[Part 2] Packing for a Cruise: Checked Bag Essential Items – EzPacking, Inc
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[Part 2] Packing for a Cruise: Checked Bag Essential Items

[Part 2] Packing for a Cruise: 

Checked Bag Essential Items

Cruise ship in the ocean with cloudy skies around

This is the Part 2 of our Packing for a Cruise series which, along with a detailed packing list, delves into how to pack your checked-in bag/s. If you want to know more about how to pack your carry-on, check out Part 1 here.

Cruise checked-in bag essentials

Blonde woman packing for a cruise


Your outfits largely depend on the type of cruise you're going on (e.g Disney, Adventure, Party, Luxury), length of your stay, and the activities you want to do when the ship is ashore. You can use this list as a base for how to build your own cruising essentials closet.

Daily (For men)

Man folding dress shirt using folding board for a cruise trip
  • T-Shirts. If you want to make it easy to coordinate your outfits, choose solid neutral colors like white, beige, blue. To add a bit of playfulness, mix in a few classic striped shirts or shirts with subtle prints.

  • Polo Shirts. Easiest way to look put together with minimal effort.

  • Short Sleeve Button Down Shirts. You can wear it on its own or layer it with your t-shirts.

  • Khaki or Twill Shorts. Quickest way to elevate your vacation style is by substituting dressier shorts for denim. Not only that, it also takes up less space in your suitcase.

  • Sweater/Jacket. It could get chilly on deck at night, so pack a light sweater or jacket.

  • Socks. You’ll be doing a lot of walking, both onboard and offboard, and your feet will sweat, so to prevent bacteria build up, it’s better to pack antibacterial socks.

    CRUISE PACKING TIP: Taking a photo of your clothing items not only makes it easier to coordinate your daily outfits, it can also be helpful in case you lose your luggage.



    Man wearing proper active wear while running
    • Gym Shorts. For a quick dry, choose shorts made from polyester instead of cotton.

    • Gym Shirt. Go for shirts made from moisture-wicking fabric to prevent sweat build up.

    • Socks. Pack athletic socks to prevent injuries.

    • Swimsuit. If you have no idea how to pick out a swimsuit, you can use this post as a guide.

    • Rash Guard. There are plenty of water sports you can do onboard, such as this surfing simulator.

    CRUISE PACKING TIP: Resistance bands are must-haves if you want to keep up your fitness routine while on a cruise. Make sure you keep all your workout gear in a separate medium packing cube, so it doesn't stink up the rest of your luggage.

    Formal Attire 

      Man with dark glasses wearing three-piece suit
      • Dress Shirts. Keep your shirts looking sharp by using a travel folding board before packing your formal shirts in your large packing cube.

      • Slacks. Stick to darker colors, which are easier to match. And, if you’re a bit clumsy, stains won’t be as noticeable in dark-colored fabric.  

      • Sport Coat/Blazer. Upgrade your style from casual to formal by layering your look with a coat or blazer.

        CRUISE PACKING TIP: While most cruises keep it semi-formal or business casual for their evening events, formal attire rentals are also available on board in case a tux is required. It could be a bit pricey, but this is still a better option than bringing your own.

        Daily (For the ladies)

        Woman's essential items for cruise laid on bed and girl wearing long, floral dress
        • T-Shirts. The most versatile piece of clothing you can bring with you on a cruise, because you can style it down or glam it up.

        • Dress shirts  / Blouse. If you want a dressier look, nothing beats a classic white quarter-sleeve dress shirt, which can go from morning to night. Front ties, ruffled, or wrap blouses in light fabric are good options too.

        • Cardigan / Sweater. The nights can be chilly on deck, so to avoid catching a cold, always keep a light cardigan or sweater with you.

        • Shorts. Opt for chino shorts in darker colors like Navy Blue or Dark Olive Green to get more wear out of them. If you're sticking to monochromatic colors, keep it fun by mixing it up with a paper bag waist, skort, or bermudas.

        • Culottes / Trousers. If you want the utility of pants and the sophistication of a skirt, culottes are the answer. You can style a pair in many different ways - casual, dressy, sporty/urban - so you get many wears and multiple outfits.

        • Dresses. If there's room for only one style of dress in your luggage, make it a wrap dress, which is deemed to be the most flattering for any body type. And with the right accessories, you can style wraps into any look you want.

          CRUISE PACKING TIP: If you're planning to buy new clothing items for your cruise, make sure that it fits with your current style. If you can't mix & match it with things you already own, then it’ll probably just take up space in your closet. 


          Women doing yoga/pilates while wearing proper workout clothes
          • Swimsuit. When packing your swimsuits, consider the cruise activities you’ll want to do on board. If you have mostly sporty activities planned, maybe it's best to skip the bandeau and opt for ones with better support. Or get a rash guard for protection when you decide to take up wake boarding.

          • Beach Cover-ups. An oversized scarf or sarong will go a long way as a beach cover up with these amazing styling hacks.

          • Workout Clothes. If you’re going to hit the gym, make sure to pack at least two of these items - sports bra, yoga / workout pants, sports top - so you have ample time to air them out in between use. Also, keep them in a separate small packing cube to avoid your luggage smelling like sweat.

            CRUISE PACKING TIP: If working out isn't part of your daily routine, chances are it won't be while you're on a cruise. So if you’re not going to use them, don’t pack them.

            Formal Attire 

            Women in formal attire, clothing items to bring on a cruise
            • Evening Attire. Most cruises will hold evening events on multiple nights depending on the length of your cruise. To pack more outfit options, make sure to get dresses or jumpsuits that are made from wrinkle-free fabrics and roll them nicely in your medium packing cube.

                CRUISE PACKING TIP: As much as you would like to get blinged out for evening events, it's better to leave your valuable jewelry at home and opt for one-of-a-kind costume jewelry instead.


                  Pair of shoes, wallet, lip balm and cap organized with grey packing cube
                  • Walking shoes. These days, comfortable doesn't mean ugly shoes anymore. Take your pick from these walking shoes, ranging from sneakers to loafers. If you want to show off your pedicure, get casual sports sandals with cushion or arch support instead.

                  • Flip-flops. If you want to step up your pool/beach slippers game, how about plastic Birkenstocks?

                  • High Heels. Take 1 or 2 neutral colored heels, which you can wear with any outfit. Putting socks or scarves inside your heels not only helps keep its shape, it also frees up more room in your luggage.

                    CRUISE PACKING TIP: Go for water-resistant shoes or sandals made from quick-dry materials to prevent foot odor. Always pack your shoes in separate shoe bags to avoid marks and scratches, and place inside a medium packing cube.


                      Sandals, belt, shades and cosmetics with turqoise packing cube

                      CRUISE PACKING TIP: Use an extra small packing cube to keep your accessories organized and not all over your suitcase. 

                      Download our Free Family Cruise Packing List here.

                      You're almost cruise ready! Now let's get packing. 

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