What to Pack for a Cruise
Going on a cruise can be the experience of a lifetime, but it can also bring a whole new challenging level of packing to the table. Remember that ship cabins usually have a limited storage space allocated so it’s always a good idea to pack light.
So, what to pack, and what should be left at home?
A major consideration in packing is your cruise destination. Are you going on a tropical cruise? Arctic? Or a mix? That will dictate what clothes you should bring. It’s important to know as well about the shore excursions as you definitely would have to be dressed appropriately for them.
Pay attention to your ship’s dress codes. How many formal nights are they requiring? You would need to bring appropriate clothing for that. Remember that you can bring one black dress and just make it look different with the use of accessories or scarf! In most ships, however, resort casual is the norm (something you would wear on a dinner date on land).
Note as well that the ship will provide basic toiletries, so if you’re not particular with regards to brand, you can leave your bottles of shampoo and conditioner behind.
While it’s a good idea to pack a variety of outerwear for the different weather, don’t bring too much. That said, a basic one even for a tropical cruise is a sweatshirt and a windbreaker for when the temperature drops. You can always dress in layers if it becomes too cold.
Bring a variety of casual clothing for relaxed days on the ship, including shorts, breezy T-shirts, and a swimsuit. Don’t forget some nice, wrinkle-free dresses (and slacks for men) as well for dining onboard or dining experiences on land (dress, slacks).
You should also have a variety of footwear from supportive, comfortable sneakers for touring on land, sandals for warm days by the pool on the ship or casual dining, and dress shoes for more formal dining or attractions. Don’t bring more than four pairs or you’re going to be overpacked!
Make sure to bring proper headwear for the weather conditions as well. Bring a hat and sunglasses to protect you from the sun’s rays as well as an umbrella to keep you dry on rainy days. Keep in mind that all cruise ships have laundry facilities, so you don’t have to bring as much clothes as the number of days you’re on cruise.
While cruise ships usually have an onboard clinic, make sure to pack your own medications or medical equipment. You can also inform the captain beforehand if you have a more serious medical condition so that they can be prepared.
Definitely bring your camera, tablet, electronic reader, chargers, and a universal adapter. If you’re going to bring a laptop and go online, find out first how much the usage charges would be. You don’t want to come home from a wonderful cruise just to be surprised with an astronomical bill due to sky-high roaming charges that you weren’t aware of!
Bring a small tote as well for those day shore excursions for exploration, tours, dining, and other tourism activity. This can also double as your day pack. On the last night of your cruise all suitcases are usually taken away, so this smaller tote can be your overnight bag containing your change of clothing for the next day, toiletries, medications, and anything else you may need to access in that shorter period of time when your bigger luggage is not available.
For convenience and organization, storage solutions are great to pack for a cruise. Bring door-hanging organizers for makeup, smaller toiletries, and accessories. Suitcase organizational systems as well as a foldable bag where you can put your souvenirs and checked in on your way home are all great options as well.
If you’re tempted to bring alcohol, don’t. Most cruise ships will charge you for it. If you really must drink, the ship bar is there for that purpose.
What you pack and what you don’t pack can affect your experience of the cruise. So better prepare for it in advance!