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Cruise Packing Tips: 15 Things You Don’t Want To Miss

A little but over a year ago, we went our first family cruise. We took the Carnival Pride out of Baltimore. If you’d like to learn more about our experience, you can check out my guest post over at Momma To Go. I wanted to put together a Cruise Packing List of items you may not think of needing or overlook packing. Plus we have all the cruise packing tips you need!

We had such a good time, that we are thinking about our next cruise! We have family and friends who just went on a Disney Cruise out of Florida and they had the ABSOLUTE BEST time.

We are thinking we will go on Disney Cruise Lines sometime mid to late next year or the following year sometime with our group of friends.

cruise packing list and tips from experienced cruisers. Are you trying to figure out what is necessary to take on your cruise? Find out what your family needs to pack for their cruise with this list. #cruisingtips #cruisetips #packingtips #whattopackforcruise. What to pack for a cruise? Look no further! #traveltips

Tossing around cruise ideas and places we would love to go, got me thinking of how much I researched about what to bring on the cruise. What to pack as a family?

What are some things that people tend to forget or overlook? What cruise packing tips can I share with you- stay tuned!

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Cruise Packing Tips

Formal Night

This a fun night and a great excuse for your family to get dressed up and enjoy themselves. On quite a few cruises there are many photo opportunities. Formal night is no exception to this opportunity.

The cruises themselves lead to beautiful places to take pictures, with gorgeous stair cases and unique decor around the ship, you’re bound to find a place for a beautiful family photo. Make sure to pack a nice set of clothes for all of those involved.

This night can be as simple as a sundress and as elegant as an evening ball gown. I’ve seen it at both extremes. Choose what your family is comfortable with and keep packing abilities in mind.

Bathing Suits

Bring extra suits so your old suit can dry while you’re out having fun! An essential to have on your cruise packing list for sure.

Water shoes

Depending on your preference, water shoes may be a necessity just for the pools. But, check with your excursions because quite a few different ones require water shoes of some sort or shoes that can get wet. This could double for excursion use and for pool use.

Nice Restaurant Clothes- Dress Code

Some cruise ships have dress codes for certain restaurants. My husband and I made reservations at the nicer restaurant for just us two to have dinner alone to celebrate our anniversary on the ship. We dressed nicely.

But, Dave didn’t pay too much attention to the dress code. He had a collared shirt on and nice dress shorts. Since it was a hot day, it hadn’t thought about the dress code. We showed up and were turned away.

He was told he needed to have pants on and dress shoes or some sort of closed toe shoes. Ashamed and embarrassed we ran back to the room to get him changed.

Luckily, we had brought that clothing with us. We returned to the restaurant and as we ate we watched many other couples have the same problem.

Avoid the embarrassment and pack (and remember to wear) appropriate clothing if you plan to have a dinner or meal at a dress code restaurant.


Most cruises provide you with the basic small white towel, one for each person in the room. You can use these towels for showers. Some cruises also have big bins of pool towels and some do not.

Check with your cruise line. I recommend just bringing a beach/pool towel for each person. This will be easier to have on hand. I know I like big towels to have by the pool. You can also take these on excursions when necessary.

Clothes pins

I know, I know, why am I recommending clothes pins?! With smaller cabin rooms, you won’t always have space to lay out your swim suit or blankets to dry out. Some cruises have a clothesline that you can pull from one side of the shower to the other.

On our recent trip, the cabin had this but it was only big enough to hang one suit and towel on at a time. With the motion of the ocean, you will be thankful to have these items safely and securely attached to the line.

If you have a room that has a balcony, you can pin your items to the chairs or stable things outdoors on the balcony to help them dry. Between the possible winds and the waves, make sure to pin them securely with the clothes pins.

I have even seen these really cute large towel clips that would totally keep your towels and suits secured.

Over pack on kid essentials- diapers, wipes, pull ups, extra outfits, etc.

If you have kids, make sure to over pack on the essentials for them. I thought we overpacked on wipes for my daughter. However, I didn’t anticipate that my grandmother using as many as she did.

Don’t get me wrong, I was very thankful for her help, but, I didn’t allot enough extras for that consumption. So, we had to hop off at the next Port and grab an $8 pack of wipes to get us through. Yes,  eight dollars for a two dollar pack of wipes.

This was an extra pain as these wipes weren’t the brand my daughters sensitive skin was used to, so she paid for it a little, but, at least we had them to hold us through the rest of the trip.

So, if you need diapers, wipes, pull ups, anything of the sort for your little ones, make sure to pack extra extra! Otherwise, you’ll be way overpaying if you’re lucky enough to find them at the next port stop.

We zwere blessed enough to have found another couple on the boat who lent us a few wipes until we made it to the port to be able to keep her as clean as possible!

Related : Are you flying first to get your cruise port? Don’t miss out on these traveling with an infant tips! 
Not flying? Are you taking a road trip with toddlers to get to your port?

Don’t fret, we have the best tips to have a smooth start to your cruising adventure!

Vacation costs adding up? Find out how we fly for almost free all year long!

Identification for all

Whether you’re traveling internationally or nationally, check to see if all of your party needs their passport, birth certificate or personal identification card of some sort. We were checking into the cruise and a couple down the way from us didn’t have their passport, only regular ID.

Unfortunately, they were denied access and never got to go on their vacation. Cruise lines make it very easy to know what form of ID you’ll need for each age of your passengers in your party.

Don’t forget this, don’t skip this! Call them if you have ANY questions. You don’t want to miss your vacation.

Power strip

Most cabin rooms aren’t equipped with many outlets, so power strips will be a useful thing to put on your cruise packing list. They also don’t tend to have clocks/alarm clocks in them.

If you bring a power strip, you can make sure everyone’s electronics get plugged in and they can be used as your alarm clock if your room doesn’t have one.

Sunscreen and Bug spray

I know this seems like a no brainer, but, we saw people on the ship buying sun screen and bug spray from the little cruise shop. They were paying out the wazoo for those things too.

Seasickness pills or bracelets

You never know what weather will be like on your cruise. Even though you may not have gotten sea sick before, it’s best practice to bring the best sea sickness relief forms that you can to have as a back up on your cruise packing list.

You don’t want to spend your vacation in your cabin not feeling well.

Reusable water bottle

Do you want to pay $8 or more for a 6 pack of water? That’s what a 6 pack case would have cost us on our trip. Instead, we brought a reusable water bottle for each of us to use each day.

We could take them around the ship and had them for port and excursions. We didn’t have to pay for overpriced water bottles around the ship or in port. Don’t forget this on your cruise packing list.

Band aids/first aid kit

Always keep a small travel first aid kit on hand for any vacation wherever you go. Make sure it is stocked with any Ibuprofen, Tylenol, etc. Nobody needs a headache or muscle pain bringing their vacation down.

Disinfecting wipes

When you first get to your room, take a minute to disinfect and wipe everything down. Any surfaces people touch, hand rails, door knobs, toilet seats, etc. Wiping everything down gives you a piece of mind that you’ll know that everything is freshly cleaned.

Magnetic board

Hang this magnetic board on your cabin door. You can communicate with other friends and family on the ship and let them know where you are and what your plans are for the day.

You can leave a note for your room cleaning crew or tell the whole ship why you’re family is here. ie, if you’re celebrating an anniversary, honeymoon, birthday, etc.

cruise packing list and tips from experienced cruisers. Are you trying to figure out what is necessary to take on your cruise? Find out what your family needs to pack for their cruise with this list. #cruisingtips #cruisetips #packingtips #whattopackforcruise. What to pack for a cruise? Look no further! #traveltips

I didn’t include the obvious clothing and other necessities. I just wanted to make sure to set up a list of ideas that you might over look or forget about last minute.

Hopefully this can save you a few dollars and give you more time to have fun.

Below you can find places to grab a few of these items to pack for your cruise at ease.