Cruise ships with little girl

15 Random but Useful Things to Pack to Survive Cruising with Kids

Are you going on a cruise with kids? Cruising with kids is not the same as cruising as a couple. It’s definitely less relaxing and more challenging to cruise with kids. You need to pack things to keep your kids entertained during downtime. Here’s a list of random but useful things to pack when cruising with kids. I’m also sharing my cruise port day bag packing list as a free printable below.

Things to Pack When Cruising with Kids

1. Fun Magnets

If you have toddlers or preschoolers, bring a magnet set to keep them entertained during downtime. The cruise walls in your cabin are magnetic, so your kids can use them as a magnetic board to play with magnets. I like these animal magnets

Trust me, these magnets will come in handy when you’re in the cabin and want to relax. I remember when my son was little, the magnets entertained my son when we were lounging in the cabin and watching TV. It kept my son happily occupied, playing with the magnets on the cabin wall. 

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15 Items to Pack for a Cruise with Kids

2. Walkie Talkie

If you’re traveling on a cruise with older kids, packing a walkie-talkie could prove to be a handy yet fun addition. Your kids will love the idea of staying connected with each other using walkie-talkies. Make sure to get a long-range set like this pack of four, so everyone can have their own.

3. Surprise Toys

When we go on vacation, I make sure to pack a surprise bag full of toys for my children. This way, they always have something to do when they get bored or during downtime.

I suggest not giving all the toys to them at once. Instead, you can wrap each toy and let them unwrap it when they’re ready to play with it. This way, it feels like they’re getting a gift, and it adds to the excitement of the moment.

4. Binoculars

If you’re going on an Alaska cruise, don’t forget to bring binoculars for you and the kids. Your kids will love having their own kid-sized binoculars. 

I like these kids binoculars because they have extra large eye pieces, sized for little hands and there is a breakaway neck strap. They’re perfect for looking at glaciers from your balcony or spotting bald eagles during your shore excursion. 

5. Water Shoes

Water shoes are a must when going to the beach or the pool with kids. You’ll want to protect their feet. For younger kids, I like this type of water shoes because it has velcro, so it’s easy to put on, plus it can’t slip off and float away. 

While for older kids, may want to alternate between wearing Crocs and water shoes because, from personal experience, kids don’t like wearing water shoes that are wet and soggy. I always leave the wet water shoes out for a day to dry out.

15 Items to Pack for a Cruise with Kids

6. Beach Toys

If you plan to take a cruise to the Caribbean, Bermuda, or Mexico, you should bring your own beach toys. Otherwise, you’ll end up either buying expensive beach toys from the gift shop or using plastic water bottles or paper cups as beach toys for your kids. 

I like this beach toy set because the bucket is collapsible so it can easily fit in your luggage. Bring an inflatable beach ball to add to the fun. I also recommend carrying these toys in an extra large mesh tote bag to allow the damp toys to air out and to hold wet towels and clothes.

7. Magnetic Hooks

When I go on a cruise with my kids, I always make sure to pack magnetic hooks. They come in really handy because I can easily attach them to the walls of the cabin. This way, I can hang our wet bathing suits to dry and keep them out of the way. 

I also like to use them to hang our cruise lanyards so that they are easy to find when we need them. Using magnetic hooks is a great way to keep your cabin organized, especially when traveling with kids.

8. Nightlight

I always bring a nightlight when I cruise with kids, especially if we’re staying in an inside cabin. I like this cute nightlight because it’s motion-activated, rechargeable and has a magnetic back. 

9. Puddle Jumper

If your child can’t swim or is just starting to learn, bringing your own life vest is a good idea. Although most cruise ships provide life vests for pool use, they don’t allow you to bring them down to the beach. 

So, it is safer to bring your own life vest. Personally, I recommend these puddle jumpers, I used them with both my kids.

10. Ziploc

Make sure to pack plenty of Ziploc bags when you go on a cruise. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did. 

It’s a good idea to bring sandwich-sized Ziploc bags for snacks. I like to use them to pack dry goods like Cheerios for my kids’ snacks. You should also bring gallon-sized Ziploc bags to store wet bathing suits and other damp items. 

Your child will likely want to keep shells and stones they find on the beach, so the Ziploc bags will come in handy. But before you let them collect too many, make sure to check with the cruise line about their regulations on bringing shells aboard. 

It can be prohibited, as I found out when my son wanted to bring a giant leaf on board from the beach in Dominica. Despite his tears, we weren’t allowed to bring it with us.

11. Sunhat

Packing a sunhat is a must for your Caribbean, Mexico or Bermuda cruises. I know this is not a random item, but I’m adding it to our list because you’ll regret it if you don’t pack one.

That’s because it’s really hard to find a sunhat that fits small children, especially toddlers. Port stores and even the cruise gift shop generally stock hats for adults, but it’s not that common to find one that fits a child’s head. I like this sunhat because it has UV protection and comes with a strap so that it won’t fly off.  

12. Water Bottles

Bringing refillable water bottles when cruising with kids is a good idea. Your cruise cabin does not come with water, so you’ll need to either buy bottled water or carry water in cups from the buffet. 

Having your own refillable water bottle will save you the trouble of repeatedly going to the buffet for water. Therefore, it’s recommended that you bring a water bottle for everyone in your family. Also, if your child is old enough to handle it, try to bring water bottles without straws to avoid the hassle of washing them. 

13. Thermometer

Remember to pack a thermometer when you go on a cruise. I learned this the hard way when my 3-year-old felt unwell during our cruise, and we had to visit the ship’s clinic twice because we didn’t have a thermometer with us. 

It’s a small and compact item that can come in handy, so make sure to bring one. Plus, don’t forget to pack children’s Tylenol and children’s Motrin because it’s hard to find children’s OTC medications.

14. Art Supplies

Many cruise ships no longer provide stationary and pens, so it’s best to bring your own. If you’re traveling with children who enjoy drawing, definitely bring art supplies like crayons, a sketchpad, coloring books, and stickers. 

I personally recommend including water wow books in your packing list, as they are mess-free and can provide hours of fun.

15. Magnetic Clips

Are you wondering what to do with all the artwork your child made on the cruise? Why not display it on the walls of your cabin using magnetic clips? 

These magnetic clips can hold up your kid’s art from the kids’ club, daily planners, or any other paperwork you have lying around. It’s a great way to keep things organized in your crowded cruise cabin! 

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

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