Your cruise vacation is nearly here! As you get ready to disembark, the most important piece of cruise luggage you must prepare is your carry-on bags. A well-packed backpack is critical since you’ll be separated from your suitcases for the majority of embarkation day (your first day on the ship). Be prepared with these essentials to pack in your cruise carry-on bags.
1. Diapers and Wipes
You don’t want to be left without diapers and wipes at any point on the cruise—especially while you’re waiting to get into your stateroom. Pack more than enough of each in your cruise carry-on!
2. Refillable Water Bottles and Sippy Cups
Pack your refillable water bottles and sippy cups—you can fill them up at water refill stations in the buffet areas on many ships.
For that first evening on board the ship, as the breeze intensifies while you push back from port, a lightweight, quick-dry windbreaker jacket is essential for everyone in the family.
4. Slip-On Shoes
For some of the on-board activities that require close-toed shoes (we’re looking at you, Royal Caribbean zipline!), wear a pair of comfy sneakers on to the ship (since they often take up a lot of space in a backpack). But pack slip-on shoes, such as sandals, if you plan to hit the pools!
5. Swim Suits
Speaking of pools, you’ll also want to pack swim suits, cover-ups, rash guards, goggles, and/or any other essentials for the water.
6. Change of Clothes
You’ll want a change of clothes for after the pools and/or other activities, or in the event someone has an accident. A nice change of clothes is also useful to have if you want to head to a traditional dining room for dinner (versus a buffet) and can’t get into your stateroom before then.
Regardless of whether or not you go to the pools, you’ll be checking out both the inside and outside of the ship, so make sure you’ve packed enough sunscreen for the whole family.
For the same reason you’ll need sunscreen, pack a pair of sunglasses!
9. First-Aid Kit
Pack a mini First-Aid kit to have in the event someone gets an unexpected tummy ache or needs a Band-Aid.
10. Travel Power Strip
For all the phones, tablets, and gaming devices you’ll bring, a travel power strip with outlets and USB ports galore is an absolute family cruise essential—both before and after you get into your stateroom.
Last but not least, don’t forget to pack your family’s passports in your backpack! This way you can have them handy at all times on embarkation day and throughout the trip. Consider purchasing a family passport holder to keep them organized and easy to access.
Family Vacation Critic is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
Our team of parents and travel experts chooses each product and service we recommend. Anything you purchase through links on our site may earn us a commission.