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First aid kit. The ship will have a “sick bay” manned by medical personnel, but you will want to have the basics on hand like Band-Aids, antibacterial ointment, pain relievers, seasickness medication, antidiarrheal medication, etc. Your first aid kit can be packed in your suitcase. However, any prescription medications and over-the-counter medications taken on a regular basis should be included in your carry-on baggage.

The right clothing. Make sure to do some research about cruise itinerary and destinations before packing. Today, many cruises are of a more casual nature than the ones of the past when people dressed formally for dinner. However, some do schedule a gala at least one evening during the trip. Of course, you can choose not to attend a formal dinner. It is most important to look into the day trips you will be making during the cruise, because you will want to have outfits that are appropriate for the locations you will visit and activities you will be engaged in. If you plan to swim, sit by the pool, or laze in the sun while out at sea, make sure to have something appropriate to wear in addition to or over your bathing suit that will protect you from the sun’s harsh rays. A hat and sunglasses are essential. Even if you are going to a hot climate, a light, waterproof windbreaker and a sweater are also important.

Travel documents. It seems obvious to list travel documents, but you might be surprised how many people forget to pack them or misplace them. It is worth taking the time to double and triple check that you have your travel documents and other important items with you before leaving home.

Sun protection. Protecting yourself from the sun’s harsh rays is always important, even in colder climates. Just because your cruise is heading to Alaska does not mean you will not be exposed to the sun’s rays a lot of the time. Make sure to bring along plenty of sunscreen and make sure to use it religiously. You will be able to purchase sunscreen on board but it will probably be expensive. Don’t forget to cover all areas of your skin, like ears, hands, and feet. Make sure to wear a hat and sunglasses as well.

A waterproof tote bag. You will be near water most of the time during your cruise. You will be transferring between the ship and land via smaller boats called tenders. There are all kinds of opportunities for getting pretty wet. A waterproof tote bag that seals shut will keep your possessions dry.

Chargers and batteries. You will probably have plenty of gadgets with you that depend on batteries for power, including your phone. Don’t forget your chargers and an extra set of batteries for all your devices.

Antibacterial Wipes. Most cruise ships have staff working round the clock to keep all areas of the ship as clean and germ-free as possible and make sure antibacterial gel is available in various locations. You need to do your part to protect your health as well. Make sure to wash your hands often. Bringing along some individually wrapped antibacterial wipes makes it easier to keep your hands clean when it isn’t possible to wash them.

Carry-on luggage. You will want to have a few items with you in case it takes a while for your suitcase to be delivered to your room. In addition to essential items like prescription medications, it is a good idea to include a change of clothes, fresh underwear, and a swimsuit.

A nightlight. Bringing along a nightlight will make it a lot easier to navigate your room in the dark of night. Most people don’t want to turn on the overhead light just to go to the bathroom or grab a glass of water in the middle of the night, especially when traveling with companions.

If you are headed out on your first cruise, it can be difficult to know exactly what to bring along. Of course, what you pack depends a lot upon the type of cruise you are taking and where you will be visiting during you adventure. However, there are a few standard items that most people find essential. Here are a few suggestions from people who have taken more than one or two cruises over the years.

Items to bring along

Packing Tips for Your First Cruise