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Cruise Vacation Packing List

Everything You Need to Take on Your Cruise


Parents with children (10-12) jumping into pool on cruise ship
David Sacks/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Packing for a cruise can be one of the worst parts of your vacation. The only thing I dread more is unpacking when I get home. Through the years, I have learned that a comprehensive packing list is essential. Anyone who has forgotten some essential item and then had to purchase it at double (or more) the price on the cruise ship or in a port of call will know that such a list can be invaluable.


One important packing tip -- If traveling with a companion or spouse, divide your checked items into two (or more) suitcases. That way, if one is lost, you will both have some clothing to wear. It would be terrible for your spouse to have all of his clothes and you to have nothing but your carry-on. Also, be sure to carry-on anything that you cannot live without for a couple of days (medicines, swimsuit, clean underwear), just in case your luggage is lost or delayed.

Use this cruise packing list as a starter and modify it for your personal tastes. I doubt if anyone would need everything on this list, but all are items worth considering. Some essentials and general items follow of this page, and I have a separate list for women and men on page 2.


Travel Documents, Wallet Items, and Paperwork Packing List

  • airline tickets or e-ticket confirmation
  • cruise documents
  • passports and visas (if necessary) or proof of citizenship (check with your cruise line for requirements)
  • vaccination certificate (if required)
  • driver's license and auto insurance card - in case you decide to rent a car when ashore
  • medical insurance cards and medical history (especially if traveling alone)
  • copy of prescriptions and list of all medicines you are taking
  • another government-issued picture ID (e.g. driver's license)
  • credit cards - be sure to call credit card companies before traveling to alert them you are traveling outside your normal area
  • ATM card - be sure to call your bank to notify them you are traveling
  • pre-paid phone card (these can also be purchased at your destination)
  • cash (some in small bills for tipping or buying low priced souvenirs)
  • 3 copies of airline tickets, cruise tickets, passports/visas, itinerary - pack 1 copy in carry on, 1 copy in checked luggage, and leave one copy with someone at home. Alternatively, you can scan the documents and email an electronic copy to yourself so that you can access them from any computer terminal. (I usually do both - "just in case")
  • contact numbers to report lost/stolen credit cards or traveler's checks
  • emergency numbers at home
  • currency conversion chart
  • wallet and fanny pack
  • watch - dual time zone watch is perfect!

Reading Material and Necessities Packing List

  • glasses, contacts, contact cleaner
  • extra reading glasses
  • sunglasses
  • reading sunglasses
  • guidebooks and other port of call information
  • foreign language phrase book or dictionary
  • maps
  • reading material - books to read while on the plane or lounging by the pool. If you pack an electronic book, don't forget the charger.
  • journal or notebook and pen/pencil - for making notes to tell your friends back home about your experiences
  • business cards with email address to give out to new cruise friends
  • home and email addresses of friends/relatives back home - for sending postcards, emails, or gifts
  • photo album to share pictures of those adorable kids, grandkids, or pets with new friends

Electronics and Camera Equipment Packing List

  • plug adapter and converter (most electronic items like cameras, computers, and e-books do not need a converter, but do need an adapter in hotels)
  • cell phone and charger
  • tablet or e-book and charger
  • laptop computer
  • binoculars
  • disposable underwater camera - for snorkeling or beach days
  • digital camera and manual
  • extra memory cards for digital camera
  • batteries for digital camera
  • battery charger
  • extension cord/power strip with multiple plug-ins
  • ipod or mp3 player (for listening on airplane, walking on deck or on treadmill)
  • small travel alarm clock - battery operated
  • lighted dial clock for cruise ship cabin
  • small flashlight
  • night light

Medicine Kit Packing List

  • prescription drugs and any other essential medications in carry on bag
  • ear plugs or "ear planes"
  • small first aid kit (band aids, Q-tips, vaseline, dramamine, antibiotic cream, bandages, anti-diarrhea medication, cortisone cream, aspirin/tylenol/advil)
  • germicidal hand cleaner
  • handi-wipes (for cleaning hands when ashore)
  • hand lotion
  • rubbing alcohol or foot lotion for soothing tired, hot feet
  • bug spray (not for your cabin on the ship, but for those pesky mosquitoes and "nonos" ashore)
  • sun screen/sun block and lip sunblock

Other "Necessities" Packing List

  • duct tape or strapping tape
  • extra plastic cable-lock ties for securing luggage for return trip (better than locks, but one-time use only)
  • extra luggage name tags (in case yours are lost on the outbound trip)
  • ziploc bags of all sizes and garbage/laundry bags
  • corkscrew (be sure to put in checked luggage)
  • Swiss Army knife or something similar with screwdriver head, etc. (be sure to put in checked luggage)
  • small umbrella
  • collapsible travel pillow for those long airplane flights
  • Crazy glue
  • playing cards
  • sports gear (e.g. snorkeling gear)
  • shoe horn for getting those shoes back on your swollen feet
  • sewing kit and scissors (pack in checked luggage)
  • travel-sized detergent
  • clothes pins
  • empty folding tote bag - for souvenirs or the beach
  • hats/caps/visors
  • insulated large coffee mugs

More Travel Packing Lists from About.com
Many of the items on these lists will come in handy on a cruise vacation (or any vacation).
Go France Packing List
Honeymoon Packing List
Go China Packing List
Go India Packing List
Family Vacation Packing List
Go Germany Packing List
Safari Packing List
Ireland Travel Packing List
What to Pack for the Camino de Santiago
What to Pack for a Trip to Hawaii
What Not to Pack for a Trip to Greece
Italy Packing List

Page 2 > > Women's and Men's Cruise Packing List > >

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