My 'Not-So-Obvious' Cruise Packing List

Hey all!  It's been a hot minute since I've written a blog post.  The first half of 2018 has been a whirlwind, most notably wrapping up a major project at work and making a condo move.  While I have not spent much time traveling and blogging, it was a season focused on home.  

This was a season of refinement, of acknowledging there were multiple sides to me that were equally true...most significantly, I love to travel and I love my home.
— Tsh Oxenreider, At Home in the World

But alas, here I am, three days away from jetting off to Europe for a summer vacation that I have been looking forward to for a long time!  We booked our cruise two years in advance.  Crazy?  Maybe...but the glory of booking early is that you can always reschedule if the dates do not end up working for you.  We could not pass up the opportunity to experience the newest and biggest ship in the world, Symphony of the Seas!  We secured optimal flights, amazing rooms on the ship, and have had plenty of time to plan for our trip.  

Cruising does require some pre-planning in terms of packing.  With a variety of excursions (beach, land, sea) and plenty of activities on-board, you want to be prepared with everything you need to make it awesome.  For clothing, my best advice is the following:

  • Pack a daytime outfit that aligns well with your planned excursion/activity.  This could be a swimsuit/cover-up/flip flops for a day at the beach or hiking shorts/tank top/walking shoes for a day on land. 
  • Pack a few comfy outfits for afternoon relaxation.  You will usually come back to the ship ready to shower and chill out before dinner.  Something good for a siesta or enjoying a cocktail on your balcony is key.
  • Pack a dressy outfit for dinner every night.  Cruise ships have scheduled 'smart casual' nights and usually 1-2 'formal nights.'  Getting all dressed up and enjoying great food and wine is one of my favorite parts of cruising! 

I've highlighted some of my other cruise essentials below, which I believe are not so obvious when you think about packing for a normal trip!  These are all things that have personally come in very handy on past cruises.  While you do not want to over-pack, there are certain things that are very practical and will make your trip more enjoyable.

Cruise Luggage Tags:  You will receive tags that you have to print in advance and attach to your suitcase.  Buy these plastic covers to protect your paper tag and you won't have to worry about your tags or bags getting lost.

Sea Bands:  These pressure point wrist bands are a life saver if there are rough seas.  I usually wear them for the first few nights to adjust to being on the water, but they are useful at any point during the trip if you start to feel sea sick!

Pool Towel Clips:  All cruise ship towels look the same.  Differentiate your chair with these clips so you remember where you sat.  They also are very handy to keep your towel in place for top-deck lounging where it can be very windy!

  Lightweight/Collapsible Backpack :  This is key for daytime excursions. A collapsible one will take up little space in your suitcase and also can serve as an extra travel bag for any purchases made along the way.    Sunglass Cord :  These are so clutch.  If you have invested in good quality sunglasses, make sure you have these to protect them from falling off.  They also come in super handy when you are popping your glasses on/off to take pictures.     Waterproof iPhone Case :  Ok, this might be a little nerdy, but having a waterproof iPhone case will allow you to snap away during water activities and not worry about your phone falling in the drink! :)

Lightweight/Collapsible Backpack:  This is key for daytime excursions. A collapsible one will take up little space in your suitcase and also can serve as an extra travel bag for any purchases made along the way. 

Sunglass Cord:  These are so clutch.  If you have invested in good quality sunglasses, make sure you have these to protect them from falling off.  They also come in super handy when you are popping your glasses on/off to take pictures.  

Waterproof iPhone Case:  Ok, this might be a little nerdy, but having a waterproof iPhone case will allow you to snap away during water activities and not worry about your phone falling in the drink! :)

  Sea Salt Spray : Getting up every day and fully doing your hair is not always feasible or a good use of time.  Use sea salt spray to bring out the natural waves of your hair for daytime activities!     Tinted Sunscreen :  Same story applies.  Fully doing your makeup every morning is not practical, especially given the outdoor activities you will likely be doing.  Use a tinted sunscreen as a foundation and keep the rest simple.     After-Sun Lotion :  This stuff is clutch.  It smells heavenly and will make your skin feel great after a day in the sun.  Take the time to apply it daily...your skin will thank you.  

Sea Salt Spray: Getting up every day and fully doing your hair is not always feasible or a good use of time.  Use sea salt spray to bring out the natural waves of your hair for daytime activities!  

Tinted Sunscreen:  Same story applies.  Fully doing your makeup every morning is not practical, especially given the outdoor activities you will likely be doing.  Use a tinted sunscreen as a foundation and keep the rest simple.  

After-Sun Lotion:  This stuff is clutch.  It smells heavenly and will make your skin feel great after a day in the sun.  Take the time to apply it daily...your skin will thank you.  

  Versatile lightweight scarf :  For the evenings, you will likely want a scarf or light jacket to bring to dinner.  Pick a neutral color like black or grey that will go with many of your outfits.    Small Clutch :  You do not need a purse on the ship.  However, pack a clutch for your phone, camera, lipstick, room key, etc.  I bought this specific one for my trip and I love it!     Wine :  Yes, you can bring your own.  Most ships allow you two bottles per stateroom. Pickup a few bottles before you board the ship...and excuse my shameless plug for Kimmy. :)

Versatile lightweight scarf:  For the evenings, you will likely want a scarf or light jacket to bring to dinner.  Pick a neutral color like black or grey that will go with many of your outfits. 

Small Clutch:  You do not need a purse on the ship.  However, pack a clutch for your phone, camera, lipstick, room key, etc.  I bought this specific one for my trip and I love it!  

Wine:  Yes, you can bring your own.  Most ships allow you two bottles per stateroom. Pickup a few bottles before you board the ship...and excuse my shameless plug for Kimmy. :)

While this is not my full packing list for cruises, it should give you a head start for the things that may not be so obvious!  And just remember, the glory of cruising is that you can bring a larger suitcase, unpack ONCE, and enjoy your amazing floating hotel for the duration of your trip!  

Follow my adventures over the next two weeks on the Symphony of the Seas in Spain, France, and Italy on Instagram at Get Out There Travel

Cheers!