What To Take on a Cruise - Things You Don't Want to Forget

Essentials to take on a Cruise Ship

What to Bring on a Cruise

What to Bring on a Cruise

Woman holding camera in front of cruise ship
What to Bring on a Cruise

So you’ve decided to get away from it all and set sail on a cruise. It’s the trip of a lifetime and you want to make the most of it. A cruise can be the best vacation of your life! Everyone should experience it at least once.

There are essentials that we all know to pack for vacation. Many of these are the same whether you are traveling to Disney World or cruising the Caribbean.

You’ll want to pack your favorite clothes, a camera and all the things you’ll need while away.

You probably already thought of a list of must-haves, but here are a few basics that are sometimes forgotten when planning what to take on a cruise.

Here’s a helpful list of what to bring on a cruise to make the most of your vacation.

Things to Pack for a Cruise

Identification and Passports

It can be hard to know what identification to take on a cruise with you. Even if you are from the US and boarding in a US port it’s a good idea to have your passport. Your passport is going to be your most important and valuable document.

US passport in briefcaseIf you are boarding and debarking at the same port, as a US citizen, you may only need to show proof of citizenship. Ensure you know what IDs are required for your trip. Having a passport with you will usually cover your needs.

Make sure you keep it safe. There is a safe in your cabin on the ship. This is a good place to keep your passport and other essential documents when not needed. You don’t want them lost or stolen.

It’s always a good idea to have a photocopy of all your documents, just in case.

Medical Information and Medications

It’s also a good idea to have any pertinent medical information available. Make sure those you’re traveling with know any medical concerns you have. Let them know where to find medication if needed.

Bring extra medication to be safe. Life is unpredictable and you don’t want to be stuck somewhere without medication. Make sure you bring at least a couple extra days’ worth. It is smart to keep medicine in the original bottles if possible. This way there is no question about what it is.

first aid kit

If you have a medic alert bracelet, wear it. You don’t want to have a medical emergency without the proper instructions available. Have it accessible if you can’t communicate. You may not always be right beside family and friends who can share the information.

If you’ve never been on a cruise you may not know what to take on a cruise for seasickness. Prepare for this by bringing medication or a seasick bracelet to help.

There are some choices you can make to help prevent or minimize your seasickness. Your choice of room, what you eat and other factors can lower your chances of getting seasick.

Insurance Information

Travel essentials for a cruise
Travel essentials

There is a sick bay or medical center on the cruise ship, but you will pay through the nose to use it without insurance.

You also want to make sure you’re covered in port. No one expects a medical emergency or injury while on vacation, but it can happen. It’s better to be safe than sorry and insurance will give you peace of mind. If something does happen, you’re covered.

Clothes and Proper Footwear

You’re hoping to spend your vacation sitting poolside or laying on a beach in port. You’ll still need more than a bikini. It can be hard to know what to take on a cruise to wear.

Some items you’ll be glad you packed include:

Beach sandals and hat

Nonslip sandals or deck shoes. The deck of the ship can get pretty slippery. You don’t want to do a face plant while competing in the limbo contest or heading to the outdoor buffet.

Good walking shoes are essential. When visiting ports you’ll want to explore all there is to see. You’ll spend a lot of time walking and standing so ensure you have comfortable shoes.

– Pack for the sun but prepare for the wind. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes the winds can be strong. Paradise even has rain sometimes, so prepare for a chilly night or a little rain to fall. Bring a long-sleeved sweater and long pants for the evenings or days that are a little cooler.

Hats, sunglasses, and cover-ups. The sun shines bright and you’ll want some protection from it. Whether you are cruising in Alaska or heading to the Bahamas you want eye protection from the sun. No need to get a headache from squinting all day.

– You will want to bring a nice outfit for the formal night. It doesn’t have to be a ballgown or tux but you may want to dress up a little. There are also plenty of opportunities for pictures.

Ship photographers are plentiful. You’ll be saying cheese at least a few times while traveling. This includes the chance to have professional photos taken with various backdrops. A couple of nice outfits can help make these memories ones you want to keep forever.

Sunscreen, Backpack, and Dry Pack

sunscreen on beachWhen considering what to take on a cruise, make sure you bring sunscreen. You don’t want to spend your trip suffering from sunburn. It’s easy to get a sunburn while cruising, even if it’s cloudy outside. Bring sunscreen and lots of it.

You’ll be visiting various ports and doing shore excursions, so you’ll want something to carry your essentials.

A lightweight backpack is a great idea. They’re great for carrying your camera, change of clothes or whatever else you bring on shore with you.

Wallets, identification, cameras, and glasses can be a concern when you’re wanting to swim at the beach or going snorkeling with the dolphins.

You don’t want to leave valuables sitting on the beach for anyone to take. A day pack can be a great way of keeping them safe and having them with you so you don’t worry about theft.


When it comes to money it can be hard to know what to take on a cruise. You’re visiting different ports with different currencies, but that isn’t a problem. These are tourist areas that want you to buy. Almost all ports will take US cash and credit cards.

European currencyYou may want to have some small bills on hand. This is good for tips and for small purchases on shore. Everything on the ship will be charged to your room key, so cash isn’t necessary as you explore the ship. You’ll have to settle the balance through credit card or cash at the end of the trip.

Many cruises include gratuities and tips in their cost. It’s good to know if this is the case. There are lots of crew and staff on shore waiting to serve you. Some will be covered by your cruise cost, but some may not.

Patience and a Positive Attitude

When considering what to take on a cruise, this may be your most important thing to bring. There are thousands of people cruising with you. There will be lineups and wait times. A positive attitude and lots of patience will help you enjoy the entire trip.

Take your time and expect delays. Don’t worry about being the first in line to get on or off the ship. Have a leisurely breakfast and debark when they say it’s your turn. This will give you a relaxing last day rather than standing in a crowded line for hours.

End your trip on a positive note and make the most of your time on board.

Cruises are awesome and can become addictive. Once you’ve been on one, it’s hard not to dream of taking more.

Check out our blog for more tips on making your cruise the best it can be.

Motion Sickness:   > How to Prevent Seasickness

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