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25 Things People Forget to Pack for a Cruise

Are you planning to go on a cruise? Then you should read this list of 25 things that people always forget to pack for a cruise. These are items that you may not think of at first, but you will definitely appreciate having them on board. Some of them are essential, some of them are convenient, and some of them are just fun. But all of them will make your cruise experience more enjoyable and memorable.

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25 Things You Wished You Packed for Your Cruise

1. Binoculars with strap

You never know what you might see on the horizon or on the shore. Binoculars can help you spot wildlife, landmarks, and other ships. I always pack binoculars with a strap when I go on cruises. It’s fun to use especially if you have a balcony stateroom. Definitely get one that is compact, lightweight and with a strap.

2. Ziploc bags

These are handy for storing wet clothes, snacks, toiletries, and other items that might leak or spill. You can also use them to protect your phone and camera from water and sand.

3. Laundry detergent

If you want to save money and avoid running out of clean clothes, you can wash some of your garments in the sink or the shower. Bring some travel laundry detergent to make it easier.

4. Clothespins

These are useful for hanging your wet clothes to dry and keeping your curtains closed.

5. Lanyard

A lanyard is a convenient way to carry your cruise card, which you will need to access your cabin, pay for purchases, and get on and off the ship. You can also attach other items, such as your room key, ID, and cash, to your lanyard.

6. Highlighter

A highlighter can help you mark the activities and events that interest you on the daily newsletter that the cruise line provides. You can also use it to write notes and reminders on the newsletter or on your cabin door.

7. Magnets

Most cruise cabin walls are made of metal, which means you can use magnets to hang your photos, notes, itineraries, and other papers.  I like these cruise magnet hooks to stay organized.

8. Night light

Inside cruise cabins can get very dark at night, which can make it hard to find your way to the bathroom or the door. A night light can provide some illumination and comfort. I like these motion sensor night light.

9. Travel mug

A travel coffee mug that can keep your drink hot or cold is a must-have for your cruise. I recommend these 20 oz insulated mugs with lids. I love filling mine with water or seltzer and adding some lemon for a refreshing drink. It’s so convenient to have it with me all day on sea days. You’ll thank me later when you don’t have to go to the buffet every time you need water.

10. Beach Chair Towel Clips

I always bring my own beach chair towel clips to secure my towel to the beach chair so it doesn’t fall off or gets blown away. It’s a pet peeve of mine to lie down on a beach chair where the towel has slipped off. I like these fun beach chair towel clips. I know you are going on your cruise in the Spring but you never know, you might want to lounge by the indoor pool!

11. Bottle of Wine (check cruise policy)

Most cruise lines will allow you to bring one bottle of wine on the ship when they board. You are allowed to bring one 750 ml unopened bottle of wine or champagne per person. Any alcohol that you buy ashore will be taken and kept until the end of the cruise. Double check with your cruise line before you bring wine. 

12. Corkscrew (no knife)

If you are planning to bring wine, don’t forget your corkscrew so you can enjoy it in your cabin. If you bring your wine to the dining rooms, you will be charged a corkage fee. Just make sure you pack a corkscrew that does not have a knife, as some cruises may have security rules or regulations for bringing sharp objects. To be safe, check your cruise policy.

13. Lysol Wipes

I always pack lysol wipes so I can sanitize my cabin. I like to wipe down the remote control, cabin phone, door knobs and more! 

Things people forget to pack for a cruise pinterest

14. Water shoes

If you are going on a Caribbean cruise or a Mexico cruise, definitely pack water shoes. Water shoes can protect your feet from sharp rocks when you go swimming, snorkeling, or kayaking. They can also prevent slipping on wet surfaces and provide more comfort than flip-flops.

15. Cross Body Bag with zipper

A cross body bag is a great choice for cruises, as it can keep your valuables safe and handy. Depending on where your cruise destination is, you may encounter pickpocketers, so you need to be careful when you walk around and sightsee. A cross body bag is more convenient than a shoulder bag, as it stays close to your body and does not slip off. Make sure it has a zipper to keep your valuables secure.

I like this crossbody bag that has RFID to prevent identity theft by keeping your credit card information secure. If you are going to a place where there is a high risk for pickpocketing, then I suggest this slash-proof cross body bag because the strap and bag are slash-resistant and there is also RFID blocking so your card information is safe from identity thieves.

16. Walkie Talkie

If you are traveling with family or a big group, it’s nice to have a way to communicate to each other onboard. Cellphone service is poor and internet service is expensive. Bringing a long range walkie talkie is an easy way to stay in touch and it can be a lot of fun for kids to use.

17. Refillable water bottles

Refillable water bottles will come in handy during your cruise. Most cruise ships don’t provide free water in your cabin, unless you purchase the bottled water from the cruise line or get water from the buffet. I like to fill up my water bottles with water and ice and take it to my cabin. I also do the same when I go ashore.

Pro tip: Don’t bring water bottles with straws since it’s a hassle to wash. I like these insulated water bottles without straws.

18. Waterproof phone case

If you are going to cruise destinations where you will be spending a lot of time on the beach, you need a waterproof phone case. It will protect your phone from water and sand. Use a waterproof phone case that has a touch screen. It will come in handy when you spend the day at the beach.

19. Waterproof Camera

If you like to take cool underwater videos and pictures, I suggest bringing a waterproof camera. I like to use my GoPro to capture underwater videos while I’m snorkeling. Don’t forget to bring extra memory cards, batteries, and waterproof covers/accessories for your camera.

20. Shawl or Pashmina

A shawl or a pashmina is a handy item to pack for a cruises. No matter the destination, it’s nice to have to keep you warm when the cruise ship airconditioning gets too cold. You can also use it to cover your head when you visit mosques and other places of worship that requires headcovering.  

21. Swim Cover Up

Pack a swim cover up. It’s especially useful when you are at the pool and just want to go to the buffet to grab a quick bite, you can easily put on the swim coverup. I like this swim cover up, it provides enough coverage and comes in many fun prints. 

22. Journal

A journal can help you record your thoughts, feelings, and experiences on your cruise. You can also use it to write down your goals, plans, or dreams, or to doodle, sketch, or color. It comes in handy on sea days when you have some free time to just relax. 

23. Bug Spray

Bring some bug spray that can fit in your bag and keep insects away. Some cruise destinations can be surprisingly infested with mosquitoes. Even European ports like Venice! You don’t want to get bitten there! I like these mosquito bite ointments that come in a roller so you can easily apply it on your bug bite!

24. Deck of cards

A deck of cards can provide you with old fashioned entertainment. It comes in handy if you are traveling with a group and your itinerary has a lot of sea days. 

25. Snorkeling gear

If you think you will snorkel, then you should bring your own snorkeling gear. I personally don’t like renting it, but I know it’s bulky so depending on how much room you have in your luggage, you may or may not want to bring your own snorkeling gear.

Do keep in mind some cruise lines will not allow you to use your snorkeling gear in the ship’s pool. Definitely check your cruise line’s regulations before bringing your snorkeling gear.

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Check out our Cruise Packing Lists with Free Packing list printables!

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Check out: I’ve Been on over 25 Cruises, Here are 17 Things I’ll Never Do on a Cruise

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Check out: When to Book a Cruise to Get the Best Deal

If you need to book shore excursion tours, a great platform to book tours is with viator

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