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The Ultimate Cruise Packing List

What to Pack for a Cruise

Have you ever gone on a cruise, or any vacation really, only to realize later that you packed way too many outfits for hanging out by the pool but not nearly enough evening outfits? Or worse, realized when you arrived that you'd forgotten something really important? Maybe that's something only I do but after years of packing too much of one thing and not enough of another I've finally created what I think to think of as the ultimate cruise packing list and today I'm going to share it with you! At the end of the article you'll be able to download both a PDF and a spreadsheet you can use when packing for your next cruise!

Cruise Packing List Clothing


This section is going to vary a little depending on the length of your cruise, what you're most comfortable wearing and how often you like to dress up in the evening so you may want to make some adjustments but this list should get you started!

  • Shorts: I prefer sundresses so I go with 1 pair per 2/3 days that we are on the ship. I've found I can easily wear the same pair more than once so there's no need to pack a pair for every day.

  • T-Shirt/Tank Tops: Because I prefer sundresses I go with 1 tank top and 1 t-shirt per 2 days - so for a 7 day cruise I'd take 3 or 4 tank tops and the same number of t-shirts.

  • Bathing Suits: I probably go overboard with these but I generally pack one for every day of my trip, not including the day we travel home. They take up so little space and I have so many I love so I may go overboard here.

  • Pajamas: One per two or three nights works for me.

  • Bras: I only take 1 - 2 for the entire cruise. If you need special bras to go with different outfits you may need more.

  • Panties: One per day plus at least two extra pairs just in case

  • Socks: I'm always in sandals or heels so I take a few pairs for travel days. If you wear tennis shoes on port days add extra pairs

  • Casual Dresses: I prefer a sundress to shorts so I generally take at least one per 2 days. If you prefer shorts you can reduce the number of casual dresses and increase shorts and t-shirts

  • Pants/Jeans: I do not like to wear pants out in the evening so I only take one pair just in case. If you don't like to wear dresses out in the evening you may want to pack a few extra pairs or add a few pairs of dressier shorts.

  • Cardigan or Sweater: I pack one versatile cardigan that I can wear with basically anything in the evening just in case I'm cold and I also pack one sweater or sweatshirt in case I'm cold in the room. If you don't get cold easily you can take these off your list

  • Formal Evening Dresses: I LOVE to dress up and I don't have many opportunities to do so at home so I pack 2 - 3 formal dresses for a week long cruise. A few examples of evening gowns I like can he found here and here.

  • Cocktail Dresses: I'll also pack 2 shorter cocktail dresses

  • Casual Evening Dresses: I usually pack 3 - 4 of these. When I say casual evening dress I mean something like this chiffon dress or this floral dress. Note: If there are theme nights I'll replace some of the my evening dresses with themed outfits.

  • Shoes: I have been on cruises before where I have an entire suitcase with ONLY shoes. I have worked really hard on this and now limit myself to 2 pairs of casual sandals/flip flops, 1 pair of tennis shoes and 2 pairs of heels/dressy shoes. Depending on the excursions we've booked I may pack a pair my Keen Water Sandals but that is my limit for shoes!

  • Accessories: I don't generally wear much jewelry other than my Apple Watch and my wedding set so I save a little bit of space here but be sure to add anything you want to go with your evening or themed outfits!

Packing Toiltries for a Cruise


A few important notes: All cruise lines do have basic items included such as shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion and bar soap. I personally prefer to take my own shampoo and conditioner because I'm particular about the brand I use but if you aren't particular you can save space and leave those items home!

Skin Care Products: To save space I like to store mine in travel-size containers because they save so much space and are TSA-approved if you're flying and would like to carry them on the plane.


Shampoo & Conditioner (Optional)

Body Wash (Optional)

Reef Safe Sunscreen: You'll want lots of sunscreen on a cruise - we 100% prefer Reef Safe sunscreen & love Raw Elements. More places are starting to require Reef Safe Sunscreen but even if they don't we prefer it to protect our ocean and its many species of fish.

Medications: Don't forget prescription and plenty of over-the-counter meds. I always bring Tylenol, Advil, Tums, anti-nausea meds, a cold medicine, etc. just in case. Most OTC medications can be found on board but you'll pay a premium for them so we prefer to bring our own just in case!


Hand Sanitizer: You'll find sanitizer stations in lots of places around the ship but I always like to have my own. I prefer to carry a hand sanitizing spray like this because I can also spray it on my door handles, etc. but any kind will work!

Disinfectant Spray or Wipes: These are optional and the room stewards on almost every cruise I've ever been on have been amazing but with so many people in a small place and cruise staff having so many rooms to keep clean I like to carry disinfectant wipes with me to wipe down the surfaces in my room.

Razor & Shaving Cream

Bug Spray: I've never needed bug spray on a ship but it can be helpful to have for some excursions so I always keep some with me!

Small First Aid Kit: I never thought to take stuff like this when I was younger but it's so convenient to have just in case. An option like this is reasonably priced so I just replace mine every year or so.

Electronics to Pack for a Cruise


I really try to disconnect when on vacation but still need to be able to keep in touch when I'm gone to I keep everything I need on my packing list and check it off as I pack it to make sure I don't find myself scrambling to find a charger and new headphones once I'm on board the ship! Here's what's on my packing list, you can adjust it to fit your needs!

Phone & Charger

Tablet or Computer & Charger

Ear Buds


Selfie Stick: Optional but nice to have. I always have one so I'm ready to get photos and videos to share with my readers and clients and love this compact one from Amazon!

Charging Station: Staterooms never seem to have enough outlets and power strips are a big no-no so we like to pack a charging station that allows us to charge multiple devices at the same time while only using one outlet. Now that I've started using one I don't go anywhere without it!

Waterproof Phone Case: Another optional item but they are nice to have to keep your phone safe. I just use a simple one like this that has the added benefit of allowing me to use my touchscreen while it's in the case so you can take photos and videos while you're in the water!

What to Pack for a Cruise

Miscellaneous Items

After many, many cruises we've found a few things that just make our life easier aboard a ship. These are totally optional but you may find that some of these are nice to have along!

Magnetic Hooks: The walls of staterooms are magnetic so I always have these heavy-duty magnetic hooks with me when I cruise.

Ziploc Bags: These are useful for so many things so I always keep a few of different sizes with me!

Mesh Laundry Bag: I use these mesh laundry bags. They are so handy to have to keep dirty clothes separate from my clean clothes and to keep the room organized!

Reusable Straws: You won't find plastic straws on cruise ships anymore. I'm a huge fan of taking care of the planet but not much of a fan of paper straws so my reusable straws are always packed and ready to go.

Backpack or Fanny Pack: Nice to have for excursions and days at port so you can keep everything you want to take with you safe and zipped up. I just carry a cheap backpack so if I were to lose it I wouldn't be out a bunch of money!

Paperwork to Pack for a Cruise


My biggest fear is that I will leave on a vacation only to realize later that I've left an important document at home so this is something I triple-check every time we leave on vacation! For trips that require a passport I also make sure to regularly check the expiration dates of all of our passports to be sure I don't let one sneak up on us that would cause us to miss a trip! Fun Fact: If you use Palm Paradise Travel as your travel advisor we'll make sure that you remember all of these documents. We can't come over and pack them for you but we will send reminders leading up to your trip to make sure you remember them! We also keep track of your passport expiration dates and remind you when it's time to renew!

Flight Documents: Almost everyone uses electronic boarding passes now but I always set a reminder to check-in 24 hours in advance and to get alerts of any of my flights change!

Reservation Information for Rental Car and/or Hotels

Cruise Documents: These are mostly online now as well and all cruise lines have phone apps that make it easy to keep everything in one place but make sure to read to see if they require anything be printed before arriving at the port!

Passport or Birth Certificate: We highly recommend cruising with a passport even on cruises that don't require one but whatever documents you are using for travel you want to be absolutely sure you don't leave home without them!

Photo ID: In addition to your passport

Copy of all Prescriptions: I use a pill organizer and don't take actual pill bottles with me but I have my pharmacy app handy showing all my prescriptions in case I am ever asked about them or were to need medical care.

Credit Cards: It's a good idea to let your credit card company know you'll be traveling internationally to avoid the hassle of declined charges due to fraud protection.

Cash: For tipping and any locations that may not accept a credit card.

Luggage Tag Holders: For cruises, you will most likely just print your luggage tags from the cruise lines website and they can then be affixed to your luggage.

If you'd like a printable copy of the cruise packing list, just click below to download it! If you'd like the Excel version of the spreadsheet, send us an email and we'll send it to you!

Cruise Packing List
Download PDF • 262KB

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