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I saved money by shopping at Sam's Club before my upcoming cruise. Here are the items I'm happy I bought

Bulk Cruise Shopping

Preparing for an upcoming cruise is an exciting part of the vacation planning process. Half of the fun is the anticipation of an upcoming cruise to look forward to. For me, the excitement amplifies when it’s time to start packing!

When I began packing for my 7-night cruise to Europe, I began by strategizing my packing list. When packing for a cruise, I try my best to pack everything I might need during my vacation without wasting precious real estate. Because we are traveling internationally, my packing for this cruise includes more precautionary items, such as medication.

If you happen to forget something while packing for your cruise, you typically have two options. First, you can purchase items in port that you need. But, you are limited to your itinerary’s destinations. Second, you can purchase items onboard your cruise ship. This is convenient, but prices are extremely inflated for onboard purchases. 


On my recent Royal Caribbean cruise, I jotted down the prices charged for most of these products (or a similar product). As you might expect, the prices were astronomically higher! It's best to be over-prepared than under-prepared when it comes to packing, or you might find yourself forking out money for these overpriced items in a pinch. 

While I typically head to Amazon and Target for my pre-cruise shopping, I decided to swing by Sam’s Club to see what I could potentially purchase for my cruise. Since bulk items are often cheaper per unit, this can lead to big savings.

To my surprise, many of the items that I was already planning to purchase were available to buy in bulk. While suitcase space is obviously limited while traveling, I opted to purchase items that I use in my day-to-day life that I also needed for my cruise vacation. It wouldn’t make sense to purchase an item in bulk that I only plan to use for a single cruise.


Here are the items I purchased during my recent shopping trip at Sam’s Club to save money for my upcoming cruise.

Disinfecting Wipes


Staying healthy during our upcoming cruise is a top priority. Because of this, I always travel with some disinfecting wipes when cruising, as these are very versatile and useful. I plan to use these wipes for a variety of places, including cleaning our seats on the plane and cabin door handles on our cruise.

At Sam’s Club, you can purchase a 4-pack of disinfecting wipes for just $0.03 per wipe. We use these wipes in our home, so I was happy to purchase a new pack for $10.98. I won’t be bringing the entire container to save valuable space in my suitcase; instead, I will put some wipes in a Ziplock bag to use throughout our cruise. Purchasing the disinfecting wipes in bulk was cheaper than purchasing from Amazon or Target.

Cost at Sam’s Club: $10.98 for a 4-pack with 78 wipes | $0.036 per wipe

Cost at Target: $3.49 per pack with 75 wipes | $0.05 per wipe

Wet Ones

In addition, Sam’s Club had this Wet Wipes Travel Pack with individual wipe packets. Each pack is resealable and comes with 20 wipes. If you prefer to have a travel pack of antibacterial wipes, this is a great option. However, I would use the previously mentioned wipes in my home more than the travel packets, which are more expensive per wipe.

Cost at Sam’s Club: $10.98 for a 4-pack with 140 wipes | $0.079 per wipe

Cost at Target: $1.99 per pack with 75 wipes | $0.10 per wipe

Ziploc Bags


Something that my mom never forgets to pack for her cruises is a small bag of Ziploc baggies. Having sandwich bags on a cruise might seem like an odd choice for packing, but these baggies are multifaceted.

To start, you can use the baggies to grab a muffin or pastry from the ship to have with you throughout the day as a quick snack. Growing up, my mom had a small bag with muffins for us to eat when we went ashore for excursions.

In addition, you can use baggies to keep your belongings dry if you are planning to get wet. Whether this is at the beach or near the pool, it’s handy to have a baggie to put your phone or electronics in safely. Finally, baggies are great for packing liquids in case they spill open!


I was able to get a variety pack at Sam’s Club for $16.78 that included quart and gallon bags. Since I will definitely use these baggies at home and for future travels, I didn’t mind purchasing the large variety pack to save money.

Cost at Sam’s Club: $16.78 for 166 baggies | $0.10 per baggie

Cost at Target: $23.97 for 166 baggies | $0.14 per baggie

Hand Soap

Hand Soap

Most cruise ship cabin bathrooms come with bar soap for hand washing. While this is perfectly sufficient for hand washing, I prefer to have liquid or foaming hand soap when cruising. I feel like I wash my hands more thoroughly compared to bar soap.

When cruising, I plan to pack a small bottle of hand soap to use throughout the sailing. I never bring this home; I just leave it behind, so it doesn’t take up space on the way home (after I have shopped for souvenirs!).

I was excited to see a 4-pack of moisturizing and antibacterial hand soap at Sam’s Club! I will only take one bottle on our cruise and plan to use the other three at our home in the bathrooms.

Cost at Sam’s Club: $10.79 for a 4-pack with 7.50 oz bottles | $0.36 per oz

Cost at Target: $3.99 for a 10 oz bottle | $0.40 per oz

Face Lotion

Face Lotion

Like most women, I continue my skincare routine even while cruising. My daily facial lotion that I use is the Cerave Daily Moisturizing Lotion. I typically purchase a travel-size of my facial lotion to bring on my cruises.

I was stunned to see how much cheaper my lotion is at Sam’s Club when purchased in bulk! The cost per fluid ounce was more than half when purchased in bulk for my upcoming cruise.

Sam’s Club had a double pack of 12 fl oz bottles, which are definitely too big for our suitcases. I will simply reuse an old travel-sized lotion bottle and refill it with my newly purchased lotion. Since my husband and I use this moisturizer, purchasing the bulk pack from Sam’s Club meant huge savings for us!

Cost at Sam’s Club: $15.98 for a 2-pack with 12 oz bottles | $0.79 per fl oz

Cost at Target: $5.49 for a 3 oz bottle | $1.83 per oz

Onboard Cruise Cost: $9.99 for a 2 oz bottle | $4.95 per oz

Makeup Wipes


I don’t normally wear makeup every day, but I do usually wear makeup each day of my cruise. I particularly like to dress up in the evenings, especially on a formal night. Packing makeup remover is a necessity for cruising, so I was excited to see I could purchase a 5-pack at Sam’s Club!

Neutrogena is my go-to brand for makeup remover, so this was a great find. I normally purchase individual makeup wipes when traveling, but I don’t mind bringing a larger pack for this trip.

Cost at Sam’s Club: $19.98 for a 5-pack with 120 count wipes | $0.16 per wipe

Cost at Target: $6.99 for 20 individual wipes | $0.35 per

Onboard Cruise Cost: $20 for 20 count | $1 per wipe



As someone who lives in Florida, I can never have enough sunscreen in my house! I normally pack a small bottle of sunscreen for any cruise, even if it’s somewhere with a cooler climate. If you wait to purchase sunscreen onboard your cruise, you’ll be spending three times as much.

Since summer is already here in the sunshine state, I didn’t mind purchasing a 3-pack of sunscreen for my upcoming cruise. I’ll pack one bottle in my suitcase and leave the other two in our beach bag. Even better, there was an instant savings offer for $2 off! I couldn’t believe how much cheaper it was to purchase this sunscreen in bulk.

Cost at Sam’s Club: $14.68 for a 3-pack | $0.16 per oz

Cost at Target: $13.99 for a 2-pack | $1.17 per oz

Onboard Cruise Cost: $22.99 per 6 oz | $3.83 per oz

Shampoo and Conditioner


Although cruise ships will provide you with some sort of shower product, I prefer to pack my own shampoo and conditioner. Most cruise lines only provide either a 2-in-1 shower product or only shampoo and body wash. It’s a necessity for most women to have conditioner packed for their cruise. I normally purchase travel-size shower products before cruising.

Although these bulk bottles are huge, I plan to use the rest of the product in my guest bathroom. So, these big bottles won’t go to waste, as I will use travel-sized bottles to refill the products for my cruise. This purchase included both shampoo and conditioner - such a steal!

Cost at Sam’s Club: $15.98 for a 2-pack 33.8 oz. | $0.28 per oz

Cost at Target: $1.99 for a 3.38 oz bottle | $0.59 per oz

Onboard Cruise Cost: $21.98 for a 23.4 oz of shampoo and conditioner | $0.93 per oz

Body Wash

Body Wash

Similar to shampoo and conditioner, I also prefer to bring my own body wash while cruising. The provided shower product tends to dry out my skin! I use this body wash daily at home, so I usually purchase a travel-size bottle at Target before my cruises.

Sam’s Club had a 3-pack of full-size body wash with my preferred brand. I was excited to find this, as I hadn’t seen this available in bulk for a while. The 3-pack is way more affordable than purchasing travel-sized bottles.

Cost at Sam’s Club: $19.48 for a 3-pack 18 oz | $0.37 per oz

Cost at Target: $2.59 for 3.4 oz | $0.76 per oz

Onboard Cruise Cost: $9.99 for 11 oz | $0.91

Read more: I’ve mastered packing for a cruise with these must-have items - and they’re under $25

Disposable Razors


Most women, like myself, will usually bring at least one razor for a cruise. I prefer to travel with a disposable razor that I can just toss at the end of the cruise. Sam’s Club had a 12-pack of disposable razors, which I happily purchased to save money!

Cost at Sam’s Club: $19.48 for 12 razors | $1.67 per razor

Cost on Amazon: $12.80 for 6 razors | $2.13 per razor

Onboard Cruise Cost: $4.99 for 2 razors | $2.50 per razor

Feminine Hygiene Products


Perhaps not the most glamorous purchase from my shopping trip, but feminine products are great options to purchase in bulk for big savings. Sam’s Club had a nice selection of different brands to choose from.

Make sure to prepare for any feminine hygiene products before boarding your cruise, as you’ll pay a fortune for any necessities onboard. In addition, ports of call might not have your preferred products.

Cost at Sam’s Club: $15.68 for 96 count | $0.16 per count

Cost at Target: $10.49 for 50 count | $0.21 per count

Onboard Cruise Cost: $6.95 for 10 count | $0.70 per count

Hydration Packets


Staying hydrated is crucial during your cruise, as you’ll be likely spending your days traveling or drinking poolside. It’s easy to get dehydrated between drinking and time in the sun, so I always cruise with hydration packets that I can add to water for an electrolyte boost.

LiquidIV is a great option for hydration packets - and these had additional savings at Sam’s Club when I went shopping! The cost is nearly double when purchased elsewhere.

Cost at Sam’s Club: $22.98 for 30 count | $1.73 per stick

Cost at Target: $14.99 for 8 count | $2.65 per stick



Along with hydration packets, I also cruise with some Emergen-C packets. These have antioxidants, vitamins, and electrolytes. I try to pump Vitamin C when I am cruising and traveling to help my immune system. It’s easy to get run down when you’re having a lot of fun, which can lead to illness.

Cost at Sam’s Club: $21.74 for 90 count | $0.24 per pack

Cost at Target: $12.99 for 30 count | $1.35 per pack

Cruise Cost: $14.99 per 10 count | $1.50 per pack

Over-The-Counter Medication


One thing that I never cruise without is my small travel ‘pharmacy’ with a variety of over-the-counter medication, creams, and bandaids. I’ve had to purchase medication onboard a cruise ship, and the price was astronomical. Now, I have a small pharmacy that I take on every cruise in case I need medication for some reason.

Here are some of the medications that I purchased in bulk that I plan to replenish in my travel pharmacy bag.

Read more: The worst cruise ship packing mistakes


DayQuil and NyQuil Dual-Pack: In case of cold or flu symptoms. I purchase the pills instead of liquid for convenience.

Cost at Sam’s Club: $23.28 for 72 count | $0.32 per count

Cost at Target: $11.99 for 24 count | $0.50 per count


Benadryl: For allergy symptoms or sleep aid. I once had to purchase Benadryl in Mexico during a cruise and it was $15 for six tablets - never again!

Cost at Sam’s Club: $5.48 for 600 count | $0.007 per count

Cost at Target: $7.99 for 300 count | $0.026 per count

Onboard Cruise Cost: $15.99 for 24 count | $0.66 per count 


Advil Pain Reliever: One medication I have on hand, even while cruising, is pain medication. You never know when a headache might strike!

Cost at Sam’s Club: $15.48 for 360 count | $0.056 per count

Cost at Target: $23.99 for 300 count | $0.080 per count

Onboard Cruise Cost: $15.99 for 24 count | $0.67 per count

Stool Softener

Stool Softener: All that delicious cuisine during a cruise has to go somewhere. You might be surprised to find that you need stool softener during your cruise, so I always pack some in my pharmacy just in case.

Cost at Sam’s Club: $8.53 for 600 count | $0.015 per count

Cost at Target: $5.99 for 160 count | $0.037 per count

Onboard Cruise Cost: $10.99 for 10 count | $1.099 per count


Chewy Tums: With a sensitive stomach, I pop these like candy during a cruise when I have a stomach ache. The Chewy Tums are much better than the chalky ones, although they take up more space.

Cost at Sam’s Club: $13.48 for 108 count | $0.12 per chew

Cost at Target: $9.99 for 60 count | $0.16 per chew

Bottom Line

Overall, I was very pleased with how many pre-cruise items I was able to purchase at Sam's Club. I was able to save money on items that I was already planning to purchase. Other items in the store could also work great for travel - such as suitcases, backpacks, and water bottles. However, I did not need these items. 

Everything I purchased for my upcoming cruise was cheaper at Sam's Club than my usual shopping spot, Target. I was also shocked by the prices charged onboard - it was worse than I anticipated! 

Some of the savings by shopping at Sam's Club were significant - such as lotion and LiquidIV - while others were only slightly cheaper. Even still, all of these products are ones that I use in my day-to-day life. All of the products were cheaper purchased at Target or Sam's Club than onboard a cruise ship.

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