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Ultimate Cruise Packing Tips for Couples

Is there anything more romantic than a couple’s cruise? Whether you sail off to a palm tree-lined paradise in the Caribbean or take an adventure-filled cruise to Alaska, a trip for two provides the opportunity to recharge and reconnect in ways that day-to-day life doesn’t allow.

Fortunately, packing for a cruise as a couple doesn’t have to be hard. We’ve put together a list of must-bring items and packing hacks that will make it easy for you to bring everything you need—and leave behind the things you don’t.

couple talking by the railing of a carnival ship


Count the number of days of your cruise, plus any additional travel days before or after you sail. You’ll want to be able to put together one casual outfit per day, plus a few nice outfits for evenings out.

  • Short-sleeve or sleeveless tops
  • Shorts and/or casual skirts
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Stretchy, casual, pants for comfort
  • Workout clothing
  • PJs
  • 1-2 swimsuits
  • Lightweight sarong, sun dress, or other swimsuit coverup for women
  • Dress pants
  • Walking shoes
  • Sandals
  • Dress shoes
  • Running shoes/sneakers for workouts
  • Sweaters or light jackets
  • Rain jacket
  • Dress, jacket and other evening wear

Pro Tip: If you want to pack light, remember that there’s valet laundry service aboard ship. Just ask your stateroom steward for details.

couple having a good time at havana bar

Other Items

  • Your favorite toiletries
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Razor and shaving cream
  • Brush and comb
  • Moisturizer
  • Makeup and hair styling aids
  • Nail clippers and nail file
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellant
  • Prescription medications (plus an extra dose)
  • OTC medications, including pain relievers, cold medicine and antacids
  • Your preferred method of birth control, if applicable
  • Smartphone and chargers
  • Camera
  • Sunglasses
  • Reading glasses
  • Sun hat or visor
  • Plastic baggies to keep wet items separate
  • Day pack for excursions
  • Wallet and/or purse

couple by the railing of a carnival ship

Important Paperwork

  • Airline tickets, if applicable
  • Cruise tickets and documents
  • Your passport or other required identification
  • Photos of your IDs, as a backup
  • Proof of required vaccinations, if applicable
  • Your medical insurance card
  • Copies of your prescriptions

Extra Items for Shore Excursions and Onboard Activities

  • Hiking boots
  • Water shoes
  • Binoculars
  • Wet bag
  • Waterproof camera
  • Wearable fitness tracker
  • Board shorts
  • Fast-drying, technical gear
  • Strap for glasses/sunglasses
  • Hat with a strap
  • Earplugs
  • Swim goggles
  • Headphones or earbuds
  • Book or magazines
  • Journal and pen

couple getting back on the boat after snorkeling

Packing Hacks for Cruise Ships

  1. Pack your carry-on for fun: It may take a few hours to have your luggage delivered to your stateroom on the first day, so consider using your daypack as carry-on that’s prepped for instant fun. Pack a swimsuit, sandals, sunscreen and sunglasses to hit the pool right away, or bring your workout clothes to hit the gym before dinner.
  2. Bring a power strip: Modern travelers have a lot of electronics to keep charged. To make this easier and avoid arguing about whose turn it is to use the outlet, tuck a surge-protected power strip into your suitcase.
  3. Keep things neat: Your stateroom is designed to make the most out of a small space. When you arrive, consider quickly unpacking so you can avoid the visual clutter of “living out of a suitcase”. You can also try bringing a hanging organizer to keep toiletries neat in the bathroom.

Pro Tip: If it’s your first time cruising, check out our list of tips to help newbies get the most out of their cruises.

couple enjoying their stateroom

Couple’s Cruise Tips

  1. Plan a romantic evening aboard ship: A magical gourmet dinner is yours for the asking, but do make a reservation. Pack a special outfit for the occasion, since dressing up is a big part of the fun!
  2. Pack for romance: Put a bit of extra thought into what you’ll wear when you’re in your stateroom for the evening. Don’t be shy about packing the lacy negligee! If comfort is more your calling, a pair of new pajamas will still elevate the occasion and let you show off a bit for your partner.
  3. Make a playlist: Before you leave, make a playlist of your favorite mood music to use in your stateroom. The right love songs will help set the mood, and a little background music is a great way to drift off to sleep at night, too.
  4. Pre-plan your adventures: Research available shore excursions before you set sail to decide how you want to spend your time. There are plenty of activities that are perfect for couples, from horseback riding on the beach and swimming with dolphins to hikes, ziplining and other adrenaline-pumping adventures.
  5. Schedule some down time: Part of what makes a cruise so relaxing is the chance to simply lounge by the pool with a drink or gaze out at the big, blue sea. Be sure to leave room just to sit and enjoy time with your partner on your trip, or schedule a couple’s massage to help you slip into a state of bliss.

couple enjoying a romantic dinner onboard a cruise ship

Romantic cruises are the perfect way to take time out to appreciate your partner. There’s no right or wrong way to plan your trip, as long as you get to focus on each other and spend time doing something you both love. Whether you explore every inch of a tropical island or spend your time gazing into each other’s eyes, you’re sure to return from your cruise better connected than ever.