Top 12 Packing Must-Haves for Your First Cruise

Must have items for first-time cruisers to pack. - Photo by Canva

Hooray - you are headed out to sail on your first cruise! You’ve found the best cruise deal, picked a cabin, started planning your time in port, and even joined a roll call for your sailing. What’s next? It’s time to start thinking about what to pack for your upcoming big voyage. 

In cruising you are constantly on the move, sailing from port to port, in a different environment than when you are vacationing on land staying at a hotel. There are different items that you may want to consider purchasing beforehand to make your onboard experience as comfortable as possible. Expert cruisers know that sometimes space can come at a premium in a cruise ship cabin, and there are certain items you can pack to help make your stay a bit more enjoyable. 

We’ve rounded up our top 12 picks of packing must-haves for your first cruise. Happy sailing! 

Read More: What to Pack on Your First Cruise Post-COVID

1. Battery Operated Motion Sensor Light

These small, battery-powered lights are perfect to add to your cabin’s bathroom, hallway, or other areas that you might walk around in at night while others are sleeping. They are small, making them an easy item to pack in your suitcase.  

2. Packing Cubes 

Between dinner wear, pool wear, shoe options, and other personal items you ‘MUST’ bring, it can become a bit of a well, disorganized space in your suitcase. These packing cubes are a great way to sort your items by type, as well as make unpacking a breeze when you settle into your cabin.

3. Cruise Line Approved Power Strip

Most cruise cabins only have one or two outlets for charging devices, hairdryer, curling or flat iron or anything else you may need to use or charge. Expand the outlets with this cruise line-approved power strip so you don’t have to decide between drying your hair and charging your phone.

4. Sunscreen

Nothing can put a damper on your cruise like a bad sunburn on your first day onboard! Cruise lines will likely offer sunscreen in onboard stores, but you are likely to pay a premium for it. We recommend bringing your favorite type of sun protection from home to save a few dollars. 

5. Fun Luggage Tags

A fun, eye-catching luggage tag is the perfect way to spot your own suitcase among the other hundreds of dark-colored suitcases at the port. 

6. Cruise Line Luggage Tags

Ensure your luggage tags stay attached to your luggage and minimize the chance of having lost luggage. Protect the paper luggage tags that you print out with a plastic holder that easily attaches to your luggage. Each cruise line has a specific size holder for their luggage tags:

7. Towel Bands

Lounge easier than ever with these bands which help to keep your towel in place on your deck chair. These items are small and roll up easy in your suitcase. 

8. Portable Phone Charger

There’s nothing worse than being in port or away from your cabin on the ship, with a dead phone that you are not able to take photos on. Eliminate this from happening with this small portable charger. 

9. Hand Sanitizer with Hook

In this new age of cruising, there will likely be hand sanitizing stations everywhere you look on the ship. However, travel with ease knowing you always have a bit of sanitizer available with these small clip-on bottles.

10. Stain Remover Pen

It's pretty much the law of physics that if you wear a white shirt to dinner, you are likely to spill a brightly colored cocktail or glass of red wine on it. These small, portable pens are a solution to help get the coloring out so you don’t stain your clothing. 

11. Magnetic Hooks for Walls

Fun fact for cruise newbies - most cruise ship cabin walls are magnetic! These tiny hooks are a great item to pack that make it easy to hang wet clothes, or organize items like hats and purses. 

12. Hanging Bathroom Organizer 

This nifty item is a great way to keep all of your toiletries and bathroom items together in one place. Depending on your cabin, you could find your bathroom is short on storage space. This organizer is a great way to have all of your items on hand for when you need them and it packs easily in your luggage or carry on.

Bonus Free Must-Have Item: Shipmate App

Before you board, download the Shipmate App. Shipmate is the #1 cruise app and a great tool to use before, during, and after your sailing. Inside you will find a cruise countdown, a roll call to meet fellow sailors on your trip, deck plans, ship and port info, excursion booking and more! 

Available on the App Store and Google Play

Explore Cruise Deals

Read More: 

25 Important Tips for First-Time Cruisers

7 Best Ships for First-Timers

5 Extra Cost Items that Surprise First Time Cruisers 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

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