Ladies! Would you like to avoid the frustration of pronouncing “I have nothing to wear” and “Oh no, I forgot to bring the…” whilst on your cruise? You need this ultimate cruise packing list!
We all know the worst part after unpacking from a vacation is the first part: packing for it. And while some of us pack way ahead, double-checking if the accessories and clothing match, others end up with a last-minute pile of things stuffed in a suitcase. Is that you girl?
What you take – and what you forget to take – is going to affect your cruise holiday. I recently went on a 7 Day Mediterranean Cruise with Princess Cruises and have tons of tips for you (even if you’re going to Alaska!). Let’s get it right and start from the beginning.
The Ultimate Cruise Packing List
Having a list for cruise packing is an effective way to save time on wondering what to take and stressing about something you may have forgotten. It will also ensure you have everything you need to make the most out of your vacation.
Cruises can be a huge catwalk with a variety of outfits if you want to go all out. But (!) if you’re usually a hiking/biking chick like me who carries one cocktail dress in her backpack, don’t sweat. We can do this!
From swimwear to dinner wear, one is best dressed when dressed appropriately.
What is the ultimate packing for cruise list that will provide everything you need without useless excess stuff?
Before we get on with the packing for a cruise list, it is important to ask yourself these all important questions…
What is the duration of the cruise?
This is a really important question. Some of us love to pack as light as possible and don’t mind wearing the same outfit twice *cough me*
On the other hand, I know some of you will not be seen dead in the same outfit twice.
I always love to travel with my backpack and did on my Mediterranean cruise…but I must have had the lightest luggage there.
Can you have your clothes washed or dry-cleaned?
Yes! Most cruises offer this service. Charges naturally vary! There are also self-service washing and drying machines available on your deck.
Are there special theme events or a cruise line dress code?
Are there events on your cruise that require a certain dress code? Princess Cruises dress code isn’t too difficult at all, but it’s good to know about it in advance so that you can prepare. Here it is!…
Princess Cruises Dress Code
Princess Cruises have ‘formal nights’ on their cruises. This is a chance to dress up for dinner and the evening entertainment – a little more glam than usual.
For the men, I recommend a tuxedo, dinner jacket or dark suit. If this is still too much for you, try and get a smart shirt and tie / bow-tie with dark trousers.
For the ladies, go for an evening gown, cocktail dress or elegant pantsuit. Make yourself feel extra fancy with some cute accessories and you’re good to go!
Princess Cruises also request smart casual attire in their restaurants. They recommend that you do not wear tank tops, shorts, baseball caps or casual jeans with holes in them. Instead, dress up a little. Essentially, don’t walk into dinner wearing sports shorts paired with an elegant shirt just because the colours match. Too many pina coladas and that could happen – otherwise, I think we’re going to be OK.
What activities will you be doing?
Your sportswear may vary from climbing shoes to tennis ones! Depending on what your preferences are and whether the cruise offers facilities for your preferred sport, you may need to pack various outfits.
Princess Cruises Activities Onboard
On my Princess Cruises cruise, you could play mini-golf, ping-pong, basketball, run around a running track on the top deck, try line dancing, salsa lessons, yoga classes, go swimming, get down in the nightclub and so much more! Make sure that you pack some active wear (don’t forget that bikini!). There’s plenty of activities to be getting along with.
Princess Cruises Shore Excursions
Offshore activities may also require specific clothing! During my Princess Mediterranean Cruise I did some serious hiking up to the rock in Gibraltar. In Pisa Italy, I was sightseeing on a speedy segway!
What’s the weather like?
A smart move is to check temperature differences between where you’re starting, finishing and the ports of call you’re stopping at in-between.
Whilst you’re on your cruise, the indoor temperature is fixed by air-conditioning which you can control in your room. But obviously, stepping outside is a little bit different; especially if you’re going on a Balkans or Alaskan cruise!
Now that you’ve worked your way through the questions above (you did check them right?), you’re ready to fully pack. This is what I recommend you bring!
11 Absolutely Crucial Cruise Packing List Essentials
Please, whatever you do, do not turn up to your cruise without these 11 essential items. You need to pack them in your carry-on bag, so that if your luggage is misplaced, you can still have a great holiday.
The Ultimate 3
Credit / Debit Cards
I now travel with 2 essential cards. I use Monzo as my international currency card (no currency fees!) and put it on my Curve card. Curve manages all of your cards on one card and an app securely. This allows me to keep all of my cards in one place and track everything I spend like a true money boss.
Get £5 free when you sign up to Curve with code 3EZXQ
If you’re looking for a last-minute cruise I recommend Princess Cruises.
Ticket to port of departure
There’s a good chance that you’re getting to your start destination by plane. I recommend Skyscanner for flights and GoEuro for bus and train tickets if you’re travelling in Europe.
The cruise will not let you travel without it – I trust World Nomads.
Pre-printed luggage tags
Your cruise line will send these to you pre-departure.
The Other 3 Essentials
Your treasured possessions: electronics and jewellery.
Swimwear and a change of clothes: pack your bikini, clean underwear and a spare outfit.
Toiletries & Medicine: Sunscreen and what you cannot live without for a day or two.
Gadgets and Gizmos
I’m obsessed with my Huawei P20 Lite right now. Social media. Photos. Documents. This is my lifeline!
My Dell XPS laptop is perfect for travelling, photo editing and getting the big stuff done.
I’m a big fan of…
Read some books and chill out!
Tep 24/7 WiFi
If you are European and travelling in Europe, your data back at home should cover you whilst you’re in other European countries (for now *cough* Brexit).
However, if you need 24/7 WiFi in areas your mobile provider doesn’t cover, I highly recommend Tep Portable WiFi!
Hot travel tip: If you plan on using WiFi on the ship, make sure you check onboard rates. Princess Cruises have great packages.
I love my international travel adapter for all destinations.
Electronics power bank
I use RavPower to charge my phone and cameras.
Stock up on all your cables so that you’re covered for each device and have an extra in case one breaks / you lose one.
Don’t stop your curiosity: feed it through the lens of binoculars out at sea!
Pack of cards
For times spent hanging by the pool with friends.
To capture your memories the old school way.
Her packing list: Clothing and accessories
Just as you would approach matching clothes and accessories, take a minute to consider the color of your underwear. Probably best not to end up with a bunch of white dresses and only dark-colored underwear.
Socks and tights
Pack some short socks, long socks, compression socks for the airplane flight and some sexy tights for formal evening!
Go for the comfort and cuteness of a pair of pajamas, or a sexy sleepwear dress if you’re feeling smooooth.
T-shirts and shorts
Shorts and t-shirts are perfect for your sports activities and chilled out excursions, hanging out by the pool or snacking at the buffet during the day.
I recommend packing some comfortable jeans and trousers if the temperature drops; particularly if you’re out on deck at night watching an open-air movie or having a stroll around.
Dresses and skirts
Scottish men know skirts rock. You should rock yours too. Cute and colorful dresses are the perfect outfit for wine tasting on board, informal evenings or for an Instagram shoot (*hint hint: Cinque Terre Italy!)
If you’re cruising with Princess Cruises, remember their dress code. Opt for that little black dress, cocktail dress or ballgown here. Or why not a silk suit? Show your signature style with formal wear. Having at least one formal wear outfit is a must on your list for cruise packing!
The evening may get chilly; don’t let yourself walk on the deck of the ship under the full moonlight feeling chilly.
An Alaska cruise packing list can’t go without those. But even on tropical islands the not-so-perfect days will require a layered approach of clothing.
Throw in a hat to protect you from the sun and one to keep your ears warm if you happen to be on a scenic glacier cruise (the warm hat may not be of use on a Costa Rica packing list, but it surely will come handy on a cruise to Alaska).
Headbands, bandannas and scarfs are both practical and a stylish touch, so you may consider bringing some of those too!
The ultimate and obvious accessory. Sunglasses are a must-have on your packing for a cruise list. They will keep your sight safe from ultraviolet rays and add extra glamour to your look. Work it.
Swimsuit/Bikini and Cover-ups
One thing is sure on a cruise: to enjoy the swimming pools and sunbathing. Doing that daily may require bringing along more than one piece. If you are adventurous and active, consider taking a one-piece suit for aqua parks, surf simulators and wake boarding. Cover-ups are perfect for a stop at a bar for an afternoon café or sitting on deck while enjoying a book.
Sports, leisure and hiking shoes
Be it hiking shoes, trainers, or specific sport shoes such as climbing or tennis…if you are planning to take it easy on the sports and only chill by the pool, consider a pair of comfy shoes for when you get ashore to explore and see some sights. Most cruise ports are perfect for walking.
I love hiking with my Keen shoes. See Keen’s Terradora Ethos hiking shoe here.
Heels or no heels, be sure to take at least one pair that matches your formal wear. Maybe go for dinner in high heels and later change into something more comfortable for dancing.
Flip-flops and sandals
Perfect for wandering around the ship or by the pool. Plus, vacation and flip-flops kind of go hand in hand right? Consider that on higher end cruises there will be areas where wearing flip-flops will be restricted.
The right jewellery can add that final lovely touch. Consider bringing jewellery that isn’t going to cause deep upset if it is lost though. All Princess Cruises have a safe. Please use it. And don’t slip. Best not to end up leaving yet another heart in the ocean!
Take along some purses and bags to match your outfits. Make sure you have a formal purse, a bag for your day trips and a beach bag (this is where my Aruba Packing List might come in handy for you!). If you know you’re going on hikes, don’t forget to take a backpack with you.
Toiletries for your cruise
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Deodorant and Perfume
Shampoo and conditioner: They are available on the cruise, but you may prefer to bring your own!
Brush/Comb and hair-styling appliances: You’ll have a hairdryer in your room but may prefer to bring your own gadgets
Glasses/Contact lenses and solution
Make-up and make-up remover
Nail file/clippers and nail polish
Medication: From Aspirin to seasickness tablets, make sure you have covered all needs. You may count the days of your trip and use medicine holder boxes for optimal packing. You may also need the prescription of your medicine.
Ear plugs/Eye mask
Extra Cruise Packing Hacks
Bring an extra bag…
…if you want to go souvenir shopping!
Use compressible packing cubes
Travel’s greatest invention in my personal opinion. They are one of the best hacks every traveler should know about. They keep things in order and compress them by creating more space. This way you can have your underwear safely stored away from your shoes for example – and pack way more into your backpack/suitcase.
Pack wrinkle-free clothing
Instead of folding, roll your clothes or…
Are you travelling with a companion?
You may consider dividing your checked items into two suitcases. This way, if one gets lost, you will both have something to wear.
Was this cruise packing list helpful?
This ultimate cruise packing list will make sure you are set for what could very much be the vacation of a lifetime!
Remember that often more is less, so try to make it easy on your back and your heart.
Probably the most important things to pack with you, not yet mentioned, are your good mood, big smile and adventure spirits. Go get it!
If you can think of other must-pack items that are not listed above, please share them in a comments!
My complimentary Mediterranean cruise experience was made possible by Princess Cruises. As always, no matter how much a brand pays me, opinions are mine = honest, blunt and to the point.
Don’t forget your travel insurance!
Don’t be a mug. Please don’t leave for your adventure without travel insurance. However careful you are, things can still go wrong. I’ve ended up in hospital in Russia, had stuff cut out of my arm in Vietnam and don’t even get me started on that time I was vomiting my guts up in Poland.
Do the right thing right now. Get a quote.
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