of them, and your list seems to include everything I can think of. This is a great list for people to keep on hand!
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