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95 Things You Can Pack For A Cruise in 2024

07 Jun 2024
Calista Kiper

What are you allowed to pack for your next cruise?

Even the most veteran cruisers can forget to pack important items for their trip.

And new cruisers will discover that packing for a cruise is different than for vacations on land.

Most cruise ships visit multiple different ports of call, each a unique destination with a different culture, climate, and tours available.

Not only that, but you'll be staying on a cruise ship that has a variety of exciting events and activities, from social events like dance parties to exciting adventures such as ziplining, ice skating, and rock climbing.


You'll need to be prepared to take advantage of all the thrills a cruise has to offer!

Packing the right items will save you time and money in the long run.

Even if you find a forgotten object for sale on the cruise ship, it could cost much more than it would on land.

Whether you find yourself in a rush or you want to double-check your packing list, here's a helpful guide to 95 essential items you can pack.

Please note that we’ve linked items on Amazon, which contains an affiliate link. This affiliate link costs you absolutely nothing extra, but Royal Caribbean Blog makes a small commission if you purchase it. You can shop more on our Amazon Storefront!

1. Passport


Remembering your passport or other identification is key to having a smooth cruise. 

You'll be required to present these to board the ship, exit at ports of all, and disembark when you return home.

Also, having a passport on hand is useful for any emergencies, such as if you get stuck on land or need to fly home early.

2. Wallet

Don't forget your wallet or purse to carry cash, cards, and ID. You'll want one that closes securely and can be tucked away into a bag or snug pocket.

3. Credit or debit cards

While you can use your SeaPass cards for payment on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, having a card on hand is still a good idea for port visits, getting cash, or any emergencies.

4. Cash

You'll also want to pack cash with you, especially to tip the porters who will take your bag on embarkation day and tour guides on your excursions. You may also want to give crew members cash gratuities.

We recommend bringing a minimum of $100 in cash.

5. Glasses and glasses cleaner

If you wear prescription glasses, bringing the necessary supplies for them is essential.

There will be lots of beautiful sights to see, and you never want to make a mistake that leaves you virtually blind!

6. Contact lens and solution

On the other hand, if you choose to wear contacts instead, make sure you have everything you'll need for them to stay clean and moisturized.

Bring a lens case, lens solution, and eyedrops at a minimum.

Consider also bringing a backup pair of glasses in case you lose a contact lens.

7. Phone

Android phone

Your electronics will come in handy on a cruise, especially a cell phone. Royal Caribbean allows you to check in and complete your muster drill online.

You can also reserve shows and activities, and find information about the cruise ship from your phone.

Read more: What to expect with Royal Caribbean's new virtual safety drill

8. Laptop or tablet

If you also like to use a larger electronic device, you can pack one for work, emails, movies, or writing. 

9. Charger

Don't forget all the chargers you might need! 

Whether for a phone, laptop, tablet, camera, watch, or razor, check that you have the right charging cord for each device.

10. Camera

A cruise is the perfect time to snap some gorgeous pictures. 

Whether you use a digital camera or a Polaroid, don't forget to pack it!

11. Headphones

Noise cancelling headphones

Skip the loudspeaker, and pack headphones instead. 

They will allow you to listen to podcasts or music, or have phone calls without disturbing other cruisers.

12. Portable charger

Cruise ship cabins don't always have a lot of outlets available. 

When you have multiple cruisers using their phones a lot, it's easy to run out of space to charge.

We recommend bringing a portable charger bank, which also allows you to charge off the ship as well!

I like the long-charge Anker PowerCore 20 External Battery Pack

13. Books

Woman on beach reading

Even if you're not a huge reader, a cruise is the perfect place to start. There's nothing more relaxing than lying down at the beach or pool with a cocktail and an enjoyable novel.

Read more: How to de-stress on a Royal Caribbean cruise (without alcohol)

14. Journal or notebook

Journaling is a great way to manage your thoughts and emotions over the length of a cruise, or just to take down reminders for yourself. 

Bring a journal or a notebook so you'll be able to write down whatever comes to you.

15. Purse or tote bag

Hyc00 Travel Duffel Bag

While you may not think you'll need a small bag or purse, it will come in handy around the cruise ship. 

I like to pack one small purse to bring to dinners, and one larger tote bag to bring to the gym or pool.

16. Backpack

I recommend bringing a backpack for excursions off the cruise ship. 

A backpack also works as a great carry-on bag for when you board a cruise ship. 

You could end up carrying this bag around the ship for a few hours before the stateroom opens, so bring one that fits items well and feels comfortable.

17. Fanny pack

If you prefer to bring a smaller amount of items off the cruise ship, a fanny pack is the perfect unobtrusive bag.

It can also be tucked under a T-shirt to avoid any thieves grabbing items out of it.

19. Waterproof bag

You'll inevitably encounter many bodies of water on a cruise. 

To prevent your valuables from getting wet, pack a dry or waterproof bag.

20. Luggage tags

Before a Royal Caribbean cruise, you'll receive printable luggage tags to affix to your luggage.

However, these paper tags can easily tear or break off.

I like to place them inside plastic luggage tag holders.

They're reusable for every cruise!

Read more: 6 tips to help keep a cruise line from losing your luggage

21. Underwear and bras

When it comes to clothes, you don't want to forget any essentials, especially because laundry costs extra while onboard a cruise ship.

Bring all the pairs of underwear and bras that you might need.

22. Socks

Socks are also important for walking around comfortably. 

Even when I'm traveling somewhere warm, I never end up packing enough.

23. Pajamas

Don't just assume you can sleep in your everyday clothes, which will end up dirty or sweaty.

Pack comfortable, cool sleeping clothes for your cruise.

24. T-shirts

Items for same

Comfortable, casual tops are essential for your cruise. I usually pack 4-5 casual shirts for a 7-day cruise.

25. Shorts

Especially if your cruise travels to a tropical location, shorts will come in handy on the beach or on hot tours. 

I usually find I can never pack enough shorts for a cruise.

26. Pants

Don't forget to pack some long pants as well! 

Shorts aren't welcome in the Main Dining Room, and the cruise ship can get cold in the evenings. 

27. Blouses or dress shirts

Along with those long pants, bring a couple of button-up shirts or blouses. These will be useful for dinnertime and evenings on the cruise ship.

28. Skirts

Skirts are versatile and free-flowing, perfect for walking around a new city or wearing to a dining venue onboard.

29. Formal wear

Most cruises will have at least one formal or "dress your best night." 

Pack formal wear such as dresses, suits, or tuxedos.

Read more: Royal Caribbean formal night: What to wear

30. Jeans

Jeans are also useful for a variety of activities onboard. Not only that, but they also match with just about anything.

Just don't pack too many pairs, as jeans can be heavy and take up luggage space. 

31. Flip-flops

I like bringing a pair of flip-flops or slippers to wear up to the pool deck on a cruise. 

They slip on and off easily and I don't mind if they get wet.

32. Sandals

For slightly nicer tropical footwear, pack some light sandals with an open toe.

33. Sneakers

On my first cruise, I was surprised to find that sneakers were required to enter some cruise ship activities, like laser tag and ice skating. 

They also come in handy for those long travel days on your feet.

34. Dress shoes

Along with your formal wear, don't forget to pack dress shoes or heels. Just make sure they're still comfortable enough to dance in, as you could go straight from dinner to the nightclub or other cruise events.

35. Belts

If you have any looser pairs of pants, pack a belt to go along with them.

36. Sundresses

Sundresses are cute, tropical pieces, perfect for your pretty vacation pictures. 

They also slip on easily over a swimsuit while you're disembarking the cruise ship or heading into lunch.

37. Rainjacket and boots

Depending on the climate you travel to, it could rain on your cruise.

Cruises that leave from the Northeast U.S., travel to Alaska, or during the Caribbean's rainy season are especially susceptible.

Pack some rain gear so you aren't surprised and stuck indoors.

38. Jewelry

For those who wear jewelry, don't forget your favorite accessories!

These could range from necklaces to rings, bracelets, or earrings.

39. Sunglasses

The sun tends to beat down on a cruise ship, and sunglasses are important for protecting your eyes.

Bring at least one pair.

40. Sunhat

A sunhat is another useful way to protect from the sun. 

You'll especially want one if you visit a beach on your cruise.

41. Swimsuits


It should go without saying that a swimsuit is an essential item to pack on a cruise.

Cruise ships have pools and waterslides onboard right onboard, and often stop at tropical ports home to pristine beaches.

42. Scarves

Scarves are another useful accessory. 

I like to use them to tie back my hair or complete an outfit.

43. Wrinkle release spray


Since you can't pack an iron on your cruise, a wrinkle-release spray helps smooth out wrinkled clothing.

We recommend this wrinkle release spray.

44. Mini sewing kit

For any wardrobe mishaps, it's good to have a small sewing kit onboard. Otherwise, you'll have to search for one to purchase.

45. Stain remover

Laundry also comes at an extra cost on a cruise ship, so consider packing a portable stain remover.

Personally, I use Tide pens.

46. Toothbrush and toothpaste

Teeth cleaning supplies aren't provided onboard a cruise ship, so stay prepared to keep those teeth fresh and white!

47. Dental floss

Even if you're on a shorter cruise, pack along some dental floss as well.

48. Mouthwash

Mouthwash is also an important aspect of keeping your mouth fresh. 

49. Body lotion

With chlorine-filled pools, salty beaches, and sunny days, your skin can easily dry out on a cruise.

Body lotion will help prevent this, and a product with fragrance will also double to improve your scent.

50. Liquid hand soap

There will be hand soap provided in your Royal Caribbean bathroom, but this usually comes in the form of a drying bar soap.

If liquid hand soap is more your style, consider packing your own.

51. Shampoo and conditioner

The hair products provided will also be simple and not suited to every hair type. 

Bring your own shampoo and conditioner to ensure that your hair care routine doesn't miss a beat.

52. Body wash

Along those same lines, the 2-in-1 body wash on Royal Caribbean ships isn't everyone's favorite.

I always bring my own, which also ensures that I won't have to share it with anyone else.

53. Loofah

Washcloths are provided onboard, but if you prefer to use a loofah to clean your body, you'll want to pack one.

54. Deodorant

Cruises can take lots of physical activity, which can leave you hot and sweaty. Forgetting deodorant would be a major faux pas! 

55. Perfume or cologne

Similarly, you'll want to remember to pack the usual fragrances you wear. A nice scent elevates your outfit and aura for the day.

56. Shaving cream and razors

Over the length of a cruise, most people end up shaving at least once. Packing all the right materials will make that hair removal go smoothly.

57. Feminine hygiene products

Even if you're not expecting to use them on your cruise, you should always pack feminine hygiene products.

Travel, stress, and time zones can alter your cycle, and it's best to be prepared.

58. Detangling spray or cream

Looking good is the key to feeling good on vacation, so don't skimp when it comes to packing all your hair products.

Detangling spray or creams will prevent your hair from getting matted or tangled.

Read more: I went on four cruises and found the best way to protect Black hair on vacation

59. Sunscreen 


Sunscreen is one of the most key essentials you can pack on a cruise. You'll want to wear it every day to prevent any nasty sunburns.

60. Aloe vera

If you do end up getting sunburned, a natural aloe vera can soothe the burn and accelerate your healing.

61. Tweezers

Tweezers are useful for more than just plucking stray hairs. 

I use them to place fake eyelashes, measure eyeliner, and adjust straying piercings.

62. Scissors

You're allowed to bring scissors on a cruise, and they come in handy. Consider packing a small pair of nail scissors.

63. Nail file 

Strenuous activities can cause your nails to chip or break. 

To prevent any jagged edges, be prepared by bringing a nail file.

64. Lip balm or chapstick

Just like preventing dry skin, you want to prevent dry lips on your cruise. An oil or butter-based chapstick is the best tool.

65. Edge control and brush

If you like to style your edges, don't let them go on a cruise! 

Pack along a good edge control and brush to keep them tamed.

66. Hairbrush and comb

Hair styling tools are also useful, especially if you have specific products that wouldn't be sold onboard a cruise ship.

67. Hair ties and scrunchies

You'll also need items to tie and style your hair with. I usually bring extra hair ties, scrunchies, ribbons, and bobby pins when I travel.

68. Anti-seasickness medicine


It's hard to predict if you'll experience seasickness until you get onboard.

Pack along some Bonine or Dramamine to get ahead of any nausea and dizziness.

Read more: I tried the most common seasickness hacks on my cruise. Here’s what works best 

69. Cold medicine

Especially on crowded cruise ships, sicknesses can easily spread. 

By bringing medicine along, you won't have to buy any onboard and can deter a visit to the ship's medical center.

70. Band-aids and Neosporin

I always pack a mini first aid kit on my cruises, complete with bandages and anti-infection creams.

71. Allergy medicine

If you're prone to allergies of any kind, get ahead of those symptoms by packing allergy medicine.

I pack both allergy pills (such as Benadryl) and a skin cream like Hydrocortisone.

72. Pain relieving medication

You'll also want to prevent any aches, cramps, or soreness, by packing your own over-the-counter pain management medication.

73. Face moisturizer

The skin on the face is more sensitive and requires special moisturizer as well as sunscreen.

Pack your favorite face cream to stave off any dryness or acne.

74. Makeup

Whether you only wear mascara and blush, or you're excited to do a full beat on formal night, don't forget to pack all your makeup supplies.

75. Birth control

Plan ahead for any life-changing mishaps by bringing birth control pills or Plan B.

76. Hand sanitizer

Hand Sanitzer

With self-serve buffets and crowded public areas, cruise ships can become a haven for germs.

Protect yourself by bringing along hand sanitizer—and keep an eye out for the hand washing stations Royal Caribbean provides!

77. Insect repellant

The tropical islands many cruises visit are home to an array of mosquitos, flies, and other bugs.

If you pack insect repellant, you'll end up thanking yourself. 

78. Travel pillow

Especially if you need to fly to reach your cruise ship's port, a travel pillow is the perfect comfortable accessory.

79. Bonnet

You can't control the material of the pillowcases onboard a cruise ship, so a bonnet is the easiest way to protect your hair at bedtime. Bring at least one silk bonnet that is large enough to fit your hairstyle.

80. Eye mask

If you're sensitive to light, you might want to pack an eye mask for sleeping.

Although cruise ship cabins get extremely dark at night, your travel buddy could use a night light or want to turn on lamps before bed.

81. Snacks

Yes, Royal Caribbean ships have a massive variety of food onboard. 

But they sometimes lack healthy or vegan snacks, so I prefer to pack my own.

Bringing a few bags of dried fruit, chips, or pretzels is a great way to fend off any nighttime munchies.

82. Wine

Royal Caribbean allows guests to bring one 750 mL bottle of champagne or wine onboard per adult.

I highly recommend taking advantage of this policy, as it's a great way to save money on alcoholic drinks.

83. Corkscrew

If you're packing that bottle of wine, don't forget a corkscrew to go along with it!

84. Nightlight

Since cruise ship cabins (especially windowless inside cabins) get so dark at night, bringing a nightlight helps you prevent any bumps in the dark.

85. Reusable water bottle

Water bottle

This is a travel essential when it comes to a cruise.

Packing a reusable water bottle is a cheap, sustainable way to make sure you stay hydrated while onboard.

86. Magnetic hooks

Did you know cruise ship cabin walls and ceilings are made of steel? 

That means magnets can stick to them, and magnetic hooks are a great way to take advantage of that for some extra storage.

87. Hanging organizers


For longer cruises, smaller cabins, or bigger travel groups, storage for all your items can become an issue.

A hanging organizer helps you find a place to store your items while leaving precious cabinet and floor space free.

88. Shower suction hook

A suction hook can stick right to the walls of a shower, adding extra space to store towels and toiletries.

89. Packing cubes

Packing cubes are the handiest method for cramming all your travel essentials into your luggage. 

They save space by squeezing items like clothes and toiletries together and fitting in neat squares.

Read more: I packed for my Alaska cruise in a carry-on suitcase. Here's what I packed and how you can do it too.

90. Ziploc bags

Ziploc bags are also a useful packing tool. 

I usually put my liquids inside them, so that nothing spills out into my luggage while I travel.

91. Snorkel gear

By bringing your own snorkel gear, you can turn any beach on your shore excursion into an adventure for free.

92. Surfboard

The FlowRider, Royal Caribbean's surfing simulator, is the perfect chance to practice surfing onboard a cruise ship.

The cruise line allows you to bring and use an approved FlowRider surfboard.

93. Beach toys

For families and active travel buddies, a set of beach toys will entertain for hours.

94. Power strip

Harmony of the Seas outlets

With limited outlets onboard a cruise ship, packing a USB power block will expand your space and ensure no one fights over getting a chance to charge.

95. Lanyard

On your cruise, you'll notice many cruisers using a lanyard to hang and hold their SeaPass. That way, they won't lose the important item and can carry it around hands-free.

95 things you can pack for a cruise

Calista Kiper graduated from Wheaton College, IL, with a B.A. in English Writing. 

Growing up traveling around the world, she developed a passion for diversity and cross-cultural communication. From her first cruise on Wonder of the Seas, she has delighted in the intersection between travel, diversity, and writing in the cruising world.

Calista spends her free time reading, cooking, and researching the latest human-interest stories. 

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