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What to pack for a cruise

I'm going on my very first cruise this summer!  Being my first, I'm not sure exactly what to pack for it.  I'll be sailing from Seattle to Victoria, BC, to Juneau, AK, and around that area on a 7-day cruise, so I'll be packing some rain- and snow-friendly clothing.  My mom was telling me that I need to bring several nice gowns and shoes for formal dinners.

Is there any other type of clothing that I should absolutely pack?  And besides clothing, are there any must-pack toiletries or any other thing that I might need that are cruise-specific?  I just need a little hand-holding in packing for my first cruise.  Thank you!

2 Answers

top answer by
Lisa from Wellington

Hi Bianca! 
Okay, so first off, I have to ask - did the cruise liner/ booking say there will be formal dinners? Some cruises have a pre-planned itinery which may include if you need formalwear for dinner etc.  That would also say if you're doing something like swimming with dolphins or scuba diving with sharks...

I would take some swimwear anyway - you may have a hot tub on board?

A few things to remember: 

1. Cover up. - Bare shoulders, bare legs and bare arms may be offensive for some cultures. It's appropriate for most people to wear sleeves (at least a tshirt length) at dinner/ other meals. Never turn up to dinner in sleepwear or swimwear. (I doubt you would anyway, it sounds like it'll be cool-ish).

2. You will be able to buy a lot of things either on board or on the onshore excursions, however they may be costly!

3. Pack your bags so you can maneuvour them all yourself - there's little point having 3 huge bags if you can't carry them alone! You need to be able to wheel/ carry your own bags. This also means the crew don't have to be helping someone with luggage when they could be helping someone who needs it (disabled, elderly etc). So on that note: pack lightly! 

4. I would recommend taking a smaller bag you can throw things in for when you're going off the cruise ship for the day - ie when you visit a town or something. 

5. Always carry your important documents on you - unless you're holding them in a safe. (If you leave the ship, the documents go with you). 

AND (6) always carry a camera, you never know when you'll get a great photo opportunity!

These articles have some great packing tips:

This Wiki 'How to' has some great advice:  

4 thankscomments (2)

answered by
Kerri from Saint Petersburg (Florida)


For Alaska, bring a poncho, Binoculars.  Even though it will be a little chilly, pack a swimsuit, the hot tub at back of ship on a rainy day was one of our favs, and no one was ever there.

Here are also a few unique items that are helpful. Have a great time!

Stateroom Packing

3 thankscomments (1)

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