Things You Need to Have Before Your Cruise

What to get before you cruise

Packing for a cruise can seem overwhelming: how can you be ready for days at the beach, formal nights, snorkeling excursions and museum walks? How can you pack for all of it without packing your whole house with you? On my previous cruise, the cruise packing list really helped me prepare. This list only provides things you might have forgotten to pack and things you will need to buy to be ready before your cruise. I shopped around for the cheapest deals on Amazon to get you ready for your next vacation. And don’t forget, if you forget something important you will probably have to buy it at a double price on the ship or the port of call, so you should make sure you take all of the essentials!

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Things You Should Have Before You Cruise

Grab An Empty Refillable Water Bottle

This one is huge. With a refillable water bottle, you will be able to bring water to your stateroom and have water with you anywhere on the ship. You will have to throw away your water at customs, but you can come on board with an empty bottle. Then you can refill it at one of the water stations on the ship. Otherwise, you are stuck with $4 bottles in your stateroom or carrying a cup of water down 5 floors.

The one I found best comes in a variety of sizes and vibrant colors, it’s inexpensive and has really good customer reviews. It’s BPA free and has a vacuum seal. This one will serve you for many cruise adventures to come!

A Vacation Lanyard

It’s a lot easier to keep up with your key if you have a lanyard with you. They are a lot more expensive on the ship, so you can grab them from Amazon* for your whole family or look for an old one at home.

Get a New Beach Hat

Ok, this one isn’t a must, but it will save you from the sun you will look stunning on the beach. One of my favorites – this cute hat* – and, once again, you don’t have to spend a fortune on it!

Traveler’s tip: No need for beach towels! The ship will provide pool towels for you and you can take them with you when you get off at each port.

Bring Wine or Sodas

Each line has its own rules, but generally, you will have to pay for drinks on-board unless you purchased a drink package. It would be a lot cheaper to bring a bottle of wine or a few cans of soda with you on-board than buying it there. Make sure to check with the cruise company how much alcohol you can bring on-board.

Take Sunscreen or Spray

on’t forget this one, and don’t forget to apply it every morning. With the winds, it’s easy to skip the sunscreen and you just might regret this one later. This package* should be enough for the whole cruise – and for the whole family.

Pack a Laundry Bag With You

Throw your dirties in a separate bag. Isn’t this one so adorable?

Grab a Camera 

Isn’t that what cruising is about? You want to remember all of the beautiful moments when you are on-board or on an exotic island. And the photographers aren’t always there. Don’t forget to grab your camera with you on your next cruise vacation. I used a Canon 70D* but it might be too much if you don’t take pictures as often… Instead, you could get a cheaper model* that will last you many more vacations to come. I own both of these and still use them both for different occasions. I’ve had the Nikon one for longer than 5 years.

Another great option is getting an action camera like a GoPro* if you are planning to go zip-lining or snorkeling in one of the islands. You can get some really great underwater shots with these. I was really surprised when I found out that some action cameras like this one* have such high customer ratings for a low price. It’s worth checking it out!

Also, take a waterproof phone pouch –  a must for taking pictures near the water and on the beach – just hang it on your neck.

Pack a Power Strip

There seems to always be a lack of power sockets in the cabin so it’s a good idea to bring a power strip* if you have a lot of electrical items. On our previous cruise, we had one American and one European outlet in our cabin. It might be worth it to bring a converter, too!

Get a Bag to Go on Land

A lot of people forget to grab a beach bag or a backpack to go on-shore. Small purse for your phone won’t be enough – you need to pack sunglasses, sunscreen, a towel, camera, and more! Get a big tote to fit all of your necessities when you go on-shore and enjoy your vacation!

I really hope this list helped you with your packing and now you are even more excited about your vacation! For even more ideas on packing before you cruise: 

I will send you a FREE copy of the printable and editable packing list from Travel Eat Blog!

Is someone you know going on a cruise? Share this list with them to help them save time and money! Have more ideas for cruise packing? Leave them in the comments below!

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Cruise Vacation Packing List
5/5 - (1 vote)
Hi, I'm Marina, passionate traveler and blogger, based in the United States and travelling the world. Thanks for following me on my life and travel adventures!


  1. Claire
    March 11, 2020

    the last (and only) time I went on a cruise, i went crazy and bought like 3-4 big sun hats! ha! i pry could’ve just gone with one, to save space in my suitcase

  2. Kelly
    March 11, 2020

    The backpack is crucial to have, especially for the shore excursions. You are right that you dont want to forget any of these items, they are way to expensive on the ship and they are all a necessity….even the hat lol

  3. Kat
    March 12, 2020

    Great list! Travelling with a laundry bag is a must, it’s such a game-changer! The only thing I would add to your list would be a travel coffee mug for those days at sea. I drink mine rather slowly and it always gets cold, plus their coffee cups are always so small on cruises.

  4. Jay Artale
    March 13, 2020

    Your forgot the sanitizing hand wash! I don’t think many people will be traveling without than now, or a bar or two of soap!! I wonder how badly the cruise industry will be impacted with this current health scare?

  5. Melissa
    March 14, 2020

    These are some great tips! I am planning on going on a cruise as soon as things clear up, so this will be a great help! I need to get a gopro, I have a canon rebel, but the gopros sound so nice! The size and quality looks so great!

    1. Marina
      March 14, 2020

      Yes, I got my go pro right before my cruise and love the under-water videos I took!

  6. Sherianne
    March 15, 2020

    Such great advice to bring a water bottle with you! I think I would just refill a plastic one and avoid carrying the weight of something metal. I love that power strip and am adding it to my amazon wish list right now

  7. Justine Kimoden
    March 15, 2020

    I would say bag to go and lanyards are the two most important items for me if I do go on a cruise. It is important to always have your essentials with you.


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