What to Bring on a Cruise?

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TRAVEL UPDATE: Due to safety concerns, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is now banned on most cruise lines – including all Carnival and Royal Carribean vessels. If you own a Note 7, leave it at home as it will be confiscated before you board!

Before you set sail, we’d recommend printing this page and checking you have certain key items on your person.

Start with the Basics

If you’re going to forget everything else, you’re going to need your boarding passes, your identification, and your money. Don’t pack them. Carry them with you, so if your suitcases don’t make it, you will still be able to board and purchase replacement items.

The Essentials

Let’s break down the essentials in order of priority.

On your Person – ID & Money

  • (Photo) ID
    • Passport
    • Driver’s license (for ID purposes)
  • Travel Visas and Immunisation Records (if you’re travelling to regions where those are required)
  • Credit cards, local currencies

Be sure your ID matches your name on the boarding pass – this is especially relevant for honeymooners. If the names do not match, you may be prevented from boarding.

For your Carry-on – Medication & Toiletries

Relying on the cruise ship chemist will cost you. To play it safe, consider bringing the following with you:

  • Over the counter medication – cold & flu, headache, anti-inflammatories, etc.
  • Sea sickness tablets
  • Glasses and contact lenses (and contact cleaning and soaking fluid)
  • Sunscreen & lip balm
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Shampoo, conditioner, body soap & deodorant
  • Shaver or razor
  • Contraception & hygiene products
  • Ear plugs
  • Laundry detergent
  • Magnets (to hang reminders)

Don’t necessarily rely on the presence of your favourite toiletries and bring your own to avoid those steep onboard charges.
If you’re not a top tier passenger, you may need to use on-ship laundry facilities. To save on costs, you may want to do your own laundry.
Ask the crew for seasickness tablets before going to the ship’s pharmacy. Bland crackers and green apples can also help alleviate seasickness.

Beyond the Essentials

Once you have the most important items in your possession, there are a few more items you should consider packing in your carry-on.


Cruises are a great opportunity to tune out and shut down communication tools, that being said, you may want to bring your phone to dial back in once you’re in port or to take pictures. It may also serve as a handy alarm clock.

  • Mobile phone or tablet
  • Camera
  • Cords, chargers and spare batteries
  • Extension cord (check with your cruise line if it’s allowed)
  • Flashlight

Don’t forget to turn off Roaming on your electronic devices (those with SIM cards) or to buy a pre-travel pack from your carrier (include all relevant destinations in your submission) to get back in touch in port.
Onboard Internet is also costly and typically quite slow.


Clothes will directly impact your enjoyment on the cruise and weather/temperature will dictate what you should wear. So be prepared to avoid freezing or over-heating or getting soaked.

It’s typically breezy by the sea shore. Ships often come into port early and mornings out on the water can be brisk and invigorating, so a lightweight, waterproof windbreaker, shall or poncho can make a big difference.

A professional looking windbreaker can also come in handy in the dining room when the air-conditioning is set to sub-arctic. Be sure to check the dress code when selecting your layers!

Want More Cruise Travel Tips?

Beyond the must haves, the essentials you need to take with you, there are still more things you should know about your cabin, food & drinks and the entertainment on board. We’ve got you covered.

It’s important to get travel insurance, as soon as you put down deposits or pay for your cruise, up to 12 months in advance. Travel insurance doesn’t cost any more if you purchase it earlier, but it does cover you for any cancellations or if you injure yourself prior to your holiday and it inhibits you from going (e.g. breaking your leg prior to a ski holiday).