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What to Pack for a Cruise

I will admit openly that as I age I pack more and more stuff that I could truly leave behind. I used to go for a week vacation with nothing but my carry on. I honestly was being cheap. I hated that $30.00 baggage fee that I always got. But even still when I pack for a cruise, I still choose to pack wisely. It is important to remember that a cruise stateroom is not the same size as a hotel room. You won’t want to spread your suitcase wide open in your stateroom and scatter your stuff for a week long vacay. I truly recommend unpacking as soon as you get the access to your room. Putting your suitcases in the closet and then enjoying your trip without “Tripping” (Pun intended) over your stuff. The following list will hopefully help you decide what to bring and what to leave behind.

1. Documents:
Passports, ID, Credit Cards, Insurance papers. I also bring a photo copy of my passport. It’s good to note that in many cruise ports you need your passport only to get on the ship. When you dock in ports often all you need is a photo ID such as a drivers licence and your sail and sign card.

2. Carry On:
The staterooms are not always available immediately when you board the ship. Bring a carry on with a bathing suit, sunscreen, shorts, any medications that you may need access too. You’ll want to enjoy the ship and the sun right away and there is no reason why you can’t.

3. Formal Wear:
Bring your formal wear for fancy night. Get dressed up and have some fun. The meal is excellent and honestly how often do you get to dress up at home? Each cruise line is different in what is required for formal wear. Check the website to find out what they expect. I cruise with Carnival and I often wear a nice little black dress with fancy sandals. Some people go all out with ballgowns. The choice is yours.

4. After Sun and Sunscreen:
This probably isn’t quite the necessity on an Alaska Cruise. But Caribbean cruisers it is going to be hot and you are out on the water. Slather it on and enjoy those rays.

5. Shoes:
I doubt any of us will forget our flip flops. But you will want a pair of closed toe shoes to wear on the boat as well. Sneakers or boat shoes something a bit more sturdy. The Carnival skycourse requires closed toes. Your excursions may dictate different foot wear as well, do you need hiking shoes? Or water socks? Check for any requirements. Fancy shoes for Formal night as well. You don’t want to wear sneakers with that fancy little dress.

6. Binoculars:
My husband thinks I am Insane. But every time I go to the stateroom I grab my binoculars and sit out on the balcony watching for things to see. Many people expect to see only water but in all honesty there can be tons of things out there to look at. Other cruise ships, shipping boats, islands, wildlife, stars. I love horizon watching.

7. A Sweater:
It can get breezy out on the Ocean and in the evenings you may find yourself chilly. Bring along some warm sweaters, poncho’s or wraps to keep warm when you go for an evening stroll.

8. Toiletries:
Use travel bottles to use less space for things like shampoo, conditioner, body wash, mouthwash, toothpaste. Carnival does provide shampoo and conditioner but if you’re like me you prefer your own stuff.

9. Medical kit:
I have yet to use any of the items in my medical kit but I bring it anyway just in case. Advil, Tylenol, Gravol, Benadryl, Bandaids, peroxide. If you have special needs for this item add those as well.

10. Wrinkle Release:
This depends on your wardrobe. Many people swear by it. I don’t bother because I live for clothes that don’t need ironed. If something looks a bit wrinkled after it comes out of my suitcase I will hang it in the bathroom while I shower. The steam often gets rid of those wrinkles. If that doesn’t work I have been known to take my hair straightener to my clothing. Worst case I send it off to the laundry to be pressed. It’s extremely cheap a few dollars per item and I don’t have to do it.

11. Clothes Clips:
I pack a few big clothes clips that I got at the dollar store, I use them if I need to hang something in the stateroom but it won’t stay on the hanger. I take them to the deck and clip my beach towel onto the chair so it won’t blow away if I get up to grab a drink. Clothes clips are a must have.

12. Mosquito repellant:
Last but certainly not least Mosquito repellant. You won’t see much for bugs out on the ocean. But the ship does stop in ports and here you will find a never ending list of annoying pests. Mosquito’s are the number one killer of all humans. They spread a wide array of diseases. Zika Virus and Dengue fever are two that anyone travelling to the Caribbean needs to be aware of. Protect yourself and keep covered with repellant.


How much and what else you pack in your bags should depend on where you are going and for how long. There are lots of options for hanging things in the closets, shelving and drawers for storage in the staterooms. But try not to go overboard on the packing. The stores on the ship have most of the major things people need so if you forget anything just grab what you need there. But be prepared to pay extra.

Posted by Wanderlustcanuk 10:01 Archived in Canada Tagged cruises carnival

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