Discover what to pack on a cruise.


Whether you’re a seasoned cruiser or a first-timer, ensuring you’ve packed a practical, sensible and fashionable suitcase for your cruise trip should always be a top preparation priority.

After all, there are many aspects to a typical cruise; onboard activities and dining, shore excursions and plenty more opportunities for fun.

Your suitcase needs to reflect this.

Here’s our ultimate guide on what to pack for a cruise.

Discover what to pack for a cruise
Packing a practical and well-planned case is essential for a cruise.

Essential items

Along with a diverse range of clothes, there are an array of essential items you should always remember before embarking on your trip. These include:


If you have any health conditions that require specific and regular medication, it’s important you bring enough supplies to last the duration of your time away. Forgetting important medication can increase the risk of requiring further medical assistance should something go wrong; something that can be costly and can cut into your itinerary. Take a copy of any prescriptions and medical history if complicated.

Even if you don’t have any specific medical conditions a small first aid comprising of essential items is handy. Some useful items include:

  • Plasters.
  • Pain relievers.
  • Motion sickness tablets.
  • Bug repellent.
  • Sunblock and lip balm.
  • Hand sanitiser gel.

Travel documentation

Don’t forget passports, visas, copies of cruise and insurance documents and other relevant travel documents when embarking on your cruise – especially if you’re visiting a number of different countries. Take photographs of all your travel documents and email them to yourself. This way they are easy to access if lost or stolen.

Electrical chargers

It’s all well and good bringing your phone and camera onboard, but if you don’t bring their accompanying chargers, your electronic products won’t last the duration of your trip. Before departing, check what power points are available in your cabin and pack adapters if necessary.

Petty cash

If you plan to do shore excursions, it’s often customary to tip local staff, tour guides and drivers. Having a small amount of petty cash on hand (in the local currency) for this purpose means you’re always prepared and will avoid embarrassment.

Discover what to pack for a cruise.Double check you’ve packed all relevant travel documents for your trip.

Everyday clothing

Whether you’re admiring the sights of Antigua Bay from starboard or meandering through souks in Marrakech, having a selection of everyday clothing that is comfortable, versatile and weather appropriate is crucial.

Such items could include:

  • Smart collared t-shirts.
  • Sun hat.
  • Jumpers/cardigans.
  • Trousers or casual pants.
  • Comfortable walking shoes or sneakers.
  • Lightweight jacket and/or rain jacket.
  • Small day pack for shore excursions.

Pack items with versatility in mind. For example, neutral colours are strong choices as you can easily mix and match with a range of pieces. This prevents you from bringing too many items you simply won’t wear.

Bringing items that can be layered is also a thing to keep in mind. At night it can get chilly out on deck and you’ll want to be able to adjust your comfort and temperature accordingly.

Packing for a cruiseNo matter where you’re travelling to, layers are key for all cruises.

Evening wear

Before packing for a cruise and your departure, check the dress code for the cruise line you have chosen as formal wear is often a requirement. These guidelines vary depending on the cruise line. Some are smart dress, others are very formal, and most lie somewhere in between. Understanding these requirements before departing can help you plan accordingly and dress appropriately.

For ladies possible evening wear items could include:

  • A smart black dress that can be accessorised differently from night to night.
  • Blouses or shirts that work well with pants or skirts.
  • Smart shoes that are not too high.

For men, evening attire extends to:

  • Closed-toe shoes or loafers.
  • Black, grey or navy pants.
  • Crisp shirt.
  • Neutral blazer for cooler evenings.

It’s important to note that many cruise ships do not have irons in every room. If you require something to remove creases, anti-wrinkle spray is a handy addition to bring. A spritz or two can help to get rid of unwanted folds and creases!

Active wear

Cruises include fantastic opportunities to partake in a range of activities on and off board. These can include:

  • Working out in the gym.
  • Kayaking.
  • Walking or Hiking.
  • Snorkelling.
  • Swimming.

Ensure you bring suitable clothing that allows you to feel comfortable, warm and protected.  Items such as waterproof pouches and comfortable walking shoes are also valuable choices. Remember to bring a cover-up for your bathing suit.

comfort is important for shore excursionsPacking a sturdy pair of outdoor shoes is perfect for exploring on shore.

Culture-appropriate clothing

Many cruise destinations such as India, Turkey and South East Asia have strict dress codes, especially in places of worship and culture. As such, cruise passengers must ensure they look respectful when visiting sacred places. For example, it is sometimes deemed disrespectful to have shoulders and knees exposed so it pays to do your research beforehand.

You may need:

  • Travel wrap or a large scarf such as a pashmina.
  • Skirts ending below the knee.
  • Capri pants.

Not only will these keep you respectful when visiting places of worship, but they’ll also keep you protected from the sun in hotter countries.

If you’re ready to book your next cruise or are keen to find out more about your potential options, get in touch with a specialist cruise advisor at Mary Rossi Travel. The choices can be daunting, and we’re here to help you find a perfect match for you and your cruise holiday.