A Packing List For The First-Time Cruiser

If you’ve never been on a cruise before and you’re planning on changing that, you’ve likely been scouring the websites of the popular cruise lines looking for inside tips and planning your adventure. You’ll likely land on the topic of “what to pack” during your planning process, and you’ll find that most major cruise lines will have a pretty robust list that will get you started. However, there are some items that don’t often appear on those lists, and seasoned cruisers will agree that these items can be life-savers. Here’s a look at some of those items, and some additional tips associated with each one.

Shampoo and Conditioner From Home

Most cruise ships will provide some luxury shampoos and conditioners, but you never know how those products will react with your hair. By all means, give them a try, but it pays to have your own products at the ready as a backup.

Large Plastic Bags

Taking along a load of Ziploc bags probably isn’t a surprising addition to a cruise packing list, but keep in mind you can do all sorts of things with them. They’re obviously useful for keeping belongings dry during your snorkeling or shore excursions, but they can also keep wet items from touching your dry belongings. For example, if you have a big enough bag, you can place your soaked wetsuit inside after a snorkeling trip so that your other items stay dry. They also do wonders in keeping your shore purchases organized in your backpack.

Tablet and/or E-reader

A tablet or e-reader will give you a chance to catch up on your reading while you’re pool-side, and if you pre-load it with a movie or two you can pass the time in your cabin should you run into lousy weather for a day or two. Try to download your material before boarding, as Wi-Fi can be expensive on some ships.


Regardless of whether you’re heading to the pool or ashore, you’ll need to carry around your gear.

Dry Bags

You can stick all of your electronics and important documents in these waterproof bags while you’re out and about, keeping them safe and dry.

Lightweight Crushable Duffle Bag

These can be packed in with your luggage as you board, and then you can put your dirty laundry inside throughout your trip. Plus, you can always use the additional bag for toting your souvenirs off the ship when your trip is done.

Hand Sanitizers and Wipes

Cruise lines make every effort to make their vessels germ-free, but you never know…