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Plan,  What to Pack

A Practical Packing List for Your Next Outstanding Cruise

If you have booked a cruise, here is my practical packing list to help you decide how to pack. Cruises are becoming more popular for people who want a no-fuss tour of an area while sleeping in the same bed every night. There are many different locations and lengths of cruises, so you have many options for a trip that will fit your style.

Indeed, there are many different types of cruises, large vs small, river vs ocean, etc. While the location of your ports and excursions will change which clothes to pack, there are basics for your cruise that will benefit everyone. Here is a practical packing list for your next outstanding cruise.

While Deciding What to Wear on Your Cruise, Pack by Outfit

First, you need to pack by outfit for your cruise to make sure you take things that you will wear, instead of lugging extra weight in your suitcase. Obviously, you will need basics: underwear, shirts, shorts/pants, toiletries, etc. But there are a few things you should keep in mind when packing for a cruise vacation.

Equally important is the need to pack two bathing suits. This is a must for any vacation that involves sitting by the pool or ocean. For some weird reason, suits do not dry overnight in hotel rooms, so you must pack two suits or be forced to wear a wet swimsuit the next day. I learned this trick from a friend who travels regularly to Cancun, and I have followed this advice ever since. 

Next, you need to take the time and figure out which outfits you are going to wear. If you are going to partake in gala night, you will have to pack a formal outfit (or they will not let you into the dining room). If you aren’t going to join in this fun event (you totally should as it’s fun and they will take pictures for you to take home, with a fee). 

Now, if you are going to do some relaxing sit-at-the-beach-all-day excursions, then you really need to only pack cover-ups and attire to get you to and from the ship. If you sign up for more adventurous excursions, then you will need to plan accordingly. Sign up for my free packing list here, which will guide you through the process of packing for all your vacations. 

Cruise meal with a view
Afternoon drinks on a cruise

Consider Your Adventure Level When Packing for Your Cruise

For the same reason, your outfits will change depending on your excursions, which will alter your packing list. If you’ve decided on a relaxing cruise by the beach, then you will just need swimsuits and cover-ups. This makes your packing simple and doable in a carry-on.

However, if your excursions have some more adventure in mind, you will need to add more clothes. This will probably mean a checked bag with your airline. For anything related to hiking, you may need proper shoes (maybe even water shoes), pants, hats, and backpacks. If you snorkel, you should bring your own gear unless you are a once-every-five-years kind of person. Using your own personal mask is a total game-changer when snorkeling or scuba diving. 

Think About Packing Your Reusable Water Bottle or Travel Mug for Cruise Excursions

Surprisingly, there are some annoying restraints when it comes to personal food/water and cruising. For safety reasons, you’re not allowed to pour directly into your personal water bottle. So, this really means that you fill up several glasses of water and then pour those directly into your personal water bottle. Or that you pour the larger bottles of water that you purchase into your personal water bottle. Water on a ship has a whole plethora of issues, but this is one way to continue using your own reusable water bottle on a cruise. 

In addition, another option for people like me who love to drink coffee in the morning is to pack your personal travel mug. Just like your popular coffee shops back home, coffee stations on the cruise ship may offer you one-time use cups with your coffee.

Instead, pack your personal travel mug so you can get your preferred supply of drip coffee or fancy latte from the cafe. Using your own mug will not only keep your drink hot but reduce the ridiculous amount of waste that cruise ships typically use.

Cruise breakfast

Pack Cleaning Wipes and Hand Sanitizer for Your Cruise 

Cruise ships always have this ridiculous everyone-get-sick theme on their boats. Normally, people are totally fine when they cruise. But every once in a while, you get an outbreak of something on a ship, and everyone must be quarantined. While this is not foolproof, packing things to sanitize your room and hands will greatly improve your next cruise. 

For this same reason, it is good to pack hand sanitizer in your carry on while traveling. I’ve even been known to take out my Clorox wipes and sanitize my touch screen, armrests, and window in my airplane seat. On your cruise ship, you may want to consider sanitizing your room.

Obviously, there are employees who fix up your room and do turn-down service, you may want to consider sanitizing your room. You may want to sanitize doors and buttons when you arrive and after housekeeping has stopped by. Consider packing hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes on your next cruise. 

Consider Getting a Seasickness Patch From Your Doctor 

Now, you may not need a seasickness patch if you come from a family of sailors who are on a boat all the time. But if you are likely to throw up on a 30 min drive to a ski area, then you need to get a prescription. Everyone is different when it comes to their body. But sleeping on a boat for more than 3 days will make you sway from side to side.

In this case, the best solution I have encountered for this dilemma is speaking to my doctor and getting a prescription. I purchased a prescription patch that goes behind my ear. It lasts a few days, so you must get more if you are on a longer cruise. These patches do make you drowsy but drinking a little bit more coffee throughout the day is much better than puking your guts out and feeling like crap on your vacation. 

Take the time to really think about the type of person you are. And if you have no idea what your motion level sickness is, then you might want to consider these patches just in case. However, some people do well with sea sickness armbands, so do what is best for you and your body.

On the whole, cruising can be a fun way to explore several destinations on your next vacation. While creating your cruise packing list, you need to take the time and decide what kind of vacation you are going to have. You can spend the entire time gambling, drinking, and watching entertainment. But if you want to have an exceptional cruise, think about how you operate in your day-to-day life so you can be prepared when limited to a boat.

Consider the pros and cons of cruising (Vox 2018), as well as the excursions you book. Not all excursions are created equal, as some do not support the local economy or opinions of locals and support cruel animal practices (Dolphin Project, 2018).

Here at Bay Rosemary, company recommendations are only given to those who share the same values. Because of this, we are happy to share that Virgin Holidays has decided to stop selling tourism attractions that involve captive dolphins and whales. This is a huge step in the right direction for our ocean’s health and the tourism industry as a whole. With the right research and proper cruise packing list, you are more likely to have a great vacation that supports the locals.

Whether you are sitting at a beach all day, hiking to spectacular falls, or treating yourself to a delicious meal, you can make cruising an experience just the way you want it to be. You’ll get to know all the crew members (by face if not name) and you can stay up all night or turn in at 6 p.m. It’s all up to you. 

Let me know if you have any questions about packing for your cruise in the comments below.

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