20 Cruise Essentials That I Always Bring on a Cruise!

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cruise essentials

Are there any essentials that we should not forget to bring on a cruise?

I have a personal list, which I have developed and refined during all my cruises, and it currently has 20 different items.

I want to share it with you, hoping it will help other cruise enthusiasts identify useful items to bring aboard.

Let me just clarify that this is a list of essentials but does not take into account clothes or toiletries, for those you can look at a simple list of things to pack.

Instead, I decided to include items that you don’t usually think about but are really useful during a cruise.

Magnetic hooks

magnetic hooks on a cruise
Magnetic hooks on a cruise

I don’t know if you are aware of this, but the walls of the cabin are all magnetic.

This means you can use very convenient magnetic hooks to hang all your things.

This way you will have everything sorted and it will be easier to find the items you use frequently.

For example, I use the hooks for hats and the lanyard for the cruise card.

Keycard holder with lanyard

Since we just talked about it, the other essential item that I absolutely recommend you bring is a keycard holder with a lanyard.

Basically, on a cruise, you do everything with your magnetic card: you open the cabin door, order and pay, and get on and off the ship.

For this reason, having the card around your neck at all times can be a good solution so you don’t lose it or forget it.

On some ships, you can get lanyards in the stores on board. However, they are almost always pricey, so I prefer to bring them from home.

Cruise-approved power strip

cruise approved power strip
Cruise approved power strip

In the article about power outlets that can be found on Royal Caribbean, I explained how some ships have very few charging points in the cabin.

For this reason, it is always good to bring a power strip, especially if you have many electronic devices.

The problem is that all devices that can create electrical hazards are prohibited on a cruise; we had discussed this in the article on the prohibited items on MSC.

Therefore, be sure to purchase a cruise-approved power strip. It is not difficult to find them; there are several for sale both in physical stores and online.

Luggage tag holders

Some companies hand out paper tags that must be attached to suitcases for embarkation and disembarkation.

There are special luggage tag holders to protect the tags, especially if it rains. I take them with me all the time and they are very useful both on a cruise or if you have to take a plane.

Portable luggage scale

A portable luggage scale is essential if you have to catch a flight after the cruise.

Generally when you are traveling you buy souvenirs or other items that can increase the weight of your luggage.

With those little suitcase scales, you are always sure not to exceed the allowed weight and not to pay an extra fee.

Hanging organizer

hanging organizer
Hanging organizer

Another very useful thing is the hanging organizer that can be placed on the door or on the closet.

I always take one with me, especially for cruises that exceed one week.

Keep in mind that the ships’ cabins are very small and the closet may not be enough if you are traveling with a lot of clothes or if you are 4 people in the cabin.

Paper, pen and highlighters

A notepad and pen are always useful, both in everyday situations and in emergencies.

You can mark down things to see, the number of buses or trains you need to take, or they can be useful for making yourself if you do not speak the local language.

I know this will make you laugh, but I once had to draw a cruise ship on my notepad to get a person who didn’t speak English to show me the way to the port.

In addition, I always use highlighter to mark things I like on the cruise program. That way I never miss the activities that interest me.

Refillable thermal bottle

refillable thermal bottle
Refillable thermal bottle

This is an essential item for virtually any trip, but don’t forget a refillable thermal bottle.

It will come in handy both while you are on the ship, such as at the pool, and while you are on an excursion.

Towel Clips

Many people don’t think about towel clips, but I think they are an essential item when cruising for one basic reason: strong wind!

Obviously on the ship, especially when it is moving and on higher decks, there is a lot of wind. To ensure that your towel doesn’t blow away, towel clips are just great.

Consider that on my last cruise many people asked me where I got them because they wanted them too. Unfortunately, they were not selling them on board.

Something for seasickness

If you suffer from seasickness, remember to bring something as a remedy.

There are many possible solutions: wristbands, pills, chewing gum.

I usually bring some specifically chewing gum for seasickness. However, I rarely use them because thankfully I am not as sensitive to the ship’s movement.

Waterproof bag

waterproof bag
Waterproof bag

If you plan to go to the beach, remember to bring a waterproof bag.

It does not have to be too big. I usually carry a small one to put later in a larger bag.

Inside I put a mini-sunscreen, eye drops, SPF lip balm, the cruise card, and of course my smartphone.


One thing you must not forget is sunscreen.

Remember that protecting yourself from the sun’s rays and avoiding sunburn is very important. Since you will be spending most of your time outdoors, you will definitely need to apply it.

You can usually find sunscreen for sale on larger ships, but it can be very expensive. It’s better to bring it from home.

Hand Sanitizer or wipes

Unfortunately, it is very easy to get sick on a cruise.

Ships are closed places where quite a large number of people are concentrated.

Plus add to that the buffet, where everyone touches tongs and plates with their hands, and the damage is done.

This is why it is important to wash your hands often but also to carry hand sanitizer or antibacterial wipes with you. Don’t forget it!

Portable charger

Another thing that I consider essential is the portable charger.

Especially when you are traveling, it can happen that an electrical outlet is not always available. As a result, it is important to have a portable charger so you can recharge your cell phone when needed.

Remember that the cell phone is not only for taking photos but can also be necessary in case of an emergency, so it is essential that it is always charged.

Some snacks

Especially on embarkation day, carry some snacks in your backpack.

Sometimes the procedures to board the ship are long and you may want to munch on something.

Just make sure that the things you bring are allowed when you board the ship. Cruise lines usually only accept dry or packaged foods.

Books or e-readers

Even on a cruise, there are times when you might get bored, or times when you want to relax.

So remember to bring a new book to read or your e-reader with books already downloaded (internet connection at sea is not always available).

Organizer for important documents

organizer for important documents
Organizer for important documents

I do it this way: I have a specific organizer in which I keep all the important documents.

Passports, transportation tickets, cruise boarding passes, and all those documents that can be considered important.

By keeping them together I know I have to be extra careful with that organizer and I’m always careful where I put it.

Then, in another backpack or suitcase, I put copies of the more important documents, just for extra precaution.

Night light

If you or your children are used to sleeping with a night light remember to pack it.

Habits are hard to change, and not sleeping well is one of the worst things that can happen on a cruise.

First-aid kit

first aid kit for a cruise
First aid kit for a cruise

I know this is something many of you already bring but I also wanted to include a first-aid kit in the list of essentials to bring on a cruise.

Be sure to include everything you need, the medications you usually take and those you may need.

Also throw in some disinfectant, some band-aids and sterile gauze.

Some banknotes

I have already explained why you should bring some banknotes in the article on how much money you should bring on a cruise.

Obviously, do not bring too much cash on a cruise. Use cards to avoid the risk of losing it or being robbed.

Please share this article! It can be useful to another cruise enthusiast!

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