25 Things to Pack for a Cruise to Keep Yourself Prepared for Anything (2024)


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Coming up with a comprehensive list of things to pack in your overstuffed luggage for a cruise can feel overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time. After all, you can’t just run to the pharmacy or a department store when you’re at sea, so you’ll want to make sure you have everything you might need (plus a few extra things to keep you comfy and entertained every day that you’re sailing the ocean).

Fortunately, we’ve taken the stress out of the equation by coming up with 25 items just about every cruiser will be glad they have on the ship. You’ll find lots of products to protect yourself from the sun, accessories to charge your phone and other electronics, beach gear and items to make the most of your excursions, and some self-care essentials to help you feel your best during your getaway. All that’s left is figuring out what you want to wear (and we’ve got a couple of fashion finds to suggest, too!).

Dig out your suitcase—here’s a look at what to pack for a cruise, whether you’re going on a family-friendly mega ship or a luxurious, intimate river cruise. Whether you're cruising yourself or getting a gift for a fellow cruiser, this list has what you need.

Cruise Lanyard Badge Holder

No pockets? No problem. With this lanyard, you can wear your cruise keycard right around your neck. Available as a set of three, each adjustable lanyard is made from soft, comfortable fabric decked out in a tropical print that’s perfect for wearing around the ship. It also includes plastic sleeves to protect your keycard, credit cards, cash, ID, or anything else you want to have on hand, as well as a clip for your phone.

The best part? Each lanyard has a retractable badge reel, so you can use your keycard to unlock your cabin without taking it off your neck. Convenient!

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Less Drowsy Formula for Motion Sickness

Nothing can ruin your cruise quite like seasickness, so you’ll want to keep some treatment on hand, just in case it takes you a bit of time to get your sea legs. Dramamine’s less drowsy motion sickness medication can provide relief from seasickness for up to 24 hours without making you too sleepy to enjoy the ship.

Can’t do pills? Try Dramamine’s chewable tablet version of the formula instead. It comes in a pleasant raspberry flavor.

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Aqua X Sport Water Shoe

A set of durable, comfortable water shoes, like these ones from Xero Shoes, is a must-have for a cruise if you want to make the most of your shore excursions.

Lightweight and packable, these versatile shoes are designed for wet, humid conditions in the great outdoors. They’ll protect your feet on any active excursion, whether you’re exploring a remote rocky beach or hiking through waterfalls. And thanks to the nonabsorbent tongue and quick-dry lining, these shoes won’t stay sopping wet for hours on end.

Xero also has a version of the water shoes for men, which could make a perfect gift for your favorite globetrotting guy.

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Universal Travel Adapter

Going abroad to take a cruise? Then, you’ll want to have a universal travel adapter on hand to keep all your devices charged. This innovative model has built-in adapters that work in more than 160 countries. Simply slide the lever for the region you’re in, and the correct plug type will pop out of the back of the case.

In addition to the conventional power outlet, it also contains four USB ports, so you can charge up to five devices at the same time. You’ll be glad you have it on hand if you’re exploring a port of call and you realize you forgot to charge your phone or if you end up spending an extra night or two at your final international destination before heading home.

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Hanging Toiletry Bag

Cruise ship bathrooms can be notoriously cramped, but that doesn’t mean it has to become a cluttered mess. This hanging toiletry bag from BAGSMART can hang from a towel rack or hook to keep all your self-care essentials off the sink and counter, but still within easy reach.

Available in a dozen fun colors, the cosmetic bag contains four separate zip-up compartments to organize your grooming products and keep them from leaking all over.

When your cruise is over, the entire kit folds up into a grab-and-go bag with handles for easy packing and travel.

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Lightweight Packable Backpack

When you’re heading off the ship for adventurous shores, you’ll need a reliable backpack to stash your gear for the day—and this one from JIELV will do the trick. Weighing in at less than a pound, this foldable day pack takes up hardly any space in your luggage.

It features several compartments to help you stay organized on hikes, at the beach, during wildlife-watching trips, or on cultural city tours. Choose from seven different colors and prints.

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Magnetic Hooks

Experienced cruisers know that magnetic hooks can be a game changer for maxing out your in-cabin storage. Since the walls and ceilings of many cruise cabins are made of metal, they provide a magnetic surface for these hooks from Neosmuk to grip onto.

The strong magnets can support up to 40 pounds of weight, but chances are good that you’ll mainly use them for light things, like a damp towel, a hat, keys, a jacket, or even camera gear.

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Towel Bands

This six-pack of towel bands from Towel Crabber will do double duty on the pool deck of your cruise. Like a giant rubber band, they snap around your lounge chair to keep your towel firmly in place, even on breezy days at sea.

The brightly colored bands also help you claim a chair and find it among the rows of loungers after you’re done splashing around the pool.

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Decorative Cruise Door Magnets

One of the most fun things to do after settling into your cruise cabin is decorating outside of the door, so you can express some creativity and make it easy to know at a glance which space is yours.

This 25-piece decorative magnet set includes a mix of cruise-inspired images, like an octopus, seahorse, anchor, and a nautical ship wheel, all of which can be used to create a unique scene on your door. Little cruisers will especially love changing the scene from day to day!

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Oversized Round Polarized Sunglasses

Whether you’re cruising through the Caribbean or up the coast of Alaska, you’re going to get lots of sunshine on deck, so you’ll want to pack sunglasses. These ones from TIJN boast scratch-resistant UV400 protection lenses that filter out nearly 100% of harmful ultraviolet rays.

But more than just functional, these shades are fashion-forward with their oversized tea-hued lenses and opal tortoise frames. They're affordable enough that you won't feel bad when you inevitably forget them somewhere on the deck.

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Desk Fan

Ship staterooms and cabins can get a little stuffy, so consider packing this rechargeable desk fan for your next cruise. The ultra-slim fan weighs less than half a pound and easily slides into your luggage.

It has a 180-degree swivel base that can be used as a stand or as a hanger for a hook. With four speed settings, you can get just the right level of airflow to keep you cool.

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Selfie Stick Tripod

From high-end dinners and pool time to once-in-a-lifetime excursions and cotton-candy sunsets at sea, your cruise will be filled with photo ops. Capture every moment — with you as the subject of each photo! — using this selfie stick.

It can extend to give you the most flattering angles in your impromptu selfie photoshoot and double as a tripod with a Bluetooth remote so that you can take pics with everyone in the family.

Popmask Calm Self-Warming Eye Masks

Popmask’s self-warming eye masks will become your new BFF for sleeping well on your cruise. Printed with an ocean-inspired design, each mask warms up automatically just 30 seconds after you open it and provides active pressure around the eyes to induce deep relaxation. It stays warm for 10 minutes — just enough time to lull you into a slumber.

Use it on your flight to the departure port to ensure you’re well-rested on day one of your cruise, and keep some on hand when you need to nurse a hangover after dancing at the cruise nightclub until dawn.

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Every Tone SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion

The sun's rays are harsh at sea, and you want a safe, effective sunscreen to block those bad boys. Coppertone's Every Tone SPF50 sunscreen was our pick for Best New Sunscreen for the 2024 Best Products Beauty Awards. It is a mineral sunscreen that blends out clear on all skin tones without feeling sticky or making you smell like a banana.

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Deck Shorts

As the name suggests, these deck shorts from Nautica are designed to be worn on a ship deck! The casual shorts offer a crisp yet leisurely look that’s perfect for strolling from bow to stern, hanging out by the pool, and enjoying meals at the ship’s buffet.

Choose from 12 vacation-ready colors, including coastal pine, Atlantis green, and pale coral.

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Womens Bathing Suit Coverup

Of all the garments you pack for a cruise, your swimsuit cover-up will probably get the most use, so it’s worth treating yourself to a new one like this ruffled piece from Blooming Jelly.

With its mid-length sleeves and midi-hem, it offers just the right amount of sun protection without causing you to overheat. The polyester fabric will dry fast in the sun, too.

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Wild Clematis One-Piece Swimsuit

Stand out at the deck pool of your next cruise with this cheerful one-piece swimsuit from Pillowpia. A cheeky bottom and scooped front and back, along with the two-color floral print, make for a universally flattering swimwear design.

The high-quality fabric is chlorine-resistant, so it’ll stand up to lots of pool time and is rated as UPF 50 to give your skin extra protection from dangerous UV rays. The best part? It’s available in XS to 3XL, so you won’t have a difficult time finding a version that fits you perfectly.

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Motion Sensor Night Light (2-Pack)

If you need to get up to use the bathroom or grab a glass of water in the middle of the night, you’ll be grateful to have a night light like this one in your cabin. Its magnetic base allows the light to stay in place on metal walls or even the ceiling.

It has a standard on/off switch, as well as a motion sensor that can turn it on automatically when you move around. This rechargeable night light offers continuous light for up to five hours, so you won’t need to plug it in very often.

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Lucinda Raffia Sun Hat

Look stylish while keeping the sun off your face on the cruise deck with the Lucinda Raffia Sun Hat. Made from 100% natural raffia, the hand-crocheted hat features a 6-inch wired brim, cotton sweatband lining, and a chic brown and gold ribbon band.

Keep it on hand if you tend to slack off on reapplying SPF or you want an eye-catching accessory to pop on during your excursions.

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Cruise Essentials Personal First Aid Kit

Whether you stub a toe, nick yourself while shaving, or get bit by a bug, you can take care of any minor injuries on a cruise or excursion with this Cruise Essentials Personal First Aid Kit. The versatile package contains an impressive 150 items to help you address health issues on your travels.

In addition to typical medical products like bandages and ointments, it also includes a few other items, such as a single-use poncho and a toothbrush, that you might find handy during your trip.

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Women's Flip Flops

Flip flops are an essential piece of footwear for travel, especially when you’re on a cruise ship, so it’s worth shelling out for a durable, comfortable pair like these ones from Temi. You can wear them when you’re strolling the deck, heading to the pool, or enjoying a beach day on shore.

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Orthopedic Sneakers

Going on a cruise involves more walking than you might think, both on and off ship, so you’ll want a comfy pair of shoes—like these ones from Hyper Arch—to keep your feet pain-free. Created by a team of Swiss designers and doctors, these sneakers are made from breathable mesh atop special memory foam insoles and air-cushioned heels to absorb impact every time you take a step.

You’ll also love the non-slip soles when you’re walking near the pool or stepping onto a slippery tender to take you into port. They come in a huge range of sizes (5 to 12) and six smart colors, so you can find the perfect pair for your tootsies.

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Rapid Touch-Up Wrinkle Release Spray

Irons are strictly prohibited from staterooms due to the risk of fire, but you can still smooth out clothes that have gotten creased in your bag with Bounce Rapid Touch-Up Wrinkle Release Spray.

Just spritz a little on your garment from about 6 inches away, then tug and smooth it with your hands to get rid of wrinkles. You’ll be ready for fine dining and formal night in a flash.

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Magnetic Battery

The last thing you need to see when you’re on a cruise and trying to capture every memorable moment is a low battery alert pop up on your phone. But if you carry this magnetic portable charger from Anker in your bag, you won’t have to worry about whether you forgot to charge your phone for the day.

The sleek, slim device can snap on to the back of any MagSafe phone to charge it fast, and it holds enough power to provide several full recharges. It also has a built-in foldable kickstand to keep your phone upright, making it easy to read the news while sipping your morning coffee.

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Stainless Steel Water Bottle

Pack this Hydro Flask Stainless Steel Water Bottle for your next cruise to stay hydrated and feel your best. The double-wall vacuum insulation keeps drinks cold for a full 24 hours. The lid also has a convenient handle you can use to attach the bottle to your bag, so it’s always on hand to refill at the pool deck or buffet.

And when you consider how much money it’ll save you from purchasing bottled water at every port, this reusable bottle pays for itself in almost no time.

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25 Things to Pack for a Cruise to Keep Yourself Prepared for Anything (2024)

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