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16 Cruise Packing Mistakes You’ll Regret Making

Are you going on a cruise? Don’t make these common cruise packing mistakes that can ruin your vacation! You’ll regret it!

Cruise Packing Mistakes to Avoid

1. Packing Your Passport in Your Check-In Bag

One cruise packing mistake people make that that can ruin their cruise is that they pack their passports in their check-in luggage. This mistake can create a lot of hassle and inconvenience.

On the day of embarkation, you will need your passport to get on board the cruise ship. If your passport is in your check-in luggage, it will be challenging to track down your luggage, delaying your boarding process. That’s why, you should always keep your passport in your carry-on luggage or in your backpack or purse, so you can easily access it during cruise embarkation.

2. Not Packing a Carry-On Bag

One common mistake people make while cruising is that they don’t pack a carry-on or overnight bag. They pack everything in their checked-in luggage. But, when you check in your luggage on the first day, it usually takes a few hours for the staff to deliver your luggage to your stateroom. That’s why, you should always pack a carry-on bag with all your essential items for the first day, such as medication and entertainment (toys).

Also, if you’re planning to swim on the first day, you should pack your bathing suit and a change of clothes in your carry-on bag. If not, you’ll regret it since you’ll have to wait several hours for your check-in luggage to arrive at your cabin. Check out my article for more on what to pack in your carry-on bag, I’ve also included a free carry-on bag packing list.

3. Not Locking Your Luggage

A common mistake cruisers make is not locking their check-in luggage. It’s a good idea to lock your luggage because on the first day, when they deliver your luggage, it will be left in the hallway, and on the last night of the cruise, you will be required to leave your luggage in the hallway for collection. You never know who will be walking by. It’s smart to have your luggage locked just in case—for peace of mind! 

4. Not Using Packing Cubes

One common mistake cruisers often make is not using packing cubes. Personally, I think packing cubes is an absolute must-have. They keep everything organized and compressed, making the process of packing and unpacking easy. It’s especially convenient on a cruise because you can simply remove the packing cubes from your luggage and place them in the drawers. This way, everything stays organized and easily accessible. 

Personally, I prefer assigning different colored packing cubes to each family member so that we don’t get our things mixed up. This simple trick has saved us a lot of time. So, if you’re planning to go on a cruise soon, don’t forget to pack your packing cubes! I like these packing cubes, the come in many sizes and colors.

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Packing Mistakes on a Cruise

5. Not Checking the Weather Forecast Before Packing

Another common mistake that many people who go on cruises tend to make is forgetting to check the weather forecast before packing. Weather can be unpredictable. Knowing what kind of weather to expect can help you pack the right clothing, gear, and accessories so you’re prepared. Make sure to check the weather forecast for your destination before you start packing for your cruise to avoid any unpleasant surprises. 

6. Not Bringing Any Sweater

One common mistake that people make when packing for a warm weather cruise is only bringing resort wear and forgetting to pack sweaters. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the weather can change unexpectedly, even during summer. And with air conditioning on the ship and tour buses, you might find yourself feeling chilly and in need of a cozy sweater to keep you warm.

7. Not Bringing Sunblock 

It’s a common mistake that many people make while packing for their cruise – they forget to bring sunblock. Even if you are going on a cold weather cruise like Alaska, you still need to take sunblock with you, especially if you’re going on outdoor shore excursions. The sun can be intense even if it’s cool outside and you need to protect your skin. So, make sure to pack your sunscreen to avoid getting sunburnt during your cruise.

8. Not Packing Bug Spray

Another common mistake that people make when they pack for their cruise is they forget to bring bug spray. If your destination is somewhere tropical, like the Caribbean, don’t forget to bring insect repellent.

Even if you’re headed for a Mediterranean cruise, you’ll still need to pack some bug spray. It may surprise you, but even in Venice, you can get bitten by mosquitos. So, it’s always better to be safe than sorry and pack some bug spray for your cruise.

9. Packing Too Much

One common mistake cruisers make is overpacking for their trip. They bring too many bags, pack too many shoes, or fill their luggage with too many outfits. While cruising is more relaxed and allows for more luggage, you’ll regret packing too much, as your stateroom will become cramped. Cruise cabins are generally small, and the closet space available is limited. Therefore, it’s best to pack smartly and avoid overpacking to avoid feeling crowded in your cabin.

Packing Mistakes on a Cruise

10. Not Packing Liquids Correctly

One of the most common mistakes cruisers make while packing is not packing their liquid items properly. You should pack your liquids so they don’t spill and make a mess in your luggage. The best way to do this is by using airtight bags to contain the liquid, in case of any leakage. You can use ziplock bags for small bottles. This way, you can enjoy your cruise and don’t have to deal with the mess of spilled liquids.

11. Not Checking the Cruise Dress Code

It’s a common mistake for cruisers not to check the dress code before boarding a cruise. Many cruisers believe it’s optional, but not all cruises are the same when it comes to dress codes. 

For example, Norwegian Cruise Line has a relaxed dress code policy and allows jeans in the main dining room. But fancier cruise lines like Silversea have a stricter dress code policy where passengers dress up. You don’t want to end up not dining in the main dining room. 

12. Not Bringing OTC Medications

A mistake that cruisers make is they don’t pack any over-the-counter medication. Finding the right medication can be challenging on a cruise ship, and relying on the limited options available at the ship’s gift shop or the ports you visit can be a hassle.

This is especially true if you’re traveling with kids who need age-appropriate dosages and liquid medication. Trust me, it’s hard to find kids Benadryl and kids Motrin. I also always pack kids Dramamine for anti-seasick because it’s chewable and my kids have a hard time swallowing pills.

13. Not Packing Socks

A mistake cruisers make when they are on a warm-weather cruise like the Caribbean is forgetting to pack socks. They wear flip-flops and sandals all day and assume they won’t need socks. It’s important to bring at least a pair or two because you might end up on a cruise ship with an activity that requires socks, such as ice skating.

14. Not Packing a Shawl

One common mistake that many cruisers make is forgetting to pack a shawl or pashmina. Your shawl will come in handy when you’re wearing a dress in the air-conditioned dining room. It also comes in handy if you’re feeling chilly on the shore excursion bus.

Also, if you’re on a Mediterranean cruise and visiting a place that requires head covering, you can use the shawl as a head covering. That’s why it’s always a good idea to pack a shawl or pashmina- you never know when you’ll need it!

15. Not Setting Aside Clothes for the Last Day

A mistake rookie cruisers make is they don’t set aside clothes for the last day. On the night before disembarkation, you’ll be asked to place your check-in luggage in the hallway for the cabin steward to collect.

That means you will have to pack everything the night before. Don’t make the mistake of packing literally everything and forgetting to set aside clothes for the last day. Otherwise, you will be walking out of the ship in your pajamas! Avoid the embarrassment and pack a carry-on bag with your last day cruise essentials like a change of clothes, toiletries, and medications. 

The cruise meme below is exactly what happens when you forget to set aside clothes for the last day! For more cruise meme, check out my article on the 15 Cruise Memes that Will Make You Laugh Out Loud and follow our cruise Facebook page.

Cruise Meme-last day

16. Bringing Prohibited Items on the Cruise

A mistake people make when they go on a cruise is they bring prohibited items on the cruise ship. They bring things like irons and candles, which are not allowed on the ship because it’s a fire hazard. Even things like sneakers with wheels that are popular with kids, like Heely’s type shoes are not allowed on some cruise ship. You should carefully review the rules and regulations of your cruise line to make sure you don’t bring any prohibited items onboard. Check out my article on Banned Items You Can’t Take on a Cruise that may surprise you. 

Free Cruise Port Day Bag Packing List

Get Your Free Cruise Port Day Bag Packing List

Sign up once and you will get access to ALL exclusive content on this website. After unlocking the printable, just save the printable image and then print it. Use it as a checklist to pack your cruise port bag so you don’t forget anything! I hope you like it!

Packing List for Cruise Port Day Bag

Check out these free cruise printables

Caribbean cruise packing list

Alaska cruise packing list

Mediterranean cruise packing list

Cruise Toiletry Bag & Cruise First Aid Kit Packing List

12 Cruise Mistakes that Will Ruin Your Sea Days

9 Dumbest Cruise Mistakes You’ll Laugh At

30 Unusual Things to Pack for a Cruise: Things You Didn’t Know You Need

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