How to Pack For a Cruise Vacation – A Comprehensive Guide

Are you gearing up for a cruise vacation and feeling overwhelmed with all the things to pack? Your packing list will vary based on your destination and shipboard activities. Don’t fret if this sounds familiar: nothing should be forgotten!

Packing for a cruise requires knowing what items you must have before boarding the ship and then packing strategically. Here are some must-have items that will make your vacation even more enjoyable.

Comfortable Clothes

When embarking on a day-long excursion or simply sailing at sea, it’s important to wear comfortable clothes. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the cruise line’s policies and bring along plenty of casual apparel for the journey.

When packing for the beach, don’t forget to bring along a pair of flip flops and bring along a light jacket to keep warm.

A comfortable, loose sundress is perfect for port days and an off the shoulder top can be dressed up or down with shorts for a dinner look. Black jumpsuits also make versatile choices while kimono garments provide light coverage when poolside.

Active Clothes

No matter if you’re a dedicated gym goer or prefer something casual, activewear has something for everyone in the selection. From leggings and sports bras, workout-approved pieces come in all shapes and sizes so there’s something suitable for everyone.

No matter your preference, opt for materials that are comfortable, breathable and lightweight. These qualities will help keep you cool and dry during intense physical activity.

Consider clothing made of natural fabrics like Merino wool, bamboo or silk. These materials are more sustainable and usually stronger than polyester or nylon counterparts.

Formal Clothes

According to the cruise itinerary, some lines require guests to dress up for formal dinners. This can be an exciting opportunity to try on some new clothes!

On most cruises, daytime wear is appropriate. For those who like to dress up a bit more, bring along dark-wash jeans with an elegant top and shoes for date night style or wear a dressy skirt and blouse when dining at more formal restaurants.

Men typically opt for a black suit when attending white tie events. It should be paired with an elegant button-down shirt and bow tie.

Casual Clothes

When packing for a cruise vacation, there are several important things to consider. Make sure your clothing selections are comfortable and suitable for the activities and events planned during your journey.

Casual clothes are often the best option when embarking on a cruise that has no formal dress code. Plus, they’re easy to wash and repack for subsequent excursions.

For women, the ideal casual outfit consists of jeans or khakis, skirt or dress, tops and cute shoes. Men can dress up their casual looks by pairing polo shirts or other collared shirts with slacks and nice shoes.

Beach Clothes

No matter if you’re spending the day at the beach or simply sipping cocktails, having stylish beachwear is always essential for any cruise trip. From breathable one-piece swimsuits to Insta-worthy dresses, our edit has something perfect for everyone.

Bring a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and UPF-rated sun shirt for protection from the sun’s harmful rays. Additionally, don’t forget to bring along some comfortable shoes for excursions and sightseeing.


When traveling by air to your cruise or staying in a hotel before you board, ensure to pack all the essential accessories for a comfortable and relaxing journey. This includes items like neck pillows, noise-canceling headphones and an electronic video game system for added entertainment.

Hand sanitizer is an absolute must for travelers who don’t want to deal with germs that can spread throughout a ship, especially if you have medical conditions. Dispensers are available on most ships; however, many people find it easier to bring their own along.

Staterooms often don’t have enough outlets for everyone’s devices, making a power strip essential. Depending on where you’re going, you may also require an international plug adapter.