What To Pack for a Cruise: A Complete Guide

It's hard enough to plan a vacation without having to think about what you'll need to carry. If your next destination is a cruise ship and you're unsure what to bring on the vacation, we've put together a cruise packing list that will guarantee you don't forget anything important, from boarding cards to bathing clothes.

Of course, what you pack will be determined by a number of things, including the length of your trip, the climate of the destination, whether you'll be sailing with children in tow, and the amount of luggage you're willing to travel with.

Where To start packing

To begin, gather all of your travel documentation in one place. A passport is advised, even though you can board a closed-loop cruise with just a government-issued photo ID and an original birth certificate. Your passport must be valid for at least six months after your voyage ends, according to most cruise lines.

If you're able to do so, check-in online to save time at the port. Also, find out if any of the countries on your itinerary require you to obtain a visa before visiting. Pay attention to any deadlines that will dictate when you must apply.

Begin gathering your toiletries and prescriptions at least a week ahead of time so you can go shopping for whatever you don't already have. On cruise ships, liquid toiletries have no size restrictions; however, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) only permits bottles of 3 ounces or less if you're flying to your embarkation point. If you're taking a carry-on, they must all fit into one clear quart-sized zip-top bag per passenger (any size liquid is acceptable in checked luggage).

Pack neutral pieces that can be mixed and matched to create many outfits, and add personality with accessories like jewelry, pashminas, or ties in exciting colors and patterns.

Gather all of the clothes you believe you'll need and lay them out to see what you've got. Cut out about one-third of your original choices if you're a chronic over-packer who wants to reform. If you'd prefer to pack light and do your clothes onboard, many ships include laundry facilities.

Packing Travel Documents

As we said above the first category you should start with are your travel documents. They are arguably the most vital possessions you’ll need on your trip since they’re most likely what are between you and reaching your destination. Start off by checking things off the list below and you’ll be ready to move on to the next category! 

  • Passport (or driver's license and birth certificate)
  • Boarding passes (for cruise and flight) if they’re required
  • Visas, if they’re required
  • Travel insurance information
  • Luggage tags
  • Hotel information, if they’re required
  • Medical insurance cards
  • Physical copies of important documents (passport, credit cards, insurance cards)
  • Emergency contacts list (relatives, travel agent, airline)
  • Document holder

Packing Clothing

Next up you’ll want to organize your clothes, and all that can fall within this category. A good way to make sure you have both the appropriate amount and style of clothes is going through the itinerary of the cruise, the activities you’ll be taking a part in as well as the facilities available onboard. 

  • Shirts
  • Trousers
  • Skirts
  • Dresses
  • T-shirts and tank tops
  • Shorts and jeans
  • Bras and underwear
  • Formal and cocktail dress
  • Workout clothes and lounging clothes
  • Pajamas
  • Socks and pantyhose
  • Outer layers (sweatshirt, sweater, jacket)
  • Bathing suits
  • Cover-ups


Once you’ve got your clothes prepped you can pack up the shoes you’ll be needing during your time away. Remember to make sure you have shoes for all the different occasions and that they’re comfy enough for any long walks or nights. 

  • Flip-flops and/or sandals
  • Flats
  • Formal shoes
  • Waterproof hiking boots
  • Sneakers
  • Water shoes


After you’ve finished organizing your clothing and shoes you’re ready to move on to gathering your toiletries. This section also requires a bit of forethought since you might not want to put these things away too far in advance seeing that you might still need them up to the night and morning before you leave. 

  • Contacts, contact solution, and case
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, and floss
  • Deodorant, perfume, and cologne
  • Shampoo, conditioner, and styling products
  • Facewash, body wash, and soap
  • Shower puff and/or washcloth
  • Moisturizer and lotion
  • Razor and shave gel
  • Makeup and makeup remover
  • Wet wipes
  • Lip balm
  • Hand sanitizer and/or antiseptic wipes
  • Sunscreen, post-sun cream, and bug spray
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Tissues, cotton swabs, and cotton pads
  • Nail clippers and file


Moving onto the next category, organizing your accessories is generally best done once you have your clothes sorted since you can use that to guide which accessories you should take with you on your trip! When packing these up remember to check the weather and see what type of items you’ll be needing, and also according to the activities.

  • Jewelry
  • Pashminas and shawls
  • Glasses (eyeglasses and/or sunglasses)
  • Purse and/or wallet
  • Backpack and/or tote
  • Belts
  • Hat, gloves, and scarf
  • Keycard lanyard


Last but definitely not least you’ll want to prepare and get all your electronic gadgets together! Make sure you charge them all before getting to the cruise so you don’t run into any situations where charging them isn’t possible and/or they aren’t ready to use when you want to.

  • Phone
  • Laptop
  • Tablet and/or e-reader
  • Charging plugs, cables, and portable charger
  • Camera, memory card, and batteries
  • Headphones and/or earbuds
  • Power strip, plug adapters, and converters


There are always other little things that we can easily forget in the mix of all the other big things. Read the list below to check what other extra items you need or want to take with you on your trip and which you don’t need. Hopefully, this will trigger you to remember to take certain things you might’ve otherwise forgotten at home!

  • Credit cards and cash (small bills for tipping)
  • Hairstyling tools and appliances (brush, comb, curling iron)
  • Prescription medications, vitamins, and supplements
  • First-aid kit (bandages, alcohol pads, aspirin, seasickness meds, cough drops, etc.)
  • Books
  • Phrasebooks and guidebooks
  • Highlighters
  • Plastic bags and zip-top bags
  • Umbrella and/or poncho
  • Games and toys
  • Laundry bag and detergent
  • Snacks
  • Eco-friendly water bottle
  • Baby supplies (diapers, wipes, etc.)
  • Binoculars
  • Money purse
  • Facemask
  • House keys and/or car keys (if there’s nobody home once you get back)
  • Over-the-door shoe pockets
  • Clothespins, magnets, and magnetic hooks

Key Tips

Once everything is sorted and when it's time to actually put everything in your suitcase, challenges can arise. For those moments we’ve got you covered! Here are a couple of extra packing tips to make sure things run smoothly:

  • Take some essentials in a backpack or tote that you'll keep with you until you reach your cabin. This means packing a change of clothes and underwear, pajamas, medications, travel documents, electronics, and expensive items in your “handheld” luggage. This is especially important if you’re flying in case they happen to lose your luggage. This way you at least have one change of clothes and your daily essentials you can’t go without.


  • Instead of folding your clothes try rolling them to reduce wrinkles and fit more in the same space. If there are pieces you find are easier to fold than roll check out this way of folding it to avoid wrinkles:


    • If you’re looking to gain space or reduce the weight of your luggage try to pack as few shoes as possible with you since they’ll take up the most room and be some of your heaviest items.

    • To guarantee there aren’t any accidental spills or leaks make sure you securely seal all liquids in plastic bags so you make sure your clothes are protected.

    • Make your luggage recognizable by attaching bold, colorful, unique tags or details to your bags to help you quickly identify your checked bags. If you’re flying, wait until after your flight to attach any printed tags specific to your cruise.

    Get Packing

    While going on any type of vacation can be stressful, hopefully this article can help ease the stress of packing even if ever so slightly! Remember to check the itinerary and activities planned before starting, this way you’ll have a much clearer idea of what type of items you’ll be needing to pack. 

    Make sure you also check the weather and the facilities available during your trip so you can take the appropriate clothing and not get caught in any inconvenient situations. On a personal life note, we also suggest preparing your work beforehand so you don’t have to do it while on vacation and to set things up so you can make sure you’re enjoying your vacation! Other than that all you have to do is get your things ready and set off on your fun and relaxing cruise trip. 

    And of course, check out La Blanca for a new suit for your trip, whether you’re looking for a new bikini, one-piece, or a cute cover-up, we’ve got you covered! Pop on over to our website to see what’s in stock and you’re sure to find comfy and stylish options that will have you vacation-ready in no time!  



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