Important Items You're Forgetting to Pack for Your Cruise

things to pack cruise surprising forget
Read on for some handy items you might not think to pack. - Photo by ThinkStock

Sure, you know you have to pack clothing, comfortable shoes, and toiletries, no matter where you cruise. But if you stash these unusual items in your suitcase now, they’ll be ready and waiting to help make your life easier on your next sailing, and for sailings to come:

1. Small Power Strip

power strip cruise things to pack

Photo by kokoroyuki / Thinkstock

Many staterooms only have two outlets: one in the bathroom and one in the main room. With a small power strip, you’ll be able to charge everything at once — including your phone, tablet, camera, and laptop — overnight, so they’ll be ready to go in the morning. If you’re cruising internationally, remember to check what plugs your hotel uses for your pre-cruise stay: Most foreign properties require an adapter, and you’ll want to pack that as well.


2. Night-Light

things to pack night light cruise

Photo by Maxlite

If you tend to wake in the middle of the night, or before your spouse or children — or whomever else you’re sharing a cabin with — in the morning, a night-light can help you make your way around the room. It can also comfort small children should they wake up in the middle of the night and feel disoriented about not being home.


3. Clothespins

clothes pins things to pack cruise

Photo by urfinguss / Thinkstock

Small and easy to store in an inside pocket of your suitcase, clothespins can be used in a variety of creative ways to hang wet bathing suits or other items to dry on your veranda, skirts or pants on shirt hangers in the closet, or additional towels on the in-shower clothesline, since there’s limited hanging space in the bathroom.


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4. Plastic Bags

plastic bags things to pack cruise

Photo by Tom Gowanlock / Shutterstock

These are critical on Caribbean and Mediterranean cruises, where you expect to have some beach time — or in Alaska, where you might encounter a rainy day or two. Pack sealable plastic bags in different sizes, as well as a garbage bag or two. You can pack wet swimsuits or clothing, or dirty shoes, in them on the last day, and use a larger bag for dirty laundry or to pack liquids for your flight home.


5. Over-the-door shoe holder

shoe holder over the door

Photo by Amazon

Storage is limited in the smallest staterooms — a collapsible hanging shoe holder will take up almost no room in your suitcase, but the pockets can store anything from actual shoes to hair dryers, hairbrushes, toiletries, clothes, books, or toys (for those traveling with kids). 


6. Highlighters, sticky notes, and pens

cruise supplies highlighters stick notes pens

Photo by windu / Shutterstock

With the large variety of daily activities aboard the larger cruise ships, it’s hard to remember all your choices. When your daily planner arrives in your cabin each night, you can highlight the activities you’re interested in to ensure you don’t miss out on them, and add notes about what you want to do while you’re in port. You can also leave notes on the mirror for cabin mates, or on the cabin doors of new friends you make throughout the sailing.


7. Wipes

wipes things to pack on cruise

Photo by Vedmed85 / Shutterstock

Whether you’re traveling with children or not, having some disinfectant wipes in your suitcase will help you clean your hands — or any surface — on a shore excursion or even when you’re at the pool. You can buy small pouches at your local drugstore, or take a little, sealable plastic bag and fill it up before each trip. is a participant in Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising revenue by promoting and linking to

Join the discussion

What item(s) do you always pack when you sail?


Posted by Travelspirit

Camping and camera stores sell several versions of waterproof enclosures. I put everything in a double ziplock bag and after closing it put it in the much tougher camera protector which has a cord I can wear around my neck or tie to my swim trunks. Make sure to squeeze out all of the air. You may need a little weight in the bag like a small stone. It worked well to 40 feet.

Posted by bert

Hello all. Am sailing alone to the Caribbean and will go into the water ashore. Can anyone advise me on how to keep my documents (ship card, driver's license) dry and on my person while I'm in the water? I don't feel comfortable with the thought of leaving such things unattended on a boat while I'm 20 meters underwater. Many thanks in advance.

Posted by hoku

"hang wet bathing suits or other items to dry on your veranda" I do believe this is a no-no.

Posted by hoku

Bert--my license and door key are plastic. Could put items in ziplock bag and stuff in bathing suit.

Posted by hoku

Take binder clips to put on the bottom of shower curtains to keep them inside the shower--won't blow outside the bottom of shower and so will keep floor dry. I also bring extra luggage locks in case one gets "lost" on outward bound part of flight.

Posted by stephyb85

We brought a small power strip on our last cruise (Royal's Oasis of the Seas - September 2017) and it was taken away by security. As it was a safety hazard, they could not return it to us until the last day of cruising. Perhaps this is no longer a good thing to include in your luggage!

Posted by MaryJune

There’s six of us gals going and we decided to get a walki talks as texting is costly. The one we got has good range and is for hotels. Don’t want anyone getting lost or having fun without me!

Posted by LoveMyPilot

I know it’s one bottle of wine per person, but I’ve also read that you may bring a six pack of soda per person as well. Truth or no?

Posted by darlenebradshaw

Bert invest in a floating waterproof cellphone case. Plenty of room for all ur documents. Comes with a lanyard so you have it with you all the time... this is a great investment. I ordered ours through Amazon. Hope this helps... Darkene

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