What to pack for your Cruise!

Packing your case can be a daunting prospect.  How do you know how much, or how little, to take on your cruise?

The image which runs through my head before any trip is of Edina Monsoon from Absolutely Fabulous.  Arms flying about, running around, yelling, “TICKETS, MONEY, PASSPORT, TICKETS, MONEY, PASSPORT!”  If you have these bare essentials you are pretty much set.  But if you like to be slightly more organised we have put together a simple list to get you through you cruise.

Some cruise lines are more casual than others; make sure you check the cruise line’s website for dress code, formal evenings and/or any theme nights.  A great place to start is to access your booking using your cruise line confirmation number.  Each cruise line has a personaliser with information specifically for your voyage.

Next and most importantly, check the forecast for your destination before you go!

Carry On:

Your check-in luggage may take a bit of time being delivered to your cabin, so it’s good to have these items with you when you board.

  • Passport/Visas (or driver’s license for Australian domestic cruises)
  • Travel documents – boarding pass, itinerary, insurance documents, baggage labels
  • Credit/Debit card & cash – You’ll need to set up your on-board expense  account at the start of your cruise
  • A small amount of local currency for shore days
  • Swimwear – So you can take a dip straight away!
  • Any prescription medication
  • Sunglasses
  • Mobile, tablet and/or camera and chargers
  • Hat & sunscreen
  • Your holiday reading – Book/magazine etc.

Check In:

  • Underwear/Socks
    My Nan would recommend at least two pairs for each day.
  • Comfortable and versatile clothes for during the day
    Try to avoid overloading your suitcase by choosing items that can be layered or mix-and-matched.
  • Shoes
    Thongs are fine for sitting by the pool but don’t forget to pack a pair of more formal shoes for dinner/formal nights.  Pack a pair of good walking shoes for shore tours and if you’re planning on visiting the gym, a good pair of sneakers.
  • Formal clothing to wear to dinner
    The level of formality will depend on the individual cruise line.  Long pants and a collared shirt for men, either a dress or pants/skirt with an evening blouse for women.

Swimwear, shorts, jeans, tank tops and thongs are generally not allowed to be worn in the restaurants.

  • A light rain jacket or cardigan
    Regardless of the temperature outside you might need something warmer inside if the air-conditioning is cooler than you would have it at home.
  • Sleepwear

  • Toiletries
    Take up a lot of space and weight.  Try using smaller containers.
  • Tooth brush/paste
  • Shaving supplies
  • Deodorant
  • Hair/skin care products (shampoo, conditioner, hair brush, hair gel, moisturiser etc.)
  • Hair styling appliances
  • Make-Up, perfume, aftershave
  • Personal products
  • Anything else you think you might need

The cruise line will provide soap and shampoo in your bathroom.  However, if you prefer certain brands it’s better to bring your own.

  • Accessories
    If you are planning on glamming up for the evening remember your jewellery.  If you have sentimental items you would hate to lose, leave them at home and take the genuine fake instead!
  • Travel adapter
    Not all ships are fitted with Australian sockets.
  • Music Speakers
    It is great listening to your favourite tunes on holiday.  But remember you are travelling with other guests who may not share your taste in music; this is best kept inside the cabin.
  • Small bag/backpack
  • Travel guides
  • Your travel journal and pen


If we’ve left something off the list you think is essential please let us know!


Taking Drinks on to your Cruise

Thinking that drinks on board the ship are too expensive and you want to save some money by taking your own drinks on board.  We have compiled a list of what you are able to take on board your cruise.

Let’s face it the cruise lines do not want you to take alcohol on board as it will limit their profits.  Most do however allow you to take a bottle of two when embarking for the first time on your cruise.

Here is a list of the amount of Alcohol allowed to be taken on board the cruise lines:

1 x Bottle of Wine or Champagne per person (max. 2 bottles per cabin)

  • Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruise Lines, Princess Cruise Lines, Holland America Cruise Lines and Cunard Cruise Lines.

Liquor, Beer or Wine for Private Consumption

  • Azamara Cruise Lines

1 x Litre of Alcohol per person can be taken on board upon embarkation

  • P&O World Voyages

No Alcohol taken on board

  • P&O Australia Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Lines and MSC Cruise Lines

These drinks can be consumed in your room, on your balcony, or on a deck outside of the bars and restaurants.  However, if you choose to consume the alcohol in a restaurant, or bar on board, a corkage fee will be charged.  The fee is approximately $10 to $25 per bottle.

For those who don’t drink alcohol and want to take drinks on board, each cruise line is different.  Generally you can bring:

  • 12 x 600ml bottles or cans of soft drink/water. These must be loose and in your luggage and sealed cans or bottles.

As the rules differ from cruise line to cruise line it is best to check with us before you go.  There is no real need to take water on board the ship, water stations can be found inside and out on deck.

If you want to take water on shore with you, we recommend packing your own water bottle and filling it on board.  This is a far better solution for the environment, who wants more than 2000 plastic water bottles left behind on land around the world each day.