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Cruises are a fun, affordable way to see the world. They offer up an escape from everyday life and a chance to explore new destinations while relaxing on a ship.

There are so many things to consider before going on a cruise, but packing your bags shouldn’t be one of them. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to what to bring on a cruise. Everyone is different and they have their own preferences. Some people like bringing a lot of clothes while others only bring the essentials.

But let’s forget about the essentials, what you really need are the cool things to bring on a cruise. These are some unique and awesome items that you’ll be glad you brought on your cruise!

What to pack for your cruise

If you’re a first time cruiser you’re probably wondering – What can I bring onto a cruise? But packing for a cruise, isn’t really that much different from any other vacation.

How much luggage can I bring on a cruise ship

What’s nice about a cruise is that you usually won’t need to worry about a restriction on the amount of luggage you can bring. However, remember that your cabin may not have a lot of storage space, so make sure the amount of luggage you’re taking is reasonable.

Always, check the guidelines for your specific cruise line. While it’s unusual to have luggage restrictions, you don’t want to be surprised.

Now, if you have to fly to your departure port that’s a different story. The airline will most certainly have luggage restrictions. So if you want some advice on how to maximize space in your luggage, check out my post on how to pack a carry on.

Why not ship your luggage?

If you are flying to your departure port, I would advise that you get there at least a day earlier in case of delays. If you do, you may want to consider shipping your luggage with a company like Lugless. Shipping your luggage may seem a little extreme, but it’s actually pretty genius. It will take some stress off the packing process.

Cruise Packing Hacks

Whatever size and amount of luggage you plan to bring, you’ll need these packing hacks and cool things to bring on a cruise:

Hat Clip

Have you seen those travelers that always wear the most stylish hats and just think – How the hell did they pack that? Well, the answer is these hat clips, they will save you the headache of trying to figure out how to stuff your hat in your bag without it getting crushed.

Luggage Shoe Caddy

I can smoosh my shoes in a suitcase just like the best of them, but what if you didn’t have to? This shoe bag holds 3 pairs of shoes and slides right onto your suitcase handles. It’s even water resistant!

Do you need to bring extra hangers?

I mean, if you’re going to be bringing more than a few outfits (it me) you’re going to need extra hangers. The cruise cabins are only going to have so many hangers. I’m the type of traveler that immediately unpacks and hangs up my clothes.

Travel Hangers

I love these foldable travel hangers because they fit well in my suitcase and make it easy for me to hang up my clothes right away.

More cool things to bring on a cruise

Portable Speaker

Yes, there will certainly be music on the cruise, but I like listening to music as I get ready in the room. You may also use a portable speaker if you want to listen to music while at the beach or relaxing on the ship. I can’t wear ear buds for a long time because they hurt my ears, so I prefer to have a speaker around. This JBL dustproof, portable speaker is good for the beach because it’s light and easy to carry.

Cooling Towel

Probably one of the most cool things to bring on a cruise are a pack of cooling towels. My husband was skeptical about this when I suggested that we take these on our cruise, but he soon became a convert!

I knew that we would get hot laying out at the beach or walking on the runway on the ship. The pools get crowded so going in for a dip was not always a great option. Just get these cooling towels wet and they keep you cool all day long. Fold up the towel, put it in the reusable bag and clip it to yourself or another bag and you’re good to go!

Cooling towels for cool things to bring on a cruise
Cooling Towels

Sand resistant beach blanket

Yes, they give you towels on your cruise, but I also like to bring this quick dry, sand resistant, light weight, extra large beach towel as well. It’s very light so it doesn’t take up much room in my bag, plus it’s sand resistant.

Towel Clips

Isn’t it super annoying when you’re trying to layout and your towel keeps falling off? That’s what these towel clips are for!

Dry Bag and Waterproof phone case

This will come in handy for when you’re by the pool or the beach. It’s perfect for keeping my change of clothes clean and dry. I also love that this dry bag comes with a phone case as well. Take those underwater Instagram pics and keep your phone sand free!

Dry bag waterproof bag for cool things to bring on a cruise
Dry Bag

Can you bring your own drink on a cruise ship?

Yes and no. The cruise lines make a good amount of money on drink packages. So, there are restrictions on what you can and cannot bring on the ship. Make sure you check with the specific cruise line for their guidelines.

Is it allowed to bring alcohol on a cruise in checked luggage?

In most cases, you won’t be allowed to bring liquor products or beer onto the cruise especially in your checked luggage. But most cruise lines allow you to bring two 750 ml bottles of wine in your carry on luggage. Some cruise lines will even let you bring beer if it’s in your carry on.

You can buy alcohol while your visiting ports, but they’ll likely take it from you when you re board the ship. They will hold it for you until the end of the cruise. I personally don’t really like to buy alcohol in the ports because in most cases you’re not really saving that much money. But if it’s something rare or hard to get back home, it can be a good idea.

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Packing wine for your cruise

Inflatable Wine bottle protector bags

most cruise lines will allow you to bring two 750ml bottles of wine per cabin in your carry on luggage. These inflatable wine bags will come in handy. I was able to fit two bottles of wine in these bags in my carry on back pack.

inflatable wine bag for cool things to bring on a cruise
Inflatable wine protector

Wine Savers

I also like to bring wine saver pumps to keep the wine fresh longer.

Wine saver to keep your wine fresh

Can you bring bottles of water on a cruise

Most cruise lines will let you bring a bottle of water or soft drinks on the ship in a carry on luggage, but you won’t be able to bring large quantities of it with you.

If you have a special circumstance, just contact the cruise line or your travel advisor and they should be able to make special accommodations for you. Always check the guidelines for your specific cruise line. Some are more lenient than others.

collapsible water bottle for cool things to bring on a cruise
collapsible water bottle

Collapsible Water Bottle

Most people need between six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. So you don’t want to forget to drink water on your cruise.

Instead of trying to bring your own bottled water on the ship, get a re fillable and collapsible water bottle. These are light weight, convenient and easy to clip onto your bag. These are also great for when you go on excursions and don’t want to worry about having fresh water to drink.

If you like to keep your water cold, get one of these insulated refillable water bottles.

Insulated stainless steel water bottle for cool things to bring on a cruise
Insulated stainless steel water bottle

Popular Useful Things to Pack You Wouldn’t Think Of

Solar Power Bank

Now, this is one of the really cool things to bring on a cruise. You’re going to be using your phone a lot on a cruise. Whether it’s for pictures, video, or booking cruise activities so you won’t want your phone to die on you. I love this solar power bank, it’s got several cool gadgets in one. It also has a clip so you can attach it to yourself or your bag.

solar power bank for cool things to bring on a cruise
Solar Power Bank

Water Shoes

If you don’t own a pair of water shoes, then you will thank me for this! The pool deck is blazing hot, the beach is sandy and the floor has who knows what. These water shoes are perfect, comfortable and stylish.

Portable Safe

When you’re on a cruise, you’re likely going somewhere tropical where you’ll be lying on a beach somewhere. When you get off the ship, you will need your identification documents and your wallet. I get paranoid about getting up to get a drink at the bar or going into the water and leaving our stuff. This portable safe gives me peace of mind. Just clip it to an umbrella or to your lounge chair.

Neck Fan

It gets really hot when you’re on the ship deck, at the beach or when you’re on an excursion. We went on quite a long excursion in the Dominican Republic that entailed a lot of walking in the tropical forests, our mosquito repellant bracelets and these neck fans were life savers.

Cruise packing checklist: What else should you bring?

Cigars

You’re on vacation, this is a celebration! Cruise ships will have a designated smoking area. In some cases, you may be able to smoke on your balcony.

Hangover Remedy

It’s more than likely that you will be enjoying some adult beverages and as you get older, those hangovers can put a damper on your vacation time. These hangover tablets help you with that. They’re similar to taking alka seltzer in they dissolve in water. I would also recommend adding Liquid IV to your water throughout your vacation to keep you energized and hydrated. There’s nothing worse than feeling crummy during your vacation.

Travel Binoculars

These mini binoculars are small and compact. You never know when you’ll see something like dolphins in the water. These will give you a close up look and not take up much room in your bag.

Mosquito Repellent

Mosquitos like heat and humidity which describe common destinations for cruise ships. But who wants to take mosquito repellent spray with them on a cruise. Not I! That’s why I love these mosquito repellent bracelets. They are light, waterproof and come individually wrapped in resealable bags. I was able to get my husband to wear it by telling him he could wear it on his ankle. You can barely feel them.

Mosquito repellent waterproof bands for cool things to bring on a cruise
Mosquito repellent waterproof bands

Cruise Cabin must haves

Magnetic hooks

Since cabin walls are metal, bringing magnetic hooks will provide you with much needed extra storage.

magnetic hooks for cool things to bring on a cruise
Magnetic hooks

Poo-Pourri

those cruise cabin bathroom can be teeny tiny. So when you’re going number two, do yourself a favor and bring some Poo-Pourri with you. The travel size versions are great for a cruise.

Spa Mask

The spas onboard cruise ships can be expensive and sometimes not really worth it. But you can have some spa time in your own cabin and treat yourself with these travel spa masks and treatments.

Foot Hammock

this one may be more for the flight over, but it can be used in your cruise cabin as well. I have a problem with my feet and legs falling asleep when I’m sitting for a long period of time so this foot hammock really helps with the circulation.

How do I make my cruise more fun?

There are a few things you can do to make your cruise more fun:

  • Get to know your fellow passengers
  • Try new foods and drinks – hey the food is all you can eat, try it all!
  • Take advantage of all the activities the ship offers! Rope courses, shuffle board courts, ping pong tables and gaming rooms are all available for free or very cheap on most ships! There is always something that is going on somewhere on a cruise ship! Don’t miss out!
naughty but dice for cool things to bring on a cruise
Naughty but Dice
  • Get romantic If one of the reasons you’re going on a cruise is to get some much needed alone time with your significant other.

Sexy Toys

These naughty but dice are a fun way to keep the spark alive. But don’t get too frisky, don’t have sex on the balcony, don’t bring handcuffs. Always check with your cruise line and make sure you know what items are prohibited.

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Ready to cruise?

I’m confident that this list has given you some unique and cool things to bring on a cruise that you may not have thought about before. And don’t worry if your cruise packing list isn’t perfect. What matters is that you have fun, be adventurous and get out of your comfort zone!

And if you’re in the vacation planning stage, make sure to check out my post on ways to save money for your next vacation. For something cruise specific and for first timers, check out this post from The Points Guy on what newbies waste money on their first cruise.

Let’s get you traveling more for less!

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