active family travel,  Travel

What to Pack for a Cruise – 5 Must Haves #Travel

What to pack for a cruise. It’s something you’ll be thinking about for some time once you decide to take a vacation on the sea. Of course there’s the standard swimsuits, shorts, etc., but there are a few things you don’t want to be without.

Every diehard cruise lover knows there are a few cruise hacks and products that simply make the sailing smoother. Not really essentials but cruise hacks for packing. A few of these are oddball things you might not think of, but trust me they can make your cruise so much sweeter. So if you need to know what to pack for a cruise, read on.


What to Pack for a Cruise – The Lesser Thought of Necessities

We all know the standard packing ritual. You know… clothing for all weather eventualities, toiletries, etc. All the standby stuff. But on a cruise, there are some other things that will serve you well – IF you realize that you need to bring them with you, that is.

Magnets or Decorations for Your Door

This sounds frivolous, but trust me it’s not. When you are on a cruise the boat is often massive and if you cruise as a family there are times you are going to be heading back to the room by yourself. Maybe the kids are old enough to have a room key. But all the doors look alike. FOR REAL. Stick some cute cruise magnets on your door and everyone in your party will know which room is the right one. Also, your neighbours are going to love it too. Our last cruise was on a Norwegian Cruise line ship with 21 floors. Not all those floors were people, but a good number were. So hard to find your room when there are so many people!!! I loved seeing the magnets on the door of the room next to ours because then I knew I was back home – well, to my temporary home at sea anyways.

[tweetthis]What do these have to do with cruising? I’ll tell you – #travel [/tweetthis]

Clothes Hangers

If you’re going on a long cruise, you’ll want to pack some clothes hangers. The average cruise closet has around 8 clothes hangers, which probably isn’t enough if you’re going on one of the longer, two week cruises. Make sure you throw a few extras in your bag for insurance. We have gotten by with the hangers in the rooms, but closets are small and we travel with a teen and a tween and trust me dresses need to be hung up.

A Big Old Refillable Coffee Mug and Or Water Bottle

For one thing, cruises can be high traffic. For another thing, you don’t want to be going back and forth and back and forth every time you need a refill on your coffee or water. Trust me on this. Pack an empty water bottle or stainless steel coffee mug. Not a fancy one either, because if you lose it then no worries. If you want to know what to pack, and you’re not a morning person, take it from me. You need this. This is useful for kids too. If they have their own water bottle they can fill it up and stay hydrated during at sea days when whipping down the waterslides.


Power Strip

If you’re like me, you have a phone, a tablet, and a laptop. If you’re like me you will also be bringing several of these items with you on your cruise. Even the nicest cruise ship only has a couple of outlets in a room, so pack a power strip to make sure you can quickly and easily charge all your devices and keep the memories flowing through Facebook and Instagram. That will also ensure your teen isn’t fighting over the outlets with her sister. (OH YEAH they find stuff to fight about everywhere.)

Bathroom Door Organizer

Even the nicest cruise ship doesn’t have the space to give its occupants an overly large bathroom area. It pays to maximize space at all times. To that end, add a bathroom door organizer to your “what to pack” list. You can take advantage of all that vertical space, stay organized, and still have enough room in your bathroom to do everything you need to do.

Ear Plugs

Ear plugs are an indispensable part of any packing list. Want to know what to pack? It’s always ear plugs. For any trip. A cruise ship is all about maximizing passenger count to maximize profits. Which means lots of people close together. This is really only a problem when it comes to bed time. We have never had trouble with noise on a cruise, but if you are a light sleeper then you might consider bringing them for safety sake. You might need these to drown out the sounds of all the other passengers around you.

What to Pack for a Cruise? All the Stuff Above

Packing for a trip seems like a no-brainer, and generally speaking, it is, but cruises are altogether unique. Since I know that first time cruisers rarely understand all the ins and outs of cruising, I decided this “what to pack” post would be of help to them, especially. So what do you think? Did I miss any lesser known cruise items? What special items do you make a point of packing for a cruise?

This what to pack for a cruise post is part of my Cruise Series. To read the other posts start here:

  1. Cruising – How to Book a Cruise
  2. Cruise Dining Packages Are They Worth It?
  3. And don’t forget THE BEST Cruise Ship Waterslides in the World.

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.


  • Pam

    We have been considering going on a cruise in the future. I would have never thought to pack most of these things!

  • Rebecca Swenor

    These are indeed awesome things to pack for a cruise. I love the idea of packing a magnet for the door or a decoration so you know which room is yours. A power strip is also something people might forget to bring too. Thanks for sharing these awesome items to pack.

  • Liz Mays

    I need to remember to decorate the door! That’s pretty clever! I’d definitely make sure to pack some ear plugs too! I can be a light sleeper.

  • Bonnie @wemake7

    Thank you for sharing this great list. I have always wanted to go on a cruise so this would help when I finally go.

  • Aisha Kristine Chong

    I have never been to a cruise before even though I always wanted to be in one.. my mom is afraid of cruises for some reason but hopefully in the future, I will be able to – thanks for the tips, definitely going to keep it in mind.

  • Stephen

    This is so handy – I think I am planning to go on a cruise mid-next year so i 100% will be saving this article for when the dreaded packing begins!

  • Seattle Travel Blogger

    Thanks for the helpful tips here. We were a number of cruises and realize there is smaller living quarters to consider, but a variety of possible things to do with various excursions, and so forth. It can present a bit of a challenge.

  • Jeanine

    Great to know! Would love to go on a cruise at some point so it’s great to know what is lost important to pack!

  • Fi Ni Neachtain

    I’ve never been on a cruise but I’d love to experience it. These sound like great things to pack for a cruise adventure 🙂

    • Paula

      Oh JEEEZ!! I relate to that. The first three days worrying what did I forget – what am I missing etcetera and then the last three days going hey cruise is almost over. How did the time go so fast? LOL.

  • Darlene Schuller

    This is an excellent list. Hubby and I have been talking about possibly taking a cruise. Neither of us have ever been, I’d have no idea what to pack.

  • Judy Cowan

    Thanks, would love to go for a cruise one day. Hubby is just not a big fan of the idea….but hopefully will change his mind.

  • Carole Dube

    I have never been on a cruise, but would love too and would have never thought of bringing anything on this list. Thank you I could see that those items are a necessity on a cruise.

  • Lee-Ann S

    I really need to pick your brain on cruising. Hadn’t thought of most of these things. Of course we’re only going on a 7 day so might not need it all.