Packing for a Cruise: Essential Tips for a Hassle-Free Adventure

Packing for a Cruise Essential Tips for a Hassle-Free Adventure (1)

If you have a cruise holiday lined up in the next few weeks, now is certainly the time to be thinking about what to pack and take with you. Whether you’re taking a short 3 night cruise or a 21 night cruise, the amenities and accommodation on board a cruise ship is different to that of your typical hotel, so knowing what to pack is important.

Essentials for your cruise

Much like any other holiday, there are some essentials that are an absolute necessity. The list below covers most things you should be ticking off your packing list, before you step onboard the ship:

– Climate appropriate clothing – consider the regions you will be visiting and the temperatures you will be experiencing during your cruise. Hot destinations will certainly require comfortable, loose clothing that will keep you cool. While colder destinations, such as those ventured by a Nordic cruise will require much warmer clothing, perhaps even thermals.

– Poolside footwear – for days onboard the ship and when you plan to lounge by the pool, it is important to have a handy pair of poolside sliders or flip flops. This is encouraged by cruise lines, both for cleanliness and hygiene but also safety around the pool areas.

– Sun protection – including sunglasses, sun hats, and of course sunscreen. When you’re onboard a ship, no matter the destination, you will be much more exposed to the elements. The sun will shine down on the ship and will be particularly powerful as its rays reflect off the water. Even in colder destinations like Norway and the Baltics, the winter sun can be powerful and may be very bright. Keeping your eyes and skin protected from the harmful UV rays is incredibly important for your health.

– Identification – one of the most important things to remember when packing for your cruise is your forms of identification. Your passport will be absolutely essential for entering new countries and for members of staff onboard to identify you as a guest.

– Kids’ toys – if you’re taking your kids away on a family cruise, an essential for entertaining them on days at sea is kids’ toys. Whether this is their beloved toys from home or inflatable water toys for the pool, having something on hand to keep them happy is always a good idea. However, onboard family cruises, there is plenty of entertainment for children of all ages.

– Waterproof bags and small carry bags – a great essential that will save you on those day trips on land. Waterproof bags and small carry bags such as a cross body or backpack will allow you to take only the necessities with you as you venture off the ship and onto dry land. A waterproof bag, in particular, is incredibly useful if you plan on trying out some watersports or hitting the beach.

– Electronics – while there’s plenty of entertainment onboard a cruise ship, most travellers can not live without access to the wider world. Which is why you will find wifi connectivity and mobile signal onboard for use of all your electronic devices. Pack them safely and ensure they are kept out of sight when visiting new destinations for safety and protection. Your mobile camera will certainly be useful for snapping pictures for your holiday memories!

Packing for a Cruise Essential Tips for a Hassle-Free Adventure (2)

Rules regarding what not to take onboard a cruise ship

While you may be accustomed to the rules and regulations of airlines, you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that cruise lines are much more relaxed when it comes to luggage restrictions and allowances.

There will be some luggage allowances depending on the cruise line you are travelling with and the size of ship you will be staying onboard. This information will be provided to you at the time of booking your dream cruise. Just as an example, on MSC cruises, guests are limited to 2x23kg suitcases per person. With the addition of two pieces of hand luggage.

All luggage at the time of boarding the ship will be put through an X-ray machine, checking for any security or safety concerns.

If you are carrying any of the following in your luggage you may be denied boarding:

● Alcohol
● Firearms
● Sharp objects such as blades and scissors
● Flammable and explosive material
● Items with heating elements or open flames (e.g. clothing irons, hair irons. kettles)
● Drones

Possession of any illegal items will automatically raise concerns and the relevant authorities will be alerted. As with any mode of transport, these rules are in place for the safety and security of all personnel on board the cruise ship.

Onboard spending money

While many amenities and facilities will be included in your cruise booking cost, there will be aspects of your cruise ship that will require additional spending to access. This will include areas such as the casino, arcades, shops, spa experiences and treatments, and drinks packages. Each cruise line is different and will offer various perks and packages to travellers when the cruise ship has set sail.

P&O Cruises, for example, offer the chance to pre-book holiday activities before your cruise starts. Adding experiences to your itinerary before you’ve even left your home. This includes online booking opportunities for shore experiences, like excursions, spa treatments and drinks packages, so you don’t have to worry about paying for these on board.

As with any holiday, it is always a good idea to have a means of paying for any extra or last minute purchases. A credit card is advised by most cruise liners.


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