Cruising Essentials

Cruising is one of my favorite ways to travel, as I love waking up to a new country/island each morning to explore. I also love getting dressed up and going to dinner and a show every night, as the entertainment options on board are endless. Want to catch a comedy show? Relax with a drink while listening to a jazz band? Watch/participate in karaoke? Dance until the wee hours of the morning in the club? Test your luck in the casino? Get some new loot in the duty free shops? Catch a Broadway style show after dinner? You can do all of that on a cruise, and much more.

Since the cruise lines pack in all the fun for you, what essentials do you need to worry about packing?

Absolute #1 item you do not want to forget is your passport. You can purchase basically anything else you may forget to pack in your suitcase, but you will need your passport to board the ship to start your vacation, and again at the end when you disembark and have to clear customs to go home. If you don't have a passport, what are you waiting for? Get one... now! There's a big beautiful world out there waiting to be seen and explored.

Don't over pack, as you'll be living in bathing suits and cover ups by day and sundresses and cocktail dresses (on formal nights) at night if sailing in the Caribbean (When we cruised the Mediterranean last year, we still packed bathing suits for some lounging by the pool and the hot tubs, but we did a lot of site seeing which meant comfortable walking shoes, shorts, and tees.)

Pack several bathing suits, as you'll want a clean dry one each day. Don't forget some flowy coverups for walking to the pool, and into port before hitting up the beach.

Bring a beach bag to bring with you to the pool, and to carry everything you need when disembarking to an island. You'll want to carry your beach towels, a change of clothes, your camera, some money, and your sail and sign card which gets you on and off the ship.

Reading material for the pool and the beach, nothing beats a good book or fashion magazine with a calming breeze and turquoise water view.

Don't forget sundresses for dinner and night time fun, and a cocktail dress or two for formal nights (most 7 night cruises will have 2 formal nights, where as shorter cruises will have 1). It's a fun excuse to get dressed up, and go to a nice dinner and a show after. Make sure the man in your life packs a suit and tie Justin Timberlake style for formal nights and nice polos with jeans or khakis for the other nights.

Sandals and wedges are always my choice of footwear, as wedges are easier to walk in than heels but still give you the height and elongate your legs.

Most cruise lines allow you to bring one bottle of wine or champagne per person on board to enjoy in your stateroom or around the ship. We of course brought 2 bottles of our favorite almond champagne to enjoy on our balcony while getting ready for dinner or as a night cap.

You can also bring a case of water bottles (unopened), as it's ridiculously expensive to open the water bottles in the mini bar in your room. And you will need as much water as you can get between being out in the hot sun and day drinking.

I am notorious for using my iPhone for the majority of my picture taking, but when I'm on vacation I use my fancy camera as much as possible.

Airborne chewable tablets and hand sanitizer are my best friends while traveling. The last thing you want is to come down with something, and feel like crap when you want to be enjoying your long awaited vacation.

Other than your passports, the most important thing to pack is sunscreen. Always practice safe sun especially in the Caribbean where the sun is hotter. I always make sure to pack sunscreen, aloe (in case I end up burning anyway), and a beach hat which further protects my face and neck. 

What you don't need to pack:

Towels - both bath and beach towels will be supplied for you, and you can change them out for fresh ones as often as you'd like.

Hair dryer - there will be a hair dryer as well as soap, shampoo, and conditioner in your stateroom's bathroom.

Snacks for your room - there is complimentary room service included. 

Too many clothes - as I mentioned above, you'll end up living in a bathing suit most of the time and dresses at night. 

What are some of your must-haves when cruising?


  1. These are great tips, lady! Everything you need for an awesome Caribbean cruise. I over packed my first cruise because I forgot we'd be in bathing suits or active wear most of the time. And we didn't know about the water or wine, boo.

    It was a lot harder packing for our Alaskan cruise as the weather changed every day, was colder outside but the ship was comfy and warm. I packed waaaaayyy too many warm clothes and not enough chill clothes. WE also were able to get 2 wine bottles per person on board, woohoo! We didn't even have to declare them because our tour group was the last to board. FREEE WINE, YAY!

  2. well this is handy! i've only cruised once but i can agree on all these things. i can't wait to hear about your cruise when you get back! xo

  3. Even though I'm not taking a cruise these are essential for our beach vacay next month so thank you!! xo, Biana - BlovedBoston

  4. Yes to the passport, bikinis and champs! Everything else I can figure out later ;) Ok so maybe I do need something for dinners but other than that... I plan on living in my bikini on a cruise!

    <3, Pamela
    Sequins & Sea Breezes

  5. Such a great roundup! Glad I'm not the only one that packs 50 swimsuits for a trip :) Hope you're having so much fun!!!

  6. Love this post! We're in Tampa, so we cruise quite often (going next week actually! CANNOT WAIT!)

  7. Great tips! I've never been on a cruise but it sounds like fun!

  8. Ohhhh what did you think about the cruise to the Mediterranean?

  9. I am awful at overpacking! I know all the essentials needed but then i can never settle on which shoes and outfits to go with so end up dumping endless options in there. Of course, I don't use half the stuff.

  10. I didn't know you could bring water, and a bottle of booze. That helps. The more swimwear the better!

  11. Yess!

    Hat, books, cover ups, comfortable but cute lounge clothes, sneakers for walking laps around the ship, sunscreen, multiple cameras!

  12. This just made me want to cruise so bad! Now with the kids we go on Disney Cruises and they allow you to bring as much booze as you want (as long as it fits in a carry on) I think they know parents need to drink lol!!

  13. Great trips! I want to pack up and get on a boat RIGHT NOW! Almond champagne included, of course :)

  14. greaaaaaat tips. i always overpack and you're so right about being in a bathing suit half of the time. i'll keep that in mind for our honeymoon!

  15. Great tips. Ive never been on a cruise but Id prob give similar advice for any Caribbean vacay!

  16. LOVED THIS!!!!

    I am taking notes sister!! I have 80 something days left til my first one! I cannot wait to go!! This post got me even more excited

  17. I love travelling and always dream about doing more of it! These are great essentials to have! Love cruises! I would love for you to share this over at my new link party Making Memories Mondays going on now!