We leave for our cruise aboard the Carnival Breeze in just a few short days. I have a lot to do to get us ready, that’s for sure. So in an effort to keep myself sane, I have compiled the ultimate cruise packing list.
I talked to friends and family, really experienced cruisers and families who love to travel with their kids, to find out exactly what we need to bring on our cruise and I thought why not share it all with you.
Make sure to stick around because I am giving away a free copy of this cruise packing list at the bottom of this post.
The Ultimate Cruise Packing List
This section is pretty self-explanatory but probably the most important. Sometimes I get wrapped up in all the “extras” that I totally look past some of the most important items until it is too late. When cruising from the US it is ideal to have a passport but not required. As long as you have an ID and birth certificate you will be fine. Also, make sure to pre-print your luggage tags and attach them before you get to the port. There will be people there ready to take your luggage before you ever get on the boat and they will deliver it right to your room. That is why the luggage tags are so important, without them, they wouldn’t know where to drop your luggage. One of the things I heard a lot when creating the ultimate cruise packing list was to have cash on hand for tips. I don’t think many people realize that you should tip your wait staff and room attendants, we personally like to use cash.
Carry On Bag
Aside from your luggage, it’s so important to have a carry on bag you bring on the boat with you. It might be a few hours before you get your luggage so you want to make sure you have everything you need to have all the fun you want to have when you get on. Usually, the first thing we do when we get on a cruise ship is to get something to eat. Try to find the less popular areas (besides the main eating area) since most people on the ship have the same idea. Be sure to bring a bathing suit and flip flops if you plan on going straight to the pool.
Besides your typical tropical vacation needs, a cruise can have some unexpected attire requirements. You will want to have some nicer items to wear to dinner and on most cruises, there is a formal night. I also bring a light jacket since evenings can be windy. Plus close-toed shoes since some of the sports areas (like the rock climbing wall) require it. If you want more specifics on what to wear on a cruise then read my post where I share my cruise style
This section is super important and for some reason, I get the most paranoid about forgetting one of the items in this section. It’s great to have a camera but if it runs out of battery it’s no longer useful. Make sure to pack your chargers and extra batteries. Also, a lot of cruise lines don’t allow surge protectors but a multi-outlet plug can sometimes be ok (see the links below for what I bring). Make sure to check with your cruise line ahead of time to make sure you have the proper items so it doesn’t get confiscated.
No worries if you are cruising on a ship built in the last few year, the newer ships have a lot more outlets than the older ones.
The interior rooms especially can get very dark so I found it super helpful to have a nightlight, that way I didn’t have to keep the bathroom light on all night. Another tip is to bring a sound machine, even if you don’t have small kids. I found the opening and closing of doors to be quite loud so I appreciated having that sound machine to drown out the sound. One year we had a room over the theatre, that sound machine saved us!
You are not allowed to bring an iron on board so we made sure to pack some wrinkle spray. If you need some major ironing most ships have a laundry service. The rooms can be quite small so items that helped us save space were an over the door shoe holder and a laundry bag. I use the over the door shoe holder to not only hold shoes but our most needed items. I’ll keep our cards there, sunscreen, toys, water bottles, basically anything that I need to grab quickly as I am running out the door. This saves me from that last-minute hustle to get out the door and I can’t find the one thing I need.
If you are traveling with a large family or friends you might want to think about getting a dry erase board for your door. Wifi comes with an extra cost so we would just leave notes for each other letting us know where on the ship we were.
Pretty self-explanatory since you are more than likely going on a tropical vacation but a few things that we loved. Towels clips were one of them. You don’t realize it but days at sea can be so windy. Stop your towel from flying away.
Another fav was a mesh bag for toys. Made transporting their playthings without carrying all the mess. We always bring our own swim vest/floaties for our little non-swimmers. Some boats have life jackets but a lot don’t so I wouldn’t rely on it.
Think about your excursions and what activities you want to do. If you want to snorkel it will save so much to bring your own. I also suggest water shoes and a UV protectant shirt as well as a hat. I wouldn’t underestimate the Caribbean sun. It is strong and I have been sunburned in just 20 minutes before.
Oh and bug spray. Bring bug spray!
So there you have it, those are the items I pack when cruising.
Download your cruise packing list
TO make it easier I am giving away my packing list so you don’t forget a thing!
I also like to bring this sheet with me on the cruise to save time when re-packing.
Want to read more of our Cruising Tips? Head to our cruise page HERE