Skip to Content

Embark on a Cruise! A to Z Packing Tips Series

We’re moving along in our A to Z Packing Tips series, and today Lory from The Robin’s Nest Designs is sharing her tips for embarking on a cruise plus a great cruise packing list printable! Welcome Lory!


Greetings Everyone! I am so excited to be sharing some information today about something that is near and dear to my heart. . .Cruising! I hope I will be able to give you some of our tips and tricks so you can be ready for your Embarkation Day!

First, I want to share a little about our cruising history. We love to spend our vacation time sailing the high seas. We started enjoying this type of vacation about 13 years ago and have loved it ever since. We haven’t kept perfect track but we estimate we have been on between 10 and 12 cruises during that time. So, pretty experienced but no means an expert.

Here is a list of the Cruise Lines we have been on:

  • Carnival Cruise Line
  • Disney Cruise Line
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Royal Caribbean Cruise Line

Our cruise itineraries have been to the following regions:

  • Eastern Caribbean
  • Western Caribbean
  • Bahamas
  • Mexico
  • Alaska

In our early days, we focused on Disney Cruise Line because our son was young. It was fun to have the Disney events and Characters as well as the formality of dressing up for dinner each night. It was a novelty for us and good for him to experience. As he grew older and not as interested in the Disney theme, we were able to travel on other cruise lines for a lot less money. This translates to cruising more often!

As time has passed and we are empty nesters now, our cruise requirements have changed also. Gone are the days of renting tuxes and lugging evening gowns across the country. We enjoy being a little more casual and comfortable now. For this reason, our favorite cruise line is NCL. They are trendsetters in the concept of “Freestyle Cruising” which means we can eat when we want, where we want and dress casually. Don’t misunderstand, I don’t mean swimsuits and shorts or tank tops in the dining room . . .but casual pants or nice jeans are just so much easier! We still enjoy dressing up a little on Cruise Elegant or Formal night but, not to the degree we used to.

If dressing up or not dressing up is important to you keep the following in mind:

Some cruise lines lend themselves to you needing to pack clothing that is little more on the dressy side. If this is a deal breaker one way or the other for you, keep it in mind when choosing your cruise. We tend to adapt based on which Cruise Line we are using and where the itinerary takes us. We still don’t pack the amount that we used to because we have learned more about what we need and because we do not want to pay the ridiculous fee that airline’s charge now for a lot of extra bags.

Even with packing lighter, we have never felt like we did not take enough clothes. Usually, we still end up having more than we need.

Also important to note . . .if you really want to travel light and pack the bare essentials like swimwear and shorts and sandals, you could just plan on eating the buffet by the pool or room service for your meals. Every ship we have ever been on allows more casual dress, like shorts and T-Shirts at the buffets, even for dinner.


Here is an example of what I take for myself for a week:

  • 2 Pairs of Comfy Jeans (Plus the pair I have on)
  • Sundress
  • T-Shirts (one for each day unless the is self service laundry on board)
  • 2 or 3 Pairs of Pants/Slacks for Dinner
  • 3 blouses for Dinner
  • 1 Dressy Dress or Pantsuit
  • Undergarments
  • 1 Pair Shoes for Day/1 for Night plus Flip Flops or Sandals
  • Nightclothes
  • Jacket/Sweater
  • Toiletries
  • Medications
  • Important Papers
  • Essential Oils/Diffuser
  • (I am not one to spend time by the pool, so I don’t need to bring swimwear.)

I rotate my dinner clothes for the week. I don’t need an outfit for each night because in all likelihood, I will only have it on for about 3 hours. I am able to fit all of my items in one suitcase. I put my medicine, toiletries and jacket in a carry on.

My husband takes a similar amount of items in his suitcase. Of course, if you are packing for kiddos it may be a little more complicated. They may need extra outfits, diapers, formula, special blankets, car-seat for the airplane, etc. Our personal experience with this was a little easier because our son was 9 when we started cruising.

One of my biggest packing tips is take a bit of over the counter medicine with you as well as sunscreen. If you have to go to the on board store and buy Tums, Headache Medicine or Sunscreen you will have to pay soooo much more than if you bought it at home.

I am including a list below that may be helpful to you when packing, keeping in mind that everyone has their own preferences. Click HERE to download.


Happy Sailing! Remember, just have fun! Also be sure to check out these extras to add to your cruise packing list.


FB Profile

Thanks for spending time with me today. My name is Lory and I blog at The Robin’s Nest Designs!

I love travel, crafts, DIY and Chalk Paint Furniture.

Here are a few other things you might be interested in . . .

And for more from our A to Z Packing Tips series:

Alcohol & Wine

Building Lists & Plans

Chargers are a Must

D’s to Remember

Ready to take a cruise? Make sure you check out these cruising tips plus a free printable cruise packing list!

Share and Save This Post:


Friday 19th of October 2018

Where is the "Z"? I was wanting an A to Z list ☹

Luke Mitchell

Saturday 27th of June 2015

Just looking at this list makes me want to go on a cruise. We're a bit more limited here in South Africa in regard to a real luxury cruise trip but it's not unheard of. Though I'm certain the list can be augmented for a catamaran. Looking forward to when our weather warms and we can take the kids out on the water. The list is perfect, and will ensure nothing is missed, though it's human nature to assume something always is.