What to pack when heading off on a cruise holiday

Cruise ship in Valletta, Malta

If you’ve just booked a cruise, whether you’re going on one last minute or in 6 months time, you’re going to need to pack very generously. Think about it: you could be away for anywhere between 3 and 14 days onboard a floating city that only docks occasionally – that requires a lot of forward planning! 

And if you’re in a flurry right now about what should go in the suitcase or if you need to buy something specific for your trip, we’ve listed everything to remember down below. Alongside the sunscreen, summer clothing, and a copy of your passport, make sure these items make the checklist too.

Skincare Wipes

Cruise ships can be sticky places from time to time, even when there’s a full crew onboard with you. Because of that, you’ll want to pack a small bag of wipes with you that are good for the skin. These are gentle enough to be multipurpose so can be used on various parts of the body, and the small packs won’t be hard to fit into the suitcase with everything else either. 

You may also wish to pack anti-bacterial wipes or hand gel if you prefer to take extra precautions when it comes to cleanliness too. After all, you’ll be sharing the boat with a lot of other passengers. Therefore, anti-bacterial wipes that are gentle to the skin should be a part of your essentials for a summer skincare routine.

Cruise ship deck
Packing correctly ensures a smooth cruise

A Mini-Fan

The onboard cabins can get pretty hot at night, especially if you’re on one of the deeper floors below deck. And when it comes to using the air conditioning, it could be a little loud to use overnight, or not directional enough to keep you nice and cool.

To keep cool, it’s a good idea to pack a little fan so you can avoid those sleepless nights at sea. You can get the to either plug in, or find one that’s battery powered so you can hold it close when you really need it. 

Two Pairs of Sunglasses

The more sunglasses you keep in the bag, the easier it’s going to be to protect against the sun. We’ve all lost or broken glasses while away, so it’s super important to have a back-up pair just in case. If you’ve only got an old pair kicking around, you could buy some luv lou sunglasses to take with you for a bit of style – you’ll want to match them with your outfits as well! 

Once they’re packed, never forget to take your sunglasses on deck. With all that watery, reflective surface pinging rays back at you, you may come home again with a permanently furrowed brow! 

What To Buy When Packing For A Cruise
It can be surprisingly bright during Antarctica cruises

Something to Hang Clothes On

Don’t just rely on the hangers than come in the cabin wardrobe – there might not be many! Pack some of your own that are collapsible or even magnetic, meaning you can hang wet laundry from any metal surface available to you. 

And on a ship, these surfaces will be in abundance! So the more hangers you have, the better – it’s good to get your clothes out of the suitcase, especially formal outfits for dinner and theatre performances in the evening. 

Proper Walking Shoes

The boat is going to dock and you’ll want to explore. This means you’ll need more than a pair of flip-flops in the suitcase. You’re going to want a pair of proper walking shoes to wear as well. This will make it a lot easier to keep up with tourist groups and tours, especially if you get separated from the group and have to rush back to the port! 

Something Waterproof

Yes, even when you’re in the middle of the ocean, it might start to rain. And not only that! Sometimes there might be big waves on the horizon, and if you want to be on deck, you’re going to get wet from all the splashing!

In moments like these, you’re going to want something waterproof in your suitcase to keep you warm and dry. Pack a simple waterproof jacket that’s easy to fold up, or attach it to the outside of your suitcase with a cable tie.

Packing a suitcase
Pack a waterproof jacket as well as a sunhat

A Media-Loaded Tablet

It might come as a surprise to learn that Cruise ship Wi-Fi might be a little pricey to use, and you may not have factored that into your budget. After all, we’re used to travelling the world using free hotel and airport Wi-Fi, so it’s an understandable assumption that you’ll be able to connect online while you’re onboard the boat without having to pay extra.

However, a permanent Wi-Fi connection on a cruise ship is usually only included in the premium holiday package, and not many people can afford that! So be aware of this when working out overall costs for your trip. As such, it’s best to download as many travel-inspired movies and TV shows to a tablet ahead of time. Don’t download anything onto your phone – you might quickly run out of space and battery life! 

Comforting Creams

Finally, think about the worst that could happen to your skin. A lack of sun protection, a bite from some local insects – both are hard to deal with on a cruise ship. So pack some creams for them in your toiletry bag; you don’t know if they’ll be available for purchase on board! 

If you need to pack for a cruise, pad out your suitcase like this. A bit of comfort goes a long way when you’re coasting through the ocean! 

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