10 Things I ALWAYS Bring on a Cruise

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I tend to pack light when I travel. But over the years, I have learned that when cruising, there are a few things I will not leave home without. Once you have checked the boxes for clothes and swimwear, I recommend adding these items to your bag.

I bring these things to ensure that my onboard experience is exactly what I like. I’ve stayed in suites, inside rooms, ocean views, and balcony rooms, but this list does not change.

Here are the top ten items I always pack for a cruise.

Magnetic Hooks

Four black, round wall hooks with a metallic finish, mounted on an invisible surface, each featuring a simple, curved hook design.
Image Credit: Amazon.com

Most cruise stateroom walls are magnetic. For this reason, I always bring a few magnetic hooks to keep things like lanyards, hats, and light jackets off the floor and furniture. They help the room stay tidy, which is essential when sharing the space with your family.


A woman in an orange top and black shorts, holding a coffee cup, smiles while standing in a curved hallway with warm-toned walls.
Image Credit: Just is a Four Letter Word

Sometimes, my better-dressed friends tease me for this one, but I always wear a badge lanyard when I cruise. I love having my sea pass with me at all times without carrying a purse or keeping it in a pocket. I can also tuck in some cash or casino chips, so I’m ready to go if I feel lucky. For the beach, I love having a water-safe phone lanyard.

First-Aid Kit

Printable-First-Aid Packing List for Cruising with Kids
Image Credit: Just is a Four Letter Word

When cruising, I bring more than a few bandaids and ibuprofen. You never know what can come up, and purchasing medicine onboard is a pricey endeavor! Ask me how I know. Print out this free first-aid packing list for your next cruise.

Wine and Champagne

A bottle of campo viejo rioja wine beside a filled glass on a restaurant table, with a blurred person in the background.
Image Credit: Just is a Four Letter Word

Most cruise lines will allow you to bring two bottles of wine per stateroom on embarkation day. I always take advantage of this rule, even if we purchase a drink package, because I enjoy a nightcap in the room. You can also bring your bottle to dinner or brunch with you (mimosas, anyone?).

Just make sure to open it yourself if you want to avoid a corkage fee. You can find plenty of mid-range bottles with a screw cap or pack a small corkscrew as well.

Comfortable Shoes

A person standing in black and purple flip-flops on a brick surface, wearing a navy skirt, focusing on lower legs and feet.
Image Credit: Just is a Four Letter Word

It’s definitely fun to wear cute shoes for dinner, but don’t leave the comfortable ones at home. I found that I walked far more than I anticipated on my first cruise, and my feet paid the price! Check out some of my favorite shoes here.


A scattered pile of U.S. dollar bills, predominantly featuring one-dollar notes.
Image Credit: Just is a Four Letter Word / Canva

While you can charge most tips to your room, having some cash on hand is helpful. Use it for additional tips or in the casino to keep track of your spending. You may also need it in port. Always a good idea.

A Long Charging Cable

Two braided USB-A to USB-C charging cables, each with a metallic gray casing and black connectors, are shown side by side.
Image Credit: Amazon.com

Many of the newer cruise ships have outlets near the bed, but this wasn’t always the case. If you want to charge your phone nearby, bring a long charging cable so you don’t have to pile everything up in one spot.

A Packable Beach Bag

A yellow book and a beige wallet inside a mesh tote bag placed on a marble surface next to a striped cushion.
Image Credit: Amazon.com

A lightweight beach bag is great for port stops. Not only can you bring the essentials with you, but there is also room for shopping bags and it packs easily. I like a bag with holes in it to shake out the sand when it’s time to head back to the ship.

A Water Bottle

Water Bottles in fridge the night before
Image Credit: Just is a Four Letter Word

Bring an empty water bottle in your bag and fill it for free with ice-cold water all day. It’s refreshing and nice to have in the room at night. Plus, you can bring it with you on port days if you plan to spend a lot of time in the sun. Just empty it before returning to the ship. My husband and I each brought these filtered water bottles on our European cruise, which came in very handy!

Portable Fan

A hand holding a small, pink handheld fan with a USB port and a micro-USB charging port. The fan blades are spinning.
Image Credit: Just is a Four Letter Word

If you are a fan sleeper like me, this little portable fan is a lifesaver! Not only can you keep it in your bag during the day, but it also stands up so you can have it on your nightstand while you sleep. I run it all night at full charge with no issues, which is great on a cruise due to outlet shortages. Plus, it has a flashlight in case you need it.

Take the time to add these essentials to your bag and make your next cruise even more relaxing. See more cruise tips on Just is a Four Letter Word.

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About Andrea Updyke

Andrea Updyke is a married mom of two boys living in Raleigh, NC. She is a published author and blogger of more than 18 years and loves to celebrate the little things that make life awesome.

Whether she's sharing tasty recipes, traveling or hanging with the family, Andrea's goal is to help make your days a little easier and a lot more fun! Email inquiries to andreaupdyke@gmail.com.

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