What to Pack for a Cruise in 2023 – Top 60 Cruise Essentials

What to Pack for a Cruise in 2023 - Cruise Packing List

What to Pack for a Cruise in 2023 – Top 60 Cruise Essentials

The holidays are coming and some of us are already making travel plans for the upcoming 2023! If you’re planning a cruise or any other trip for the next year, I suggest you start planning as soon as you can because you’ll find much better flight, hotel and cruise deals if you book now.

As I have spent months on cruise ships (and planning to spend many more :)), I’ve learned that good organization is the key. Making a cruise packing list is a must, especially if you tend to forget things or do them last minute. So, here it is – an ultimate cruise packing list for 2023 that includes all the items to bring on a cruise along with an amazing travel program that I want to offer you and that will save you loads of money if you are a frequent traveler and cruiser!

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1. Travel Documents

Make sure you bring your passport/ID, boarding documents, vaccination card and Covid test results (if the cruise line requires them). Double-check with your cruise line the documentation required, so you avoid potential issues upon embarking/disembarking in ports of call.

A copy of your passport is one of the documents I suggest you always carry with you, as in some ports of call you’ll be required to show your ID upon passing through the cruise terminal’s security gates. However, in some ports of call such as Nassau (The Bahamas), the port authorities require cruise passengers to bring the original ID (not a copy). You’ll find this information in your cruise planner the day before, so make sure you read it carefully.

Regardless of the duration of my trip, I personally ALWAYS buy travel insurance. Accidents and unpredictable situations can happen anytime, so it’s smart to be fully covered, secured, and on top of all – to feel safe! When choosing the right travel insurance company, make sure they are reliable and that you can get assistance at all times.

Visitors Coverage is a US-based travel insurance company that offers a wide variety of the most affordable travel insurance plans on the market and award-winning customer service. Based on your needs, the company offers travel protection programs, 24/7 emergency assistance, full medical coverage, and much more! Find more information on the Visitors Coverage official webpage.

Need Travel Insurance for Your Next Vacation

2. Passport and Vaccine Card Holder

A multiple-pocket ACdream Passport and Vaccine Card Holder Combo is a handy travel organizer that will keep your passport and cards organized and safe. This unique travel document holder contains pockets for a vaccine card, passport, credit cards, air ticket and sim cards! The travel documents organizer comes in different colors and boasts a unique design ideal for personal use or a gift. 

3. Luggage Tag Holder

All cruisers need to have luggage tags to board the cruise ship on embarkation day because the cruise ship needs to know in which stateroom to drop your luggage off. You normally get the luggage tags before your cruise, so you have enough time to print them. There are several ways of attaching the tags to your carry-ons and checked-in luggage, however, having a luggage tag holder will make things easier and simpler.

4. Waist Pack

Another must-have travel documents organizer is a waist pack, the safest way to keep your valuables secure and organized, especially when you move around busy areas such as ports. MAXTOP Large Crossbody Fanny Pack comes in multiple colors and designs, consists of four zipper-pockets, and is made of water-resistant material so you can take it to the beach too. 

5. Family Travel Document Organizer

If you’re traveling with your family and you want to keep all your passports and documents together, check out the elegant Valante Premium Family Travel Document Organizer, a smartly designed and capacious letter-sized travel organizer where all your travel necessities will be in one place!

6. Up to 10% Cashback on Travel Deals

Now that we’ve covered the best ways to organize travel documents and before I continue listing the cruise packing list must-haves, I want to offer you an amazing travel program that I personally use and love it! You have probably heard of WayAway, a flight aggregator that gives travelers some of the best rates on airline tickets. Well, WayAway has partnered with major companies in the travel industry such as Booking.com, Rentalcars.com, Get Your Guide and Viator, and now they offer WayAway Plus membership plan that gets you cashback on bookings of flights, hotels, and rentals (actual cash, not points or miles!!)!

So basically, you sign up for an annual WayAway Plus membership plan for an early-bird price of only $49.99 (the regular price is $99.99), and you get up to 10% cashback on all travel services you book through WayAway Plus. For example, I have recently booked a hotel in Catania (Sicily) on Booking.com and a tour with Get Your Guide through WayAway Plus, so I will get a cashback once my trip is completed. I highly recommend joining this program if you’re a frequent traveler and cruiser because you can save loads of money on hotels, flights and tours!

AND THAT’S NOT ALL! To thank you for reading my blog, I am offering you the PROMO CODE to get an additional 10% off your annual WayAway Plus membership plan! Get the WayAway Plus package PROMO CODE now!

Cheap flights with cashback

7. Clothes/Accessories

Cruise wear and accessories to bring on a cruise widely depend on our personal preferences and needs. Below I share the list of necessary and very basic things to wear on a cruise, practically as a reminder of clothes essentials to pack. Ladies can check out my article Women’s Cruise Wear – Top Cruise Essentials for Ladies for more detailed information on what to pack for a cruise.

 

 

8. Extra Medication

Bring extra prescription medicines if you’re using any, as well as vitamins, supplements (such as activated charcoal), and other medications that strengthen your immunity system. Paracetamol, vitamins C, D, Zink are recommended to help treat and prevent the Covid-19 infection symptoms, cold, or flu.

Whether you suffer from any chronic condition or want to get professional advice on health treatments in case you start feeling mild symptoms, consulting with your doctor before your cruise is highly recommended. In addition, on every cruise ship there is a medical facility but why waste time at the doctor’s when you can enjoy countless more enjoyable onboard activities?

Last but not least, I suggest you get the super practical 7-Day Pill Organizer, Vitamin and Medicine Box to keep your medications organized.

9. First-Aid Kit

In addition to extra medication, an All-Purpose First Aid Emergency Kit is a must-have as it contains all the essentials that will have you prepared for any potential emergency wherever you go. The kit includes bandages, alcohol wipes, aspirin tablets, Ibuprofen tablets, scissors, tweezers, and dozens of other items and medications. If you travel with kids (and we know kids!), this kit is a lifesaver.

10. Lanyard

Whether you’re on board or in the port, you need to carry your cruise card/ship ID card with you, because at the same time it’s your stateroom key and a card you make all the purchases with. In case you lose your ship ID card – it’s not a problem, you can always get a replacement at Guest Services desk, but why waste time waiting in front of Guest Services when you can get this super useful 8-Pack Cruise Lanyard with Waterproof ID Card Holder for only $8.99?

11. Refillable Water Bottle

Even though the water on most cruise ships is officially potable, I always use my own refillable water bottle on a cruise. Water bottles can be expensive, so it’s a smart idea to purchase a drink package in advance. When purchasing a water bottle, make sure it’s leak-proof and fits easily in your bag/purse.

12. Antibacterial Wipes

Cruise lines maintain high standards when it comes to hygiene, but nevertheless, you should always have on you antibacterial cleaning wipes that you can carry with you outside in port. 

13. Cruise-Approved Power Strip

This Ship-Approved Power Strip comes with No Surge Protection, which is fully cruise ship compliant. The device has 3 standard electrical ports and 2 USB ports for a total of five plugs at the same time. It’s compact and lightweight, ideal for travelers and cruisers! 

14. iPhone Fast Charger Cable

Charge your iPhone in only 30 minutes with Apple MFi Certified 2-Pack iPhone Fast Charger Cable compatible with smartphones, tablets, laptops, and music players. This small, portable charger is a perfect travel companion and ranks among the top cruise essentials to pack for a cruise.

For Samsung-compatible fast chargers, I suggest you take a look at the SAMSUNG 25W USB-C Super Fast Charging Wall Charger which comes with a 1-year product warranty. 

15. Power Bank

When exploring the ports, it’s always recommended to bring with you a portable charger so you don’t stress about running out of the phone battery. This Anker 325 Power Bank has ultra-high cell capacity with both a USB-C and Micro USB input port. It features advanced charging technology and is compatible with iPhone, Android and other devices (20% faster charging for iPhone).

16. Portable External Hard Drive

If you’re planning to make photo and video material on your cruise, Toshiba Canvio Basics Portable External Hard Drive comes in handy. It comes in an elegant matte color and features 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB capacity. It’s lightweight, small and easy to use with a very simple setup, which makes it perfect for both amateur and professional users. 

17. Wireless Earbuds

Whether you enjoy a beach break in one of the amazing ports of call or work out in a cruise gym, listen to your favorite music with TAGRY Bluetooth Headphones Wireless Earbuds. They feature a digital power display, USB-C and wireless charging as well as a smart touch control. Alternatively, depending on your budget and preferences, you can opt for the top-rated Apple AirPods (2nd Generation) Wireless Earbuds

18. JBL Speaker

JBL speakers have made my life onboard so much more enjoyable! Listen to your favorite music on one of the Caribbean or Mediterranean beaches, or play light music in your stateroom while you enjoy breakfast on your balcony. You can opt for a small or medium-sized speaker – I have both and highly recommend both of them, depending on how loud you want to play your music. Recommended: JBL FLIP 5, Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker

19. Waterproof Water Pouch

If you’re planning any water-related activities on your vacation, the ProCase Universal Waterproof Case Phone Dry Bag Pouch is one of the must-have cruise essentials! This 2-pack phone case fits all smartphones up to 7″ diagonal size and features a secure locking design perfect to keep your smartphone, money, and travel documents safe. If you’re planning to snorkel, you may consider this fully submersible 2-pack AiRunTech Waterproof Pouch with Waist Strap, touch screen friendly with three waterproof seals. 

20. Magnetic Hooks

As the storage space in cruise staterooms and cabins can be quite limited, I suggest you get extra strong Neosmuk Magnetic Hooks, 25 lb+ Heavy Duty Earth Magnets with Hooks that you can hang wherever there are surfaces made of steel. I used to hang these hooks on a cabin wall or a fridge, and they made my onboard life so much easier!

21. Towel Clips

For those of you who plan to spend time on pool decks or a beach, ECROCY Beach Chair Towel Clips are definitely one of the cruise must-haves. It can be pretty windy on pool decks on sea days and outside in ports, so these tiny towel clips will secure your towel and keep it from blowing away.

22. Windproof Travel Umbrella

Regardless of your cruise itinerary, you should always bring a light, compact windproof umbrella that can easily fit in your backpack. I’ve experienced rain in the ports where I least expected it, so I always carry a small travel umbrella in my bag!

23. Travel Backpack

A travel backpack is a must, whether you are into outdoor activities, need space for your laptop, or simply bring the daily necessities with you. Matein Travel Laptop Backpack is made of water-resistant material, has multiple storage spaces and pockets, and features a USB port where you can charge your phone. This functional backpack comes in different colors and suits both women and men!

24. Water Shoes

You’ll most probably need appropriate pair of water shoes if you are planning to join any of the water-related activities on your cruise. You can often purchase water shoes in the ports’ terminal shops (especially in the Caribbean) however these can be pricey. I suggest you get lightweight and compressible SIMARI Water Shoes that you can also use for gym or outdoor activities such as kayaking, jogging, volleyball, boating, etc. 

25. Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are extremely handy when it comes to organizing and sorting the things inside your luggage. They are convenient for travelers and cruisers as they save space and prevent movement inside the suitcase. These Veken Packing Cubes come in different sizes and colors and are made of waterproof fabric that will keep your stuff dry even if your suitcase or backpack gets wet. 

26. Ziplock Bags

Ziploc bags come in various sizes and are ideal for storing snacks, sandwiches, smaller electronics or clothes! Recommended: Ziploc Gallon Food Storage Bags

27. Over the Door Organizer

One of the most useful things you can bring on a cruise is the over-the-door organizer that you can keep in your stateroom. It will save you space and keep your cosmetics, clothes, shoes, and other stuff organized, sorted and easy to reach! Recommended: Univivi Door Hanging Organizer

28. Toiletry Bag

Cruise ships normally provide complimentary shampoo and conditioner in stateroom bathrooms, however, bring your own toiletries as these are probably not the ones you use. A very handy item to help you save space in your stateroom and organize your toiletries, accessories, cosmetics and makeup is a hanging toiletry bag. It is practical, made of water-resistant material and contains several storage compartments where you can store all your bathroom essentials!

29. Binoculars

Whether you go wildlife spotting in Alaska, Australia and the Caribbean, or you simply want to enjoy beautiful ocean views from the deck, a pair of compact binoculars always comes in handy! Recommended: Occer 12×25 Compact Binoculars with Clear Low Light Vision

30. Motion Sickness Pills

If you are prone to seasickness, I suggest you always have on you a pack of Dramamine Motion Sickness Pills that provide powerful, fast relief from motion sickness when you are on the water. You can normally get pills at the Guest Services desk onboard the ship, but to avoid queueing make sure you get a pack before the cruise.

31. Insect Repellent

Bug repellent is a life-saver if you are planning to join some outdoor shore excursions and activities in nature. The climate can be very different in ports of call and to be on the safe side, be sure to always bring a pack of insect repellent with you. An alternative option is a waterproof mosquito repellent bracelet, adjustable and very practical for outdoor activities.

32. Portable Fan

If you are staying in a small or inside stateroom, a portable fan can significantly improve the airflow inside your living space. SmartDevil Small Portable Fan is powered by USB, it is light, compact and ultra quiet, which makes it perfect for limited spaces such as a cruise cabin.

 

33. 4-Wheel Spinner Suitcase and Carry-On

A carry-on is definitely one of the must-have cruise essentials. Cruise terminals can be long and it’s super helpful to have 4-wheel multi-directional spinners to ensure smooth maneuvering. In addition, upon embarking on a cruise ship you’ll wait for your luggage to be delivered to your stateroom for several hours, so make sure you pack the essentials in your carry-on. I’ve seen cruisers who lost their luggage at the airport and in these situations, carry-ons are lifesavers!

Amazon Basics 21-Inch Hardside Spinner comes in a few different colors and is perfect for packing an extra pair of clothes, snacks, toiletries and travel documents.

34. Luggage Set

If you are traveling with family or just want to have identical luggage of different sizes, SHOWKOO Luggage Sets feature top quality which makes the luggage more durable, lighter and impact-resistant! Each set contains 4 pieces of luggage and comes in different colors, such as this beautiful purple 4-piece SHOWKOO Luggage Set

35. Snorkel Gear

If you are planning to snorkel or dive on your cruise vacation, it is a smart choice to bring your own snorkel equipment, especially now in the era of the post-Covid-19 pandemic. You can always rent or purchase it as well, but you’ll probably pay for it more. I always prefer to bring my own, just to be on the safe side. Read more on what snorkel gear to bring in my article Snorkel Gear and Scuba Diving Equipment – Tips by a Pro

Recommended: Zenoplige Mask Fins Snorkel Set

36. Eco-Friendly Sunscreen

Whether you plan to go to the beach or hang out by the pool, make sure to bring sunscreen to avoid getting sunburnt. I personally use reef-friendly sunscreens with high SPF, such as Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion which I highly recommend!

37. Portable Lockbox

Cruising means sharing your living space with thousands of fellow cruisers. Although it is not recommended to carry valuables onboard and outside in port, some guests still do it, so it’s super handy to store them in a Master Lock Portable Small Lock Box

Cruise vessels are equipped with security cameras, however, I highly recommend you get a portable lockbox safe where you can store your valuables, especially on a pool deck. In addition, a portable lockbox is handy to avoid being pickpocketed on crowded beaches or touristy places in port.

38. Waterproof Dry Bag

If you plan to join water-related activities on your cruise such as kayaking, fishing, camping, and boating, having a waterproof dry bag comes in handy as you can keep your stuff away from getting wet. These bags come in different sizes, they are very compact and easy to maintain. Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag is equipped with a waterproof phone case and features high-quality material that will keep your gear dry and safe for many years to come.

39. Water-Resistant Wristwatch

A digital watch is a must-have gadget that can help you keep track of the time while you’re on your cruise. Depending on your itinerary, you may be changing time zones and hours, and a digital watch makes it easy for you to adjust it and keep an eye on it at all times! Recommended: Men’s Digital Sports Watch 

40. Garmin Smartwatch

Garmin Venu Sq, GPS Smartwatch comes in a slate band color and features including a sleep monitor, time display, GPS, stress tracking, notifications, and heart rate monitor. It is elegant, fashionable, and suits both women and men.

41. Fitbit Fitness Smartwatch

My top recommendation is Fitbit Charge 5 Advanced Fitness and Health Tracker with some awesome features such as built-in GPS, stress management tools, sleep tracking, 24/7 heart rate and more! This chic smartwatch comes in graphite and black colors and has a modern and sophisticated style that both women and men will love!

42. Tripod

If you are a solo traveler, travel vlogger, or simply want to make some unique photos and videos on your cruise vacation, make sure you bring a lightweight selfie stick tripod combo. I use ATUMTEK 51″ Selfie Stick Tripod suitable for both iPhone and Android devices, as it’s lightweight and super practical to carry around.  

43. Panasonic Digital Camera

If you are into more professional photography and video, check out Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 4K Digital Camera with a high-resolution viewfinder and LCD display, 4K video capture, image stabilization and other great features. 

44. Go Pro Camera

If you plan to join one of the snorkeling, scuba diving, or other adventurous shore excursions, be sure to bring GoPro HERO8 Black Retail Bundle that comes with a head strap, 32GB SD Card, and 2 rechargeable batteries. I regret not having had a GoPro camera on my trips to the Caribbean ports of call such as Bonaire, Belize, or the Bahamas as the beauties I saw underwater could never be described by words! 

45. Digital Luggage Scale

Check out the Etekcity Luggage Scale, a small-size, lightweight, high-precision travel digital hanging scale with a weight limit of 110 lbs (50 kg). No need to explain why we need it, especially after a cruise vacation! 🙂

46. Mesh Popup Laundry Hamper

Collapsible, portable and easy to handle, pop-up laundry hampers are ideal if you are going on a long cruise or traveling with kids. You can simply store your dirty clothes and keep things organized, or you can use them as a toy basket for your children’s toys.

47. Wrinkle Release Spray

Ironing is not allowed onboard the ship, so you are not left with many options. You can either pay for your clothes to be washed and ironed, or you can bring Downy WrinkleGuard Wrinkle Release Fabric Spray, Fresh Scent to keep your clothes fresh, ironed and scented. You can also use it for curtains, pillowcases, and sheets.

48. Portable Flashlight

Although it happens rarely, cruise ships can run out of power and having a small flashlight can be a real lifesaver in these situations. Recommended: GearLight Flashlight 2pk Bright, Zoomable Tactical Flashlights High Lumens

49. Eyeglass Repair Kit

If you are wearing glasses, it’s practical to have a small eyeglass repair kit on you, just in case you break or damage them. Check out Kingsdun Eye Glasses Repairing Kit which comes with eyeglass screws, screwdrivers, a tweezer, a cleaning cloth, screw caps, and more!

50. Dental Repair Kit

As there are no dentists onboard, it’s recommended to bring a small basic dental repair kit that can help you temporarily repair lost fillings, caps, crowns, or inlays. This is extremely useful if you are taking a longer cruise. Recommended: Topffy Tooth Repair Kit

51. Oral-B Electric Toothbrush

Did you know that an Oral-B Electric Toothbrush provides you with 100% better gum health compared to a regular manual toothbrush? Oral-B is the top-rated dentist-recommended toothbrush brand worldwide and I personally always have it onboard. 

52. Thermal Coffee Mug

Coffee and tea lovers should bring their own vacuum-insulated coffee mug to keep their favorite beverages hot and cold for long hours. Recommended: SUNWILL Coffee Mug with Handle, 14oz Insulated Stainless Steel Coffee Travel Mug, Double Wall Vacuum Reusable Coffee Cup with Lid, Rose Gold

 

53. Toiletry Bottles Set

Saving space in your luggage or cabin when you go on a cruise is one of the major things to keep in mind. Travel-size toiletry bottle set allows you to bring small quantities of your favorite cosmetic products without taking up a lot of space! Check out ALINK 16pcs Travel Size Toiletry Bottles Set which contains numerous lightweight TSA-approved containers ideal for keeping oils, shampoos, gels, tonics, moisturizing lotion, hand sanitizer, and many other products.

 54. Pou-Pourri

Cruise ship staterooms may have an unusual smell, especially the inside cabins that don’t have balconies or windows. To feel more comfortable in your room, I suggest you get a Poo-Pourri spray that you can use in your bathroom or any other living space.

55. Microfiber Beach Towel

Although cruise ships provide towels, you can bring your own quick-dry microfiber towel ideal for the beach, camping, or other outdoor activities. Sfee 2 Pack Microfiber Oversized Beach Towel is super absorbent, soft, easy to carry and lightweight, which makes it ideal for a cruise holiday. 

56. Earplugs

Earplugs are a must-have if you’re a light sleeper or have a room in a noisy area of a cruise ship such as low decks or directly under the pool deck or buffet. Recommended: Mack’s Ultra Soft Foam Earplugs, 50 Pair

57. Tablet/iPad/Laptop

Although I personally don’t prefer to bring lots of smart devices when cruising, you can do so if you wish! Recommended:

58. Kindle/Book

A cruise without a good book is not a cruise, at least for me! Although I prefer the smell of paper and reading in traditional style, Kindle will save you so much precious space as it’s thin and super practical. Recommended: Kindle Oasis – With 7” display and page turn buttons – Ad-Supported

59. Hand Sanitizer

Even though cruise ships follow strict health standards and keep a high cleanliness level, it’s important to take extra care and always bring with you a pack of hand sanitizers. Make sure you choose the size that can easily fit in your bag and in case you travel in a group/with a family, consider purchasing an economy pack that contains several hand sanitizers so that everyone can have one!

60. Cruise Packing List

Last but not the least, make sure you bring a cruise packing list where you will have an overview of what to pack for a cruise. Depending on your cruise destination, make a list of must-have items to bring to make your packing easier and simpler. In addition, I invite you to sign up below and get my insider SHORE EXCURSION GUIDE for FREE (+ you get a FREE printable cruise packing checklist inside the guide!)


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Adventour Begins is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. When you click on and/or make a purchase through a link to an Amazon affiliate link placed on our website, we may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

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