First Time Cruisers: 42 Must-Have Items to Pack for Your Dream Cruise

Are you planning your first cruise vacation and wondering what to pack? Packing for a cruise can be overwhelming, especially if you’re a first-time cruiser. The key is to strike a balance between comfort, practicality, and style. Of course, you’ll need the essentials like clothes, sunscreen, and travel documents, but what else should you pack?

In this article, we have compiled a list of 42 things to pack for a cruise that will make your vacation stress-free, comfortable, and enjoyable. Keep in mind that this is not an exclusive list of what to pack on a cruise, and not all items will be needed by everyone. Also, you should consider that space in each cabin is limited. So, let’s dive in and discover the essential items that you should pack for your upcoming cruise vacation.

1. Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are a great way to keep your luggage organized and save space. They are available in different sizes and colors, making it easier to identify your belongings. Use packing cubes to separate your clothes, shoes, toiletries, and other items. This makes it easier to find what you need without having to dig through your entire suitcase.

2. Wrinkle Release Spray

Cruise ships don’t usually have irons in the cabins, and using the ship’s laundry service can be expensive. A wrinkle release spray is an inexpensive and effective alternative. Simply spray your wrinkled clothes and smooth them out with your hands. You can also bring a lint roller and static cling spray to keep your clothes looking neat.

3. Jacket/Hoodie

Even if you’re cruising to a warm destination, it’s always a good idea to pack a light jacket or hoodie. The evenings on the ship can get chilly, and some indoor areas, such as the ice rink, can be even colder. Plus, it can get breezy on the deck when the ship is moving. A light jacket or hoodie will keep you comfortable and cozy.

4. Luggage Tags

Make sure to pack luggage tags specifically for cruises, as they differ from airline luggage tags. These tags are usually just pieces of paper that need to be attached to your suitcase. To make it easier to attach them to your luggage, bring your own luggage tag holders.

5. Bottle of Wine & Accessories

Many cruise lines allow passengers to bring a limited amount of personal alcohol onboard. If you plan on bringing wine, make sure to pack it in your carry on with a leak-proof bag to avoid any spills. Don’t forget to bring a corkscrew and wine glasses to complete the experience.

6. Over Door Organizer

Cruise ship cabins may be small, but there are many ways to make the most of the space you have. An over door organizer that hangs on the back of the bathroom door can provide extra storage for your shoes and other small items.

7. Magnetic Clips

Most cruise cabin walls are made of metal, which means you can use magnetic clips to attach papers and other light items to the walls. This is a great way to keep your cruise planner and other documents organized and easily accessible.

8. Shower Hooks

Shower hooks are perfect for hanging wet swimsuits and towels in the shower after use. They can also be used in the wardrobe for hanging items when you’re short on hangers.

9. Laundry Bag

With limited space in your cabin, a collapsible or fabric laundry bag is a great way to keep your dirty clothes organized and out of sight.

10. Suction Cup Toothbrush Holder

A suction cup toothbrush holder is a great space-saving device for the bathroom. It keeps your toothbrush off the counter and frees up space for other items.

11. Post-It Notes and Pen

If you’re cruising with friends or family, post-it notes can be a convenient way to leave messages for each other, as internet access on a cruise can be expensive. You can also bring a magnetic dry-wipe board to attach to your door or wall.

12. Highlighter

With so many activities on a cruise ship, it’s easy to miss out on something you really want to do. Use a highlighter to mark the activities you want to attend on the daily cruise planner.

13. Earplugs

Cruise ship cabins can be quite noisy, especially if you have noisy neighbors or if you’re sensitive to sounds. Earplugs can help you block out unwanted noise and get a good night’s sleep.

14. Night light

Cruise ship cabins can be very dark, particularly if you’re staying in an interior room. A night light can help you navigate your cabin in the dark without disturbing your sleep.

15. Cabin fan

Although cruise ship cabins are typically air-conditioned, they can feel stuffy and lack airflow. A portable fan can help you stay cool and comfortable during your stay.

16. Alarm clock

Depending on the itinerary of your cruise, the ship may change time zones throughout your journey. A reliable alarm clock can help ensure that you don’t miss any important events or activities.

17. Power adapter

Cruise ships or destinations can have different electrical outlets than what you’re used to at home. Be sure to pack a power adapter so that you can charge your devices while onboard.

18. Bluetooth speaker

A portable Bluetooth speaker can enhance your cruise experience by allowing you to listen to music or podcasts in your cabin or on your balcony. Just be sure to download your music library or use the ship’s Wi-Fi to avoid expensive data charges.

19. Multi-port USB charger

With all the electronics we carry these days, a multi-port USB charger can be a lifesaver. It allows you to charge multiple devices at once, saving you time and hassle.

20. Waterproof shoes

Pack a pair of waterproof shoes with good grip to help you navigate the wet and slippery pool deck. They also allow you to quickly and comfortably move between your cabin and the pool area.

21. Towel clips

Towel clips can be used to secure your towel to your pool chair, ensuring that it doesn’t blow away in the wind or get taken by another guest.

22. Swimsuit cover-up

A swimsuit cover-up can provide an extra layer of modesty when you leave the pool area for lunch or to explore the ship.

23. Waterproof phone cover

Protect your phone from water damage with a waterproof phone cover. This is especially important if you plan on taking your phone with you on water-based excursions or activities.

24. Insulated mug

An insulated mug or cup is a great item to pack for any vacation. It keeps your drinks cold or hot for hours, and it can be used for both hot and cold beverages.

25. Ziploc bags

Ziploc bags are incredibly useful for a variety of purposes, from keeping your toiletries organized to protecting your electronics from water damage.

26. Binoculars

Binoculars are an excellent thing to have while cruising, especially if you have a balcony room. You can use them to peer at other ships or ports, people watch, or even see some sealife out on the ocean wave. They are also useful for taking in the stunning views while on the deck.

27. Lanyard

Many cruisers keep their cruise ship card on a lanyard around their necks to keep it safe and secure. The ships will typically punch a hole in your card to make it easy to attach to your lanyard. Having your pass on a lanyard will make it more convenient for you to access your room and other onboard amenities.

28. Hand Sanitizers

Despite hand sanitizers being readily available on ships these days, it can still be useful to have a small bottle you can keep in your pocket for when you need it. Germs can easily spread on a cruise ship, and having hand sanitizers on hand can help you stay healthy.

29. Mini First Aid Kit

Though ships have well-equipped medical facilities, having a mini-first aid kit in your luggage can be helpful for dealing with small cuts or grazes. It is essential to be prepared for any eventuality while on a cruise, and having a first aid kit can make all the difference.

30. Seasickness Remedies

Seasickness can quickly ruin a cruise, so it’s best to take a remedy with you that works for you. If you are a first-time cruiser and don’t know if you will suffer, taking a couple of options gives you the best chance of not letting seasickness take the shine of your vacation. Ginger chews, motion sickness bands, and medication are all popular remedies that can help alleviate symptoms.

31. Safety Pins

Safety pins take up so little room in your case that they are a great thing to pack and have with you when you need them. From repairing a broken strap on an item of clothing to holding towels onto a railing to dry, they can come in handy in a variety of situations.

32. Deck of Cards

A deck of cards is a thousand games in one and most of us have our favorite. If cards aren’t for you, then there are many travel-size versions of popular games to keep you entertained. It’s always good to have some entertainment options on hand, especially during sea days.

33. Headache Tablets

Having your preferred brand of headache tablet with you when a headache strikes can be the difference between feeling better or ruining your evening. Your brand of tablets may not be available on the ship or even in ports of call, so it’s best to pack them to be safe.

34. Flashlight

If you are heading on an excursion where you explore ruins or head anywhere it might be dark, a flashlight/torch or a headlamp can be a great thing to have so you can explore. They can also come in handy on the ship if it’s dark, or worse there is an emergency onboard. Don’t forget some spare batteries.

35. Luggage Tags

Before setting sail, make sure to have luggage tags that are easily identifiable. You don’t want to spend your first few hours on board trying to locate your luggage among hundreds of others.

36. Comfortable Walking Shoes

Comfortable walking shoes are essential when going on excursions. Be sure to pack a pair that is comfortable, sturdy, and appropriate for the terrain.

37. Sunscreen and Sun Protection

When it comes to packing for a cruise, sunscreen is a must. Pack a high SPF sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, and protective clothing to avoid sunburns.

38. Microfiber Beach Towel

A microfiber beach towel is an excellent addition to your packing list if you plan on spending time at the beach. They are lightweight, take up less space than traditional towels, and dry quickly.

39. Snorkel and Waterproof Drybag

If you plan on snorkeling or participating in water activities, consider packing a full-face snorkel and a waterproof drybag to keep your belongings safe and dry.

40. Waterproof Camera

Capture all the fun and excitement of your cruise with a waterproof camera. Whether you opt for a GoPro or a waterproof case for your existing camera, don’t forget a flotation strap to prevent it from sinking.

41. Portable Charger

When you’re off the ship, you’ll likely want to use your phone, tablet, or e-reader to capture memories, stay connected, or keep yourself entertained. But with limited access to power outlets, it’s easy to run out of battery quickly. A portable battery can save you from this dilemma. Look for one that outputs 2A or more on both ports to ensure your devices charge as quickly as possible.

42. Umbrella

While you might expect sunny weather on a tropical island, it’s not always the case. Packing a small umbrella can make a huge difference in keeping you dry and comfortable when the weather is unpredictable.

As you can see, there are many items that can make your cruise experience more enjoyable, comfortable, and convenient. While this list covers some of the essential things to pack for a cruise, it’s not an exclusive list, and not all items may be necessary for everyone. When packing for your cruise, make sure to consider the limited space in your cabin and think about what you really need.

Have you been on a cruise before? What are some of your must-pack items? Share your tips and ideas in the comments below. Happy cruising!

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