What To Pack In Your Suitcase For A Cruise Holiday

So your going on a cruise! Congratulations! A cruise holiday is absolutely my favourite type of getaway and I am feeling totally jealous right now. You will get to visit and explore so many different places.  There’s going to be plenty of time for chilling out by the pool with your favourite cocktail too.  You can also be out every night painting the town or should I say cruise ship red if you fancy.

Norwegian epic

A cruise holiday is back to back fun, activities and entertainment but what on earth do you pack in your suitcase to ensure you have everything you need.  There are so many different elements to a cruise holiday, getting what you pack right will ensure you are prepared for the all the fun and activities in store.

Your cruise holiday provider will have some advice and maybe even policies on dress codes for your holiday so this is a great place to start before writing your packing list. Before you book your cruise, I would definitely recommend making sure your happy with the dress code in place.  It’s your cruise, so you want to be comfortable with any rules the cruise ship has in place.  Not all cruise holidays are formal these days, so if you want something more relaxed speak to your travel agent or search online.

water park on board Norwegian Epic

Next, think about what you are likely to be doing when you visit each port. If you opt for cruise excursions they will have helpful information about activity levels etc.  Also think about whether you will be inside or outside. Will you be exposed to the sun a lot or will your day trip be a little more on the chilly side. Even if you plan to do your own thing, thinking about these things is still going to help with your cruise packing list.

What to Pack for a Cruise Holiday

Clothes for Day Trips

  • Good walking shoes and/or sandals
  • Light trousers
  • Shorts
  • T shirts
  • Skirts
  • Dresses
  • Jacket
  • Cardigan
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun hat
  • Travel rucksack or shoulder bag
  • Night wear/pyjamas

By The Pool/Day at Sea

  • Flip flops
  • Swimming suits/ bikinis Sarong or similar
  • Bag for the pool

Evening Wardrobe

  • Evening wear (dresses, tuxedo etc )
  • Smart shoes
  • Evening bag
  • Jewellery


  • Sun cream
  • Shower gel
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Hairbrush
  • Straighteners
  • Moisturiser
  • Perfume Body spray/deodorant
  • Day and evening make up

Technology & Entertainment

  • Camera
  • Selfie stick
  • Phone
  • Chargers
  • Tablet
  • Adaptors (check the socket type with your cruise holiday company)
  • Books/Kindle

Travel Items & Accessories

  • Earplugs
  • Travel documents and tickets
  • Travel wash

Especially For kids

  • Favourite toys
  • Books
  • Colouring books & pens
  • Comforter
  • Nappies/wipes if required
  • Sun cream SPF 50
  • Sun hats
  • Sun glasses
There’s no denying that you can start to feel like your packing everything but the kitchen sink when you’re preparing for a cruise.  It’s so easy to go over board (such a bad pun!) on what you need, but you don’t want to get caught short either.

As well as day trips and excursions, you need to think about what you will do when your on the ship.  There will be at least one day at sea if not more, so think about how will you be spending your time. Look at what is available on the ship like is there a spa, what about sports and activities.  Often they provide a running track and sports courts if you want to make use of those.  These days there are climbing walls, water parks and extreme activities that you might want to prepare for.

During the evening will formal dress be required or will you have a few relaxed nights on board the ship. Look at the dining options and evening activities that you might enjoy.  There will be plenty of opportunities to enjoy fine dining and a show, but some nights you might enjoy the themed buffet and a quiz night.

You will probably need your biggest suitcase for a cruise holiday, and I’ve seen some people embark their cruise ship with several pieces of luggage for what looks like a relatively small travel party.  I guess they might be thinking, what if I need this dress or that dress and have packed every pair of shoes they own just in case.

What to pack in your suitcase for a cruise holiday

Personally, I prefer to keep my packing in check with a well thought our packing list for a cruise holiday. And lets not forget there’s all that washing to think about when you come home.  If you really can’t face the thought of it, send your dirty washing to the ship’s laundry before you come home, and save yourself a mammoth job.  It’s a holiday after all!

You can download the cruise packing list here!

If your still planning your cruise here’s some posts you might enjoy:

6 Reasons Going On A Cruise Is A Great Holiday For Busy Families

What Is Cruise Food Like?

Things To Do For Kids On Norwegian Cruises

Norwegian Epic Cruise Review

Tips For Cruising With Norwegian Epic + Room Tour

Zena's Suitcase
Zena's Suitcase

Zena Goldman is a UK based travel, family & lifestyle blogger who left her 9-5 job behind in the not-for-profit sector to follow her creative dreams and enjoy a more flexible family life. She began writing Zena’s Suitcase in 2011 and shares the holidays and adventures she goes on with (and without) her 2 young daughters. She wishes her son would join them more often but he’s carving out his own dreams now and enjoying university life.

Since beginning Zena’s Suitcase she has worked with a number of brands and also has a regular monthly feature in the ASDA Good Living Magazine feature, ‘Ask The Expert’ where she shares helpful parenting tips. In 2018 she was also a finalist in the prestigious BIBs Awards for Social Media.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

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  1. Margaret gallagher
    September 16, 2017 / 2:23 pm

    Gosh how organised!!
    Would love to cruise one day
    People laugh at me when I say I always pack ear plugs!!

  2. Michelle L
    September 17, 2017 / 4:10 am

    My cruise is upcoming! I really can’t wait. Thank you so much for all the tips.

  3. Ashleigh Allan
    September 17, 2017 / 1:28 pm

    I’ve never tried a cruise. Sure we’ll try it at one point tho. Helpful list

  4. Kayleigh Watkins
    November 10, 2017 / 4:22 pm

    We have been considering a cruise holiday, so will keep this in mind, we have just moved so will not be having a holiday next year as we need to decorate and carpet right through, so I think we will send off for our passports and look into going the year after xXx

  5. Gordon
    November 24, 2017 / 12:32 pm

    I have never been on a cruise but your post is tempting me to give one a try.

More About This UK Travel Blog

Whether you are looking for travel tips to make the most of your next cruise holiday or you need UK travel ideas we’ve got you covered on Zena’s Suitcase UK travel blog.  We started sharing our holiday and travel reviews in 2013, so if you can’t find the travel, family or lifestyle blog above you are after make sure you head over to the search bar to find what you need.  Think of us as one of the best travel blogs brimming with ideas to get you out and about with and without the kids.