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A Cruise Vacationer's Packing List: The Basic Essentials

Cruisers should always travel with a "wave" of essentials, as seen in the photo.
Cruisers should always travel with a "wave" of essentials, as seen in the photo.
David Kriso

Cruising is the most exciting way to travel the world. There are many people who cruise once a year. There are some who cruise often, approximately three times a year. Whether it is the first or fifteenth time, it's always best to go prepared. To make anyone's cruise vacation the utmost enjoyable, it's always best to go prepared. The question often asked is, "What should they pack?". Based on a typical seven-day cruise, here is a list of the essentials:

PROOF OF CITIZENSHIP (passport, passport card, birth certificate, etc.)

dop kit

blazer/neck ties

formal wear/evening gowns for women

2 belts

2 pairs of pants

2 pairs of ladies golf trousers (if applicable)

2 pairs of shorts

6 t-shirts

8 pairs of socks

2 pairs of black socks/stockings

8 pairs of undergarments


sun tan lotion

1 pair of dress shoes (Ladies, bring all the shoes you want!)

1 pair of casual shoes

1 pair of aqua shoes

1 pair of sandals

1 pair of bath slippers

2 tank tops

1 pair of sleeping shorts

2 buttoned shirts/blouses

2 golf shirts


IPod dock



batteries (preferably chargeable)

waterproof camera...Brownie points!

beach gear (Frisbee, football, Nerf football, etc)

Some cruise ships have a variety of on board features, such as bowling alleys, flow riders, rock climbing walls, and ice skating rinks. If sailing on Royal Caribbean's Voyager, Freedom, Oasis, or upcoming Quantum class ships, passengers are encouraged to pack their ice skates. Ice skates are among the essentials for a Royal Caribbean cruise. If a passenger doesn't own a pair of ice skates, there's no need to stress. Passengers can rent ice skates for free on board at the ice rink. Further, passengers must pack long pants along with comfortable socks. The basic essentials for the rock climbing wall include comfortable shorts and t-shirts. For those who wish to conquer the flow rider, passengers should pack extra undergarments or cover-ups to wear under their swimsuits while boogie boarding or stand-up surfing. No one wants to lose their swimsuit in high pressure water current!

Norwegian's newer ships, the Gem and Breakaway class, feature bowling alleys. Guests are free to bring along their own bowling ball and pack their own equipment. Everyone feels great when they are prepared.

No matter what cruise line or what type of cruises people enjoy, there is no harm in being prepared. Further, there is no harm in being over-prepared. Special cruises such as clothing-optional require passengers to pack the same kind of items. On clothing-optional cruises, passengers live by the "bare" essentials. They must be dressed accordingly while in port, on select shore excursions, and at dinner time on board. For longer cruises (9, 10, 11, 12-day, etc), passengers should be further prepared. They should pack at least three to five more pairs of clothing per person.

Whether visiting the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Alaska, or the port cities of the Mediterranean, cruising provides people of all ages with a traveling experience like no other. To be fully prepared for an any cruise, it's best to pack all of the items needed to ensure a good time. Passengers ought to check, double-check, and triple-check that they pack all the necessities. Passengers should not be afraid to pack extra undergarments or an extra swimsuit. A savvy cruiser is always prepared. It's all a part of the fun. Once all the essentials are packed, the cruise passenger is all set to make waves. The more focused cruisers are on the essentials, the more prepared they'll be.

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