What to pack for a cruise

Cruising is a spectacular way to travel. You get to wake up in new locations and ports, but without the fuss of packing up and taking a flight/train/bus to get there – you simply go to sleep in your room and wake up somewhere new! 

Not to mention all the amazing onboard dining, entertainment, and scenery. In 2020, figures revealed that the median age of a Kiwi cruise traveller is about 64 years old, so this is also a great way to socialise (and avoid the overly rowdy travel styles of the 20-somethings). 

The only real challenge that comes with travel, is knowing what to pack for a cruise. As you’re so often visiting multiple destinations in one trip, it can sometimes be like packing for multiple trips at once. 

So, here’s our guide for packing for a cruise, so you don’t forget what you will need, and don’t pack more than you do.  

Prep for ports and for onboard   

First thing’s first, think about the cruise itself; which ports you’ll be visiting, what you’ll be doing in each one, and the kind of weather you can expect. 

This will help you decide if you need your favourite light summer outfits, your chunky hiking boots, your thick winter coat, or a little bit of everything. 

However, don’t forget to consider the ship itself as well. Even if you’re taking a chilly tour of the Alaskan coastline, you should still bring your togs for the pools and spas on board. Similarly, your explorations might be casual, but a dressy outfit or two may be required for formal dining evenings on the ship. 

You might even be taking a specific type of cruise, such as bereavement cruise, in which case you might want to pack specific sentimental items.  

Packing Checklist 

Hand luggage 

  • Travel documents including your passport, visa (if necessary) and travel insurance details
  • Wallet
  • Any medications, prescriptions or medical devices
  • Camera
  • Sunglasses
  • A book
  • Phones and chargers
  • A water bottle
  • Sunhat

Main luggage 

  • Toiletries (include seasickness tablets if you are prone to motion sickness)
  • Enough socks and underwear for the whole trip (for longer trips, you can use the onboard laundry facilities, but it can be easier to just bring a few extra pairs)
  • Swimwear (most ships have pools and spas even if you’re not planning on swimming at your destination)
  • A selection of comfortable, casual clothing for day wear
  • Comfortable walking shoes for shore excursions 
  • At least one smart/formal outfit for dressy onboard events
  • Sportswear for active travellers (if you are planning on hiking etc)
  • Sleepwear
  • Waterproof outerwear for potential rain
  • A backpack or day bag for shore excursions (include a tote bag for extra storage for souvenir shopping!)
  • Spare books for voracious readers

What not to take 

  • Alcohol (check your cruise line limits, as you may be able to bring a small amount on board in your checked luggage)
  • Bags that weigh more than 23kg (check your cruise line limit, but this is the general rule)
  • Expensive jewellery or other valuables you wouldn’t want to lose
  • A hairdryer (these are fairly standard in your onboard bathroom so why not save on packing space)
  • Towels

Purchase cruise-appropriate travel insurance 

Travel insurance is one thing you can consider packing for any trip, and keep in mind that you can get insurance that’s specifically designed for cruising. 

And remember that travel insurance isn’t just a recommendation, but can be a requirement for some cruises. 

Travellers on domestic cruises in New Zealand waters may consider purchasing an international plan. This is because normal health insurance may not cover you while you’re at sea. 

Plan ahead 

Basically, make sure you know the requirements for your specific cruise, but consider if insurance might be suitable for your needs – it could save a world of hassles should you hit a few speed bumps (or rough waters) during your trip. 

And of course, you may explore Seniors Term Life Insurance while you’re at it. The right cover can help protect your finances before you embark on your next adventure. 

This is general information only. Please consider the Policy Document available from nzseniors.co.nz to ensure the product suits your needs. This information is provided by New Zealand Seniors, a trading name of Greenstone Financial Services NZ Limited NZBN 9429047013582, who have partnered with Pinnacle Life Limited (Pinnacle Life) NZBN 9429030397248, the insurer of this product. Terms and conditions apply.