15 Things to Bring on a Cruise from Home (to save money)

Things to bring on a cruise from home

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Wondering what to bring on a cruise, that will actually save you money if you bring them from home? These things might be household items, that you already have at home. Others will be worth buying, as you will use them again and again on future cruises!

These practical items great to use on shore excursions, as well as sea days on your cruise ship.

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What to Bring on a Cruise to Save Money

1. Sunscreen & Aloe Vera 

An obvious item that many cruisers often forget to pack is sunscreen. Plus, very few people think about bringing an after sun gel or lotion.

We’ve gotten a bit sunburned during our cruises, even when we’ve been careful! A good aloe vera gel soothes the skin and seems to alleviate the sunburn quickly.

While you can purchase this in the convenience store on your cruise ship, the cost will be much higher than if you buy this and bring it from home. Ideally, for a sunscreen, you’ll want a reef-friendly brand, as many Caribbean islands now have rules about this.

Reef safe sunscreen

This reef safe sunscreen is water resistant and biodegradable, and recommended for Caribbean cruises.

Recommended: Reef Repair Reef safe sunscreen (check price & amazon reviews here)

Aloe Vera

This aloe vera gel is 100% pure and absorbs quickly into your skin, without the sticky residue.


Recommended: Aloe Vera gel (see over 50,000 amazon reviews)

2. Water shoes

If you’re cruising in the Bahamas or Caribbean, and even the Mediterranean, you’re likely to encounter a rocky beach. Quick drying water shoes are great to have for beach days and snorkeling excursions.

A few years ago, we did an amazing shore excursion in Jamaica to Dunn’s River Falls. We absolutely needed water shoes on this day! We were so glad that bought our water shoes ahead of time and brought them from home.

Recommended: Quick dry water shoes (check price & style options on Amazon here)

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3. Refillable water bottle

As cruise lines are becoming more environmentally conscious,  some cruise ships are not allowing single use water bottles to be brought on board. It’s a good idea to bring your own large refillable water bottle that you can use on the ship, but more importantly, that you can bring safe water to drink when on shore.

For coffee drinkers, an insulated travel coffee mug is also a great item to bring from home!


Recommended: Britta water filter bottle (see color options & Amazon reviews here)

4. Snorkle Mask & Gear

Plan on snorkeling when at the beach? Renting a snorkle mask and other gear will cost you money on your cruise, and let’s face it, has been used my many other people. 

If you buy your snorkle gear and bring it with you, it may be cheaper than renting equipment, and you can use it again and again over the years!

Recommended: Snorkle gear (check price & Amazon reviews here)

Related: What to Pack for a Bahamas Cruise: The Ultimate Guide

5. Downy Wrinkle Release

Downy Wrinkle Release is a favorite for many cruisers! Save charges for pressing and dry cleaning on board by bringing your own wrinkle spray.

Recommended: Downy Wrinkle Release (amazon)

6. First aid kit

Bringing a travel first aid kit with bandaids, antibiotic ointment and over the counter medications is a must on a cruise. However, beyond how useful it might be if you need it, it also will save you money.

Items like blister bandaids and pain reliever are sold for your convenience on board, but they aren’t cheap. Plus, there may not be the brands and items you prefer. By bringing your own pharmaceutical items, you’ll also save money by avoiding a visit to the medical centre for non urgent care.

Recommended: First aid kit for travel (see 49,000 5* Amazon ratings)

7. Sunhat or baseball cap

Bringing a sunhat or baseball cap from home is a great idea! If you’re on a hot weather cruise itinerary, like a Caribbean or Bermuda cruise, a hat will be great for sightseeing and the beach.

Make sure to add a sunhat to your Caribbean cruise packing list!

Recommended: Sunhat (UV protection)

8. Selfie stick tripod

Don’t knock the selfie stick tripod if you haven’t tried them in a few years. Today’s selfie sticks are discreet (they fold down), flexible, convert into a tripod and are enabled with a bluetooth remote!

Imagine taking photos along the beach or on the cruise ship with the wake in the background. They’re great for videos as well.

If you feel like skipping photos taken by the ship’s photographer, this is a perfect solution.


Recommended: Selfie stick tripod (verify that your phone will fit)

9. Wine

Most cruise lines will allow you to bring one bottle of wine on board per adult. Unless you have a drink package, this is a good money saver on a cruise. If you bring your wine to the dining room or restaurant, it will even be kept for you for the next day (or as long as you need).

There may be a corkage fee, in some cases, however this is still less expensive than buying a comparable bottle of wine onboard.

Don’t forget to bring a travel corkscrew if you need it.


Recommended: Travel corkscrew (check price on Amazon here)

Things to Bring on a Cruise to Save You Money (pinterest image & text with cruise ship pool)
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10. Soda

Carnival and some other cruise lines allow you to bring small quantities of soda onboard on embarkation day. If you have a particular type of soda that you enjoy, bringing a case of soda will be less expensive than buying each drink on board.

11. Flavored Coffee Creamers

A genius cruise travel hack that some cruisers use, is to bring their favorite flavored coffee creamers from home. This way, they can make the regular coffee taste like specialty coffee, and skip the extra cost of specialty coffee or a package.

Another item that some cruise passengers bring on board, is flavored water packets (like Crystal Light). Stay hydrated and make the water taste a bit special as well.

Read more: What Food and Drinks Can You Bring on a Cruise? (snacks, water bottles, wine & more)

12. Luggage Scale

If you’re flying, you need to make sure that your luggage is not overweight at the end of your cruise. Avoid extra baggage fees by using a travel luggage scale.


Recommended: Electronic luggage scale (Amazon best seller)

13. Ziplock bags

Ziplock baggies in different sizes are always convenient. Need a place to put your wet bathing suit after an excursion? Bring along a large ziplock and your problem is solved!

A next level tip is use small resealable baggies or reusable containers to keep a few snacks in your cabin.

Grab some crackers and cheese, cookies or fruit for an in cabin snack and skip the room service. This is especially helpful now that some cruise lines are charging $10 or more in room service delivery fees.

Related: 27 Cruise Packing Mistakes You Might be Making

14. Travel Laundry Packets

Not only can you save money by bringing a travel size laundry detergent packet on your cruise, but you can pack lighter for your cruise as well.

While some cruise lines have self serve laundry facilities onboard, many don’t. In this case simply was a few items by hand and hang to dry. You’ll save money by not using the expensive cruise line laundry and pressing services.


15. Duffle bag

If you’re anything like me, you end up with a few extra items at the end of your cruise. These can be souvenirs you buy in ports or items you purchase at the duty free shops on your cruise. I always bring a small extra duffle bag, that I can fit in my luggage in case I need it at the end of the cruise.

Beach bags and backpacks are also great to have and use for traveling to the cruise, as well as on port days.


Recommended: Travel duffle bag (see color options & price on Amazon here)

Honorable Mentions:

  • Highlighers & post it notes
  • Small sewing kit
  • Dental or denture repair kit
  • Extra pair of reading glasses
  • Clothes pins
  • Small fan
  • Pre-packaged snacks

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Video: Things to Bring on a Cruise to Save Money


Final Thoughts on What to Bring on a Cruise to Save Money

In this post we went over 13 things you can bring on your cruise, many of them from home, that will help to save you money once onboard. Keep in mind that you don’t need to bring all of these things, but you won’t regret packing those you’ll use.

What items do you bring on a cruise, that actually save you money? Please let me know in the comments below.

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  1. Gary Marino
    February 19, 2023 / 6:02 pm

    My wife and I love your Youtube presentations. Content and pace are pitch perfect.

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