16 Must-Have Things to Pack For Your Next Cruise (Including Some You’d Never Think Of…)

When it comes to packing for your cruise, lighter is always better. After all, if you are headed to the warm beaches, how much clothing do you really need?

Still, there are a few items you’ll want to pack with you that you might overlook… or simply never have thought about. To help you out, we’ve rounded up a collection of things that are must-have and will make your cruise that much more enjoyable.

Note: The links to Amazon used below are affiliate links. Should you make a purchase, we receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.

Microfiber Beach BlanketBeach blanket

If you want to spend any time on the beach, then you have to get this beach blanket. It’s micofiber cloth means that it packs up small and light — saving valuable space. What we like most is the size. It’s so much larger than simply laying down a couple of pool towels to keep you off the sand. $25 on Amazon.

Waterproof Valuables Case


Whether you are hanging by the pool or don’t want to leave your valuables on the beach while taking a dip, a waterproof case is a must-have. Use it to keep your phone, wallet, keys, and anything else dry as a bone so you don’t have to worry just because you want to go swimming. You can get two bags for $20 on Amazon.

Slip-Resistant Flip Flops

Non-slip flip-flops

Ok, most people know to pack a pair of flip-flops on their trip. We just couldn’t pass up sharing these Reef sandals with the quilted top. They look like they would be the most comfortable flip-flops ever and the textured bottoms are perfect for walking around on slippery poolside decks. Best of all, the reviews for them are outstanding.

Quick-Dry Mesh Bag


Have a couple of towels, a change of clothes, your hat, sunscreen, bottle of water, and a book? Whew! You’re going to need somewhere to put all that stuff as you head to the beach or the pool. This oversized mesh bag is perfect. It’s lightweight and will dry fast even if it gets a little wet. $11 on Amazon.

Towel Clips

Towel clips

One of our pastimes on the ship is to watch people struggle with laying their towel on their beach chair. With the ship constantly in motion, there is always a breeze on deck. Bringing a few clips like these can help keep your towel secure to your lounge chair and save you some stress. $8 for a pack of 4.

A Small, Portable Cabin Fan

Portable fan

We love bringing along a fan to keep us company in the cabin. Not only does it help to have some air circulating in the room, but we also have to have white noise to drown out any sounds while we sleep. For just $12 on Amazon, this model has three speed settings and oscillates.

Outlet Adapter

Cruise ship cabin tap
This compact plug gives you a spot for three devices.

Have an iPhone? What about a tablet or a laptop? A small fan? A nightlight, curling iron or straightener? You can see that outlet space can be at a premium in a small cruise cabin. That’s why we recommend packing an adapter that will expand the number of plugs. You can pick one up for just a few bucks on Amazon. Just be sure it doesn’t have a surge protector, which aren’t allowed on the ship.

Phone/Passport Dry Pouch

Waterproof phone case

If you are planning to go to the beach, you’ll want somewhere to keep your passport, credit cards, room key, and cash dry. This bag is a best-seller and is only $8. You can also use it for your phone if you want to bring it with you to the beach. $8 on Amazon. (You can also read our full review and test of this case here)

Wide-Brimmed Hat

Wide-brimmed hat

Remember what we said about the tropical sun? There is no better way to avoid sunburn than to keep the sun off you to begin with. Big hats are always in fashion on a cruise because they protect your face, shoulders and neck from getting sunburned. This lightweight version won’t break the bank (just $10 on Amazon) and will help keep you cool.

Cabin Alarm Clock

Alarm clock

Most cabins don’t have clocks. And while most people want to leave the alarm clock at home, we suggest bringing one. Not only will it make sure you don’t miss any onboard activities, but it can also help you pack in the most into your days in port. If you’re the sort of person who likes getting up early to be the first off the ship, then this $20 alarm clock is worth its weight in gold.

Sticky Notes

Sticky notes

Sticky notes? On a cruise? Don’t laugh. They are awesome for leaving little notes in the cabin for your family to let them know where you are. You can also use them to write notes to the cabin steward should something need attention while cleaning the room. No need to bring hundreds, but a dozen sticky notes come in handy every cruise.



Land ho! Or is it? There’s so much to see when you’re out at sea. We love having a pair of binoculars to people watch from afar or simply look at other ships out on the open ocean. An affordable pair won’t set you back that much and you won’t be heartbroken if your kid drops them on the deck. $23 on Amazon.

Cabin Nightlight

Cabin nightlight

The cabins on a ship can get dark — especially if you’ve booked an interior room that doesn’t have windows. So what happens if you get up to go to the bathroom while trying to navigate a small, unfamiliar cabin with furniture? Your shins pay the price. We like to pack along a glowing nightlight like the ones above to give us a little something to see by. $10 for two on Amazon.

Insect Repellant

Mosquito spray

With the fears spreading about the Zika virus, you should definitely take the precaution to bring mosquito repellant. You won’t need it while the ship is sailing (there aren’t mosquitos in the middle of the ocean), but when you are in port, be sure to apply it as often as sunscreen to keep from getting the virus. The good stuff is a bit pricey. You can usually find it for about $9 a bottle on Amazon.

Cruising T-Shirt

Keep calm and cruise on

Ok, maybe it’s not a must-have… but it is fun. To all those people stressing excited their cruise, this shirt is for you. Enjoy the sun, the sea, and the sand. Keep calm. Yeah, right! $20 on Amazon.

Sunscreen (lots of it)


You may not realize how powerful the Caribbean sun is until it’s too late. That’s why you should pack plenty of sunscreen. Amazon offers up cheap sunscreen, but you can also find deals at your local supermarket.

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