5 Things to Pack for a Family Cruise



You have been on so many cruises that you are now a “platinum” member, and have decided it was time to bring the family along.  The kids are old enough to remember the trip and truth be told everyone could use a break from their electronics.  You book the cruise and tell the family and the first question everyone asks it “what do I pack?”  While some things will stay the same between couples cruising and family cruising, there are a few things that are different.  No, not the clothes, and if you are a cruise connoisseur, you would probably be insulted by a list that includes any clothing item, as you already know what type to pack.  This is a list of things that I either didn’t pack enough of, or didn’t pack at all and had to buy.  These are the things I normally wouldn’t pack for a cruise for just Drew and I , but I found an absolute necessity for cruising with my kids.

cruise bathroom

#1 Air Freshener

Time for some real talk here.  You are going to be in a very small cabin with more than two people on a all you can eat buffet diet for a week.  Things are going to get smelly in bathroom and in the cabin.   There are a few ways you can handle this without having to drag out the clothes pins.  The first is just to bring a normal spray air freshener.  This is something you can leave in the by the toilet and as long as your kids remember to use it you are good.  The next is to bring a travel size of Poo-Pouri, or my absolute favorite and what I usually pack is a Bath and Body Works body spray and use it as an air freshener.  Whatever you decide on just remember to pack something for this, to make the cruise a little more comfortable for all involved.

#2 Extra Batteries

So wall plugs…yeah they don’t exist.  While USB ports are more popular on the bigger and newer cruise ships, actual wall plugs, there aren’t many.  If your family is anything like mine then you have at least 6 cameras (one for each person) and there isn’t enough plugs to charge all of them.  Just pack the extra batteries….wait maybe add a few more….ok that should be enough.

#3 Downy Wrinkle Release

This has two purposes, the first is keeping your “dinner” clothes wrinkle free.  We traveled with two teenage boys and two preteen girls.  The boys would just toss their dinner shirts on the floor when they came back to the cabin after dinner and didn’t think about them again till the following night.  The Downy Wrinkle Release was awesome for getting the wrinkles out and making the clothes presentable for a week.  The other purpose is “freshening” the clothes up.  My daughters decided their clothes had to hang up in the closet where the boys were storing their shoes.  Needless to say their “dinner” clothes didn’t smell the greatest after day two, and this stuff saved the day by giving the clothes back their “just laundered” scent.  Definitely a must have for families cruising.


#4 Small Bills

This is for the numerous sodas that they will want to buy ashore along with other “small” things like gelato.  Not to make it sound like we have an addiction to caffeine or anything, but it was absolutely amazing that soda and gelato was the first things the kids wanted at every port we pulled into.  This will save you and your kids from hearing the dreaded phrase “do you have anything smaller” when you send then into a shop to get a soda.  This is also a necessity for the arcade on the cruise ship if your ship has one.

#5 Little Things

This category includes everything you think “I’ll just buy it there if I forget it” about.  Sunscreen, bug spray, Tylenol, hats all those little things you can technically buy onboard if you forget it, but it will cost you.  Boy does it cost you.  Fifteen dollars for sunscreen? Yep, and it’s not even a good brand.  Ten dollars for Tylenol?  It’s much cheaper to bring your own, especially if you think about how much sunscreen is needed for 6 people for a week.  Make a list of all the “little things” that you can buy on the cruise ship if you forget it and make it a point to pack it first.

That’s all I have found to be different when packing for couples versus a family cruise.  Please let me know in the comments what you found to be different!





  1. That was such an informative and helpful post. Extra batteries are definitely on my list when traveling. Haven’t been on a cruise yet but will keep your points in mind whenever i plan one 🙂

    1. I love cruising! This was our first cruise with the kids and they are already begging for another one so it might become a family tradition. However I learned my lesson buying sunscreen on cruiseship! Next time I am packing enough for everyone to use for a month just so I don’t have to buy it onboard.

    1. Usually I can find it in the travel sizes at Walmart and Target, but if not Amazon definitely has travel sizes 😀

  2. This list was really informative. I don’t take cruises for just about all of the reasons you stated, so it’s great to find a list that addresses all of my “issues.” I’ve always wanted to go on one of those river cruises in Europe, but was concerned about being in small quarters, the lack of electrical outlets, etc. Glad I read your suggestions.

  3. Every time I travel I always pack small things and having an extra batteries is such an important things to pack. and cruise trips are on my bucket lists this 2018. and I am looking forward to that.

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