The Ultimate Guide to Packing for a Cruise

packed for a beach trip

There's more to packing for a cruise than throwing an arbitrary pile of clothes and accessories into a suitcase and saying, "Bon voyage!" Cruisers need to consider factors like cruise line dress codes and temperature differences between homeports and ports of call. Read through Cruise Critic's packing guide to learn the ropes, get the inside scoop on savvy-cruiser packing hacks and see examples of what to wear for different climates and types of cruises. You'll be a pro before you know it.

The Basics

Cruise Packing 101
There's no need to pack your entire wardrobe for a cruise. Lighten your load with these simple guidelines.

Pictures of What to Wear on a Cruise
Need packing inspiration? See what our members like to wear onboard and ashore, in different types of environments.

Cruise Line Dress Codes
No cruise line dress code is the same. Find out what your ship requires.

Anatomy of a Cruise Carry-On
What you pack in your carry-on bag could make or break your first day onboard. Start your cruise off right by keeping these necessities handy.


packing list

Tips & Advice

Top 10 Cruise Packing Tips
From keeping personal documents close to leaving room in your suitcase for souvenirs, here are 10 packing tips for a smooth sailing.

9 Cruise Packing Hacks That Will Revolutionize the Way You Travel
Combat common packing problems with these simple solutions you never would have thought up on your own.

What Not to Pack: 5 Things You Want to Bring on a Cruise -- but Shouldn't
Don't make it awkward. Make sure none of these items are in your suitcase before you board.

17 Worst Cruise Packing Mistakes
Even the savviest cruisers make mistakes. Laugh along (and learn how to stay prepared) with these "not so perfect" packing stories.

9 Reasons to Pack Duct Tape on Your Next Cruise
Who knew duct tape had so many powers? We list a few reasons you might want to slip a roll in your suitcase.


Packing for the Destination

10 Pictures of What to Pack for a Caribbean Cruise
Flip-flops, snorkel gear, resealable plastic bags... Here's how to pack for a cruise on island time.

Top 10 Must-Pack Items for an Alaska Cruise
Leave the Hawaiian-print tees at home, but bring the sunscreen. Prepare for the Last Frontier with these packing recommendations.

10 Pictures of What to Pack for a European Cruise
Europe is full of culture and sights to see; make sure you have what you need to navigate.

Top 10 Must-Pack Items for an Exotic Cruise
Whether you're headed to the Maldives or the Middle East, use this guide to pack smart.


Packing for the Type of Cruise

What to Wear on a Luxury Cruise
Luxury cruise line dress codes are more relaxed than you might think. Dress tastefully -- and comfortably -- with these simple guidelines.

What to Pack for a River Cruise in Europe
Comfort is key when it comes to packing for a river cruise. From shoes to electronics, here's a breakdown of what you'll need when river-bound.

Expedition Cruise Packing
Ready to get some dirt on your hiking boots? Here's everything you'll need for a perfect at-sea adventure -- in tropical or polar temps.

12 Pictures of How to Pack for a Long Cruise
So much to bring, and so little room. Master the art of packing for a long cruise with these quick tips.


Woman holding onto a ship balcony, with sea and sunset in the background

New to Cruising

10 Pictures of Must-Pack Items for New Cruisers
You don't have to learn the hard way. Here's how to pack like a pro for your first cruise.

What to Expect on a Cruise: Cruise Clothing
How fancy do people get on formal night? What shoes should I bring? We answer common questions about what to wear on a cruise.

Pictures of 9 Fashion Faux Pas and How to Avoid Them
Take advice from a professional. We consult with Kelly Nishimoto, designer and former host of TLC's "Something Borrowed, Something New," on how to stay fashionable at sea.

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