10 Things People Forget to Bring on Their First Cruise

April 5, 2022

When I went on my first ocean cruise to the Bahamas in 2014 I was a complete newbie. I knew nothing about cruising and searched to find the best packing lists so that I wouldn't forget anything. Despite this though I still found that there were things that I left at home that I wish I had brought with me. 

As time has gone on and I have done more ocean and now river cruising I started compiling a list of things that I wished someone would have told me to bring on my first cruise! So if you are packed and ready to leave on your first cruise and are afraid of forgetting something- don't worry! This list below will help remind you of 15 things that most people forget to bring on their first cruise! 

1. Over the Storage Shoe Organizer or Door Hanger
I shared this as my #1 suggestion in my post, 16 unexpected things to bring on every cruise, and I still say it is the #1 thing to bring. This is a great way to have dozens of small size compartments for a variety of different things and helps to add extra storage to the small staterooms that exist. I purchased THIS ONE from Amazon for less than $11 and I have now used it on the Disney CruiseRoyal Caribbean Cruise, and the Viking River Cruise and plan to use it on all future cruises!

2. White Noise/Fan
For years I have been sleeping with a fans and have loved the "white noise" that they provide as I am a very light sleeper. Sometimes the walls on a cruise ship can be exceptionally thin (even less than a typical hotel room) and a small fan or white noise machine can be very helpful, especially if you have young kiddos who go to bed before others. There are lots of different options but I have used THIS ONE from Amazon and found it incredibly helpful. You also can't beat the price for less than $50! AND it is less than 3 pounds!!

3. Small Umbrella
Depending on where you are traveling to and your destinations you may want to bring an umbrella. I know that for the New England/Canada cruise I took a few years ago this was incredibly helpful (especially for our day in rainy Portland)! If you forget to bring this some cruise ships do have extra umbrellas so make sure you ask at the beginning of your cruise for this! There are so many adorable ones that are available but I loved THIS ONE in blue that I found on Amazon (it is also less than $20)! 

4. Laundry Bags
Throwing in a set of laundry bags makes it incredibly easy to separate your dirty clothes at the end of each day so that when you get home everything is already in the bag and can easily be cleaned. One tip that I learned from a seasoned cruiser was to take several different laundry bags and separate them - one for whites, one for reds, one for darks, one for cleaning, etc. I personally love THIS set of laundry bags from Amazon. For less than $12 you receive 6 different bags and can separate things in a variety of ways making laundry when you return home incredibly easy. 

5. OTC Medication
While it is true that you can purchase all different over the counter medication on your cruise it will cost you substantially more than if you brought it on board. Think ahead and bring some of your own. Prone to seasickness? A lot of people use Dramamine (or the patch) for motion sickness on a cruise which is a wonderful option, but ginger can be a great natural resource to help with nausea. You can read more about ginger and its health benefits by clicking HERE. I have mentioned this in several posts but I swear by THIS ginger here. For less than $8 you can save yourself a whole lot of sickness! 

6. Comfortable Shoes/Sandals
I shared this in my post, 13 Must Pack Items for Your Caribbean Cruise, but it is a definite thing to remember. Pack comfortable shoes and sandals!! If you are a girly-girl like me you want to look cute and fun, but you don't want your cruise ruined by blisters either so take the time to pick out cute and comfy sandals. 

7. A Watch
I was surprised to hear this suggestion from those who had cruised a lot but honestly, have now seen the value in having a watch. One of the best parts of a cruise is having the chance to take a break from the "real world" and simply enjoy the moment. But if you are like me I have grown accustomed to look at my phone for the time and frankly when I cruise I didn't want to use my phone at all so a watch is the best option. I shared in my post, 5 must pack items for a Disney Cruise, that the Disney Cruise Line has less clocks on board than any other cruise line. This is wonderful if you want to live fully in the moment, but you don't want to miss any exciting adventures on the ship either so make sure to throw in a watch and set it to ship time to keep up with all of your fun activities! 

I personally have loved my FitBit Versa as it works as a watch but also tracks important health things that I am watching right now. If you are looking for a FitBit I honestly can't recommend it enough and if you are cruising with a chronic illness (see more tips HERE) this is also an excellent way to help monitor everything. A side note for those who are wanting to be connected to text messages but not their phone on cruises this also can be connected (or disconnected if you want) from and to your FitBit

8. Extra Hangers
Depending on who you are traveling with you might want to bring extra hangers. Many cruise ships will provide more if you request them, but if you are going on a long cruise or like to hang everything instead of using the drawers you might want to consider this tip! I have heard good things about THESE but haven't tried them myself yet so let me know if you do!

9. Power Strip
What may come as a surprise for first-time cruisers is that there are very limited outlets in each stateroom. A power strip is incredibly helpful for short and long cruises. I purchased and have loved THIS ONE from Amazon because it comes with a surge protector and extra space between a couple of the outlets for larger items. 

10. Extension Cord
I shared this in my 10 Must Pack Items for a New England and Canadian Cruise post, but it is helpful for any cruise. Having an extension cord allows you to maneuver to set up your power strip (see #9) where it is convenient for you in the room. This is a definite item that I now bring on every single cruise! I bought THIS ONE (less than $6!) but there are literally so many you could choose from depending on what you are looking for. The one that I use (HERE) is about $5 and just stays in my suitcase (which I LOVE) for all of my travel adventures.

What about y'all? Any items that you wish that you had brought on your first cruise that you would recommend to a first-time cruiser? 

Looking for more Cruising Tips? Check out the blog or click on the links below for more tips and ideas for a fabulous and cozy luxury adventure!

16 Unexpected Things to Bring on Every Cruise


  1. I've heard a lot of people--especially if you're cruising with a large group-- mention to take walkie-talkies since you won't have cell phone service.

    1. OOH this is a great idea!! Thanks so much for sharing Bailey!!

      :) Rebecca

  2. Several cruise lines do not allow power strips or extension cords.

    1. As I stated in the post you should always check with your individual cruiseline beforehand, but to be honest every cruise line I have been on have allowed (and encouraged) the power strips and extension cords. I hope that helps! Enjoy your cruise!

      Warmly, Rebecca :)