Expert Packing Tips for Your Next Cruise

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Packing for a cruise requires thought and proper planning. You will need dressy clothes, casual options, bathing suits, shoes for multiple occasions and more. Your stateroom storage options might be limited so it is best not to over-pack. Use these essential cruise packing tips to help you bring the right things on your next voyage.

Comfortable Shoes

Walking – All types of travel requires a lot of walking, this especially true on Cruise excursions. If you are looking for something a bit more stylish than your running shoes, try these packable sneakers from Plae. They are lightweight, fit like a glove, and designed to compress flat so they won’t take up much room in your suitcase. Plus they are waterproof! I have the ECOLS, but they have a ton of great styles to choose from.

Use the code DANAFREEMAN10 to save an extra 10% off your order.

Packing for a cruise

Evening – It is never easy to walk around on a moving ship in high heels. For evenings, I prefer slightly lower, chunky heels that still look great. These Naturalizer Strappy Sandals have a solid heal and work great with both dresses and pants. Plus they have a cushioned insole so you can wear them all night without your feet hurting.


I have finally found a reasonably priced designer with dresses that make me feel pretty. Eliza J makes fabulous, feminine dresses that are perfect dinner onboard a cruise. Their fit and flare maxi dresses look good on just about everyone and are easy to pack. Simply steam out any wrinkles once you arrive.

Packing for a cruise


At this point, I am more comfortable in a one-piece rather than a bikini. But that doesn’t mean my bathing suit has to make me feel frumpy. I love this flattering swimsuit from La Blanca. It has just enough coverage (but not too much) and the built-in tummy toner makes me feel confident whether I am swimming in the pool or lounging on the sundeck with a cocktail.

How to Pack for a Cruise

I only pack in a roll-on suitcase. It is true. No matter how long my trip is, I make it fit. The thought of losing my luggage before a cruise makes me a little crazy. How will it catch up to me once we are at sea?

Packing Cubes – I use compression packing cubes to make clothes lay as flat as possible to pack in my one suitcase. Plus they keep me organized. Usually, I stay in a hotel for one night prior to embarking. I just pack that day’s outfit separately in one cube. That way I don’t need to dig through my suitcase and make a mess to find what I want to wear.

Packing for a cruise

Luggage – I have several carry-on bags but the one I use the most is my Delsey 21″ Expandable Spinner. This hard-sided suitcase has spinner wheels which makes it glide effortlessly through the airport. I feel like sometimes I walk a milion miles connecting from one terminal to the next. It also expands just in case I buy a few things while I am cruising.

Packing for a cruise

Additional Tips – There are a few other things I always keep packed in my suitcase, like over the door hooks which are especially helpful in small cruise cabins.

I also use Stitch Fix, a professional online styling service, several times a year to help me build out staple pieces of my travel wardrobe. The stylists get my taste and my budget. Some of my best pieces have actually come from them!

Do you have any tips for what to pack for a cruise? I’d love to hear them!

Commenting area

  1. On my first and only cruise trip so far I had everything in a big backpack. A suitcase would not have been possible, I could not have worn it because I was on crutches with a cast leg on the way. If I cruise again, your tips will be helpful.

    • Oh my goodness – a cruise on crutches. That must have been difficult. I hope you go on another when you are able to get around better.

  2. I discovered through this post that those packing cubes are compression designed! I used to think why would I add weight and volume with cubes? Now I know!

  3. I haven’t been on a cruise yet, so this will be handy when I go, hopefully soon. I’m impressed you only take a carry-on, really? Love the idea of hooks for over the door. What about hanging toiletry bags?

    • The hooks save me every time! I don’t use a hanging toiletry bag because I find them bulky in my luggage. I use this bag instead. It is roomy, lightweight and has a handle.

  4. Havent done a cruise before but I am looking at it. I think I could get away with a small suitcase for all my stuff but my wife, god knows! I hope she doesnt turn out to be like the lady from the film Titanic and has about 10 suitcases being put on the boat by a porter. Great advice here, and I will be passing this on. 😀

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