32 Cruise Packing Hacks

Going on a cruise? Cruise travel is the ultimate escape and something to get excited about. From the feel of the briny ocean breeze on your skin to the thrill of arriving at a new port, cruises can be life-changing –– not to mention indulgently relaxing. Before you embark on your getaway, though, you’ll need to pack carefully.

Most travelers know packing can be a little stressful, even if it’s good stress. On the one hand, you want to make sure you don’t forget anything, like your passport. On the other hand, you may find yourself questioning if you really need to bring those pair of purple heels.

You’ll find all sorts of packing tips out there, so we’ve narrowed down the most important ones for you. In this post, we’ll go over the best cruise packing tips, which include:

list of items to pack for a cruise
  1. Create a cruise packing checklist
  2. Know your cruise line’s dress code
  3. Leave valuables at home
  4. List your activities
  5. Pack toiletries in a hanging bag
  6. Bring a power strip
  7. Pack essentials in your carry-on
  8. Consider the weather
  9. Pack as light as possible
  10. Use packing cubes
  11. Save room
  12. Pack layers
  13. Roll clothes
  14. Add dryer sheets
  15. Cap toiletries with plastic wrap
  16. Bring a health kit
  17. Don’t forget earplugs
  18. Waterproof your phone
  19. Bring binoculars
  20. Pack a refillable bottle
  21. Pack your own mask and snorkel
  22. Consider a white noise machine
  23. Pack heavy items first
  24. Try not to waste any space
  25. Stay organized with Ziploc bags
  26. Carry a stain remover
  27. Lay everything out
  28. Consider what you can buy locally
  29. Store shoes in shower caps
  30. Use sunglasses cases for storage
  31. Bring a mesh laundry bag
  32. Invest in a versatile travel outlet
suitcase packed for cruise

Cruise Packing Tips

Ready to pack your best cruise suitcase? Keep the following tips in mind, and packing will be a breeze:

  1. Create a cruise packing checklist: Are you excited to set sail and visit some of the most breathtaking spots in the world? A cruise ship can take you to your dream destinations, so you want to make sure you enjoy every moment of it. By creating a packing list, you can stay organized and ensure you don’t forget anything important for your escape.
  2. Know your cruise line’s dress code: No matter what you plan to do while you’re on board, it’s still a good idea to know your cruise line’s dress code, so you know exactly what to pack. Most cruise lines have a casual dress code during the day and may have formal nights on occasion. Although you are not required to attend a formal dinner, you may want to pack something elegant in case you do decide to attend. Generally, plan to pack comfortable clothes that are casual yet stylish and appropriate outfits for recreational activities such as swimming or hiking.
  3. Leave valuables at home: It’s always best to leave valuable and sentimental jewelry at home to avoid the risk of losing valuable items. However, if you can’t go without your lucky charm bracelet, you can lock your most precious items, along with your travel documents, in the safe in your stateroom.
  1. List your activities: Before you toss all the shoes you own into a duffle bag, make a list of everything you plan to do, so you can pack accordingly. For example, if you’re cruising to the Caribbean and plan to spend most of your time lounging on the beach, make sure to leave space for your bathing suits and flip-flops, and leave the cowboy boots behind. If you’re excited to hike in Japan, pack comfortable shoes that suit the terrain.
  2. Pack toiletries in a hanging bag: To free up bathroom space in your stateroom, store toiletries in a bag you can hang on the door, or keep them in an over-the-door shoe organizer. You’ll enjoy easier access to your toiletries in addition to more space and organization.
  3. Bring a power strip: You’ll appreciate a power strip if you find you need more outlets than what’s available in your stateroom. With a power strip, you can charge your phone, tablet and anything else you need to charge at the same time, and you’ll always be prepared.
  4. Pack essentials in your carry-on: Make sure to pack your carry-on bag with the most important items such as your travel documents, wallet, medications, essential toiletries and a change of clothes. You may not see your checked luggage for a few hours once you get onboard. To avoid the hassle of dealing with luggage, consider using a luggage shipping service. At Windstar Cruises, we’ve partnered with Luggage Forward to offer a convenient luggage service for our guests. This service takes your luggage from your home and delivers it directly to your stateroom.
  5. Consider the weather: To ensure you’re comfortable throughout your voyage, make sure to keep an eye on the weather forecast for your journey on and off the land. Consider where you’re going, for example, if you’re traveling to Alaska or heading to Costa Rica, and the type of clothing you’ll need to feel comfortable in the climate. Always pack a lightweight waterproof jacket, even if you’re going somewhere warm, in case it rains or gets chilly at night.
  1. Pack as light as possible: You really don’t need to bring too much to enjoy your cruise. Pack essentials that you know will make your cruise comfortable like your favorite walking shoes and a versatile sweater. Otherwise, pack clothes that are easy to mix and match, and consider adding a laundry service to your cruise package so you can pack even lighter. At Windstar Cruises, you can add a 24-hour onboard professional laundry service, so you’ll always have fresh, clean clothes waiting for you at the end of the day.
  2. Use packing cubes: Packing cubes are mesh bags that help you organize your suitcase as neatly as a closet, and they save space. You might pack all your shirts in one cube, pants in another, and then underwear, socks and pajamas in a final cube. When you use packing cubes, you’ll know exactly where everything is, and you can move the cubes directly to the dresser in your stateroom.
  3. Save room: Try not to overstuff your suitcase if possible, because there’s a good chance you’ll pick up some souvenirs throughout your journey. If you’re planning on shopping a lot as you explore, bring a foldable duffle bag to help you bring your treasures home.
  4. Pack layers: Aim to bring layers of clothes so you can easily adjust to a variety of temperatures. So, instead of packing one bulky sweater, bring a long-sleeved shirt and a lightweight sweater you can also pair with other items.
  5. Roll clothes: Tightly rolling your clothes will allow you to fit the most items in your suitcase. Rolling doesn’t work well for everything, though, and you may want to fold items that wrinkle easily like button-down shirts and pants. Consider rolling socks, shorts, T-shirts, pajamas and tank tops.
  6. Add dryer sheets: If you want to keep your clothes smelling fresh, sandwich a few dryer sheets between the layers of clothes in your suitcase.
  7. Cap toiletries with plastic wrap: No one wants to find toiletries leaking over other items when they open their bag or suitcase. One way to prevent toiletry leakage is to remove the cap from each bottle, add a layer of plastic wrap and then twist the cap back in place.
  1. Bring a health kit: A cruise adventure is an unforgettable soul-nourishing experience that exposes travelers to vibrant cultures, new flavors and different environments. Although cruising to foreign places in an amazing way to travel, no one is immune to minor ailments like seasickness or bug bites. Keep yourself comfortable and healthy so you can enjoy your journey to the max. Pack a small health kit that includes items like pain relievers, seasickness medication and anti-diarrhea medication.
  2. Don’t forget earplugs: Earplugs are always a good “just in case” item to bring, and they don’t take up much space. You might really appreciate earplugs when you’re trying to nap on the plane, so make sure to bring them in your carry-on.
  3. Waterproof your phone: Any time you’re near water, whether you’re relaxing at the pool or strolling the beach, a splash or mist could reach your phone. To keep your phone dry and protected, consider buying a waterproof phone case, or opt for an inexpensive waterproof pouch or dry bag.
  4. Bring binoculars: Binoculars are a must-have for any seafaring adventurer. There’s so much to see on the coastline and in the water, from whales to colorful old-world architecture. Make sure you don’t miss anything during your scenic journey and keep those binoculars within reach.
  5. Pack a refillable bottle: It’s important to stay hydrated throughout the entirety of your voyage. To avoid having to buy water at stores or restaurants every time you step off the ship, bring a refillable water bottle with you. You can fill your bottle with safe tap water on the cruise ship, and carry it with you as you explore the different ports.
  6. Pack your own mask and snorkel: Are you planning on snorkeling with colorful marine life in Mexico? Going to Australia to swim around the Great Barrier Reef? If you plan on doing a lot of underwater exploration during your cruise, it’s worth packing your own mask and snorkel. That way, you won’t have to pay to rent this gear, and you can enjoy peace of mind knowing you’re not sharing such equipment with others.
  7. Consider a white noise machine: Do you sleep better with white noise in the background? You’ll want to get the best rest possible during your cruise so you can enjoy every day of your voyage. If white noise puts you in a sleepy state, remember to include a small white noise machine or portable cabin fan in your luggage.
  8. Pack heavy items first: Place your heaviest items like shoes and jackets on the bottom of your suitcase, and keep lighter items on top. This will make your luggage feel more balanced and easier to roll or carry.
  9. Try not to waste any space: There are plenty of ways to utilize every inch of space in your luggage, so don’t be afraid to get creative. For example, if you’re bringing hiking boots with you, you can stuff pairs of socks into the boots. Do you plan to bring extra plastic bags to store garbage or dirty clothes? Stuff them in the pockets of pants and shorts.
  10. Stay organized with Ziploc bags: Although we recommend leaving valuable jewelry at home, you may wish to bring a few pieces of costume jewelry to add style to your wardrobe. Consider using Ziploc bags to separate jewelry and prevent tangles. You might use small empty mint cases to store earrings or rings. Ziploc bags also come in handy for storing and organizing toiletries, snacks and other miscellaneous items.
  11. Carry a stain remover: We all experience minor mishaps sometimes, such as spilling a bit of wine or coffee on a white shirt. Rather than overpacking clothes in fear of a stain emergency, it’s much more convenient to bring a stain removal pen. For example, you might carry Tide to Go with you to quickly remove small fresh stains and keep the fiesta going.
  12. Lay everything out: Before you start filling your suitcase, lay every item you plan to take on the bed. When you lay everything out first, you can group things together and see what you don’t need to take. For example, if you were about to pack a pair of pants that only matches one shirt, you might realize you should put the pants back. Aim to pack items you know you’ll definitely use, and leave all the “maybes” behind.
  13. Consider what you can buy locally: Think about the items you can easily replace once you reach your destination so that you don’t overpack. This may include certain items like toiletries or batteries and common medications. Keep in mind that the cruise will provide some toiletries for you such as soap and shampoo, so there’s likely no need to bring too many toiletries.
  14. Store shoes in shower caps: To keep your shoes from dirtying other items in your suitcase, place each shoe inside a shower cap before packing it away.
  15. Use sunglass cases for storage: Do you have extra cases for glasses sitting around? If so, they make excellent cases for storing electronic accessories like charging cords and earbuds.
  1. Bring a mesh laundry bag: Pack a lightweight and easy-to-fold mesh laundry bag in your luggage. That way you can keep dirty clothes off the floor and separate from clean clothes until they can be washed.
  2. Invest in a versatile travel outlet: To ensure you can charge all your devices when you need to, you might invest in a versatile travel adapter, like an all-in-one adapter and converter with a USB port. With an adapter-converter combo, you can also charge several devices at once, so you can leave the power strip behind.

Travel Light With Windstar Cruises

Once you consider implementing the best cruise packing tips, it makes pre-trip planning much easier. At Windstar Cruises, we strive to remove stress from every aspect of the journey for our guests, so you can let your spirit soar as you sail the world. We offer convenient services, such as luggage shipping and personal onboard laundry service, to help you pack lightly and avoid luggage hassles. To learn more about our services or to book your next cruise, contact a Windstar Vacation Planner today!

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