How to pack for a cruise

The hardest part about packing for a cruise is trying to prepare for the enormity of activities both off and onboard the ship. Start by looking at the itinerary, activities and the facilities on offer. Here are our top packing tips for any cruise.

While thongs aren’t allowed in most dining rooms on the ship, some more casual restaurants will allow them and other casual shoes. If you want to visit some of the fancier dining rooms on the ship, men will need a pair of dress shoes and women will need a nice pair of formal sandals. Many onshore activities and some facilities onboard such as the gym will require close-toed shoes. Don’t pull up to a port and expect to go horse riding in thongs.

If your perfect cruise involves pina coladas by the pool or lounging on foreign beaches, then a swimsuit is essential. Your togs may take a while to dry out in your room, so it’s best to bring two pairs. 

Poolside appropriate
On many ships it’s appropriate to wander around the deck and halls in your bathers, however shoes and clothing are required to enter casinos and restaurants. When stopping off in ports you may be startled to discover that a bikini or boardies aren’t always considered appropriate attire. Pack a sundress or a shirt that you can throw on, so you can blend in and get around conveniently.

You may be in paradise, but you’re also cruising in the open ocean, so it’s bound to get chilly from time to time. Bring a jumper that’s nice enough to wear into a dining hall or casino, as they can also get a little cold.

Pack a bag
You’ll want to bring a backpack or beach bag to carry your belongings when you go offshore for beach days or excursions. If you have a tote bag, keep it folded up inside your backpack. This way if you purchase anything onshore, you’ll have a way of carrying it around.

Sunscreen and after-sun
Most Aussies won’t need to be reminded, but sunscreen and  an aloe vera after-sun gel is always a good addition to your suitcase. They’ll be hard to find and far more expensive once you’re at sea.

Pack cash
While Australia doesn’t have a huge tipping culture, for many of the tour guides or drivers you’ll meet onshore tipping is a primary source of income. It’s always best to have a small stash of cash, so you aren’t left feeling awkward.

Similar to hotel rooms, some cruise ships will provide small portions of toiletries such as shampoo and conditioner. While it may be ok for a quick rinse, you’ll probably want to have your own products with you. Hair products, toothpaste, soap, a razor and skincare products are essential.

Formal wear
If you’re planning to eat in one of the fancier dining rooms or restaurants, it’s important to make sure they’ll let you in. This can mean anything from a nice dress to a ball gown – if you’re really feeling in the mood. For men this can mean anything from your Sunday best to a tuxedo. Some cruises will have a designated ‘formal night’ to let you show off a little. 

Medicines and scripts
Bringing enough of your regular medicine to last the trip is essential for obvious reasons.  Make sure that it is legal in the countries you are visiting. If there might be complications, it is best to consult your doctor. You may also want to invest in some motion sickness tablets before you set sail – you’ll thank yourself later.

Portable charger
Using your phone to snap pics of your trip is hugely convenient, but your phone battery may die before your excursion is over. Bring a portable charger with you, so you don’t risk your tech crashing on you. The Rebel Chick recommends turning your mobile roaming data off to avoid fees and bringing a power adapter onboard with you.

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Written by Liv Gardiner


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