How to Pack for Your Cruise

A salty breeze blowing through your hair, far-off places waiting to be explored … your Windstar cruise is just days away and it’s hard to think of much else. Except for how to pack for your cruise, that is. What will you wear on board? How should you prepare for the shore excursions? Do you need a guidebook?

Our alumni cruisers recently provided their tips on our Facebook page to help you get the most out of your voyage, and we thought we would share those with you here in addition to giving a few tips of our own.


Fan Mary Nagy Youngman says, “No Godzilla bags for us — my husband and I travel with one carry-on each – Windstar is such a great yacht you don’t need all the fluff and a million shoes — just some shorts,  a couple of capris, a couple interchangeable tops, one swim suit and a couple pashmina shawls, some great costume jewelry and one extra pair of shoes — and you can go almost anywhere! Can’t wait to pack again for another voyage.”

We couldn’t agree more. Aim to bring a few sets of tops and bottoms that can be mixed and matched so you get multiple outfits out of a few items. Be sure to bring light clothing that can be layered on or removed as the temperature changes. Don’t worry about dressing up unless you want to—Windstar is a luxury cruise line, but we don’t want formality to get in the way of true escape. Windstar’s laundry package makes it easy to travel light and enjoy the feeling of freshly washed and pressed clothing every day from our professional laundry.

Other items to consider are two swimsuits so you have a back-up suit to wear while the other dries; appropriate footwear including a pair of sandals, everyday shoes, and good walking shoes; and potentially some workout attire, as there’s nothing more relaxing than yoga on deck at sunrise.

We also received a great packing tip from fan Suzanne Ferrio who says, “We travel light —carry-on only. Definitely able to do this on a Windstar cruise with their resort casual attire, but I still always seem to return home with things I didn’t use or wear. So, after our most recent cruise I created a reverse packing list — I wrote down each item I actually used as I unpacked it. Now when it comes time to pack for our Barcelona-Rome cruise next year I can use this list and know I’ll have everything I need and no space wasted on things I’ll never use.”


L'occitaneBesides your everyday toiletries and medications, we provide L’occitane shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, shower cap & bar soap.


Fan Michaela Murray-Nolan says, “practically the only thing Windstar doesn’t supply is a camera to take amazing photos on, off, and of the ship!”

Don’t forget your charger and extra batteries too. If bringing an electronic reader, we also recommend downloading your favorite deck-side books prior to embarking on your cruise.


ID, travel documents, foreign currency, and credit cards (don’t forget to warn your card company that you’ll be traveling)

Now that we have the basics of how to pack for your cruise out of the way, fan Kelly Barrett Nuccitelli says, “I think the most important thing to pack for a Windstar vacation is the willingness to be whisked away on an amazing luxury adventure! Bring your ‘happy shoes,’ whatever those may be, and be ready to embark on an experience to remember!”

We recommend bringing an empty travel bag/backpack for the souvenirs you pick up when you dock. Whether your shore excursions take you to the traditional lace shops in Venice or the open markets in Istanbul, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to pick up souvenirs.

Get something special for your special someone. Bring a romantic gift for your partner and surprise him or her on a special night at sea. The memories you make on your voyage will last a lifetime, so make it count.

Fan Pat Mueller made a very thoughtful suggestion when she said, “I always pack as much as I can for the crew. There are so many crew members working tirelessly behind the scenes. Bringing gifts for the crew quarters is a great way to extend your thank you and it has been so rewarding. Packing Wii games, karaoke supplies, video games or sharing your favorite CDs, corporate gear i.e. hats, t-shirts, etc. takeover my luggage. The crew appreciates your thoughtfulness so much. What I pack for myself seems incidental. The extra effort to think about what you can pack for the crew will make your sailing extra special and warm your heart again and again. I feel like the Windstar crew is my extended family!”

Also pack an outlet for your inner artist. There’s nothing like fresh air and time off to get your creative juices flowing. Come prepared with a sketchpad or poetry notebook. And why not bring a journal to record your thoughts and observations about the trip?

Sight-see like a pro. Read up on the land excursions you’ll be taking in advance so you can be sure to make the most of your time on shore. This will also help you pack appropriate clothing and footwear. And don’t forget your binoculars. You never know what you’re going to want to view off in the distance.

Whatever you do, just don’t forget to pack your sense of adventure!

What are some things you can’t live without on a vacation? If you have any personal packing tips share them in the comments.

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103 responses to “How to Pack for Your Cruise”

  1. Joanne Hunt says:

    Although you may be traveling to a warm weather destination….there is the fact of air conditioning in certain public spaces although Windstar is much kinder in this regard than larger ships. Ladies still pack a shawl or summer sweater.

  2. Sarah says:

    Plan your clothes and shoes and then put half of it back!  Laundry service is wonderful and worth every penny.  My husband and I each had a carry on plus we each had a roll on,  Didn’t have to check the luggage at the airport or wait for luggage to arrive in our cabin.  This was for the caribbean but we’re packing for Europe now and I’ve learned my lesson about packing less rather than more!

  3. Planning what to bring on a cruise is actually more important than most trips.  If you forget something you could be out of luck, at least until your next stop.  They don’t sell everything on board.

  4. PeggyBailey says:

    Is there room in the cabin to store a hard suitcase? Room under the bed or closet?

    • Hi there, thanks for your question! There is 32 cm of height beneath the bed, so if your luggage has less width than that, you should be fine. Looking forward to seeing you onboard!


      The Windstar Team

  5. JEK says:

    Traveling with a friend. Is it possible to have bed as twins?

    • Hi there, thanks for your question! All of our rooms have queen beds that can be converted to two singles upon request at the time of reservation.

      Best, The Windstar Team

      • Vivi says:

        Thank you. First time I’ve seen this comment. Would be helpful to mention this in your accommodation blurb 🙂

  6. Ivywinick says:

    Packing is a challenge, comfort shoes are important and non-skid on the boat. Knowing the liggage satorage is very helpful. Looking ahead to smooth sailing

  7. Jane says:

    We will be aboard Windsurf in Aug on the Baltic cruise – very excited about the whole trip but need some insider tips on the appropriate dress code for attending  the ballet in St. Petesrburg? We are “first time cruisers”so any hints/tips will be greatly appreciated!
    Many thanks, Jane & Phil

  8. Steve says:

    Hi, we’re booked on the Greek Isles & Turkey sail later in the summer, onboard Wind Star. Really excited. I’d like to know what plug types are used onboard. We’re British and will need to buy adapters, I guess. But which ones? Is it the US two prong type? Advice welcome. Thanks. Steve

    • Hi Steve, we’re excited to have you with us! For both the Wind Star and the Wind Spirit, the yachts are equipped with standard 3 prong U.S. outlets. Let us know if you have any additional questions!

      The Windstar Team

  9. Adebe says:

    Does anyone have information about bicycle renting in Kotor?

  10. Thanks for your question! If you book our Classic Italy & the Dalmatian Coast voyage, you will be on the Wind Surf which has a limited quantity of bicycles for rent in the ports:

    Additionally, our Destination Manager and Fitness Team onboard can provide information to help you navigate the ports.

    We hope to see you onboard!

    The Windstar Team

  11. Frances says:

    How easy is it to be catered for food allergies/intolerances. We’ve booked a Sept cruise and I don’t want to be awkward 

  12. Steve b says:

    Are there bikes available for the st. Maarten cruise

  13. Rose Mary says:

    Does the new windstar pride allow for triples? Rose Mary

  14. gammasusie says:

    Can anyone share any great shore excursion experiences on the Panama Canal trip…..Costa Rica to Colon, Panama?

    • Shannykatt says:

      We had a great time on the Titi Zipline tour. The chocolate farm tour is great if you like learning about the all of the plants in Costa Rica. We wish we’d had time for Manuel Antionio and the beach. I thought it was going to be a vacation of reading and relaxing and it was the exact opposite with so much to do each day.

  15. We have excellent shore excursion options created to highlight the region of Costa Rica in our Passage Through Panama voyage. Currently we do not offer tours to Los Campesinos Reserve, but we offer similar excursions to Manuel Antonio National Park. Our full list of offerings for individual itineraries can be found on our Hotels & Tours page here:

    Additionally, our Vacation Planners are happy to help with additional questions by calling 800-258-7245.

  16. Hi Josephine – The voltage on Star Pride is 110AC (one outlet) the others are 220; special converters are needed (it’s French outlets where the adapter needs two round pins). Guests are encouraged to bring their own travel adapters as they are not available on board. For your convenience, there are also hair dryers in each stateroom.

    • Josephine Castronovo Graham says:

      On privious windstar ships, I used my hairdryer and blew the circuit out. What is the maximum wattage I can use for a hair hot iron that i use? Thanks. Josephine

      • Hi Josephine – With the 110 voltage outlet, a standard hot iron should not be a problem to use on board. We’re looking forward to welcoming you on Star Pride soon!

  17. John Pas says:

    Can you share details around the laundry service? When are items picked up and dropped off (e.g. 1-day)?

    • Hi John – There is a one day turnaround for laundry. To have items pressed, we ask that they are sent in before 9 a.m. and our on board team will have the items back to you the same day.

  18. Michelle Jacobs Wallace says:

    It was suggested to bring gifts for the crew. How many should I bring and can you give me some suggestions? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Michelle – Gifts are not expected. The crew receives a $12 a day gratuity and you are welcome to add an additional tip at the end of the voyage. We’re looking forward to welcoming you on board soon!

  19. grandmadarlene says:

    I always save those clothing items that are near the end of their LIFE. Then I throw them away as I go. That way I have plenty of room for those souvenirs

  20. Meg says:

    Are there hair dryers in the suites?

  21. mrsgladd says:

    Would like to take a cruise but travel single. Are singles welcomed?

  22. Aruba Rich says:

    Does windstar also provide hair dryers?

  23. Mary says:

    Is there a self-service laundry on board or does all laundry have to be done by the staff?

    • Hi Mary ,

      We do not offer self-service laundry on board. We do offer laundry service as part of an on board package, and our crew will have your items back to you within a day.

  24. Linnette says:

    Cruising out of Barcelona and going over the day before. Any tips on where to stay for one night and how to get to the pier?

    • Jose Kirchner says:

      Getting to the pier is easy, and every taxi driver knows where it is. A good hotel, easy to walk to Las Ramblas, is the DoubleTree by Hilton.

  25. Sue R says:

    We are traveling on the Wind Surf on 10/2 from Venice to Athens. Do you still allow cruisers to bring their own wine to dinner & pay a$15 corkage fee?

  26. Sue R says:

    Does the Wind Surf still allow cruisers to bring their own wine to dinner & pay a $15 corkage fee?

  27. FaymousLorna says:

    I’m not a strong swimmer but want to enjoy swimming in the ocean from the sports platform. Does the Wind Surf provide floating devices?

  28. FaymousLorna says:

    Correction to my previous post… should read “floatation” devices.

    • Hi Lorna,
      Yes, there are life jackets you can use when swimming off the water sports platform. There is also a big floating mat, so you could even stay on that and not even get in the water!

  29. The_Hiking_Guy says:

    No one told us that you could not have evening dinner on deck or in the restaurant, unless you had pants. Travel agent actually told us beforehand that slacks or khaki pants were not a requirement aboard ship. This kinda ruined an otherwise nice experience, since we were limited to room service every night aboard ship.

  30. Valerie says:

    I will aboard for the Athens to Venice cruise from 10/13 to 10/21. Any sense of what the weather will be? I’ve been told to pack for both warm and cold weather. Also, will there be bikes to borrow from the Windsurf on this trip?

  31. Val says:

    Hello – we are sailing on Windsurf – Oct 29th – Silician Splendor. What are the plugs on that ship? Need to know what adapters to bring. I notice below, for another ship you mention France plugs – are they the same as the Italy plugs? Also is an iron allowed on board , a small travel iron? thank you for any info

    • Jose Kirchner says:

      Wind Surf was the Club Mediterranee – 220 Volts Euro plug (two round plugs, the usual in most of Europe). There is one 110 VAC US type outlet for shavers only.

  32. Maria says:

    What terminal does the Star Pride dock at in Hong Kong?

  33. Janet says:

    Hello. I will be travelling on the Windstar in early January. Could you please confirm if we need a 110/220 convertor or if there are 110 V (standard US/Canadian) electrical outlets? Do we need special plugs or are they the typical ones that are found in the US? Even though very hot weather is forecast, is it recommended to bring a jacket, windbreaker, sweater to wear in the evenings on the boat on the deck? Thanks a lot.

    • Jose Kirchner says:

      Wind Surf is Euro / 220 VAC, and has only one 110 VAC shaver outlet. The other ships have at least one 110 VAC outlets, but the three new Seabourn ships have more Euro 220 VAC so it’s best to carry a plug converter. (Most chargers, etc. run on 100-240 VAC – make sure yours do.)

      And yes, something to wear if you hit a cool evening is a good idea – even for overly air conditioned airports and places on land.

  34. Leah says:

    My father wants to take my 12-year-old daughter to the Greek Isles this summer and your cruises seem to be the best fit for what he is looking for. Are youth welcome on your ships? If so, would you expect others near her age to be on board and are their any specific actives for this age group.

    • Hi Leah,
      Yes, children over eight are welcome on board. Please know that there are limited services for children. There may be a few other children on board, to find out, call Vacation Planning and ask about the sailing you are considering.

  35. Jose Kirchner says:

    We’ll be taking our 21st Windstar cruise in April, the ‘Surf from Sint Maarten to Lisboa. We’ve never needed checked luggage (except in the old days when Windstar had onboard diving staff, but that’s a different issue). We’ve actually done a cruise and land, seven weeks and six countries, with an airline-legal rollaboard. That made using ferries, rail, etc. easier, and aboard we buy the laundry package. And we might buy a top or the like in the shop, to boot. Traveling light is liberating – you’re not a prisoner to your baggage.

  36. Whitey says:

    Hey, its all fine and dandy to spout on about not having very much luggage…BUT, when you are from New Zealand, and actually incorporating a Windstar Cruise with 2 months (8weeks) of other travel…you DO need to have more than 1 carry on Case!!
    Dont always be so critical of others luggage…some people are away from they home and country for many months at a time..I know we often are!!

  37. Jayne says:

    Hi, we’re travelling on the Windstar in June. Am I able to bring a travel iron and travel kettle?

    • Windstar Cruises says:

      Greetings Jayne,
      If you want to pack a travel iron and kettle that is ok. Please know that we don’t have a mini stovetop/heating area in any of the staterooms nor a proper ironing board/table.

    • Greetings Jayne,
      If you want to pack a travel iron and kettle that is
      ok. Please know that we don’t have a mini stovetop/heating area in any
      of the staterooms nor a proper ironing board/table.

  38. Mulan says:

    We are booked for May 21, Black Sea cruise. May I know the weather and what appropriate garments should we bring? Thanks

    • Windstar Cruises says:

      The projected weather forecast in Istanbul is mid to upper 60s. I would pack light clothes for the nice sunny weather but a light jacket would be a good idea also

    • Greetings Mulan,
      The projected weather forecast in Istanbul is mid to upper 60s. I would pack light clothes for the nice sunny weather but a light jacket would be a good idea also.

  39. Clara R says:

    We’ll be doing a vow renewal (actually a wedding ceremony for us, even though we’re told it won’t be a legal ceremony) in September, aboard the Star Breeze. Will it be possible to have my dress, and his tux properly steamed onboard the day of the ceremony? Also, we’ll be bringing our DSLR camera along. Is there anyone onboard who can take some photos? Thanks!

    • Windstar Cruises says:

      Clara, we have confirmed with Star Breeze Chief Housekeeper that it is possible to steam iron the wedding dress and tux. Once onboard please contact reception and they can assist with this request.

      There is also a professional photographer onboard who will be able to capture those special moments for you.

    • Laura Secrist Kaplan says:

      We leave in a week to get married on the Wind Spirit on the 10 day Tahiti cruise. My groom is a professional photographer -we will have to tell you our experience!

    • Laura Secrist Kaplan says:

      Clara we leave in a week to get married on the WindSpirit….I’ll have to let you know how to goes!

      • Clara R says:

        Looking forward to hearing about your experience! Are you having a legal ceremony performed on the ship?

        • Laura Secrist Kaplan says:

          The legal marriage in French Polnesyia is very complicated & expensive. We are getting married legally in the states. But we are treating the vow renewal as our true ceremony. I know Windstar is going to make very special!

    • Clara, we have confirmed with our Chief Housekeeper that it will be possible to steam iron the wedding dress and tux. Once onboard please contact reception and they can assist with this request.

      We also have a professional photographer onboard who will be able to capture those special moments for you.

  40. Laura Secrist Kaplan says:

    Please tell us about vow renewals on the boat. Thank you!

    • Laura,

      On the white sandy beach, you will enjoy a traditional ceremony with a priest for the benediction followed by a dance show.
      After the ceremony, you will be taken by outrigger canoe to the hotel pontoon where will have a sunset cruise, glass of champagne & canapes on the hotel pontoon. Private 3 course dinner with wine in the Moorea gardens will also be included.

      Please call Vacation Planning for more details.

  41. Erica Vieira says:

    I am thinking of doing a cruise. I need to know how many steps between decks going to staterooms?

  42. Raylene Ellis says:

    Do we have to wear formal attire to dinner?

  43. Kim Wanderling says:

    how is the weather in late september, early october? we are going to do the classic dalmatian coast cruise, thanks in advance!

    • Hello, Kim! You have picked a fantastic voyage! The weather normally is very pleasant for sightseeing. Venice monthly average in September-October is 71-50 F. Average temperatures in Montenegro are 80-70 F. The weather on the Italian island of Capri is mild and typical of Mediterranean climates.

  44. Lori says:

    We will be traveling on the Windsprit. Do we need any electrical adapters for straight irons? Also, are there hair dryers in the stateroom? Thank you!

    • Hi, Lori! You may borrow an electrical adapter on the ship and return at the end of your voyage. Also, all of our staterooms come equipped with a hair dryer for the guests to use.

  45. Ellen says:

    We will arrive in Tahiti at 5am but the ship begins boarding at 1 pm. Is there a convenient place to stor bags without backtracking to the airport?

    • Hi Ellen, you can always check with one of the local hotels if they can hold on to your bags for a small fee even if you are not their guest. Also there is a locker room at the airport which is not to far from the city center and you can take a bus. We unfortunately do not have anywhere to store for the guests while they wait to board the vessel.

  46. lgordon says:

    my husband and I will be in Italy and Croatia for 3 weeks. We tend to pack heavy and I am concerned about how to store the luggage on the WindSurf? We will have a suite,but does most of the luggage fit under the bed? What is the clearance? Thanks.

  47. lgordon says:

    Is the beverage package worth the price? We love our wine and drinks in the afternoon. I am thinking that it will be a value, but I am curious.

    • lgordon,
      The beverage package is $116 per stateroom ($58 per person) per a day. A glass of Italian spumante costs $8.50. It really depends how many drinks you prefer to have a day. We have had many guests from recent voyages saying it was a great deal…

  48. Pat Bancroft Sessions says:

    Is windstar only doing e-documents now? I like getting the packet!

    • Hello Pat, documents can either be paper or electronic, which you or your travel agent choose at deposit. Please contact our Vacation Planners at 888-216-9373 and let them know your booking number, so they can send you paper documents.

  49. Ron Mercer says:

    I am recovering from an accident and find myself with very little appetite. About all I care to ingest is chocolate Ensure. By chance, is that available on board ship?

  50. Sheila J says:

    We are booked on the 7 day Barbados cruise in Jan 16 and are trying to work out whether we should purchase the drinks package. Can you give me an idea of the average cost of a bottle of wine – house wine price I’d you have house wines on the wine list.

    • Hello Sheila,
      Just to give you an example, Napa Valley Chardonnay is $25 per bottle; however our beverage package excludes wines by the bottle, allowing guest to have wine by the glass. For more questions please call our vacation planners at 888-216-9373.

  51. Sajacks says:

    Where can I find out which drinks are not included in the Windstar package.

    • Hi, Sajacks
      All bottles of wine and champagne are excluded from the beverage package. Also a collection of rare liquors are not a part of the beverage package. Please call our vacation planners at 888-216-9373 if you have more questions.

  52. Jerry Fox says:

    Is it acceptable to bring a single bottle of wine per passenger for a special occasion?

    • Hello Jerry,
      You may bring aboard 2 bottles of wine or champagne (750 ml) for your enjoyment onboard.
      All additional
      alcohol, including those bottles purchased at ports of call along the
      cruise route, will be kept by the ship’s purser and delivered to your
      room the last evening of the voyage.

  53. Amy says:

    Is there an Iron/board in the staterooms on the Wind Surf?

    • Hello Amy, we do not supply staterooms with an iron or ironing board. Windstar Cruises has a convenient laundry and pressing services. You may purchase a package or a la carte. Prices are very reasonable.

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