15 essential items for an awesome cruise experience

What you need to enjoy a cruising holiday.

There’s nothing like a worry-free week on the open ocean. Going on a cruise is one of the most fool-proof holiday options there is – as long as you pack the right stuff. To help you get started, we’ve got a list of necessities to include in your cruise packing list. 

RELATED: 10 Things To Know Before Your First Cruise

1. Carry-on bag

Use a carry bag to store items that you might need easy access to – stuff like toiletries, gadgets and a change of clothes. The basic rule-of-thumb is to stuff your carry-on with items that you can’t live a full day without. 

(Credit: Getty)

2. Camera

You’re bound to forge a ton of great memories on your cruise, so it’s important that you have something to help you capture them! A camera – whether it’s a digicam or the one that comes with your phone – is an absolute must-have. Consider packing extra memory cards, too.

3. Proper attire

Check beforehand if your cruise itinerary includes a formal night. Most of the times, they do – and you wouldn’t want to miss out on the fun! For men: bring a sharp suit and leather shoes; for women: you can get away with a lovely dress paired with chic heels. Also, it pays to be prepared so ask ahead of time if the cruise has theme nights and what to wear for these events. Don’t let your lack of proper attire to ruin the trip! Keep your cruise wardrobe ready for any occasion.

4. Sunscreen and after sun care

This one’s a no-brainer. It’s pretty obvious, but your time on the cruise is best enjoyed out in the sun. Bring a sunscreen that has a minimum SPF of 50 and your favourite after-sun care lotion (aloe vera gel works great).

5. Light jacket

Nights at sea can get quite cold, so you should pack a few layers just in case! Your what-to-bring list should include a jumper, a windbreaker, and a snazzy jacket.

People swimming at the beach in front of a cruise ship
(Credit: Getty)

6. Sunnies

Bring a pair of sunnies with UV protection, and don’t forget an extra pair – we all know how easy it is to lose them!

7. Portable charger

Your time on the boat is best spent by doing as many activities as you can. But if you’re someone who prefers to chill by the pool while reading an e-book or listening to music on your phone, a portable charger is a necessity! This nifty item could also be a life-saver for cruise stopovers – using your data to surf the web for on-the-spot translation and online information can easily eat away at your precious juice.

8. Thongs

Bringing a pair of thongs will save you the annoyance of paying for unreasonably priced ones on the boat. Shoes can get pretty hot, pretty fast, and walking around barefoot is a one-way-ticket to the nurse’s office.

9. Toiletries

The cruise ship should at least provide you with basic toiletries like soap, toothpaste, and shampoo. But if you have any specific items you can’t live without – like an electric razor or a special shampoo – you’ll want to bring those along.

10. Refillable water bottle

Being dehydrated on a trip is a big no-no! A small refillable water bottle should be enough to keep you cool and hydrated throughout the day. It’ll also save you the hassle of looking for a place to buy bottled water during onshore excursions.

Four people having a meal together on a cruise ship
(Credit: Getty)

11. Cash

There are rarely any ATMs on cruise ships and the few that do have a high withdrawal fee. If you’re a generous tipper, having cash on hand will guarantee appreciation from the ship’s crew. 

12. Hats

As a fashion statement, wearing hats is one way of standing out in a sea of tropical shirts and bathing suits. As a practical cruise item, a hat will help keep your head cool and protected from the harsh ocean sun. 

13. Passport and ID

NEVER forget your passport and identification – it should be the first item in your cruise checklist since you won’t be able to board the cruise ship without it. Lock it immediately in your cabin safe as soon as you get to your room. Just keep a copy in your carry-on so you avoid the risk of the original one being lost or stolen. 

14. Closed-toe shoes

Everyone should take a pair of practical closed-toe shoes on a cruise. While thongs might be more comfortable, most cruise bars and restaurants require everyone to wear closed-toe shoes.

Two friends fooling around on the staircase of a cruise ship
(Credit: Getty)

15. First aid kit/Personal health kit

Preparing a health kit will help you anticipate any medical emergency. Examples of medical things to take in your health kit include: maintenance meds for those over 50, a wound care kit, and hot/cold packs for sores and bruises.

Couple on New Zealand Cruise
Cruising New Zealand with Princess

Take the sea-nic route with Princess®. Delight in a cruise to Auckland or tempt yourself with a voyage to Tasmania. Plus, enjoy onboard credit per cabin. Book now!

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