Important cruise accessories people often forget to pack

Important Cruise Accessories People Forget to Pack

When preparing for your cruise vacation, there are important cruise accessories people often forget to pack.  Packing for a cruise can be a little different than a hotel or condo stay. 

Cruise staterooms are a lot smaller than hotels and condos (unless of course you are staying in one of the top cruise suites) and you don’t have the luxury of a close by convenience store or big box store.

Cruise ships do have small shops onboard, but the selection is limited, and it is usually pricey.

With a little extra preparation and planning you can pack everything you need to have an amazing time.  Here is a helpful list of cruise accessories that people often forget to pack.

Important cruise accessories people often foget to pack fora  cruise vacation.  Are you missing any of these cruise essentials from your cruise packing list?

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27 Cruise Accessories People Often Forget to Pack

Cruise Luggage Tag Holders

While you will still need the traditional luggage tag on your suitcases you will also need to print off the cruise line specific luggage tags.  Rather than stapling or taping 2 ends of paper together to attach to your luggage (which is incredibly flimsy) order a set of cruise luggage tag holders. Be sure to order the cruise luggage tag holders for your specific cruise line.

Cruise Luggage Tags – What You Need to Know   has more detailed information and links to cruise luggage tag holders for the major cruise lines.

Cruise Lanyard

A cruise lanyard is a popular way to carry your cruise card.  For the cruise lines that issue a cruise card, like Carnival Cruise Line, you will need to decide ahead of time how you will carry your cruise card. 

Your cruise key card is your boarding pass, room key, and method to charge items to your onboard account such as drinks etc. 

6 Ways to Carry Your Cruise Card lists the other ways to carry your card around if you are looking for something other than a cruise lanyards.

Extra Outlets

Most cruise ship staterooms don’t have enough power outlets.  While you can definitely make do with what is there, packing a cruise outlet adapter to add extra plug ins is something to consider.

Be careful though – not any power strip or power bar will do.  It MUST have NON SURGE PROTECTION. 

This cruise accessory can be found conveniently on Amazon and is ship approved.  I like that this cruise power strip also has USB ports in addition to the electrical ports.

Extension cords are NOT allowed on cruise ships.  Power strips with surge protection are NOT allowed on cruise ships.


Many people are in the habit of not packing shampoo or conditioner for their vacation as hotels almost always provide this.  With cruises this isn’t always the case.

Not all cruise lines provide hair conditioner (such as Carnival).  I have yet to be on a cruise ship where shampoo isn’t provided but you will want to bring conditioner.

A great travel hack is to pack bar conditioner.  A conditioner bar is a great alternative to the traditional bottle for a few reasons.  Bar conditioner won’t leak all over your bag, no carry on liquid issues if you are flying to port, a bar takes up hardly any space in your bag, and it is more eco friendly. 


People often think to pack a hoodie or a comfy sweatshirt, however on a cruise you will want to pack a nicer cardigan or sweater that you can wear in the evenings over your dressier clothes to dinner or the theatre.  The air conditioning can feel chilly and you don’t want to throw an old hoodie over your cute black dress. 

A black cardigan is a great choice as it will go with anything and can be worn multiple evenings if needed. It is a must-have cruise item.

If you are looking to add an awesome new t-shirt to your cruise wardrobe check out:

50+ Awesome Cruise Shirts

Cruise planner and journal - printable pdf. For every step of the cruise proccess from planning your cruise, to preparing for your vaction to remembering it. Packing lists and to do lists

A good printable cruise planner like ours can help you keep organized and help make sure you have packed all the cruise essentials. You can get more information here.

Important cruise accessories people often forget

Aloe Vera or After Sun

Sunscreen is an absolute cruise essential to pack but it is also something almost everyone remembers to pack.  After sun or aloe vera however is often forgotten about.

When the cruise ship is moving, there is a nice light breeze.  This can make the amount of sun you are getting a little deceiving.  The sun’s rays can be more intense than it feels.

Be sure to pack aloe vera or After Sun to help with those sun burns.

Night Light

A night light is a cruise accessory that is a good idea if you are in an interior stateroom (no window) and especially if you are cruising with kids.  

An interior stateroom has no outside light coming in and is therefore very dark.  This can make for great sleeping conditions, however you may want to pack a night light for those late night washroom trips.  Especially with kids.

A battery power push on/off night light like this would be a good option.

Magnetic Hooks

Magnetic hooks are cruise accessories that aren’t necessary, but they are helpful to keep your cruise room organized. 

Cruise cabin walls are magnetic and magnetic hooks and magnetic clips make great use of the empty wall space.  Use the strong hooks to hang your personal items like cruise lanyard, sunglasses, hat, etc. It’s one of the best ways to add extra storage space in cruise ship cabins.

More information can be found in the post Cruise Magnets.

Beach Towel Clips

Can you cruise without beach towel clips?  Absolutely, but will you want to?  Nope.  They are just so darn cute.  When you see others around the ship you will wish you had your own set of cruise towel clips.  Cruise towel clips or towel bands also serve a practical purpose. 

When the ship is moving there is a slight breeze.  Cute beach towel clips help keep your towel in place and stop it from flipping onto your face.  Another added benefit to beach towel clips is that it makes it easy to recognize your lounge chair after a dip in the pool or a trip to the bar.  When everyone has the exact same towel, towel clips make a easy identifier.

Here are some of the best beach towel clips.

Waterproof Phone Case

Another cruise accessory you will want if you are on a warm weather cruise (Caribbean, Mediterranean) is a waterproof phone pouch.

A waterproof pouch for smart phones allows you to keep your phone with you while you are playing in and around the water. This gives you added peace of mind. It also allows you to get underwater pictures.

Running shoes/Sneakers

If your first thought is “no way, I’m cruising in flip flops”, you might want to think again.  Closed toed shoes are necessary for several on board and shore excursion activities. 

Things like rock climbing walls, laser tag and zip lining all need closed toed shoes.  And yes, these are activities are available on some cruise ships.  Check out Royal Caribbean.

Wrinkle Release Spray

Packing a travel sized wrinkle release spray is a great little cruise hack.  Since there are no irons in the staterooms and you aren’t allowed to bring an iron on board, wrinkle release spray is the next best thing. 

How to Keep Clothes Wrinkle Free on a Cruise and 11 Clever Cruise Packing Tips You Need to Know are two articles you will find helpful as well.

More Important Cruise Accessories You Don’t Want to Forget to Pack

Passport and Cruise Documents in Carry On

Packing your passport and cruise documents might seem like a no brainer but the reason I added it here is that sometimes people forget to pack this in their carry on rather than their suitcase.  Where it tends to happen is when people fly to their departure port, momentarily think they are done with their documents and pack them in their luggage.   

When you arrive at the cruise terminal a porter will take your luggage from you, and you won’t see it again until later that afternoon outside your cruise stateroom door.

Keep your passport and cruise documents with you in your cruise carry on.  Not only are they important documents that you don’t want lost or stolen, you will need them to check in for your cruise.  The Only Things You Need in Your Cruise Carry On lists the other things you will want with you when your board your cruise ship.

Travel Insurance

Whether you have purchased travel medical insurance, trip cancellation insurance, trip interruption insurance or a package that incudes it all you will want to carry this policy with you.

Insurance is never a fun thing and often people forget to pack the travel insurance policy they bought months earlier.  Be sure to pack this as you will need the policy number and phone number in the unfortunate case you need to make a claim.

I keep my travel insurance policy with my other cruise documents in my cruise carry on.

Prescription Medications

Don’t forget to pack your prescription medications.  Always keep these with you in your carry on and be sure to pack your medications in their original containers. 

Whenever you are travelling be sure to bring more day’s worth of medication that you need.  You never know when your trip can be unexpectedly extended (ex. weather).

Reading Glasses

For those of us who don’t wear glasses regularly but need them to read menu’s etc. it is easy to forget to pack reading glasses. 


Band-Aids should always be packed for any sort of travel for cuts and scrapes, however pack a few extra for blisters.  If on your cruise your dress shoes or new sandals are giving you a blister, put a band-aid on the irritated skin to help protect against further rubbing. 

More Cruise Accessories to Consider

Over the Counter Medications

Most people remember to pack Tylenol and/or Advil however they can forget about the other issues that can arise.  Be sure to pack something in case you get a sore throat, heartburn, or upset stomach. 

If you are travelling with children, be sure to have children’s versions of each of those medications.

Our Ultimate Printable Cruise Planner includes a check list for toiletries and medical supplies.

Ziploc Bags

Ziploc bags have so many uses, take up hardly any space and should be part of any travel packing list.  Pack a few different sizes, a couple medium sized zipper bags along with a few large sized Ziploc bags.

If you order a sandwich from room service and only eat half, throw the other half in a Ziploc and put it in the fridge for later.  Instead of throwing a wet swimsuit in your bag, put it in a Ziploc.  Worried about a liquid leaking, put it in a Ziploc.   These are just a few of the ways we have used plastic zipper bags when cruising.

Water bottle

A good quality reusable water bottle is a cruise accessory you will want to travel with.  Most ships will have a water and ice dispenser in the buffet restaurant that you can access. 

If you like ice water, make sure the mouth of your water bottles are wide enough to fit ice cubes in.

Antiseptic spray or cream

An antiseptic spray or cream is another important item that should be on all your travel packing lists and part of your cruise first aid kit. 

I pack a travel sized antiseptic spray with us in our shore excursion bag.  You never know when you will need it. 

What to Pack in Your Shore Excursion Bag lists the other items you will want to bring along.

Sea Bands

Sea Bands are wrist bands that apply acupressure to a point on your wrist to help with sea or motion sickness.  If you are a first-time cruiser you may want to get yourself a pair just in case.

Ways to Help With Seasickness gives other methods to help relieve sea sickness. 

Swimsuit Coverup

A swimsuit coverup is another cruise accessory often forgotten, but it is essential cruise wear. Swimsuits everyone remembers but not the coverup.

A swimsuit cover up is so much more comfortable than putting shorts and a t-shirt on over your bathing suit to go grab lunch or a drink.

If you like the look of crochet swimsuit coverups then this post is for you.

Poopourri spray

Help keep your cabin smelling fresh with Poopourri spray. You will be especially thankful you packed poopourri if you are in an interior or ocean view stateroom as you don’t have any way to let outside fresh air in.

Travel mug

If you are a coffee or tea drinker (which is probably everyone), consider bringing your own good quality travel mug. I find that the coffee cups onboard are just too darn small. I personally bring and love my Yeti. Click the picture below to buy your own (affiliate link) and consider purchasing a handle with it.

Smaller bills for tipping

When cruising you will want to carry several smaller bills ($1, $5, $10) for tipping. I’m not referring to the cruise ship staff service gratuities (waiter, room steward, etc). You can read about Tipping On a Cruise here.

The reason you will want several smaller bills is for tipping the porters at the cruise terminal who handle your luggage, room service, bus drivers, shore excursion staff, etc.

Portable Charger

A portable charger is a smart addition to your cruise packing list. You don’t want to miss taking some great cruise photos or videos because your cell phone is dead. Bring a portable charger with you. This is especially useful for shore excusions.

These are some of my favorite cruise accessories. How many of these important cruise accessories were you missing from your packing list? 

Here are other cruise articles you might find helpful:

Important Things to do Before a Cruise

Tipping on a Cruise

Top 15 Tips for First Time Cruisers

What to Pack for a Cruise to Mexico

27 Smart Cruise Cabin Organization Tips

What to Pack for a Cruise to Bermuda