Packing Guide for Your First Luxury Cruise

You have taken the plunge and booked your first cruise, meaning the difficult task of packing is all that stands between you and a luxury holiday. The good news is that packing for your vacation does not have to be a difficult task.

With proper planning and a little research, you will ensure you have all your travel essentials, your favorite Ugg slippers and the ideal formalwear to enjoy the wonderful adventures that luxury cruising presents.

What to pack on your first luxury cruise

Packing Tips

Packing for any holiday is a daunting task many try to complete as quickly as possible. But a cruise could pose new challenges for first-time guests. But with proper planning, you can put your mind at ease and enjoy the excitement of your impending holiday.

There are four main questions you need to ask yourself before you start. First, what region are you going to be cruising in? Second, what is the baggage limit of your connecting flights and cruise line? Third, how long will you be out at sea? And finally, what activities do you plan to do?

Also, remember that you don’t always have immediate access to your cabin once boarding, nor will you get your main luggage until later. For this reason, you should be aware of packing your carry-on with all your first-day essentials, including clothes, medication and toiletries. Divide your luggage with your spouse or trusted travel companion when filling checked baggage. Doing this will ensure that you both have some clothes, medicine and toiletries if your luggage is lost or delayed.


Not too long ago, all cruise liners required a somewhat formal dress code for guests. However, times have changed, and now only a few upmarket luxury ships still maintain this code. Instead, most mass-market cruises have a relatively casual dress code, often called country club casual.

Depending on your booked cruise, your casualwear includes jeans, sun dresses, shorts, swimming costumes, beach towels, and t-shirts. Sandals and sneakers can also be included. It is worth packing more casualwear clothes than formal considering the frequency you will likely wear them. Additionally, they are easier to wash and re-wear.


You can include dressier options for more formal events and evening restaurant dinners. The required dress code widely accepts long dresses, pantsuits, chinos and button-up shirts. A common event those most cruises host for their guests is a formal dinner and dance evening towards the end of the your trip.

If your itinerary includes this magical evening, be sure to have a formal dress or suit in your luggage to celebrate a wonderful vacation.

Carnival Cruise ship shot from ocean

Off-Shore Excursions

When packing for off-shore trips, you need to consider the climate of your cruise destination and how active you plan to be while exploring the surrounding areas. You will likely be doing a fair amount of walking, so packing a solid pair of comfortable walking shoes is a must, along with activewear that will allow you to enjoy the weather conditions without compromising your health.

Regardless of the weather forecast, always prepare for rain by packing a lightweight rain jacket. You may never need it, but you will be thrilled you packed it if you do.

Additional Items

Apart from the necessary clothes and toiletries you will need while vacationing, there are additional items worth considering to make your trip more accessible and enjoyable.

Mini First-Aid Kit

Nobody wants to think about getting injured or sick while on vacation, but the reality is that very few holidays end without someone needing some form of first aid care. While any cruise is fully stocked and equipped to handle serious medical emergencies, it is helpful to pack your own mini-kit for more minor needs.

Items like bandaids, pain killers, cough drops, antihistamines, seasickness remedies, cough drops and meds for heartburn and stomach issues can be easily packed into your luggage for when you need them most.

Extra Bags

Having extra bags available specifically for activities and off-shore excursions will save you the headache of keeping wet and dry separate and allow you to take minimal baggage on your stops. How many extra bags you can pack is primarily based on your luggage allowance and needs but checking your itinerary while packing will help you make the necessary choices.

If there are beach stops along the way, ensure you have a roomy beach bag, while a city tour will need an over-the-shoulder piece to keep your wallet, phone and camera safe. If you plan to do some shopping, carrying an expandable duffle bag will hold your new purchases and help you avoid overfilling your suitcase.

Blue waters from the cruise ship

Laundry Alternatives

Sending your laundry out onboard many cruises can become costly, while those with self-service facilities force you to sacrifice part of your day to get through your laundry load. Even something as small as getting a piece of clothing pressed can come at a cost unless you are staying in a suite or there is an onboard launderette equipped with an iron.

Invest in a travel-size downy wrinkle-release spray and small laundry detergent packets to make this tedious task slightly more bearable. This will allow you to handwash items in your cabin for clean and wrinkle-free clothing. Furthermore, include a quick-treatment stain remover and a travel-friendly bottle of Febreze to remove smoke and other smells from clothing for additional wear.


Cruise ships that debuted before 2014 are notorious for lacking outlet space for all the gadgets and tools more travellers carry. The most obvious fix for this would be to bring your own powerstrip, but first-time guests should be aware of the strict rules surrounding them.

There are two important rules to be aware of to avoid overloading the shipboard circuits and potentially causing a fire. Firstly, you must not bring a power surge-protected strip. Secondly, you need to keep your strip small. A good alternative would be to get a portable external charger unless your gadget needs a wall power source.