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10 Useful Things to Bring on a Cruise

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Are you getting ready to travel on your first or second cruise? Wondering what to pack for a cruise? Here are 10 useful things to bring on your next cruise that you might not have considered but that will enhance your trip.

Some of these may seem like unusual things to bring on a cruise, but the experts and frequent cruisers swear by them.

Be sure to also check out these 10 things you should NOT bring on a cruise and the best luggage to use for a cruise.

10 Things to Bring on a Cruise - Useful items to bring you may not have thought of

Magnetic Hooks or Suction Hooks

Did you know that most cruise ships have metal walls and doors? This allows for an easy way to stay organized. Invest in some magnetic hooks like these to hang small items in your room like damp towels or swimsuits, tote bags, a hat or your purse. This is one of the creative things to bring on a cruise to keep you a bit more organized in your room, especially if you are sharing with multiple people or are on a long trip.

10 Things to Bring on a Cruise - magnetic hooks

Extra Hangers

Many veteran cruisers like to bring their own clothes hangers as they find the ships often don’t supply enough. You can always ask for more for your cabin but they may not have extras available. If you have space in your luggage you could bring a few additional hangers. This is especially useful if you are on a longer cruise, traveling with more than two people in your room or if you brought a lot of clothing. Look for flexible skinny hangers and consider doubling up and putting thicker garments over thinner ones on the same hanger.

You can also bring extra hangers if you are carrying a garment bag as part of your luggage. Check out this post on the best luggage to bring on your cruise, including tips for garment bags.

I would not recommend packing those cheap plastic hangers in your luggage as I find they break very easily. Look for something more sturdy like these.

10 Things to Bring on a Cruise - Useful items to bring you may not have thought of

Insulated Mug

Do you enjoy hot coffee and tea all day long and think you might like to drink it in your cabin or as you move around the ship? Then a portable insulated mug might be a great thing to bring along. You can fill it at the complimentary tea and coffee stations and then bring it to sip where ever you like. Of course, the need for this depends on the ship you will be taking and the class of service you have. Some passengers have access to butlers and room service to bring them hot beverages anytime included in their fare.

You may be surprised at how long some of these airtight travel mugs will keep beverages piping hot. Here are a few insulated mugs, some of which have cute patterns or can be customized with your name or initials.



Another related idea is to pack can and bottle koozies. Some cruises will let you bring your own canned beverages onboard and these can make them more personalized. You can even customize them with your initials or the theme of your group if you are traveling together.

Water Bottle

You may wonder “can I bring a water bottle on a cruise ship?”

Many cruises will not let you bring bottled water onboard as people use it as a way to smuggle alcohol. Check with your cruise to be sure. Nevertheless, ditch the disposable plastic and go for a reusable water bottle that you can fill with tap water or the beverage of your choice onboard and for excursions. Here are some great choices that are insulated to stay cool. Click the image to see more details.


You’ll need to keep your keycard handy while onboard the ship, and it may be a pain to find a pocket or always have to carry a bag. Bring a lanyard to wear the card around your neck or wrist and don’t worry about losing it. You can get customer service to punch a hole in it or get lanyards with a plastic sleeve. This is a cruise packing hack you might not have thought about but could be very useful. You can click the images below to get more info on the different styles of lanyards perfect for a cruise.

Flip Flops or Slip on Shoes

If you are taking a cruise to sunny climates and plan to enjoy the pool and sunbathing then bringing sandals is an obvious choice. You can easily put them on to go from poolside to buffet or just to walk back to your room. But even if you will be cruising in cooler weather like to Alaska, Iceland, the Baltic, transatlantic or a river cruise you will be happy to have shoes that easily slip on for a quick dash out of your cabin or just for lazy days lounging.

Best Walking Shoes for Europe: Comfy Summer Walking Shoes & Sandals


Of course you will bring whatever regular toiletries you need, like toothbrush, toothpaste, cosmetics and such. Some cruise ships will provide shampoo and soap in your cabin, so you don’t have to bring those if you don’t want to. Keep in mind that cruise ship bathrooms might be small without a lot of storage space. A hanging toiletry bag is a great idea. Check this one out.

Here are a few toiletries you should consider packing that you may not have thought of:

Downey Wrinkle Release for taking wrinkles out of packed formal wear clothing – most cruise ships don’t have irons in the rooms
Sanitizing wipes for spaces in your room that might not be super clean like the remote control or inside of drawers
• Sunscreen: consider physical rather than chemical sunscreen as it has been shown to harm coral reefs (Thinksport and Stream2Sea are recommended brands)
• Anti-Motion Sickness Medicine: most popular medications include the motion sickness patch and Benadryl, but you can also try the Sea-Bands bracelets – for kids check out children’s Benadryl
• The Benadryl might also come in handy if you happen to catch the cold that is going around the ship… pack some decongestants in case?
• Insect Repellant, especially if you are going on an Alaska summer cruise or a tropical cruise in the CaribbeanHawaii or Mexico

A Place For Messages

Are you traveling with a group? It may be helpful to have a way to leave messages and notes for each other. Here are a few handy ideas:

Magnets for leaving notes on the outside door
Magnets like these or these with a clip included for leaving notes inside the cabin or attaching the daily planner and cruise newsletter to the wall. Check to see if the walls and doors on your cruise are metal, many are.
Dry erase markers for writing messages on the room mirror.
• Some even pack a small whiteboard for the room like this one, which they attach to the walls or door with magnets. For even better packability, check out this magnetic dry erase sheet.

Power Strip and Multi USB Plug

Most cruise ship cabins have only a few electrical outlets, and they may not be handy for sitting in bed and looking at your electronics. A power strip with multiple outlets can be useful if you have several electronics with you. Another useful item might be a plug with multiple USB ports especially if like me you travel with iPhone, iPad, Kindle, camera, laptop and other devices that all might need charging before a big day of sightseeing.

Be sure to check in advance what type of outlets you will find onboard your ship. And don’t bring an extension cord with surge protector. These are definitely not allowed. Some cruises also do not allow extension cords but they do allow power strips. Check with your particular cruise line to be sure. And while you are at it,  check out these 10 things you should NOT bring on a cruise.

If you are traveling internationally you might need adapters for your plugs. Many cruise ships have both 220v and 110v outlets. Be sure to find out before you go. Keep in mind that even if you don’t need adapters onboard your international cruise you still might need them for hotels.

This is one of the best cruise packing tips and tricks for electronics lovers. Here are a few options to consider. Click the images below for more details.

Big Clips

This one may seem pretty random but it might come in handy and you’ll thank me later. Ever been on the beach on a windy day and your towel or hat just keeps blowing away? Pack a few big clips to fix your towel to your lounge chair by the pool and you won’t have to worry about runaway towels.

The clips can also be useful for hanging hand washed items or wet swimsuits to dry in your shower.

Things to bring on a cruise - big clips

Tote Bag

Forget plastic, get one or two small tote bags to hold souvenirs from port shopping trips or even to carry your Kindle and water bottle around on the ship. I love the cute patterns on these lightweight ones from Baggu.

You can also go for a canvas bag with any kind of pattern or design, some can even be customized with your name, initials or theme of your group. Check these summer totes out!

Night Light

Being in an unfamiliar place can be disconcerting when you wake up in the middle of the night and stumble around to find a drink of water or the bathroom. Especially if your cabin does not have a window, you might not have any ambient light. Some cruisers will leave the bathroom light on and use the crack of light from under the door as a night light. Others might find this a bit too bright. You can bring a small night light to plug in or better yet toss a few battery powered tea light “candles” in your luggage. They double as romantic lighting for having a glass of wine in your cabin or setting a mellow mood before bed. Plus they don’t use up the valuable outlets and you can place them anywhere.

10 Useful Things to Bring on a Cruise - tea light candles

I hope this list helps you with packing items you might not have considered that make your cruise a bit more fun! Have a great time!

love, GG







10 Things to Bring on a Cruise - Useful items to bring you may not have thought of


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