Your Handy Cruise Packing List

Before setting sail on your eagerly-awaited break from reality, it’s likely your mind will feel as turbulent as the seas. There are many things to consider when preparing for your cruise. What should I pack for a cruise? What if it rains? What if I do need six different dinner outfits? 

Not to fear – we’re here to answer those questions and more with our handy cruise packing tips. Let’s crack on, shall we? 

A man walking with his suitcase during the sunset

With our packing list you won't forget anything and are perfectly prepared for your cruise.

Mantas Hesthaven

Toiletry bag

Everyone’s got different needs when it comes to packing a toiletry bag, but there are a few must-haves that everyone should have:

  • Refillable 100mL bottles – not only for taking connecting flights to your departure port, but also for saving space and weight 

  • Body wash and face wash

  • Shampoo and conditioner

  • Shaving cream and a razor 

  • Toothbrush, toothpaste and floss

Even the lightest of packers should keep toiletry items in a separate bag – even if you’re a bloke that uses 3-in-1 body wash from your head to your toes, being able to pull out the bag and pop it in your cabin bathroom will make your life way easier. 

Travel-sized items

Apart from being super cute, travel-sized or sample sized items of your essential products are also super useful to keep in your toiletry bag. 

Say there’s a specific body wash that you use, try to purchase that same body wash in the form of a travel-sized version. Packing them ahead of time means there’s no chance you’ll forget it, and a bonus is that you can even refill it for next time – how’s that for eco-friendliness! This applies to haircare items, even things like makeup and shaving accessories. Moreover, having travel-sized items or trial sizes of the products you love most will decrease the amount of luggage space you dedicate to your daily essentials.

Alarm

For whatever reason, most cruise cabins lack alarm clocks. So, if you want to keep track of the events schedule (or the karaoke schedule, if that’s your jam) it’s best to sort out an alarm, particularly if you’re an afternoon napper. You can choose to keep your phone on in your room or bring a little clock (K-Mart should be your go-to for these – just don’t get stuck in there too long or you’ll come out with 100 things you didn’t need!)

Clothing

No matter what holiday you go on, nothing is more annoying than lugging a suitcase or two full of clothes because you ‘might wear it to dinner one night!’ while wishing you had just brought an extra few pairs of undies. 

For those of you looking for some ballpark figures, here’s a good idea of what to bring on a cruise lasting one week: 

  • For both men and women, 8 pairs of underwear at a minimum are important

  • 4-5 bras and 2 sports bras for women is ideal, especially for working out (most cruises have gyms onboard)  

  • 7-8 tops including blouses and tank tops (let’s face it, we all drop food on ourselves at some point)  

  • 3-4 pairs of shorts for casual daywear and onshore excursions  

  • 2 pairs of lightweight pants

  • 1 outfit for a fancy night (if that’s part of your itinerary – men will need a tie, jacket, and dress shoes for their formal night out)

  • 2-3 outfits for more casual events in the evening 

  • 3 types of shoes, depending on your interests – walking shoes, a pair of flip flops, and some nice shoes for the ladies. 

  • If you plan to actively  use the gyms or do shore excursions like hiking or just being outdoors, make sure to pack sneakers or hiking boots.

Seasonal bag

Just because you booked a cruise to New Caledonia, doesn’t mean you can rock up to the cruise port in the middle of July in shorts and thongs (unless you’re a Queenslander, in which case, carry on).

Keeping your home weather and destination weather (particularly if you’re cruising to a few different countries) is super important. Check if the weather differs much by location, and adjust your packing list if it does.

Also, being on the deck of a cruise is no different than being on Bondi beach in the middle of summer. The sun burns, no matter where you are. So don’t be a wally – remember to slip, slop, slap – oh, and make sure you’ve packed the aloe vera for that one day you can’t be bothered to run back to the room to get the SPF30+.

First Aid Kit

Of course, medications are available onboard, but honestly, they’re pretty pricey. Also, finding your favourite brands isn’t always an option in certain ports of call, so having a small first aid kit on your person can save you a trip for two to the sickbay and the high cost of medications aboard. You don't want to wake up in the middle of the night in need of something simple like a cough drop, Alka-Seltzer, vitamin C, or panadol and have to traipse all the way across the cruise ship.

Water or Bottles

While we’re on the topic of expensive onboard products, drink prices on cruises are high (if they’re not included in your package) so it’s wise to pack bottled water or soda if you prefer a specific brand. Most of the time you can check yours with your luggage and have it delivered right to your cabin (fancy). Alternatively, save the planet and bring a reusable water bottle so you can fill it up on board.

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