10 Packing Tips for Cruise Ship Travel

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Colby and I recently took our family — all 8 of us — on a cruise. It was fabulous. But, I have to say, packing for 8 people on a 7-day cruise was a bit stressful.

Especially since we had never been on a cruise ship for an extended amount of time (longer than a night to be exact). So, I had to do my research on what to pack for a cruise!

Packing Tips for Cruise Ship Travel

Cruise Packing List

I read and looked over all the information I could find for a cruise packing list. I wanted to be prepared with no surprises. Regardless, there were still a few packing hacks to be learned once we got on board the ship.

But, we made it through the week with what we carried on the cruise ship, so I think we did alright.

Needless to say, we are ready for the next cruise. Well, ready to go on one and know what to expect as far as packing for a cruise.

Let me share what we discovered are the best cruise packing list:

  1. Walkie Talkies – Communication is something that we are all used to in our daily lives. Being able to pick up my phone and text my kids is a luxury we take for granted. On a ship, that “luxury” is pretty much gone (unless you pay the additional fees). Therefore, we ordered a set of walkie talkies from Amazon and they worked perfectly. We could easily keep in touch with the kids on the ship for meet-ups and more. This is my number one on the cruise packing list for good reason!
  2. Power Strip – I remember reading somewhere that most cabins on cruise ships only have 1 outlet. Although we weren’t using our phones for talking/texting every day, we were using them for pictures. Plus, we had to charge the walkie talkies, as well as a few other electronics. The power strip helped us plug in more that 2 devices at a time and was an excellent packing hack.
  3. Beverages – All-inclusive, as far as drinks, typically includes tea, lemonade, coffee and water. Whereas that was fine for some of us, there were times when a little flavor was wanted. At the very least, grab a few flavor packs to spruce up your water and you’re good. Reusable water bottles are a great idea too!

packing tips for cruise ships

7 MORE Packing Tips for Cruise Ship Travel

  1. On-the-Go Laundry – This may just be me, but I like to keep a Tide to Go pen handy, just in case. It’s perfect for those ice cream spills that are bound to happen at some point. At least, it did for us. Plus, there are no irons in the cabins. (In fact, there are no hot devices allowed due to fire safety codes). So, add a anti-wrinkle spray to give your cleans a smooth, wrinkle-free look to your cruise packing list.
  2. Day Pack – Whether you prefer a full-size backpack, drawstring backpack, fanny pack, or tote, a bag for carrying around sunblock, sunglasses, hats, snacks, etc, are wise. Your cabin may be a bit of a walk and it helps to keep your things handy. Plus, it’s perfect to have for shore excursions.
  3. Sun Block – Since I just mentioned it, sunblock is definitely a must when packing for a cruise with lots of sunny outdoor time.
  4. First Aid Kit – You never know. It is best to come prepared. Our fist aid kit included items such as band-aids, antibiotic cream, pain relievers and motion sickness medicines for all ages. Not to mention, Sea-Bands, just in case. And, yes, they were used!
  5. Close-Toed Shoes – Depending on the ship, you want to make sure to have at least one pair of closed-toe shoes. There may be a ropes course, which we had aboard the Carnival Magic, or other activities where they are required. Make sure to check these off your cruise packing checklist.
  6. 2 Swim Suits – If you are traveling on a ship where you will be spending plenty of time in a pool, as we did, be sure to bring along (at least) 2 swim suits. This will allow one to dry while you are wearing the other.
  7. Watch – This may seem trivial when packing for a cruise, but it was the one thing we really wished we had that we did not. We did not always carry our phones and the times on them were all sorts of crazy sometimes as we traveled through different time zones. In fact, we had to call the automated wake-up service to get the time. A watch (or small clock) would have been very helpful and is a great practical cruise packing hack.

Honestly, this may only be the “tip of the iceberg” as far as what to pack for a cruise, but it’s a pretty good cruise packing list to get started. Although some of the items may seem to be common sense, you may not think of them until you have set sail.

Hopefully this helps you go prepared as you begin to gather things to pack for a cruise. I know we can’t wait to go on again… and know we will be even more ready on the next one!


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