27 Things People Forget to Pack for a Cruise (and regret)

Things People Forget to Pack for a Cruise

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27 Items that People Forget to Bring for a Cruise

If you’re going on a cruise, you’ve likely thought about what to bring and hopefully found a couple of good cruise packing lists that you like.

But, even with the lists, both new and seasoned cruisers have tales to tell about the things they forgot to pack for a cruise, and regretted!

Thinking about and planning for potential seasickness, getting too much sun, and shoes…

Yes, shoes!

Don’t worry, I’ll explain why, as well as what kind of shoes you may need, to participate in some of the activities on board your cruise ship.

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Don’t forget to Pack These Things When Going on a Cruise

Don't forget these items if you're going on a cruise

Let’s start with the really important items for your cruise, that you really don’t want to forget!

1. Passports or Government ID

Super obvious, most people remember to bring their required ID to board. After all, it’s a must to be able to even get on a cruise.

However, a mistake that some cruise passengers have made is to actually pack this in their luggage, rather than keeping it on them in a handbag or even a neck passport holder.

This has actually resulted in people being denied boarding, and it happens every year.

A warning – try not to even keep your ID or passport in your cruise carry on bag. As sometimes, we tend to put these down.

Here’s what happened to a lady heading to her Caribbean Cruise

This person was taking a cruise transfer from the airport to the cruise ship, and put her carry-on bag down, as she was handing over luggage to the driver of the shuttle.

When she was about to board the shuttle, she realized her carry-on bag was missing. Having been reassured that is must have been put into the coach section of the bus, (along with the luggage of 50 other people), she thought she’d get it when she arrived at the ship.

Sadly for her, it was not. She was unable to board her ship and ultimately missed her cruise.

If you don’t have a specific spot for your passport, I recommend this neck wallet for your passport as you seriously will never lose it and it will always be safe.

Recommended: Neck Wallet & Passport Holder (verify price and reviews on Amazon)

2. Proof of Vaccine & Test Results (no longer required on most cruises)

While most cruises don’t require passengers to be vaccinated anymore, there are some specific itineraries and cruise lines that may still have policies that require them. Before you travel, be sure to be aware of all vaccine policies and pre-cruise test protocols.

Recommended *if required: Vaccine passport holders & lanyards (verify price on Amazon)

3. Cruise Documents

Always print your cruise documents. Firstly, it has all your cruise information and security will ask for it as part of the cruise boarding process.

Secondly, it has your cruise port and boarding time and other information that’s handy for you to have on hand when heading to your cruise ship.

If you do forget this, the cruise line can often still look up your information if need be, so most of the time the only thing that happens is a delayed process.

Note: Even Princess Cruise passengers on Ocean Medallion ships, should print out their cruise boarding passes, in addition to getting Ocean Ready with the MedallionClass app.

Recommended: All You Need to Know About Ocean Medallion (Princess Cruises)

4. Luggage Tags

As part of the online check in process for your cruise, you’ll be guided to print out your paper luggage tags.

As a suggestion, print out a few extra copies, in case you mess a couple up when folding and stapling to your luggage.

You may also want to purchase plastic luggage tag holders. They’re so convenient and reusable as well!

Note: If you do buy luggage tags, check to make sure they are specific to your cruise line. There are 2 sizes, so each work for many and are reusable, but you want to get the right ones (see below).

Recommended: Plastic luggage tags – ROYAL CARIBBEAN & CELEBRITY (Amazon)

Recommended: Plastic luggage tags – Carnival, Princess, Holland America and more (see details on Amazon)

5. Shore Excursion Confirmations

It’s a good idea to print paper copies of any shore excursions booked, to bring with you on your cruise. You can also keep photos in your phone if you like, if this is most convenient. If you’ve booked online with a local tour operator, it’s very important to have their contact information and any instructions handy, just in case.

I like to keep notes for my cruise excursions, along with payment information, in a cruise travel planner. In fact, I use it to keep organized all through my cruise planning process!

If you’re interested in purchasing the cruise planner, it’s 47 pages of cruise packing checklists, planning forms and more. You can print it out again and again as needed for future cruises.

Here are the details: Life Well Cruised Ultimate Cruise Planner ($10 off)

Get The Ultimate Cruise Planner

Regular price: $27 Now just $17!

6. Sunscreen

Cruise ship lido deck

A common item many people forget to bring on a cruise is sunscreen. The sun is so hot on the ocean and you can get a terrible sunburn even on the first day of your cruise.

Something to note is that the convenience store on your cruise ship won’t be open until you actually sail away (as shops on board aren’t open in port), so you’re pretty stuck if you forget it.

Recommended: Water resistant high quality sunscreen (check reviews on Amazon)

7. Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera or a good after sun lotion to ease any sunburns is a must. The sun in the Caribbean is something else, so best to have the essentials.

Recommended: Aloe Vera Gel  (best seller on Amazon!)

8. Lip Balm

This is one thing that so many cruisers say they forgot to bring on a cruise, and have seriously regretted it!

When I asked about this in my Life Well Cruised community on Facebook, a few people said this was a big whoops!

Lips swelling up and getting raw. No one wants that on vacation!

Recommended: Organic lip balm (check reviews on Amazon)

9. Over the Counter Medication

first aid essentials

While there are some basic over the counter meds sold on cruise ships, the selection is very basic and expensive.

I like to travel with a bit of a pharmacy – this way you have everything you need just in case. In this blog post, 31 Cruise First Aid Kit Essentials You Need to Have, you’ll find a good list of all the necessities.

10. Over the Counter Medication for Kids

Going on a cruise with children? Cruisers have said that they’ve forgotten to bring cold and cough medicines for their kids, and have really regretted it. Medications for children are especially hard to find on a cruise, which can sometimes mean a visit to the infirmary.

Now, on the positive side, you’ll see a doctor or nurse and get necessary medication. However, unfortunately the medication will be expensive and you’ll be charged for the medical centre visit.

11. Bandaids for Blisters

bandaids first aid kit

This one makes a lot sense!

Cruise passengers have said that although they may have brought regular bandaids, they didn’t think about the different kinds they may need.

When we’re cruising, we’re walking both on the ship (and most are big), and off in the cruise ports, so having a bandaids for possible blisters is a good idea.

Recommended: Bandaids for blisters (Amazon link)

12. Dress Code Attire

Even though cruising is way less formal than a few years ago, in fact many cruise lines now allow jeans in the main dining – you can still expect a cruise line dress code.

I know a couple who went on a Caribbean cruise, and they decided not to do formal nights, so they didn’t bring formal attire. They planned on just eating in the Main Dining Room on casual nights.

This was absolutely fine. But do you know what they didn’t think about?


Yes, pants.

On this cruise line, shorts weren’t allowed in the Main Dining room, and her husband didn’t pack any pants for his cruise.

It’s a good idea to bring at least one pair of pants or nice jeans for evening – don’t forget to bring this on a cruise.

Related posts:

13. Shoes

Norwegian Joy Race cars

Sometimes people forget certain types of shoes. This might be dress shoes for formal or dressy nights, but it can also be closed toe shoes for activities on and off the cruise ship.

This is especially true for cruises that have  ziplines, slides, ropes courses and other cool ship activities which require closed toe shoes.

I cannot tell you how many parents have said they just didn’t think they’d need running shoes for their kids, but this is important safety reasons. They won’t allow participation in some of these fun ship activities without them.

Related: 101 Awesome Things to Do on a Cruise (cruise activities for all ages)

What Shoes to Bring for a Cruise (for day, evening & shore excursions)

14. Socks

Socks are so often forgotten, especially on Caribbean or other warm weather cruises! However, you’ll still want socks on your cruise packing list to wear with sneakers as well as dress shoes.

Clothing and Laundry Needs on a Cruise

15. Mini Laundry Detergent Packs

I don’t usually do laundry on a cruise, but on our last cruise I sent a few items (truly very few) to the ship’s laundry and it cost me $45.

So, when some cruisers said that they regretted not bringing travel sized laundry packets, I think I get it. Sometimes washing just a few items either in the ship’s laundromat, if available, or in your cruise cabin sink, could be helpful.

Recommended: Laundry detergent travel packets (Amazon)

21 Surprising Things People Forget to Pack for a Cruise
Please PIN to save to your favorite Pinterest board

16. Downy Wrinkle Release

Since we can’t take irons or steamers on board a cruise, and sending items to the cruise ship’s laundry service to press can be expensive, having a travel size Downy Wrinkle Release is the best thing ever!

Recommended: Downy Wrinkle Release – travel size (check price on Amazon)

17. Laundry Stain Stick

I’m a huge fan of the Tide-to-Go pen and literally bring it everywhere! It’s so handy and can save a good outfit when you get the tiniest stain at dinner, or anytime ;-).

Try and remember this when you’re going on a cruise.

Recommended: Tide To Go stain stick for travel (Amazon)

Remember Your Cruise Essentials

Cruise essentials

Now, let’s face it, what’s essential to one person, may not be to another. However, there are items that many people miss if they don’t pack them for their cruise.

18. Power Bar with USB Outlets  (non-surge protected)

A must for many cruisers, remember to bring a “cruise-approved” power bar to have some extra electric and USB outlets in your cabin.

While some newer ships, have installed USB outlets, most cruise cabins have 1 or 2 electric sockets, and that’s it!

Cruisers have said when they’ve forgotten this, they noticed!

Important – You cannot bring a regular power bar and it will be confiscated. It MUST be non-surge protected.

 Recommended: Non-surge protected power bar (check price/reviews on Amazon)

19. Power Adapter

Depending on where you’re traveling from, you may need an international adapter for your cruise, or even your hotel. This was a must-have for our Mediterranean cruise!

20. Towel Clips

Towel clips are so handy to keep towels from blowing in the sea breeze both on the ship and off, cruisers who forget these items say they wish they had brought some!

Personally, I love them!

You can find simple colorful ones or fun ones to suit your personality!

cruise towel clips cruise

Recommended: Towel clips (Amazon)

Another option which takes up less room, and are still super cute, are towel bands.

Recommended: Towel bandits (read awesome Amazon reviews here)

21. Refillable Water Bottles

Whether you want to bring water with you on a cruise port day, or if you want to have some water or even hot coffee with you while on a cruise, this is something any cruisers love (and are sad when they forget it).

Recommended: Thermal mug for water or coffee (see reviews on Amazon)

22. Seasickness Medication

Being affected by motion sickness is one of the worst feelings! Even if you haven’t been seasick before, pack some preventative motion sickness medication just in case.

Some good items to have are seabands, ginger candy and Dramamine or Bonine. Personally, we find Bonine effective without any noticeable side affects.

Cruiser favorites include:

Bonine Motion Sickness Relief tablets

Seabands – available in adult and child sizes

Ginger candies (natural anti-nausea relief)

Related: 10 Ways to Prevent and Avoid Seasickness on a Cruise

21 Things People Forget to Pack for a cruise
Please PIN to save to your favorite Pinterest board

23. Credit Card

Having a credit card, even if you plan to use cash, is a good idea in case of emergencies. If you don’t use it often, it can be a good idea to call your credit card company to let the know you’re traveling, so they don’t block a legitimate purchase.

24. Ziplock Baggies

The ultimate easy and waterproof organization system, I just love ziplock baggies!

You can take mini-first aid packs with you when you head out on an excursion, keep your hair elastics and clips,  and even pack a dry snack for the kids (do check port regulations and note it’s against the law in most places to take fruit, vegetables and meat items off the cruise ship).

YouTube video: Things Not to Forget to Pack for a Cruise


25. Extra Mobile Phone Charger Wire

Who hasn’t misplaced or forgotten a cell phone charger wire while on vacation? They are so expensive if you need to pick one up at the airport of convenience store.

Pack an extra one, just in case (and don’t forget it).

26. Reading Glasses & Sunglasses

It’s very annoying to forget, or even lose, reading glasses or sunglasses when on a cruise vacation. Make sure to bring an extra inexpensive pair just in case.

27. A Bathing Suit

Is anything worse than forgetting to pack a bathing suit to bring on a cruise? Sea days by the pool just won’t be as fun πŸ˜‰

Make sure to bring a bathing suit and cover up in your cruise carry on bag or checked luggage.

Recommended: Swimsuit cover up (see price & color options on Amazon)

Get The Ultimate Cruise Planner

Regular price: $27 Now just $17!

*Ultimate Cruise Travel Planner*

Over the last year, I put together a 47 page cruise travel planner that has everything you need as you plan and get ready for your cruise.

If you could use cruise packing lists, to-do checklists, shore excursion forms and more, you’ll love the Life Well Cruised Ultimate Cruise Planner.

Plus, for a limited time, it’s $10 off. Hope you enjoy!

See details here: Ultimate Cruise Planner -What’s Included

Popular & Related Posts:

 25 Cruise Packing Tips all Cruisers Need

50 Cruise Essentials Most Popular on Amazon

30 Cruise Cabin Hacks Every Cruiser Needs to Know

25 Cruise Embarkation Day Tips Straight from the Pros

What to Pack for a Caribbean Cruise

25 Affordable Cruise Outfits for Ladies

Recap: 27 Things People Forget to Bring on Their Cruise (and regret)

As prepared as we all want to be when we go on a cruise, there are still things even veteran cruisers admit to forgetting to pack for their cruise. I hope that this post can help you to remember some of the things that people regret not bringing on a cruise.

Have you ever forgotten to pack something for a cruise, and the regretted it? Please let me know in the comments below.

Happy Cruising!!


P.S. If you found this helpful, please don’t keep it to yourself ;-). Please share on Facebook or PIN to your favorite Pinterest board (share buttons at the top). Thanks so much!

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  1. Linda
    September 19, 2021 / 9:32 pm

    Ok, so I went on a cruise and forgot my underwear. Or did I? When I got home and unpacked my black-lined suitcase, I found all my neatly folded black underwear! So that’s why I now use suitcases with bright fabric lining. 😬

    • September 21, 2021 / 12:06 pm

      Lol, funny but also a good tip Linda! Something to look for in new luggage πŸ™‚

      Thanks for sharing!


  2. Kathy
    September 19, 2023 / 2:02 am

    How about something to NOT pack.
    We had set our luggage out to be taken the night before disembark day, and it was long gone. Imagine my horror when I realized I did not leave out the pants I planned to wear home on the plane!!!
    The stores were closed! Thankfully we were traveling with friends, and one happened to have an extra pair, (not sure why)?
    Anyway I came dangerously close to wearing a nightgown on the plane!
    And of course my friends will never let me live it down!

    • September 22, 2023 / 3:41 pm

      Oh my! Lol good warning & tip for others. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  3. October 29, 2023 / 5:58 pm

    This was super helpful!! I leave in a few days and forgot some things!!

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