The 8 Things You Shouldn’t Pack for a Cruise

The 8 Things You Shouldn't Pack for a Cruise

Most advice on cruising focuses on things to pack for your trip. That includes our article of 39 useful things to pack.

But sometimes it’s just as important to know what you shouldn’t pack for your cruise. At the very least, there are some things that are simply a waste of space. At worst, there are things that either aren’t allowed on the ship or may be illegal for you to bring into foreign countries.

Below, we’ve rounded up a number of different items that you might be tempted to pack; many of which you you likely had no idea you shouldn’t bring on your cruise.

Hair Dryer

hair dryer on a cruise

First things first — hair dryers are absolutely allowed on cruise ships. So if you have a fancy model that you absolutely can’t live without, then sure, go ahead and pack it. But for most people, packing a hair dryer just takes up space.

Cruise cabins come with hair dryers already. They are typically built into the vanity in the main cabin, not in the actual bathroom. Don’t expect much — the hair dryers are your typically hotel variety, meaning they are fairly small and not terribly powerful. Still, they can get the job done during a few days vacation, so you don’t have to pack your own from home.

An Outfit For Every Day of the Trip

What did your spouse wear last Wednesday? Ok, what did you wear last Wednesday? This isn’t meant to be a memory test. It’s meant to prove a point that no one really pays close attention to what other people (or even themselves) are wearing.

So if no one really pays attention, why pack tons of outfits for a cruise? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with packing a few outfits and wearing them a couple of times each on the trip. If you do need laundry, it’s available on the ship.

By packing fewer outfits, you’ll save a lot of space in your luggage for more useful things on your trip.

Power Strips with Surge Protectors

You’ve likely heard about the lack of power outlets in cruise cabins, and it’s no exaggeration. Many cabins have a single outlet to power all your electronics. That’s why we suggest bringing an outlet adapter or a power strip. These give you more outlets in the cabin without taking up much space in your luggage.

One important thing NOT to pack, however, are power strips that have surge protectors. These surge protectors can be incompatible with the ship’s power system and are not allowed. All too many people have had theirs confiscated at embarkation — leaving them left to use a single outlet for the entire cruise.


medical marijuana

At first glance, it seems like a no-brainer to not pack marijuana. However, these days the drug is seeing more relaxed attitudes and laws. For example, a cruise sailing from Seattle to Alaska is both departing from and sailing to places where marijuana is legal. Then there are places like Jamaica, which has relaxed weed laws recently.

Still, even if sailing to a place to the drug is completely legal, it’s against the rules to bring it on a cruise ship. You can still smoke it if you are in a port where weed is allowed, just don’t bring it on the ship.

Smooth-Bottomed Sandals

You know those inexpensive foam flip-flops that are so comfy? They are great for hanging out on the beach, but we recommend not bringing them on a cruise. These cheap sandals wear out the tread quickly, leaving the bottom of them smooth. When walking on most surfaces, that’s no problem. But if you step into a slick and smooth surface (such as near a pool or a wet ship’s deck) then they can turn into ice skates.

Instead, you should pack sandals that have a durable rubber sole on the bottom that doesn’t wear smooth so quickly. These offer more grip and can keep you from taking a spill.

Camouflage Clothing

File this under things you likely had no idea about… but wearing camo in some ports is against the law. This includes not just full camouflage outfits, but things like hats and purses too.

A list of places where it’s illegal includes the following countries according to Wikipedia, many of which are feature cruise ports:

  • Antigua
  • Barbados
  • Jamaica
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Saint Lucia
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

So what will happen if you do wear camo into port? Given that you are a tourist and unfamiliar with the rules, you aren’t likely to face much trouble — but you might be asked to change when leaving the ship.

Homemade Food

That batch of homemade cookies you want to bring onto the ship seems innocent enough, but it isn’t allowed. The cruise lines have specific rules about bringing homemade food onto the ship.

According to Carnival’s website:

“Food Items must be pre-packaged and unopened; homemade items or pre-cooked foods will not be permitted onboard. Limitations on permitted food items are directly related to concerns for food safety and contamination prevention. We are unable to provide food preparation, refrigeration or storage for personal food or beverage items.”

Wrapped Gifts

Celebrating a birthday or special occasion on a cruise? Many people choose to take a trip to mark these events. And of course, celebrating usually means a few gifts.

While gifts are certainly allowed on the ship, it’s best to bring them unwrapped. Just like traveling through an airport, you might be asked to unwrap a gift for security purposes. Instead of ruining your hard work, it’s best just to leave the gift unwrapped.

Have more things that people should leave at home instead of packing on a cruise? Let us know in the comments below!

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