suitcases lined up on dock ready to load onto cruise ship

What To Pack For A Cruise

2 February 2017
Read Time: 2.8 mins

Unpack once, wake up to a different destination each day. This is one of the biggest drawcards for choosing to cruise. Just because you don’t need to lug a backpack around from city to city doesn’t mean you can take your entire wardrobe. In fact, ship cabins aren’t known for being the largest of accommodation, so packing smart, and light, is essential.

suitcase open in cruise ship cabin with hat, thongs spilling out Packing for a cruise means packing light and packing right.


The clothing you’ll need will depend on the location and climate of your cruise. For warmer climates where days by the pool or port calls involving the beach are a priority, swimmers, sundresses and t-shirts will reign supreme. Scandinavian or Antarctic cruises, maybe not. Also, the motion of the ocean is not always conducive to high heels. That said, ladies will likely want to take one pair for the occasional formal night or party.

The Essentials

  • Two pairs of swimmers, so you can swim daily without having to put on a wet bikini or board shorts
  • Outfits for the theme nights
  • Walking shoes for shore excursions and walking around on the ship
  • Formal outfit, as most cruises have at least one formal or semi formal dinner, sometimes two or three depending on the length of the cruise
  • Active wear so you can make the most of the gym and other more adventurous activities onboard like rock climbing
suitcases lined up on dock in front of cruise ship Remember to pack a small backpack for the first and last day as you don't always have access to your luggage for a few hours at least.


The first thing to consider when choosing your luggage is the size of the cabin. A bag that can easily be stored away in a cupboard is ideal over a large, hard side suitcase, which at best takes up space in a corner, at worst, blocks the walkway into your room! Also check with your cruise line for any baggage restrictions they may have, as some limit the size and weight of bags you can take on board.

The Essentials

  • A small backpack or tote bag for shore excursions and days at sea onboard the ship
  • Day bag for the first and last day as you don’t always have access to your luggage
  • If you plan on doing extra shopping, pack a foldable duffel bag that can be packed into your luggage until needed


Holidaying on a cruise ship means there are myriad activities to fill your time. From sports at sea, to pool parties, swing dancing classes, musical theatre, cooking lessons – you name it, there’s a cruise that offers it. That said, it’s always worth taking a good book, good music and a camera to capture it all.

The Essentials

  • A camera to capture all your holiday highlights
  • A Smartphone or tablet for evening entertainment and music if you want a quiet night in and for at sea days
  • A good book, magazines or kindle
man taking photo of sunset on Smartphone from cruise ship deck A camera of some sort is an essential cruise ship item.


Most cruise ships provide the essentials like soap, shampoo, conditioner and hair dryers. If you’re picky though, it’s best to pack your own toiletries.

The essentials

  • Sea sickness remedies
  • Sunscreen
  • Suction cap hooks to hang items on the back of the cabin door
  • A shower cap
  • A hanging toiletries bag to hang on the door handle
  • Charger for any electrical goods like Smartphone or tablet

Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest deals.


Vicki Fletcher

A writer and photographer for Flight Centre, Vicki loves road trips down unknown tracks, hiking into mountain ranges, following locals to the best food in town, and spending long afternoons people watching in city squares. She's written for publications across Australia and Europe. Top travel tip: always look up. Follow Vicki on Instagram @vickijanefletcher.