Must Pack Items for a Cruise

Must Pack Items for a Cruise

Tuesday 30 May 2023

Must Pack Items for a Cruise


Packing for a cruise can feel daunting - but isn’t that the same for every holiday? If anything, packing for a cruise should be easier because you know exactly what kind of environment you’re going to be in most of the time.

We all find packing stressful, but that’s often because we don’t approach it correctly. Sometimes we start packing too early and then doubt ourselves, or leave it too late and feel like we’re simply throwing clothes into a bag.


Here’s our quick guide for those must-haves on every cruise, so take your time and ensure you have what you need and in what quantity.


Embarkation bag


When you arrive at your ship, the chances are you won’t be able to check in immediately. It would be great if you could, but with thousands arriving together, it’s simply impossible.

But that doesn't mean you can’t start enjoying the ship's amenities as soon as you get onboard. We recommend putting together an embarkation bag containing; swimwear, a change of clothes, valuables (including passports), and suncream.


This means that when the porters on the quayside take your bags, you’ll still have exactly what you need to get on with things and start having fun immediately.


Casual Clothes and Swimwear


We’ll be coming to the more formal attire next, but most of your time on a cruise will probably be spent in casual clothes or swimwear, so it’s essential to bring an adequate supply of both. Two or three pairs of swimwear will probably do you fine, but you’ll want to have enough T-shirts, shorts, skirts, etc., for those lazy days on the ship and excursions on land.  


Formal Clothing


When we say formal, we don’t mean going all the way. You can probably leave the tuxedo and ball gown at home, but smart attire is required for many restaurants and some bars. We can probably all agree that after a full day lounging around in your swim shorts by the pool, throwing on something a little chic for the evening might be quite nice.

Other Clothing


The other clothing you bring on a cruise depends on where you’ll be cruising and what environments you might be visiting on land. A trip around the Caribbean, stopping at various palm tree-lined beaches, probably doesn’t require the same kind of clothing as a more adventurous trip along Norway’s fjords.


It’s important that you do your research ahead of time to get a good idea of what awaits.

You don’t want to get on board and realise those hiking boots probably would have come in handy for scaling Mt Etna.


Also, bear in mind local temperatures before packing - and check both day and evening highs and lows - to get a fully rounded idea. Just because the sun is shining during the day and it’s hot enough to melt those ice cubes in your cocktail, it doesn’t mean that the evening is going to be the same. Think layers with clothes. You want to be able to strip down to the bare basics and slowly add from there as the temperature goes down.     




When it comes to footwear - pack wisely. You’ll need something comfortable to wear around the ship during the day, at least one, and perhaps more options for more formal attire in the evenings, and the right kind of footwear to match your shore excursions.

We highly recommend a pair of comfy trainers for when you go ashore, wherever you are in the world. You might look great in those high heels, but three hours of walking along cobblestoned streets in Italy will leave you seriously regretting that choice.


If you’re planning on doing shore hikes, you must bring footwear to match, as the last thing you want is to turn an ankle because you’re trying to shimmy up a mountain in your flip-flops.  


Toiletries & Cosmetics


While purchasing necessities on a cruise is often possible, don’t assume the shops will carry everything you need. If you have specific ‘must haves,’ bring them with you and carefully consider quantities.


We hope that nobody going on a cruise is badly susceptible to sea sickness, but if you are prone to the odd wobble, make sure you have suitable tablets with you.




Plenty of small accessories may seem insignificant when you’re at home but suddenly become hugely important at sea. These include:

  • Portable adaptors
  • Portable phone bank
  • Chargers
  • Sunglasses
  • Headphones
  • Sun hat
  • Shore bag
  • Nighttime bag
  • Aloe vera (for sunburns)




Sadly, it’s not uncommon for at least one person to leave their house without the correct documentation needed to board a cruise ship or even the aeroplane before the cruise ship. There is an excellent reason why people check, re-check, and then check again that their passports are still in that front bag pocket. It is a vital document that you may struggle to get on the ship without. 


It might be the most important, but it’s certainly not the only. Depending on which cruise you’re on and where you’re heading, you may need the following:


  • Medical history
  • Medical and travel insurance forms/cards
  • Vaccination card
  • Allergy list
  • Medication list
  • Important prescriptions
  • Emergency contact list
  • Credit card info, including customer-service contact numbers


It’s always best to contact your travel companion or your travel agent to double-check on documentation at least a month ahead of time. Also, ensure your passport is valid and has at least six months remaining before it expires.


For enquiries or any questions on your cruise holiday, contact our cruise specialists on 0818 333 990. 

Check out our latest cruise deals here! 

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