Some of these links may be affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commision if you click-through and make a purchase.
I want to start out by saying, I LOVE cruises. Cruises are my go-to trip if I want a budget-friendly but fun-filled vacation. I have been on several different cruises with various cruise lines. This packing list has always made sure I wasn’t without!
First things first, I need my morning coffee. Most days it tends to be more like morning, mid-morning, and afternoon coffee but nevertheless, I need it! You might be wondering why you need a coffee mug for a cruise but once you try filling up the tiny coffee cup they give you and try carrying that anywhere on the ship, you’ll understand. I always bring this mug with me on all cruises. This way I am sure to have more than 4 ounces of coffee at a time and actually make it back to my stateroom without spilling…Every. Last. Drop.
It took me three cruises to discover these and before I bought them I was using GIANT binder clips instead… ridiculous, I know. I bought these on Amazon and they’re perfect. I got the larger count because I like to clip all four corners of my towel to the chair and I also like to have some extras for those cruising with me.
Some cruise lines will allow you to bring on a case of bottled water when you board but I am seeing that less frequently. I always pack either a collapsible water bottle or a regular Contigo water bottle with me on all of my cruises. The water in the state-room is safe to drink but if you’re picky, just throw a small Brita water bottle in your suitcase and have great tasting water your whole trip!
For those who don’t know, the entire cabin is made of metal. This means you can stick a magnet just about anywhere for any purpose. Magnetic hooks are always in my suitcase when I go on a cruise. I usually stick some by the door and hang my lanyard with my sail and sign card on it. I will place some on the wall somewhere in the cabin to hang up any hats or jackets that I packed. Think about the little space you will have in the bathroom. Use a hook to hang up your makeup bag or jewelry bag. They’re also great for hanging up swimming suits or anything that needs to dry. You can get the magnets I use here.
Some new cruisers and even experienced cruisers do not realize that you can take on a bottle of wine. It does have to be 750ml or less. Each adult 21 and older can take one bottle on. The catch here is that you should get a wine that doesn’t need a corkscrew or bring your own corkscrew. The dining room will charge a corking fee if you take it in there. Also, most cruise lines will make you carry this on in your carry on instead of packing in your suitcase.
I always like to pack a lanyard so I don’t lose my sail and sign card. Those become literally EVERYTHING once you are onboard. You will use this card as your room key, to gamble, to purchase anything, and to get on and off of the ship. I recommend bringing a lanyard and on the first day of the cruise, go to guest services and they can punch a hole in your card for you.
I know some cruise lines are now not allowing these but I have taken mine before without any problems. Mine is super small and I can break it down a little bit and it easily stores in my suitcase. I always use this a couple of nights on the cruise, especially for the formal night. You can find the updated version of the steamer I have here.
I don’t always take these on my cruises but I have learned that they can be very helpful in a pinch. I would also recommend bringing them if you are running out of space when packing and you can do a load of laundry mid-cruise. Some cruise ships will have a laundry room on the ship for you to use and you will just pay per load or you could just take a safety pin and pop your laundry pod and wash your laundry in the sink and hang it up to dry. (most staterooms will have a built-in clothesline in the shower).
It took me a few cruises to realize that I never had enough hangers to hang up my clothes and I wear a dress almost every night of the cruise. These are the best hangers for packing, they are super thin and don’t take up too much space. I also use these hangers at home too just because they keep my clothes from slipping off because they are made of felt.
I am a reader and this is probably the most important thing that I pack! Not really… but I seriously will not go on a vacation without it. I really enjoy doing activities and running around on cruises but I also love to read in the sun during the day. I typically really 2-3 books during every 7-day cruise. The Kindle is handy because I can have as many books as I want and it doesn’t take up space in my suitcase. I have had four kindles now and I would highly recommend getting the paperwhite. This kindle is perfect for reading in the sun and doesn’t have a glare but it also has a backlight so you can read at night in your cabin if everyone else is sleeping. If you really want to go all out, you can get the oasis. This kindle is waterproof and perfect for traveling around water.
Surge Protector/Power Strip
Once you get into your room and start unpacking and realize every electronic device you have is dying. You find an outlet to plug in your phone, kindle, camera, etc. and realize you only have two outlets. Yep, two. Try getting ready and needing a hair dryer and straightener but your phone is also dead.. talk about a struggle. I always pack a small surge protector so everyone in the cabin can charge their phone. I also need to charge my kindle so this is great for multiple devices. You can find the surge protector I have here.