The Ultimate Printable Packing List for a Cruise

Packing List for a Cruise

How to pack for a cruise? Begin here!

It’s been a long time since I packed for my first cruise.  You’d think I packed for an around-the-world cruise rather than a 7-night Caribbean cruise.  I didn’t have a packing list for a cruise. Now I can stow everything I need into one 22” spinner suitcase, plus my carry-on bag.

There are four basic tenets to pack for a cruise.  The first seems obvious but frequently overlooked; the weather where you’ll cruise.  Second, essential items you’ll need no matter where the destination.  Third, take half of what you’ve pulled out of your closet and drawers. Fourth, certain items must always stay with you.

I’ve created my time-tested printable packing list for a 7-night cruise but it will also work for a 14-night cruise.  On a weekend getaway cruise to the Bahamas, you’ll still want to pack the same items in your carry-on bag.

Carry-On Bag or Backpack

  • Important paperwork – tickets and travel insurance info
  • List of emergency phone numbers back home
  • Travel ID documents – passport, visas
  • Wallet with cash, credit cards (2 credit cards if possible or 1 debit and 1 credit card), driver’s license
  • Cruise line luggage tags to attach at destination (if you are flying)  
  • All medications in original prescription container
  • Tip money for porters – $1 and $5 dollar bills in US currency
  • Jewelry (leave the good stuff at home)
  • Touch-up makeup and toiletries
  • Spare glasses and/or contact lenses
  • Camera, lenses
  • Phone and equipment chargers
  • Change of clothes to wear until your luggage is delivered
  • Laptop, iPad, e-reader


  • Underwear
  • Dress socks/stockings, athletic socks
  • Sleepwear
  • 1 or 2 Swimsuits – no cut-offs in the pool
  • 1 beach and pool coverup
  • 1 or 2 sets of workout clothes/yoga pants/sports top
  • 2 or 3 pairs of women’s shorts or capris
  • 1-2 casual pants/skirts
  • 1 to 3 casual sundresses
  • 2 or 3 pairs of men’s shorts/casual pants/khakis
  • 4 or 5 T-shirts/blouses/tops for women
  • 5-6 T-shirts/polo shirts/casual shirts for men during the day and casual nights
  • Jeans are acceptable – not torn or ratty looking – and not at dinner in the main dining room.
  • Formal night attire:
    • Women:  One or two dressy outfits – dressy pants and blouse, cocktail dress.  Some women still wear long formal dresses but not as often.
    • Men:  One sport coat or dark jacket, 2 ties, collared shirt.  
  • Shoes – 3-5 pairs:  Sandal, sneakers, dress shoe, comfortable walking shoe. Optional – sturdy closed-toe shoes for horseback riding or hiking, flip-flops for pool, beach and inside your stateroom.
  • Lightweight sweater, cardigan or pashmina for air conditioned public rooms.
  • Crushable sun hat/cap.visor
  • Belt
  • Packable rain gear/poncho or folding umbrella
  • Bring “layer-able” clothes and a jacket if cooler weather is predicted, say for a winter cruise that include the Bahamas.

Packing Tip:  Choose one major color and mix ‘n’ match your wardrobe around it.  Bring 2 or 3 lightweight scarves to dress up or change the appearance of the same outfit.  


Your ship will provide the basics: shampoo, conditioner, body lotion. Sometimes the shampoo doubles as body wash.  You may want to bring your own:

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  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Hair spray or styling spray/get
  • Bar soap/body wash
  • Body lotion
  • Sunscreen
  • Emery board and nail clipper
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush – toothpaste – floss
  • Travel size mouthwash
  • Contact lens solution (spare lenses are in your carry-on)
  • Eye makeup remover
  • Insect repellent
  • Lip balm with an SPF and for the dry air in the stateroom
  • After-sun lotion with aloe
  • Flat or curling iron
  • Folding hair dryer.  Some older ships still have wall-mounted, short cord, low-watt dryers.
  • Styling brushes and comb

Makeup and Skin Care

  • If you tend to use a full array of makeup every day, try to bring only the bare necessities.
  • Mascara
  • Liner
  • Eye shadow base
  • Neutral eye shadow color palate
  • Foundation
  • Blusher
  • Makeup brushes
  • Concealer – If you plan to tan, bring concealer one shade darker, too
  • Eyebrow pencil and/or powder filler
  • Day treatment products
  • Night treatment products
  • Hand lotion

Travel Tip:  I’ve stopped using those pretty makeup bags.  Instead, I use clear plastic zip-top freezer bags in various sizes.  

I put all my makeup brushes into one bag, eye makeup and face products into another, hair brushes and combs (yes I travel with two types of hair brushes, one wide-tooth comb and a rat-tail comb) in a large freezer bag, toiletry liquids (non-aerosol hair spray and styling spray, mouthwash) in yet another.  I can see where every item is without having to rummage.  

And finally, I put ALL my eye pencils, mascara, and brushes into a bathroom cup or glass.  Easy to find and put away.  Another advantage of using little bags – I stuff each one inside my shoes.


  • All daily meds go in your carry-on bag in the original container.
  • Get your prescriptions refilled so you don’t run out
  • Ask your physician about a “care” package – cough meds, antibiotics, imodium, Benadryl-type antihistamine – anti-itch med, anti-nausea etc.
  • First aid supplies – assorted bandages, antibiotic ointment, alcohol wipes, aspirin or whatever you take for pain relief, kid scissors
  • Seasick pills like Bonine (doesn’t make you drowsy) or Dramamine (makes you drowsy) or naturopathic remedies like candied ginger and ginger chewables.

Travel Tip:  If you are bringing kids, be sure to check with their pediatrician for any other items they might suggest.

Convenience Items

  • Night light for your stateroom
  • Travel-size flashlight
  • Traveling alarm clock
  • Foam ear plugs
  • Magnets to hang up notes and such – most walls are metal.
  • Clothes pins to use for hanging hand washables on the shower clothes line
  • Highlighter pens for your daily cruise planner/newsletter
  • Dirty clothes bag
  • Lightweight beach bag or tote bag
  • Extra zip top freezer bags
  • A few sheet of bubble wrap for souvenirs



  • Mobile phone
  • Phone charger including plug and cord (bring a spare if you have one)
  • Laptop or iPad/Kindle (goes in your carry-on) and chargers
  • Camera, lenses and filters (also in your carry-on)
  • Camera battery charger and camera case
  • Underwater camera
  • Tiny tripod or monopod (leave those selfie sticks at home)
  • Any instruction books that you might need to brush up on devices’ features
  • Travel size bluetooth speaker and charger
  • Flash drive and/or external hard drive – to download your wonderful photos each night
  • Extra memory cards – so you don’t have to buy a non-name brand card in port
  • Lightweight binoculars – especially if you don’t have a telephoto camera lens
  • IMPORTANT: Download all your podcasts, music, movies and TV shows before you leave home.  Don’t waste your expensive onboard internet minutes trying to download anything…it’s nearly impossible.  

Travel Tip:  Spread out all of your electronics on your bed before you pack them.  Pair each device with its charger and accessories.

Wine, Beer and Alcohol

  • Each cruise line has its own and varying policy for BYOB.
  • You may be able to hand-carry one or two bottles of wine onboard your ship.  
  • Check your cruise line’s website for details or READ HERE for a list of what is allowed on every cruise line.

Download my printable packing list HERE.  Have a wonderful cruise!


By |July 8th, 2017|Cruises, Travel Tips|


  1. Marcia Truitt July 8, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    Nice list Sherry. Instead of a nightlight I bring a battery tea candle light(s), I don’t have to worry about a plug and I place it where it works for me. Also, never travel with one credit card. I had one get trapped in an ATM.

  2. Sherry Kennedy
    Sherry Kennedy July 8, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Hi Marcia,
    Thanks for your comment. I’ve heard from others that also bring a battery candle. And I totally agree about bringing more than one credit card…I have a fear of getting it trapped in an ATM! I hope your summer is off to a good start.

  3. Marlene July 9, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    Extra zip lock bags of various sizes. Travel alarm.

  4. Sherry Kennedy
    Sherry Kennedy July 11, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    Hi Marlene,
    All good ideas! Thank you for contributing to the list.

  5. KAREN GURINA July 15, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    My husband and I NEVER go on a cruise without our TRAVEL COFFEE (COCKTAIL) MUGS. The coffee cups are so small on ships, we load up on the coffee and walk the ship/shore with it. Then it turns into our cocktail class. The insulated mug keeps our drinks cooler much longer. BON VOYAGE!

  6. Sherry Kennedy
    Sherry Kennedy July 16, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    Hi Karen,
    Thanks for sharing your idea! I especially like the convertible cocktail cup concept! Bon Voyage to you, too!

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