There are definite must-haves that experienced cruisers won't leave home without. If you have never been on a cruise before, you can benefit from the wisdom of cruise experts and pack like a pro.

10 Cruise Essentials:

Suitable Clothing

Pay attention to the clothing advice provided by your cruise line on the destinations your cruise will call in at, as well the weather at sea. Climactic and cultural variations will affect what you should bring with you for port days. Also check whether the cruise you’re going on has a dress code. Most cruise ships have a fairly laid back dress code, if they have one at all. However, there is usually one formal night per cruise when it's essential to dress up if you want to join in the formal dinner and entertainment. Some luxury cruises prohibit shorts in the evening or in restaurants.


Basics like shampoo and soap will be provided in your cabin, but if you can't live without your favourite brands, bring them along with you.


This can be an easy one to forget, or to under-pack. Buying these on board could be expensive and stocking up on port days will take up time that could be spent exploring the destination or going on shore excursions.


Unless you're staying in a deluxe suite, you'll want to maximise your cabin space as much as possible. Over-door shoe storage and clothes hangers provide valuable extra space and can double up as a drying rack too.


Soft drinks can be taken on board most cruise ships and this can be a great money saver. However, all cruise lines have strict policies on taking alcohol on board. Simply put, don't do it. Instead, take advantage of happy hours and daily drinks specials on the ship.

Power Adaptors

The type of power socket on board your cruise ship depends on the country of origin of the ship. Pack power adaptors and a power board if you want to take several electrical items with you.


Easy to forget and expensive to purchase on board, spare batteries are essential if you have portable electronic devices with you. Ideally, bring rechargeable batteries and a charger so you'll never run out of power.

First Aid Kit

Items like bandaids and painkillers can be expensive to buy on board so take a well stocked first aid kit with you just in case. There is a doctor and medical facilities on board all cruise ships, but for cuts and scrapes it's much better to have your own basic medical supplies at hand.


Ensure you don't miss a thing and bring a pair of binoculars with you. This is especially true if you're going on a cruise where wildlife watching is a focus, or you're going on a river cruise where there's so much to see from the ship as you meander through beautiful landscapes.

Alarm Clock

This might be the last thing you want to take on holiday, but it is worth knowing that cabins generally don't have alarm clocks in them. If you don't want to miss the sunrise, take a travel alarm clock with you. Be careful of using a mobile phone as an alarm clock as you could end up paying international roaming charges while on foreign waters.

For more information about preparing for your first cruise experience view our cruise essentials, planning your cruise, choosing the perfect cruise and why take a cruise pages.