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What Toiletries to Pack for a Cruise (Packing List)


Amidst all the excitement for your upcoming cruise, you'll have to ensure that you have everything that you'll need while away from home, including toiletries. 

While packing isn't always the most thrilling pre-cruise activity, it is something that must be done. Considering that you'll be at sea and miles away from the nearest drug store, it's even more important that you double (and triple) check that you have everything you'll need. 

From basics like shampoo and conditioner to seasickness medication and facial cleanser, here's a comprehensive guide to what toiletries you should pack for a cruise to make sure that you're well-equipped. 

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Personal hygiene items


While there will be a store onboard your cruise ship with essentials like toothpaste, deodorant, and feminine hygiene products, it's advisable to make sure you pack everything before boarding.  In the event that you do happen to forget something, it's comforting to know that you aren't out of options; however, the convenience comes at a cost. 

Before you head out for your cruise, make sure you have the following:

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Dental floss
  • Deodorant 
  • Contact lens case and solution
  • Shaving cream and razors
  • Feminine hygiene products 
  • Body wash 
  • Lotion 
  • Tweezers
  • Nail file and clippers 
  • Lip balm/chapstick 

Hair care


Unlike land-based hotels, the majority of mainstream cruise lines don't provide shampoo and conditioner onboard. Royal Caribbean, for instance, provides a shampoo/body wash hybrid, while Carnival supplies separate shampoo and body wash. Neither, however, have conditioners in staterooms for passengers to use. 

Moreover, if you are picky with your products, you won't want to rely on what they provide. For instance, I only use Biolage shampoo and conditioner. Since I know that there's about a 0% chance of any cruise line carrying my preferred hair care products, I ensure that I refill my travel bottles before leaving my apartment. 

Here's a list of hair-related items that you should pack for your cruise:

  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Detangling spray
  • Hairbrush and/or comb
  • Dry shampoo
  • Hair products such as mousse and gel 
  • Hair ties and scrunchies 

Hair tools


Before you go and pack your bulky hair dryer, remember that your cruise ship cabin will come equipped with one. If you've never been on a cruise, you can equate it to a similar quality of a hair dryer you'd find in a standard hotel room. 

Of course, it won't meet everyone's needs. If, for instance, you have a specific attachment, such as a diffuser, you should plan on bringing your own. You may also want to curl your hair on formal night or straighten out some of the heat-induced frizz. 

  • Hair dryer
  • Straightener
  • Curler or wand 

Makeup and skin care


When sailing on Celebrity Ascent, I was halfway through my cruise before my eyebrow pencil ran out. I've been using the same pencil for close to four years, so I had to bite my tongue when purchasing a new one, as they only had two brands onboard. I learned from my mistake and checked all of my products a week before my next cruise. I'm glad I did because I was almost out of foundation! 

In addition to all of your cosmetics, don't forget things like moisturizer to keep your skin refreshed while traveling! You'll also want to pack plenty of sunscreen to avoid getting burnt, as that would be an awful way to either begin or end your vacation. It can be pretty expensive onboard, too; I've seen it as pricey as $27 per bottle!

  • Cosmetics (foundation, mascara, eyebrow pencil, lipstick, blush, eyeliner, eyeshadow, bronzer, highlighter, etc.)
  • Makeup remover
  • Moisturizer 
  • Eye cream
  • Facial cleanser 
  • Toner 
  • Exfoliator
  • Sunscreen



Before you board the ship, you will want to be prepared with some supplies in case someone in your travel party falls ill, or you have to treat a minor injury. Onboard, you will find a medical center; however, it isn't open 24/7. Moreover, you don't want to have to seek the center out if all you need is a band-aid or seasickness medication. 

Whenever I cruise, I pack my own mini-pharmacy. It provides great peace of mind, as I know that if I begin to feel under the weather, I can promptly treat my symptoms. In fact, there was one time I forgot DayQuil and ended up needing to seek it out while docked in San Juan. There was another instance when my travel companion and I were spending the day at an all-inclusive resort in Puerto Vallarta, and she desperately needed eyedrops to soothe her irritated eye. 

Below is a list to help you create your own DIY first aid kit for your next cruise:

  • Band-aids
  • Blister bandages 
  • Pain relievers
  • Tylenol Cold + Flu Day and Night (Or Day/NyQuil)
  • Neosporin
  • Cortisone cream
  • Sterile alcohol wipes
First aid kit
  • Sore throat and cough drops
  • Canker sore and toothache gel
  • Eye drops
  • Ear drops
  • Antacids for heartburn and indigestion relief
  • Liquid I.V.
  • Aloe vera gel
  • Bug spray, especially if you're cruising to Alaska 
  • Seasickness medication
  • Your prescription medication(s)

Read more: How to make your own DIY cruise first aid kit

What's the best way to pack toiletries for a cruise?


Rather than shove all of your toiletries in random plastic bags, I recommend purchasing a hanging organizer. My favorite is the NISHEL Travel Toiletry Bag from Amazon. I've taken it on numerous different cruises, and it's never failed me! 

I love the different compartments that allow me to keep everything organized. Plus, I don't really have to worry about unpacking, as I can simply hang the bag on the back of the bathroom door and unzip the clear pouch to grab whatever item I need. It works well for both full-sized and travel-sized products, as well as cosmetics. Truthfully, this has been one of my favorite travel-related purchases! 

Alternatively, you could utilize packing cubes. While most people will use them for their clothing, they're a great way to keep your toiletries organized, too. Unlike the hanging organizer, you'll likely have to unpack the cubes once onboard, especially if you don't want to spend time digging for products, as most cubes aren't transparent. 

What are some other cruise must-haves?


Although it's important to pack all the toiletries you will need, as cruise lines do not provide you with much, it's equally as important to pack some items that will make your cruise vacation better. If, for example, you're sailing on an older ship, you'll want to bring a surge-free power strip, as standard extension cords are banned. 

Newer ships tend to have plenty of outlets; however, I've been on ships that have as few as two standard plugs. While I always pack a European power adapter, a surge-free power strip ensures that I have even more charging options, which is useful when I'm traveling with all of my devices (i.e., cell phone, earbuds, laptop, etc.). 

Towel clips can also be useful on a warm-weather itinerary, as they'll keep your towel from being whisked away by the wind on a sunny (albeit breezy) sea day, allowing you the freedom to grab a drink from the pool bar or quick bite to eat at the buffet without having to worry about stacking bags or shoes on top of your towel. 


Those seeking to maximize their cabin's storage — and organization — will want to purchase magnetic hooks. If you didn't know that the majority of staterooms have magnetic walls, now you do! These hooks will help you keep things like hats, lanyards, and tote bags organized. 

If you opt to purchase some with hooks, you can hang the daily schedule, as well as shore excursion tickets and other important documentation, on the walls, too! 

Read more: Why smart cruisers bring a European power adapter on a cruise ship

Are there any items I should refrain from bringing onboard?


In terms of your toiletries, there really aren't any items that you should be wary of bringing. Cruise lines, however, do have a list of prohibited items. While the majority makes sense when thinking about passenger safety (i.e., weapons, candles, and illegal drugs), you may be surprised to learn that you cannot bring irons or steamers onboard

Instead, I recommend purchasing wrinkle-release spray ahead of time. This will ensure that you're able to get all of the pesky wrinkles out of your clothes without having to resort to the ship's laundry services. 

While cruise lines don't have any restrictions on the size of the toiletries that you bring onboard, you need to adhere to your airline's requirements. If, for instance, you're flying with a single carry-on, you won't be able to bring full-sized products. Those driving will have less to worry about. 

Read more: Can I Bring A Steamer On A Cruise?

Packing for a cruise? Here are some other helpful guides!

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