For many cruisers, the packing list is a pre-cruise essential and a chance to make sure that everything’s in order before you set sail. If you’re a first-time cruiser, or indeed the type of person who likes to bring everything but the kitchen sink, then you’re sure to find this quick and helpful guide to what NOT to bring with you on a cruise helpful.

An iron

OK, so you’ll want to be looking your best during the cruise ship formal night and certainly, you won’t want to emerge from your ship to explore your first port of call looking like one of the walking dead either. The truth is though, the iron is one of the greatest fire risks faced by any cruise ship and bans are industry-wide. However, help is at hand as a number of cruise lines, such as Carnival Cruises offer self-service launderettes with ironing stations. Others, such as Royal Caribbean offer pressing services but if you’re budget’s tighter than your tux may well get, I suggest a good-old steamy shower room de-crease.

A four-pack

With bar prices admittedly higher than those in your local, cruise ship bars can be a costly place and no doubt, you may be feeling the temptation to bring your own beer. However, try this and you’ll have your much-loved libation confiscated before you step aboard. The exception is wine, and most lines will allow you to bring a bottle on-board with you. If you can’t get by without a pint, I’d suggest purchasing a drinks package, as these generally work out cheaper unless you’re only a light drinker.


A beach holiday friend but the enemy of the fly-to cruise weight restriction. If you’re an avid reader, you may find this one difficult but the truth is, books are pretty heavy and take up much needed space too. These days, most cruise ships offer well-stocked libraries and we’re not just talking a dog-eared Jackie Collins or two and a musty Jeffrey Archer, as selections are generally pretty contemporary. If you’re thinking of making cruising a regular thing and are especially fussy about what you read, then invest in an e-reader.

Beach towels

The crown princess of space-eaters. If you’re a sand-loving sun worshipper, then this is admittedly an essential and your own personal barrier from the ever-invasive granules which make a Caribbean cruise so special. The truth is, towels are included in your cabin and no-one’s going to mind if you borrow them to take ashore, providing you bring them back, that is.


A controversial one, this. For some people having exactly the right selection of body care products is a big deal and more seriously, for those with skin allergies, certain products are a necessity when it comes to personal grooming. If however, you’re not the type of person who’s ultra-fussy when it comes to toiletries or indeed if like me, you don’t need to worry about the quality of your shampoo, then you’ll get by perfectly fine on cruise line’s own supplies, which are often of leading brand quality

Emma Smith
Emma has more than seven years' experience as a writer and has been in the travel industry for nearly five years. She loves learning about new places and cruise ships coming to market, as well as discovering fun and exciting activities to do while you sail. She has cruised with Princess Cruises, Cunard, Celebrity Cruises, Virgin Voyages, Avalon Waterways and Royal Caribbean and is looking to get something in her diary for 2024! Her favourite things to see on a ship include excellent entertainment, a delicious cocktail menu and extraordinary dining venues.

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