Crush packing for a cruise with these nine tips

suitcase after packing for a cruise

Cruises are known for sun, sea, great food, good wine and … shopping?

Well maybe not that last one. The very nature of cruising is a handbrake on shopping.

Time in port is limited and while on-ship shopping improves all the time it also takes advantage of the captive nature of its target market to hike the prices accordingly.

What are the items to pack to make sure you get the best value out of your cruise but don’t have to buy basics on the way?

Read: Queen Anne: The next chapter of cruising


Toiletries are expensive and a matter of personal choice – and skin type – and you may not be able to find exactly what you want in another country anyway. Pack sunscreen at the very least. May pay to tuck in more than one as it seems to exist in the strange separate realm as single socks and sunglasses that regularly sucks items into its vortex.


Make sure it will be able to crunch down or can take a bit of a beating. Hats don’t seem to earn the same respect as our other accessories and need to be a bit hardier for travelling.

Read: The fun cruise trend that will brighten your day

Over-the-counter medicine

I don’t know about you, but my body loves to go immediately into sickness mode on holiday. I’m pretty in tune with what goes wrong these days and having my own stash of drugs is a game=changer. Your basic kit should include painkillers, diarrhoea medication, antihistamine, cough medicine, decongestant, electrolyte powder, Band-Aids and travel sickness pills. Of course, any prescription medicine should be included along with a copy of the prescription if possible.

Water bottle

Cruise ship water should be safe, but port visits can throw up a mixed bag. Better to pack your own lightweight water bottle, fill it up before you leave the ship and everyone’s happy and healthy.


Check with your cruise line. Some fun sponges have a strict no-BYO policy, but some will allow you to bring one or two bottles of wine for your own personal choice. Sipping on the balcony of your state room watching as the sun sinks? A crime not to.


Cash in the currency of the ship is a must if it has a tipping policy. Cruise ship ATMs will almost always charge fees, dodge those by always having a supply of smaller notes to hand.

Read: Why Fiji should be your next international holiday

Basic laundry supplies

Of course, cruise ships have their own laundry service, but sometimes it’s just as easy to do a little hand washing for your smalls and be done with it. If you do pack some washing accoutrements, powder is your best option, packing more liquids than you need is just asking for a leak or explosion in your luggage.

Clothes that pack small

We’ve all had one outfit that we absolutely love but takes up a heck tonne of space. Select your cruising wardrobe with room in mind. I have a silk evening dress that basically folds up into the size of a sock. It’s a dream and perfect for the more formal cruise nights.

Small bags

You will have a suitcase or two and then a personal bag such as a handbag or manbag, also consider a bag that also folds up into almost nothing. Perfect for onshore shopping trips or schlepping your purchases home after you have squeezed all you can into your suitcase.

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