31 Cruise First Aid Kit Essentials You Need to Have

31 cruise first aid kit essentials you need to have

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As you are getting ready for your cruise and working on your packing list, don’t to forget about your cruise first aid kit essentials.

As travelers and cruisers, we hope not to have to use them. However, being prepared with your travel first aid kit, is one of the most important cruise preparations you can make.

I like to keep my cruise first aid kit together, and ready for use every time we cruise. Before each cruise, I simply take inventory and replenish as necessary.

Now, if you did forget something, you can pick up a few small items in the cruise ship’s convenience store.

That said, I will guarantee you that it will be more expensive and the variety of items is extremely limited. Worse than that, if something occurs when the shop is closed (as they close while in port as well as at night), you could be really stuck.

To Note: On a cruise ship, there is a ship’s doctor and medical staff. So while this post is about being prepared for minor situations where first-aid treatment or pharmaceutical products might be necessary, please do not hesitate to visit the medical centre should you need medical treatment or advice.

first aid essentials

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First Aid Essentials for a Cruise

Small wound treatments

It’s so common while on a cruise, or on any travels, to get small cuts, scrapes, blisters etc. Those little non-emergency things can happen so bring along a few things to make sure a little issue doesn’t become a bigger issue.

1. Band-aids

Bring Band-Aids of all shapes and sizes, and include some that are waterproof too. You can pick up a variety pack and you’re all set. But don’t forget to keep a few on you, especially if you’re wearing some new sandals or flip flops to the beach.

I always need a few bandages for blisters. New shoes, or walking so much more than usual just seem to bring this on. I bring some that are made for blisters, that will stay on in that water.

Recommended: Blister bandages of different sizes (see details & over 4000 reviews on Amazon here)

2. Antibiotic Ointment

Antibiotic ointment is great to have with you on excursions or in your cruise cabin. It heels small cuts so quickly and is said to prevent infections and is a must-have when you travel.

Recommended: Travel size antibiotic ointment

You can find my Polysporin fast-heal twin-pack recommendation HERE (on Amazon)

3. Hydrocortisone Cream

Hydrocortisone can be really helpful for swelling and bug bites, so definitely bringing some along just in case. My poor sister in law got sand flea bites in a not so pleasant area while sitting straight on the beach in San Juan (so be careful). In any case the anti-itch cortisone cream was what saved her!

Recommended: Hydrocortisone cream (check price & read more than 30000 Amazon reviews here)

4. Gauze and Alcohol Wipes

Some small gauze and alcohol wipes can be useful for scrapes or anytime you need to disinfect, especially if you’re on a shore excursion or off the ship.

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5. First Aid Kit

A first aid kit that you bring with you on your cruise is such a good idea! Plus, you can use it later in the house or even for road trips – plus future cruises of course!

Recommended: Emergency first aid kit (see price & 60,000+ Amazon reviews here)

Medications and Pharmaceutical Products

6. Pain Relief Medication

Bring along some of your preferred pain medications such as Advil and Tylenol or a brand you like and trust.

7. Cold Medicine/Sinus Medication

It’s an awful feeling to get a cold while on vacation. Bringing cold medicine to help alleviate symptoms will be so helpful. Something like Advil Cold and Sinus Congestion or i’s equivalent is probably what you need. Remember to bring the non-drowsy kind so you can still function and have a good time.

If you’re cruising with your children, make sure to bring children’s medicine like Children’s Advil and other medications that you trust and use at home. Don’t forget to bring the “just in case” stuff, like cold and cough medicines.

children's cold medicine first aid

8. Cough and Sore Throat Medication

A good cough suppressant as well some cough drops will be helpful if you start to get sick while on a cruise. I like Halls Relief, as I find it soothing for mild coughs and sore throats.

Cough candies and throat lozenges are a must, with dry sea air, bring some along in different flavors. 

Recommended: Cough and sore throat drops

Tip: Make your own mini DIY travel first aid kits in small ziplock bags. These are perfect for the plane, for cruises and road trips.

9. Prescription Medication

It may go without saying, but do make sure your regular (or less regular) prescription medications make it onto your cruise packing list. There may be medications you don’t use daily, but they are important to have with you just in case. So, do make sure these are packed.

Tip: Cruise lines recommend that you bring at least 14 days of extra medication, as an extra precaution.

31 Essentials You Need for Your cruise first aid kit

10. Coldsore/Fever Blister Medication

If you’re prone to fever blisters due to the sun or stress, having some cold sore/fever blister medication can really feel like a lifesaver. It’s a good addition to your first aid kit for your cruise.

11. Eye Drops

Whether from the sun, salt water, chlorine, late nights and more, having a small bottle of Visine or your favorite brand of eye drops handy can really help if you develop red and itchy eyes on your cruise.

Recommended: Eye drops (see reviews and check price on Amazon here)

12. Ear drops

If you are prone to “swimmer’s ear”, pack some ear drops too.


First Aid Tools

13. Tweezers

Tweezers don’t seem necessary until you or your child gets a splinter. Just throw it in there and forget about it.

14. Thermometer

A thermometer should be part of your first aid kit, but if you have kids, having one on hand is a necessity.

15.  Travel Flashlight

I like to bring a small flashlight when we travel. I just make sure the battery is still working, and if not I replace or buy a new one.

This is really my own thing and I know not everyone is a worrier like me.  When I get to a hotel I always check where the exits are so you get where I’m coming from – I’m safety conscious.

However, I think there’s a good case to be made for why a flashlight could be very important in an emergency situation, so it lives in my cosmetic bag and travels with us.

Recommended: Small bright flashlight (check price & see 20,000+ excellent Amazon reviews)

first aid essentials

Stomach and Digestive Issues

16. Antacids 

Tums, Rolaids or Pepto Bismol can be useful for nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset Stomach, and diarrhea. Whether it’s due to eating or drinking too much, or just having a bit of traveler’s stomach, it can be so useful. We’ve even found if a touch of ship movement is bothering us, a chewable antacid has brought such relief.

I also bring a few of these along in a little portable ziplock first-aid baggie I make up for excursion days.

31 Things to Pack in a Cruise Medicine Kit
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17. Imodium (diarrhea medication)

You can get an upset stomach for a variety of reasons. Now if it’s a flu and you need to see the ship’s doctor, definitely do so. However, if you get a bit of traveler’s stomach bring along some Imodium.

18. Re-hydrating tablets

If you’ve felt ill or gotten to much sun, re-hydrating tablets can help to make you feel like yourself again. Basically this replenishes your electrolytes (it’s amazing what we lose in energy when our electrolytes are off). 

19. Laxatives

Sometimes, when traveling or when our eating habits are different, we can become constipated and bloated. It will be hard to find this on the ship, so bring some Dulcolax with you just in case.

bandaids first aid kit

Sun safety and preventing sunburn on a cruise

20. Sunscreen

Having a high SPF, good quality sunscreen is a must, especially if you’re on a Caribbean cruise.

On our first cruise, we couldn’t believe it! Although we’re Canadian, we actually love the sun and had a pretty good base from many hours at our community pool that summer. My husband was a bit stubborn and didn’t want to wear the sunscreen that first day.

Needless to say, he suffered a bit the next couple of days and was slathering on the aloe vera!

That  hot sun reflecting over the water is something else!

If you are cruising in the Caribbean or Bahamas, it’s a good idea to bring reef safe sunscreen.

Recommended: Reef-safe sunscreen (check Amazon reviews & info here)

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21. Aloe Vera Gel

If you do get a bit too much sun, be prepared with a good after sun cream that provides relief and moisture. This natural aloe vera gel works really well.

Recommended: Aloe vera gel (organic & non-sticky)

22. Lip Balm

If you’re in the sun, apply some good moisturizing lip balm to your lips.

coldsore medication

Bug Bites

23. Mosquito Repellent

If you’re doing excursions in rain-forests or jungles, or even depending on the port, it’s possible that you’ll encounter insects and mosquitoes. In that case make sure you have some Mosquito Repellent Spray on hand. You can even spray your clothes and shoes to try to avoid getting bitten or stung.

24. Calamine Lotion

We keep a calamine lotion us when we travel and at home. I love it as it also takes away any swelling, especially if you can get to it as soon as possible.

25. After-bite

Smaller than a bottle of calamine, After Bite is both effective and convenient. We often keep one in our handy first-aid ziplock. 

Recommended: After bite treatment (check reviews & price on Amazon here)

31 things you need for your cruise first aid kit
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Allergic Reactions

26. Benadryl

Allergic reactions can happen and can be unpredictable. Obviously if you already know you or your child has an allergy, you probably have medication (perhaps a Epipen) and know what to do should this occur.

However, people can get unpredictable allergic reactions, or even sensitivities unpredictably. Whether from a food that’s new, or from a lotion or product, reactions such as swelling and hives can happen.

Benadryl or an equivalent medication can really help, especially if taken as soon as possible. We always pack some with us.

Seasickness Medications

There are many ways to deal with seasickness while on a cruise, and having some of these items with you is a good idea.

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27. Motion Sickness Patches (behind the ear)

Placed behind the ear, motion sickness patches are a recommended treatment if you are prone to motion sickness. There are some pros and cons, so make sure to check any potential side effects.

Recommended: Motion sickness patch

28. Seabands

This is a favorite for many as they are natural, reusable, and so many people love them and have good results.

Seabands – in sizes for children and adults

30 first aid essentials to bring on your cruise
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29. Seasickness Medications

I definitely recommend bringing some seasickness medications in your cruise first aid kit. I really don’t get seasick, but I’m always prepared just in case.

Either Dramanine or Bonine work well for many cruisers. My husband is more affected by the movement, and does very well with Bonine and does not experience drowsiness.

Recommended: Bonine motion sickness tablets

30. Ginger

Ginger candies are a natural remedy for mild queasiness. I always bring some on my cruises, and have been known to pass a few around to my new cruise friends. Truly we love this!

Recommended: Ginger chews (check price & Amazon reviews here)


Other Essentials to Stay Healthy on a Cruise

31. Hand Sanitizer

Bring a small hand sanitizer bottle everywhere, and especially when you leave the ship to go on an excursion or even to go shopping. You touch money and all sorts of things, and hand sanitizer is great until you get back to the ship and can wash your hands with soap and water.

Travel Tip: Create portable mini-first aid packs (with ziplock baggies)

Something I always keep with me on my cruise packing list, is ziplock baggies. I always have a little ziplock baggie filled with a few simple first aid products that stays in my tote or beach bag for excursions.

Although our larger cruise first aid kit is filled with various products and medications, it stays in our cruise cabin unless we need anything. The little mini first aid emergency kit just keeps a few basics such as waterproof bandaids, neosporin, alcohol wipes, tums or pepto bismol, pain reliever. You can personalize this to your needs.

We keep one packed in our shore excursion bag ready to go!


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RECAP: 31 Essential Items for Your Cruise First Aid Kit

We’ve gone over the most important products to bring with you on your cruise in your cruise first aid kit. Keep in mind that the ship stores are quite small and products are limited. As well, the prices will likely be double or more than what you’d pay back home.

Take a look through the list and see which items will be most necessary for you and your loved ones on this cruise. 

Other posts that might be helpful as you plan your cruise essentials:

17 Cruise Stateroom Essentials Every Cruiser Needs

50 Amazon Items to Bring on a Cruise

Have you started to pack your cruise emergency pack yet? Have you got any items in mind that I should include? Please let me know in the comments below.

Happy Cruising!


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  1. Bet
    April 27, 2019 / 1:20 pm

    Great list! The cruise ships overcharge for these items – if they have them!

    • April 28, 2019 / 4:49 pm

      Hi Bet,

      So glad this list was helpful. That’s very true. It’s the worst when you can’t even find what you need!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment!


    • Tanya Searcy
      November 15, 2022 / 12:37 am

      I always pack at least two flashlights in my 1st aid kit. You never know when a power outage my occur, don’t want to use up my cell battery running the flashlight.

  2. April 29, 2019 / 4:03 am

    Most cruise ships offer first aid services but why not make sure that you have everything you need at the palm of your hands, right? Personally, I also like having medications and most of the things I need in my luggage.

    • May 5, 2019 / 7:48 pm

      Hi Agness,

      Absolutely – every cruise we’ve been on has first aid services, so there’s never an issue. I’m with you, I like to be prepared so I don’t have to go to the infirmary (and pay) for small issues.

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.


  3. Pamela Whiteley
    August 16, 2019 / 3:49 pm

    I’ve done a few cruises and traveled a lot and always take my own first aid stuff. This has actually made me realize I’m missing a few things and I love the idea of the small baggie for excursions. Thank you and I’m going to redo my first aid stuff right now. Cruise is in early September to Alaska.

    • August 17, 2019 / 4:23 am

      Hi Pamela,

      Glad you found that little tip helpful. Have an amazing cruise!!


  4. March 31, 2020 / 4:31 pm

    I love that you touched on getting some gauze and alcohol pads so that you can have access to those when you need to disinfect. My partner and I are thinking about going on some trips this year and we want to be sure we know how to provide first aid. I think it’s a good idea to take a class so that we get taught by professionals.

    • April 11, 2020 / 3:10 pm

      Hi Joe,

      I think that’s a great point. I actually wish we all took a first aid course both in high school, and every few years as adults. I take one every few years as a requirement, and agree it’s extremely beneficial.

      I hope you have a great time on your future travels!


  5. August 12, 2020 / 9:54 am

    When you’re confused on a cruise or during a foreign port on a shore excursion, care provides will be overpriced and generally laborious to search out.
    Although giant cruise ships do have a medical workplace with a doctor and several other nurses, you almost certainly won’t need to go to only for one thing basic sort of a band-aid or some Nuprin.
    I think it’s a great list. And quite helpful too.

    • August 19, 2020 / 5:06 pm

      Glad you found the list helpful Mark. I agree it’s better to have some basic first aid stuff, rather than to go to a medical center unless you need too.

  6. Rob
    April 6, 2023 / 9:09 pm

    I am a retired RN and there are some really freat ideas here which have me adding to my list! Thank-you.

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