One of the best things about a cruise is that you only have to unpack once. because your accommodation is also your mode of transport - how easy is that! If you want to pack wisely for your trip then take a look at these 20 items that are recommended by experienced cruisers.
Passport or birth certificate, if your destinations are overseas ports then you will need this identification. If you are taking a closed loop cruise that starts and ends at the same USA port then you might get away with showing only your official birth certificate but you should check this in advance. Tip: Always keep a copy of your passport and birth certificate, leave a copy at home as well.
A carry on with essentials. Along with the usual travel documentation, paperwork, wallet, and prescription medications you'll want to have access to a change of clothes, toiletries and some other items for example your swimming gear, sunscreen and a book. Keep it lightweight so you can hit the pool or other activities as soon as you board and wait for your luggage to be delivered to your room. Sometimes the luggage delivery can take a while.
Tech gadgets, for example your smartphone, tablet, DSLR camera, GoPro, portable game player or book reader.
A portable charger, there's nothing worse than if your electronics run out of juice on a trip.
Formal attire, in the evenings there is often a dress code. It might be smart casual for ladies, pants with shirt and collar for men. Formal evenings require a cocktail dress or pants suit with men wearing a suit (maybe a tie). You can check the dress code for your trip in advance.
Quick drying coverup or shorts are a good idea when some land based activities require you to get a bit wet. Or you could take a change of clothes instead.
The right mix of shoes should be considered carefully. Flip flops for sure, sneakers for working out, walking or climbing walls, dressy shoes for evenings and water shoes for shore excursions where you might get wet.
Binoculars to check out the amazing views you see from your deck or stateroom window or balcony.
A wrap or pashmina, jacket or hoodie for cooler evenings on the deck
Wrinkle release spray to keep clothes wrinkle free because there are no irons in your rooms.
A small day pack or tote (for example the one you used to bring your carry on essentials when you arrived). You can use it to carry cameras, books, sunscreen, water bottles and anything else you need from your room around the ship or to off shore excursions.
Low tech entertainment options such as a real book, magazine or puzzle books for sea or beach days. Sometimes the ships library doesn't have what you'd like to read. If you have small kids you are traveling with then you could take inflatable water toys. If you are snorkeling in every port it might be worth taking your own gear.
Toiletries and other necessities, the ship should have soap and shampoo as a minimum in your room, often body lotion, conditioner and body wash. If you like your own toiletries then you should pack them. They also provide hair dryers but note they will be low wattage. If there is a lot of sunbathing, swimming and beach days on your trip then pack a lot of sunscreen. Aloe gel if you're planning on getting a tan and have a tendency to over do it and insect repellent to keep the bugs at bay.
Storage options are popular to help with organization. For example over the door shoe bags for storing toiletries or small items, extra hangers for long trips and a foldable duffle bag for any extra shopping you might do in ports or maybe you can use it for your dirty laundry.
Outlet adapter or a strip board is a good idea to expand the number of plugs in your room, often they are limited.
Swimsuit cover up for a bit of modesty between your room and the pool or on the beach.
Waterproof dry bag to put your valuables in when you head out for a water excursion.
Dramamine if you're tend to get seasick. Most cruises will have some of this available for when seas get rough.
Sunglasses, maybe even a spare pair if you are prone to losing them. The reflection of the sun off the ship and water can be harsh.
Earplugs if you need peace while you sleep. There is a lot of activity on a ship and people sleeping in close quarter rooms.
Of course you could pack everything including the kitchen sink but your room is most likely going to be pretty tight so remember that when packing. Don't worry if you forget something as there will be on board shops that sell essential items you can pick up.