Cruises are very different from most vacations because you’re on a ship for a few days or sometimes a week at a time. While at sea, the nearest store is often your next docking destination. This is tricky circumstance, which means you must be strategic about packing your essential items. 

Clothes, swimsuits, sunscreen, sunglasses and socks are easy things to remember to pack. The hard part is remembering the little things for your comfort and organization. Most vessels have stores on board, but if you try to wing it, you risk overpaying for essential items.

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Travel Noire gathered a list of 12 items you shouldn’t embark on a cruise without to ensure you sail smoothly.

Wine Opener 

While spirits and liquor are strictly prohibited on ships, cruise lines let you bring champagne and wine. Check with the cruise lines for the rules, but the standard is two bottles per legal passenger. 

If you plan to bring wine, don’t forget to bring the wine opener in case your cruise line doesn’t provide them.

Reusable Wine Bag 

If you’re planning to bring wine, the wine opener isn’t the only thing you should pack. Don’t forget the reusable wine bag. 

This option has a double zip lock and Velcro seal to keep the bag airtight and your luggage safe from bottle breakage. 

Towel Crabber Bands 

The little things change the outcome of the overall trip. Towel crabber bands are an example of a little something that goes a long way. 

You can secure your towel on your beach chairs to eliminate the risk of your towel from getting dirty. These also help you secure an often coveted seat on the ship by the pool. These are super small and lightweight, so don’t worry about occupying too much space in your luggage. 

Metal Magnetic Hooks 

Speaking of the little things, metal magnetic hooks are also essential for a cruise. These hooks allow you to hang multiple items in your staterooms, including robes, wet clothes, bathing suits and lanyards. 

If you have something a little heavier, two hooks will solve the problem. 

Flat Plug Power Strip

This 7-in-1 desktop power strip is a device that allows you to charge seven devices simultaneously, including your cellphone, laptop, tablet, earphone and camera. 

One Beat designed an updated power trip, allowing you to charge your USB C devices now. Remember, cruise lines don’t allow you to have surge protection, so this is the best option to remain compliant all while having something that doesn’t take up too much space.

Cruise-Specific First Aid Kit 

With so many passengers on board, cruise lines do their best to ensure they have enough medications to deal with pain, coughs, dehydration, cuts, burns, insect bites and wounds. We’ve heard horror stories of cruise lines running out of essential medications, such as ibuprofen.

Avoid that problem by packing your own for yourself and your loved ones. Cruise Pak has the essentials for hangovers, motion sickness, upset stomachs, insect repellants and more. 

Motion Sickness Patches

Keep motion sickness patches on hand. These non-drowsy patches are game changers, especially if it’s your first time. 

Apply the adhesive layer to your belly button or behind your left and right ears. You want to apply the motion sickness patches 10 minutes before you travel. These patches last 72 hours, so you change them every three days. 

Travel Compression Bags

Travel compression bags for travel save your storage space by up to 80 percent. With these storage bags from Visit Cozy, no vacuum is needed as it comes with a hand pump. 

Compression bags allow you to stay organized and bring more on your trip. They’re also leakproof, which means you don’t have to worry about liquids spilling on your clothes. 

Mesh Over Door Hanging Organizer

With the best staterooms, organizing your items is essential for maximizing your space on a cruise ship. We recommend this mesh over-door hanging organizer that easily folds into your suitcase. It comes with 15 pockets for swimsuits, accessories, shoes, toiletries and more. 

Universal Waterproof Phone Pouch

With so much water around you, it’s better to be safe than sorry about your essential devices. The great thing about this option is that it comes equipped with a detachable lanyard, which allows you to keep your items close. 

The pouch is not just for your phone. It is for anything you want to keep away from water. 

Wrinkle Release Fabric Spray

If it’s your first cruise, one of the things that may surprise you is how there are no irons in your stateroom. Irons aren’t permitted for fire safety reasons. Ironing out your wardrobe can happen if you send it down to laundry services, but it could cost you. This wrinkle-release spray is a cheaper alternative. 


We’re not trying to get in your business at all, but we would be remiss if we didn’t mention how you should bring your own condoms on cruise ships. Many cruise lines don’t offer them in the store, and if they do, people were complaining on social media about how they go out fast.

Do yourself a favor and stay protected.

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