October 16, 2017

That Time I Packed for a Cruise...

More on Cruising :)

For my first cruise I had a really hard time finding a good packing list to go off of. There were plenty of lists that just listed items, but not quantities. Due to my strife, I wanted to post my packing list for others to find (below).

But first, some things to note:...
If you are going on a longer cruise, and flying, you are better off packing less and doing laundry. no one's going to judge you for re-wearing clothes; we're all in the same boat (pun not intended). Choose generic-looking clothing items you can mix and match which won't be noticed when you repeat them later in the cruise. For reference, Carnival's "Cruise Elegant" dress code could be described as "semi-formal": cocktail dresses & khakis + oxford shirt; not ballgowns and tuxes... tho more formal is certainly permitted.
If deciding whether or not to attend your cruise' Formal Night: DO IT. It's the only time you can get lobster for free (on sailings of 6+ days). This takes place in the main dining room. (This is specifically for Carnival; not sure what Royal Caribbean does, and Norwegian doesn't even do a formal night.)

When packing, decide if you want to check any bags at the cruise terminal. We choose to carry on all of our bags, but we packed relatively light. Checking your bags means you might not have those bags in time for dinner the first night. If you are carrying your bags, you don't need to print the luggage tags.

If you board very early, your room may not be ready yet, so checking your bag could be the better option. You would then want to have a bathing suit, etc. in a carry-on so that you can hit the pool right away, along with anything else you will want the first day before your bag is delivered. When checking a bag, they are delivered outside your door sometime that evening. If you check bags, you are expected to tip $1 per bag to the person you hand them over to.
This list is for Boyfriend and me for a 7-night cruise. I've only done NCL and Carnival cruises so there are some specifics for them which may or may not apply to other ships. Most-if-not-all ships have shampoo and body wash in dispensers in the shower, and hand soap is provided a la all hotels. If you have kids, here's a packing list for them. If you're going somewhere cold, here's someone else's article that you can use to modify the list below.

(Click me for Printable Version)

**Packing Cubes (un-filled pre-cruise, then use them on the return to make room for souvenirs)

Boyfriend's Packing list:
2 Swim Trunks
2 Belts
1 Exercise Outfit
1 Jacket
1 Jeans
2 Oxford shirts
2 Polo shirts
3 Shorts
3 Socks
3 T-shirt
1 Trousers/Khakis
2 Under Shirts
8 Underwear
1 White evening outfit (NCL and Carnival both have white-attire nights)
2 Gym clothes
1-2 Sweater

1 Flip Flops
1 Dress Shoes (something that will work as both semi-formal and formal)
1 Sneakers

My Packing List:

1 Clutch Purse
1 Day bag (for items needed off ship... or on when away from cabin)
1 Hat
1 Jewelry
4 Hair Tie
1 Nail File
x Tampons (just in case)
x Makeup

2-3 Bathing suits
2 Bras
1 Cardigan, heavy
1 Cardigan, light
1-2 Dress, cocktail
1 Dress, little black
1 Formal Dress (for cruises with formal night)
1 Jacket, light
1 Jeans
1 PJs
3 Mini Skirts/Shorts/combo
1-2 Dress skirt
1 Shirt, long sleeve
2-3 Shirts/tops
2 Socks
2 Summer Dress
3 Tank tops
1 Tights
7 Underwear
2 Bathing Suit Cover-ups
1 White evening wear (NCL and Carnival both have white attire nights)

1 Flip Flops
1 Foldy shoes 
1 Dress Shoes (something that will work as both semi-formal and formal)
1 Nice sandals
1 Sneakers
Both (some to be shared):
Beach / Sun
1 Beach Bag
1 Bug spray
1 Cooler (you can buy buckets of beer that you could then bring off ship if wanted - check open container laws for your ports)
1 Sunglasses
1 Swimming Goggles
1 Aftersun Lotion

**DO NOT BRING A TOWEL - There will be pool towels you can take to the beach with you in your cabin or somewhere near the pool depending on the cruiseline.
1 ATM Card
1 Book
1 Id (Driver License)
1 Id (Passport)
1 International Credit Card (One that doesn't charge intl fees. The cruise lines' cards seem to not have int'l fees OR annual fees, so check that out if you don't already have one)
1 Med ins card (Makes things easier if something were to happen)

1 Cell Phone
1 Phone charger
1 Digital Camera
1 Charger (Camera)
1 Extra memory card
1 Laptop
1 Charger (Laptop)
1 Tablet
1 Charger (Tablet)
1 Extension cord
1 Flashlight
1 Headphones
1 Plug splitter

1 Antibacterial Ointment
1 Bandaid
1 Cortisone
1 Lip Balm
x Motion Sickness Tablets
x Pepto
1 Scissors
x Tums
1 Tweezers
3 Highlighters
6 Magnetic Hooks
1 Books / Magazines
1 Wine Opener
1 750ml Bottle Wine/Champagne (*for cruiselines that allow)
1 Champagne stopper (I have one, it works surprisingly well)
12-Pack Soda/Juice cans-or-cartons (*for cruiselines that allow)
2 Lanyards (For room key)
1 Sewing Kit
3 Tea lights (battery powered-nightlights)
1 Travel mug
1 Umbrella
1 Water bottle
2 Laundry detergent packets

1 Hanging organizer
1 Ear plugs
1 Lotion
1 Razor
1 Toothbrush
1 Toothpaste
1 Combs
1 Contact Case
1 Contact Solution
1 Contacts
1 Face soap
1 Glasses
1 Glasses case
1 Q-tips
1 Toothbrush
1 Toothpaste

**DO NOT TAKE SHAMPOO & SOAP. Unless you need to have your brand, these are in the cabin's bathroom.
For further reference in the clothes category, Cruise Critic has a page with links to all cruise lines' dress codes linked.

If there's anything on the list you don't have, here's a shopping list:

More stuff you should bring!:
Cabin Must-Haves
Sundeck Necessities
Accessories for Cruise Ports

More on Cruising :)


  1. This is a great list. I am terrible with packing, so this is helpful. I would love to go on a cruise one day!

  2. I've never been on a cruise, so this information is so useful! Will be sharing this with my sister as she is going on her first cruise later this year.

  3. Very thorough list. I haven't been on a cruise yet, but i would like to go on one in the future.

  4. Oh wow this is awesome! I would love to go on a cruise, soon i hope. Your list is awesome. Thank you.

  5. What a list you have created! When we have gone on a cruise, we were sent a packing list, which helped tons.

  6. I love cruising and one of the issues I encounter is the packing as I pack too much sometimes =) this list will help me a lot in my next trip, thanks!

  7. No need to take towels! That was the mistake we made on our first cruise with P & O. Good list, for men we just need to remember a suit and swim shorts. The rest is optional 😎

  8. Packing for a cruise can be so hard. It's not like you can easily buy something if you forget. This is a great list!

  9. I never spent much time on Cruise. Good to see the list provided by you. It's gonna be helpful for me whenever I plan to travel by cruise for days.Now I realize that keeping less luggage is best advice for Cruise travel.

  10. My parents and sister could have used this great list when packing for their cruises the first time. Now, after going every year, they are veterans and know exactly what they need for the cruises they go on.

  11. Never been on a cruise. The suggestions are going to be useful when I get the chance.

  12. Seems that you've listed all what's necessary and needed. I can imagine how awful it is going on a cruise unprepared. This helped a lot.

  13. ice list! I love cruises it is always lots of fun and joy in there! thanks for posting

  14. My family and I are avid cruisers and yet we still overpack, taking some of your tips and using them for our next cruise.

  15. We are going on cruise. It's such a timely post. You have listed every single thing needed. I am so grateful for the post.

  16. I loved going on a cruise. We had to pack a set of formal clothes too.

  17. I love the tip about mixing and matching clothes. I usually wash them on holiday and it seems like you're wearing the same thing over and over again

  18. It is good to have a packing list just like how we organized our grocery list. Well it is

  19. I go on a cruise annually. I like this packing list i will keep these in my for my next cruise.

  20. The ship doesn’t supply hair conditioner! Bring!