The Ultimate Guide to Packing for a Cruise

This guest blog post was curated for Bucky by Kacey Bradley.

So, you’re going on a cruise and tied up in heavy preparation because you don’t want to forget anything. You’re pulling things out of your closet, making decisions on what will look cute in a sunset photo with your significant other and what shoes will match it. Whether you realize it or not, you’re probably packing way too much because the excitement has overwhelmed you and packing has suddenly become this out-of-control task.

Cruises are one of the most fun and exciting experiences out there, and the great thing about them is that there are many different kinds. There are themed cruises, cruises that offer shore excursions and there are laid-back cruises that focus on relaxation.

You want to really understand the type of cruise you’ve signed up for, so you can know what to expect. If you’re going on lots of excursions, your cute crochet sundress and wedges probably won’t be the best idea. If you’re going on a health and wellness cruise, you’ll want to pack your most comfortable yoga gear and sweats, not your LBDs and stilettos.

Packing can be a daunting task for anyone because you only have so much space to bring the things you think you will need. Carefully consider your strategy before you dive in. Keep in mind these modern travel hacks as well the follow for your ultimate guide to packing for a cruise.


Determine the Type of Cruise

What’s your cruise all about? If you haven’t already checked it out thoroughly, now is the time – before you pack. Locate a copy of the itinerary that lists any events and stops along the way. Carefully determine what you’ll need to be a part of any of the activities you wish to participate in. If you want to go on a shore excursion or have dinner with a local family, prepare ahead of time with the right attire and any certifications you may need.

What you pack will heavily depend on the type of cruise you go on and all that it offers. Pay attention to any dress codes as well because these exist on certain cruises. Temperature change between regions is another thing you should prepare for. Once you’ve determined these important factors, create your cruise packing list.


Decide Your Daily Wardrobe

Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to think about your wardrobe. Whatever you do, don’t pack your entire closet. There’s no reason to have three pairs of jeans or multiple LBD options. Stick to the basics like a pair of shorts, one pair of jeans, sneakers, a bathing suit and things like such. Make sure you anticipate your daytime attire, on shore attire and evening attire. It’s also a good idea to pack items you can wear multiple times, and maximize your space by rolling up clothes instead of folding them.

Always keep your cruise line’s dress code in mind when packing – usually resort casual. For daytime attire, good bets include shorts, jeans, casual skirts and sundresses. When you’re on shore, consider your planned activities, then decide from there. For evenings, check what’s appropriate for the location. Even if you are on a less formal cruise, you may want to pack one formal outfit option – just in case.


Pack Necessary Wardrobe Extras

Not extra options of the same thing, but extras such as sweaters, jackets, hats, etc. If you’re taking a Caribbean or Hawaiian cruise, you’ll probably utilize a rain jacket, sweatshirt or both at least a couple of times. For Alaskan cruises, temperatures can change dramatically. So, pack for both warm and cold weather. A good way to avoid packing too much heavy material is to layer. Focus more on cardigans, sweaters, light jackets and scarves that can be layered when temperatures shift.

Hats are another important addition to your suitcase, especially if you burn easily. Even if you aren’t in direct sunlight, a hat can protect you against the powerful rays of the sun.


Think of Anything Additional You May Need

Don’t forget about skin care products, day packs, entertainment, tech gadgets, beverages and storage. While you explore new places, you will want a day pack that can fit essentials like sunscreen, cameras, water bottles and other items. Choose something that folds up easily to make the most of your space in your suitcase.

Determine if you want to bring a tablet, GoPro or portable game player. For devices that require access to Wi-Fi, inquire about hefty internet usage rates before you log on. Remember to pack extension cords or power strips, depending on the number of plug-ins you may need, as cabins can be limited when it comes to electrical outlets.

Bring along books, magazines and other entertainment to keep yourself busy on travel days by plane and by ship. If you spend time on the beach, you may enjoy a good book while you lounge. Most cruise lines will let you bring non-alcoholic beverages onboard, so make sure you check your cruise line’s requirements because bringing your own beverages could save quite a bit of money.

Check out travel insurance plans for unforeseen situations. You don’t want to be overseas and not have access to emergency insurance when you need it most. Keep all your important travel documents like your passport, airline tickets and other items either locked up or on you always.

In general, packing is a huge task for anyone, especially if you are going on a cruise. There’s lots of thinking ahead and pre-planning that goes into properly packing for a successful trip.

It can be easy to pack the basics, as you would for a road trip or a trip to the city, but when it comes to a cruise, you should carefully think out your packing list and put one together before you dive in. Otherwise, you may end up with too much of the things you don’t need and not enough of what you do need. Happy packing.



Kacey Bradley is the lifestyle and travel blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Along with writing for her blog, she frequently writes for sites like US Travel News, Thought Catalog,, and more!

Follow Kacey on Twitter and subscribe to her blog to keep up with her travels and inspiring posts!

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