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Packing for Your Cruise


To maximize your cruise experience, it is important to carefully consider what you will need, when you will need it, and then pack accordingly.  While a camera, swimsuit and sunscreen are basic essentials on most cruise vacations, there are some items that are must-haves for making your vacation comfortable and enjoyable.


Day One
For the first day of your cruise, you should pack a small carry-on bag with your travel documents, a change of clothes, medications you may need, and any other essentials you will need prior to your checked bags arriving in your stateroom.  Jewelry and laptops are items that you may bring onboard, but may be best carried on with you during embarkation/debarkation.


Onboard Attire
Onboard Attire is fairly standard, but may vary from cruise line to cruise line.


  • Shorts, t-shirts, slacks, sundresses, and blouses can make an easy transition from indoors to outdoors. 
  • A second swimsuit may be helpful if the other one is wet. 
  • Casual, comfortable shoes or sandals are a must-have for walking around the ship. 
  • Light sweaters are great for cool nights. 
  • Most ships also offer onboard fitness centers, so be sure to bring workout clothes, gym shoes and socks.

Shore Excursions
If you are considering any shore excursions, you'll need to plan your dress accordingly based on the activity.  A light jacket, comfortable shoes, and binoculars may be among the items you wish to bring.


Dinner Attire
Dinner attire can vary greatly between cruise lines, so be sure to confirm with Your Personal Cruise Expert the dress code for your particular sailing.  Attire can be casual, informal, or formal.  Casual nights typically require sport shirts and slacks for men and sundresses or pants for women.  Informal nights would require jackets and ties for men and dresses or pantsuits for women.  Formal nights require suits and ties or tuxedos for men and cocktail or formal dresses for women.  Some cruise lines offer formal rentals onboard, so consult Your Personal Cruise Expert for details.


Packing for a long cruise can be a daunting task with airline and luggage restrictions.  Try to bring items that you can mix and match together.  Bringing items that can turn three outfits into five or six will save space.  Wearing your bulkiest or heaviest shoes during embarkation and debarkation is a great space saver.  With all that you will be packing, be sure to leave a little extra space or bring an extra small bag for any gifts or purchases made onboard or at your destinations.


A few other items may make your trip more enjoyable:


  • Travel guides are helpful if you wish to explore new destinations or ports. 
  • If you are an avid reader, you may wish to bring a book to read while soaking up the sun. 
  • Journals to document your cruise experience. 
  • An address book for sending postcards to friends and family.

Some things not to pack are:


  • electrical transformers
  • coffee makers
  • candles
  • irons