100 item Ultimate Cruise Packing List (Printable PDF) (2024)

Packing for a cruise is no simple task, regardless if you are a first-timer or veteran. The combination of various "what to wear" scenarios coupled with the inability to run to the store to buy something you need gives a lot of people pause when trying to figure out what to pack.

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There are so many fun things to do on a cruise in addition to all the great excursions. How to pack for everything?

It's my experience that a really good cruise packing list helps a lot, because it can assist with being prepared for cruise line dress codes, what to wear on shore, evening wear, and everything you may need in your cabin too.

Planning ahead can be a great time-saver, as no one wants to use valuable vacation time doing detours while in port in a search for a forgotten item. Or missing out on a great activity, such as a galley tour, because you don't have closed toe shoes.

After many years of cruising, here are the list of important things you should pack for any cruise ship vacation. I hope with this list, you can avoid common cruise packing mistakes and be ready for an amazing trip!

Luggage

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Before you start packing, it is always a good idea to make sure you have the right luggage. Royal Caribbean does not have a specific limit on the number of suitcases. For most, this will be guided by transportation options, especially flying, which has restrictions on both the size and weight of bags.

When you arrive at the cruise terminal, you will hand your larger bags over to a porter, and they will be delivered to your cabin later on embarkation day.

For that reason, you will need to bring a manageable carry-on bag, which should have room enough for important valuables, required documents, and anything else you need right away, such as flip flops and a bathing suit.

If you are bringing on wine or champagne, this will also need to be packed in your carry-on.

Daytime clothes and accessories

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As with most trips, clothing is going to your primary focus and take up the bulk of your suitcase.

The total number of outfits that you are going to want to bring depends on the length and type of cruise. There are no self-service laundry facilities onboard but washing, pressing, and dry-cleaning services are offered (prices vary per item). It is best to plan clothes for the number of days plus a return home outfit. Two outfits per day is a good rule of thumb (day and night).

For casual daywear pack:

  • T-shirts and/or tank tops
  • Shorts
  • Swimsuits and appropriate cover up
  • Sundresses
  • Comfortable pair of flip flops and/or sandals
  • Jeans and pants
  • Active wear
  • Clothes for onboard activities, such as the all-access ship tour, zip-lining, and rock climbing, which requireclosed-toe shoes
  • Socks
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Lanyard for SeaPass card

Evening clothes and accessories

For evening events, the dress code varies, but cruisers are less formal than they use to be. Many guests wear "smart casual" for formal night; Royal Caribbean's website explains the dress code to help with packing for evening wear.

  • "Smart Casual: Think of this as a step up from your typical dinner wear. Dress to impress with collared shirts, dresses, skirts, blouses, or pantsuits. Jackets, sports coats, and blazers are snazzy and welcomed.
  • Formal:Make it a night out in your best black-tie look – suits and ties, tuxedos, co*cktail dresses, or evening gowns, although I have to say less and less of this.
  • There are also fun theme nights, such as the White Party, 70s or 80s nights. They differ by ship, but a previous Cruise Compass will indicate what can be expected.
  • Nicer shoes (heels, flats, loafers, etc.)
  • Sleepwear
  • Jewelry

Related:Everything you need to know about formal night on a Royal Caribbean cruise

Ports and excursions

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Whether it is a beach day, bicycle tour, or snorkeling, there are a few things you should probably include for your port days.

It is always a good idea to keep valuables such as a phone and wallet safe when venturing out in ports. Cross-body bags with secure locks or a money belt are good options. It never hurts to stick an umbrella or rain ponchos in your bag in case any tropical showers pop up.

For general water/beach outings, consider packing:

  • Mask, goggles,and snorkel
  • Water shoes (where needed)
  • Life jackets/flotation devices (especially for children)
  • Waterproof phone carrier
  • Towel clips (the ship provides towels)
  • Beach bag
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen and lip balm
  • Appropriate footwear

Packing for Colder Climates

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Cruising to colder climates, like Alaska, has become increasingly popular and requires different considerations for weather and activities.

The amount of rain and temperature can vary during an Alaskan cruise, so you should be prepared to keep warm and dry. Layered dressing is the way to go in this climate. Here are some suggestions:

  • Shirts and t-shirts for inner layers
  • Warm layers, such as fleece pullovers
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Suitable closed toe shoes
  • Boots forhiking where needed
  • Gloves, hat andscarf
  • Binoculars
  • Water-resistant backpack/cross-body bag for onshore
  • Insect repellant is especially important for Alaska
  • Hand warmer packs

Location specific requirements

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The cruise planner will list important details for excursions. For example, in Rome, there is no access to the Vatican or St. Peter’s Basilica with exposed shoulders or knees. This applies to both men and women.

For those who love camouflage clothing, it is important to note that it is illegal in some Caribbean countries, such as Jamaica, Barbados, and St. Lucia, as it is reserved for military use. Some non-camo options should be included when packing.

Sunscreen is a must and cruisers should be aware that some destinations require reef-safe sunscreen to help protect the health of their coral reefs. These products don’t contain harmful chemicals such as oxybenzone, octocrylene and octinoxate. Reef-safe sunscreens are readily available in popular drugstores and other retailers. Ports in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Aruba, and Hawaii are some of the locations that require these types of sunscreens.

Kid stuff

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Traveling with younger kids can definitely add more to your packing list. Beyond the standard clothes suggested for adults, consider including:

  • Diapers – pack plenty of extra ones, including regular and swim
  • Baby wipes
  • Rash cream
  • Extra plastic bags for wet items
  • Extra clothes
  • Light blanket
  • Stroller
  • Car seat where necessary
  • Bottles/sippy cups
  • Baby food and formula
  • Beach toys
  • Activities like coloring, stickers, books, etc.
  • Inflatable bath tub to place in the shower for younger children

Also, make sure that you download any favorite shows and games on tablets or phones prior to boarding the ship!

Toiletries

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When it comes to toiletries, the cruise line only provides soap and shampoo; many people prefer to bring their own. Here are some of the main things to consider bringing:

  • Shampoo and conditioner, and other hair products.
  • Skin care products
  • Makeup
  • Eye care – glass cleaners andcontact solution
  • Dental – toothbrush and toothpaste (and floss for the 1% that actually do as their dentist tells them)
  • Curling / flat irons (cabins have blow dryers)
  • Shaving products
  • Brush, comb, elastics/ hair accessories
  • Deodorant
  • Nail products
  • Shoe rack to help with organization
  • Sewing kit

Tip - For some reason, travel sized products can be pricey despite their size. Reusable travel bottles are a good solution, especially if you don’t need a large quantity of product.

First Aid and Medications

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While some items can be purchased onboard, it is a good idea to have a ready made first aid kit for easy access during the cruise. The last thing you want to do, is spend time running around in port to find something,

Unfortunately, some people suffer from sea sickness, but there are a number of well known remedies such as Gravol, wrist bands and patches.

Here are some common medications/ first aid items to pack:

  • Sea sickness remedies
  • Pain and allergy products
  • After-burn care (aloe), lip balm (SPF), and bug spray
  • Anti-itch cream/ hydrocortisone
  • First aid items such as band-aids and anti-bacterial ointment
  • Upset stomach medications
  • Cold medicine
  • Eye drops

Valuables/Carry-on

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The last bag to pack is your carry-on. Once the luggage is dropped off at the terminal, this should contain everything needed until the cabin is ready.

  • Money (small denominations for tips/ foreign currency), credit cards
  • Electronics – phone, tablet, earbuds, charger, camera
  • Required medication (at least 3 days extra worth)
  • Eyewear – glasses, sunglasses, contacts
  • Comfort items such as gum/ mints/ snacks
  • Phone battery (can’t be packed)
  • Masks (where required)
  • Hand sanitizer and wipes
  • Covid 19 test kits if you plan on doing proctored tests
  • Pens

Although most people keep documents on their phone, I always feel better having hard copies as well just in case something happens to my phone. Documents to consider:

  • Boarding passes
  • Negative Covid-19test results (if necessary)
  • Country specific entry requirements
  • Hotel reservations
  • Transportation details
  • Insurance details
  • A list of key numbers and reservations
  • SetSail passes
  • Luggage tags
  • Excursion details

Tip: Passports applications are taking longer right now, so do keep this in mind if you are traveling to a destination that requires one. It is important to check the expiry date as most countries require passports to be valid for at least 6 months.

Drinks and Beverages

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Royal Caribbean allows guests to bring a specific quantity of drinks onboard. This can be a great money saver or is nice if you have a specific beverage you really love.

According to Royal Caribbean, each guest can bring one 750 ml bottleof wine or champagne, as long as they are of legal drinking age

Guests can also bring non-alcoholic beverages up to 12 standard (17 oz.) cans, bottles or cartons per stateroom.Milk and distilled water brought on for infant, medical, or dietary use are permitted.

Corkscrews will be provided for guests to enjoy their drinks in their stateroom, and if guests wish to enjoy their wine or champagne in our dining or bar venues, there will be a corkage fee applied.

Guests who purchase alcohol bottles onboard, in a port-of-call, or bring more than the two permitted bottles on boarding day, will have their items safely stored by the ship.These bottles will be returned on the last day onboard for enjoyment once home.

Outlets

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Royal Caribbean ships have standard plugs and most Caribbean ports have the same electrical outlets as those in the United States. However, for your pre-and post stay for international cruises, you may require adaptors and converters.

Adaptors are inexpensive to purchase but do vary by destination, so check what is required for your travels destination.

In addition, some items may need a converter that, as the name implies, converts it to the proper voltage. This is more likely to be an issue for items like flat or curling irons. These can be much more expensive, so best to do your research ahead of time to determine what is needed.

Miscellaneous

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Although there is plenty of food and drinks on the cruise, there are times when it is helpful to have a pre-packaged snack on hand. Protein and granola bars can be great options, as well as favorites like goldfish or cheerios that can calm down a tired toddler.

Other items to consider:

  • A night light, as cabins can be dark
  • Reading material – some people love reading on a kindle or their tablet, but for those that don't remember to bring a book or magazine.
  • Flashlight
  • Straws
  • Towel clips to keep your towel from blowing away
  • Fan, but must be cordless (can plug into USB)
  • Multi-outlet USB Charger (non-surge)
  • Magnetic hooks
  • Ziplock bags
  • Water bottle
  • Wrinkle release spray
  • Watch

E-Packing

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This is a growing category that I have added to my packing list. With more and more apps and Covid protocols, and other health requirements, I have to give more thought to what I need to have on my phone for travel, what I consider e-packing.

Some people like to print out everything, which is a good strategy as well, but for some things, it is best to have an app.

  • Royal Caribbean's App -- you will need this onboard,get information on activities, your schedule, book entertainment, etc.
  • Airline and transportation apps
  • Boarding passes
  • Vaccine proof
  • Negative Covid-19 results
  • Any country specific entry codes, for example for Spain, you need to complete a health form and receive a QR code for entry
  • Excursion details/tickets
  • Country specific requirements like Canada’s ArriveCAN app, that much be completed prior to arrival

I also create a specific travel folder for all of my travel related emails, such as transportation details, and cruise planner purchases.

What to leave at home

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There is a whole list of items that can’t be brought onboard, so it's best to know about this ahead of time and not waste space or risk losing them.

There is a detailed list of prohibited items on Royal Caribbean's website, and among many are items that heat up, which can cause a fire hazard on the ship. Anything that could interfere with the safe operation of the ship or the safe and secure environment of guests and crew are prohibited.

Here are some common items that the cruise line does not permit onboard:

  • Beer, hard liquor and spirits
  • Marijuana (even if medical products), CBD Oil / CBD Products
  • Irons and steamers
  • Kettle, coffee maker or hot plate
  • Candles
  • Any other device that produces heat
  • Baby Monitors
  • Extension cords
  • Perishable foods and meats
  • Hookahs and water hookah pipes
  • Weapons including pepper spray
  • Toy gun replicas
  • Hoverboards
  • HAM radios

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100 item Ultimate Cruise Packing List (Printable PDF) (2024)

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