It’s been a couple of years since I discussed my top cruise essentials here on the blog. So recently, I decided it was about time to revisit the topic and update it for 2019. If you’d rather watch the video, check it out on my YouTube channel!

1. Lanyard with ID Card Holder

Dollar Tree Lanyard

Lanyards are a polarizing subject between cruisers. You either swear by them or hate them. I am usually the one walking around the ship with one around my neck for the convenience factor. However, I recently have been carrying around a tiny crossbody bag so it can also hold my camera. What are you gonna do? It’s the life of a vlogger. I love my Vera Bradley ID coin purse with lanyard because it holds receipts along with my cruise card. But, I couldn’t pass up this adorable lanyard at the Dollar Tree! I can’t eat most donuts, but I can still appreciate their cuteness.

2. Cruise Luggage Tag Protectors

cruise luggage tag protectors
Luggage Tag Protectors

I know the cruise lines expect you to print out your luggage tags and just staple them on, but have you been to a port during check in? Porters are grabbing bags, throwing them on the luggage trolleys…. There’s no telling what happens to it once it leaves your sight! Then, you have to hope that it doesn’t get torn off before your cabin steward finds it and delivers it to your room? No, thank you. I’d much rather invest $5 into some of these luggage tag protectors just for a little peace of mind!

3. Power Strip and USB Plug Charger

power strip and usb hub
Power Strip and USB Plug Charger

In most cruise ship cabins, there are two… maybe three plugs. I am loving that the newer ships are putting in USB plugs next to the bed, but I haven’t been on a ship that offers that yet. Hopefully on the NCL Bliss in the fall. Until then, I take this power strip with me on every trip (every trip – even when I’m just visiting family). If I’m going to be charging more than just phones and maybe my watch, I will take this USB plug charger which can charge up to six more things. Assuming most things I’m charging are charged by USB (I do use the two plugs to charge my camera), I can then charge up to nine things at the same time without having to worry about security confiscating my equipment!

4. Foldable Backpack or Tote

packable tote and backpack
Foldable Tote {similar} and Foldable Backpack

I always pack a foldable tote, backpack or duffle. You can use it as a beach bag, excursion bag, or if you need extra room on the way home to bring back more souvenirs. I like ones that fold super flat so they don’t take up as much room in my suitcase. Or, if you are getting one to use as a day bag to take on excursions, I like to have a backpack.

5. Towel Clips

towel clips
Towel Clips

These clips are great for keeping your towel attached to your lounge chair on a windy day (or just to keep it from sliding down behind your back). I used to carry these tropical themed towel clips that I picked up at Target, but have recently switched to these utility clips from the Dollar Tree. They work just as well and take up a lot less room in my suitcase. Every little inch of space helps!

6. Sunscreen


We all know that we need to wear sunscreen every day. When we went to Europe, I took sunscreen. When we went to Alaska, I took sunscreen. And when we go to the Caribbean, I definitely take sunscreen. I picked up this pack of reef friendly sunscreen from Costco recently to take on our trip to the Bahamas in a few weeks. We are checking a bag, so the size of the spray isn’t going to be an issue on this trip. But, if we are doing carry on only for another trip, the smaller squeeze tube is only three ounces!

7. Waterproof Camera


A waterproof camera probably isn’t going to be an essential for everyone. However, I appreciate the vlog footage that I can get from this camera even when I’m not at the beach. I did use it in St. Thomas last year in the water and loved it, but I’ve also used it in the rain in Europe and Alaska. It’s great for more than just underwater action!

8. Night Light

night light
Night Light

Inside cabin. Getting up to go the bathroom at night. Enough said.

Seriously though, sometimes I don’t take this with us, and when I don’t, I regret it. On our next cruise, we are in an inside cabin with an odd layout. You can bet your bottom dollar that I am taking it with us on that trip!

9. Travel Alarm Clock and Waterproof Watch

travel alarm clock and watch
Travel Alarm Clock {sold out} and Waterproof Watch

Even after fifteen cruises, it still boggles my mind that most cruise ships don’t have clocks around. On our last cruise, we had the time on the television and on the phone, and even then, sometimes those times didn’t match. Not very helpful. For a while now, I’ve always at least taken a waterproof watch. A watch that I know how to use and is easy to set the time to the ships time. A watch that no matter if I’m swimming in the Caribbean or standing in the rain in Alaska, I don’t have to worry about it not working. Granted, I don’t always take an alarm clock (sometimes I just use the alarm on my phone), but it does help to have it as a backup plan in the room for those early shore excursions.

10. Air Freshener

toilet spray
Air Freshener

This is a must especially if you are trying to cram four or five people in a cabin. I have also found that it helps with that musty odor on some older ships. I picked this particular one up at the Dollar Tree. It’s meant to be a Poo-pourri knock off, but we’ve found it works just as well to help with odors in the air.

BONUS! Disinfecting Wipes

sonos disinfecting wipes
Disinfecting Wipes

I carry these with me every time I go on a cruise nowadays. A while back, we went on a cruise and experienced a norovirus outbreak. While you can wash your hands repeatedly, you aren’t going to kill the virus on surfaces without a medical grade disinfecting wipe (which these are). I felt so bad for those people who contracted the virus while on that cruise, because they missed out on so much being quarantined to their room. After that, I vowed to be more proactive about keeping the areas we come into contact with as clean as possible!

BONUS! Motion Sickness Medications

motion sickness medication
Motion Sickness Medications

This pouch, quite honestly, should probably been number one on the list. It’s not only a cruise essential for me, but an all travel essential. Even if we are only going on a plane or train, I take this pouch with me. I have struggled with motion sickness my whole life, so if there is a motion sickness remedy out there, I have probably tried it. Want to know which remedies I swear by? Check out my post on how to not get motion sickness on a cruise!

BONUS! Cruise Documents Organizer

document organizer
Document Organizer

I make one of these up for every cruise we go on. It’s so handy to have all of our documents organized and easy to access during those stressful times of travel (i.e., airport security, car rental desk, train stations, cruise check-in). Granted, a lot of this information is on my phone, but I always like to have the paper copies as a backup just in case I lose my phone or the battery dies.

What about you? What are you cruise essentials? Is there something you can’t cruise without that I may have missed? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below!

top 10 cruise essentials