7 Things to NEVER Bring on a Cruise Ship, plus 10 You MUST!

I received this Carnival cruise complimentary to help facilitate this post. All opinions are mine alone. #CruisingCarnival

During all the excitement leading of to you cruise vacation, it may be hard to focus on packing. I’m a bit of an obsessive packing-list-maker, but even I was struggling with what I’d need for our Carnival Cruise last month! I decided to ask the staff onboard what they thought were the have to or definitely don’t brings, from their own experiences working there. We heard some entertaining stories, that’s for sure, and they all helped us compile a list of 10 Things to NEVER Bring on a Cruise Ship, plus 7 You MUST! Some of these may seem like no-brainers, but if it’s on the list it means somebody at some point has tried it!

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Now, this is definitely not an all-inclusive packing list – do NOT only take what we tell you are ‘have to bring’ items. I’m not putting clothes on here because, really, if you can’t remember clothing then perhaps you’re already too drunk to go on a cruise. This are just some things that many people may not think to take – or may consider taking that really aren’t allowed, or even safe!

Things to NEVER Bring on a Cruise Ship

  1. Towels
    • Guys, there are plenty of towels on the ship – and you can even take it with you to port (just be sure to bring it back!), so there’s no need taking up precious suitcase space with bulky towels. 7 Things to NEVER Bring on a Cruise plus 10 You MUST! #AD #CruisingCarnival
  2. Bottled Drinks/Alcohol
    • They do allow a limited amount of canned drinks – like soda – per person brought on board. Bottled drinks (like the 16/20 oz. bottles), bottled waters and any alcohol are not allowed and will be either discarded or confiscated, to be returned to you at the end of the cruise. See your cruise line for their specific rules on this.
  3. Too Many Clothes
    • One crew member told of a couple that brought FIVE huge suitcases for the two of them on just a week-long cruise. They wanted multiple outfits each day, several swimsuits, lots of shoes and everything. Every time he saw them – even on the same day – they were wearing something different. The problem was there was no free space in their room and they kept complaining about it – but it was simply because their luggage took it all up! So I guess this one is more of a ‘highly recommend not doing’, but it’s your call.
  4. Candles/Fireworks/Fire Hazards
    • Fire is one of the most dangerous things that can occur on a cruise ship, so they are VERY strict on any fire hazards. Don’t bring anything like candles, cooktops (yes, people have tried this), or especially fireworks. Instead of candles, if you’re looking for a special scent to your room, just get one of those plug-in scents.
  5. Bad Attitude
    • This will ruin not only YOUR entire trip, but risks affecting others on the ship as well – both guests and crew. The people on cruise ships are amazing, and if you have a good attitude, it’s nearly impossible to have a crappy vacation. And you never know what a good attitude may get you!
  6. Lots of Snacks
    • Yes, you may need a few for before getting on the ship, but that’s about it. There’s SO MANY places to eat at any point in the day, and room service is just a call away. From the main dining rooms, to the buffet, to other spots like a pizza or burger spot, specialty restaurants and more – you will not have a shortage of food or snacks!
  7. Drone
    • I can see the temptation, as this would be really fun – but it also causes risks so drones aren’t allowed on cruise ships. Not only can it be seen as a risk of spying into other people’s rooms, but it’s a distraction and could affect the navigation of the cruise ship. Drones are just another thing you should never bring on a cruise, or you may loose it!

Now that we’ve got those out of the way, check out this ten things that are SUPER great to bring on a cruise, that you may not have thought of to include in your packing list! We make sure to bring all of them for every cruise, since they make a huge difference for the trip.

10 Things You MUST Bring on a Cruise Ship

  1. Power Strip
    • There’s not many plugs in a cruise cabin, and since most people have multiple things needing to be plugged in (phones, tablets, etc.), it’s a good idea to have a strip with more outlets so you can utilize it better. NOTE: I’ve heard from some that while power strips are fine, be sure it’s not a surge protector type because some ships/cruise lines may not allow those.7 Things to NEVER Bring on a Cruise plus 10 You MUST! #AD #CruisingCarnival
  2. Ziplock Baggies
    • These come in handy for so many things – taking along random little things (hair elastics, seashells, etc.), packing some snacks for a shore excursion or to take back to your room, bigger ones can hold wet clothing instead of dripping it all down the hall, and to store liquids that may leak into your suitcase.
  3. Overdoor Hanger
    • While most people think these are only good for shoes (they’re great for shoes, but that’s not all), this is handy so you can put your ‘need to grab easily’ items like sunscreen, chargers, notebooks, maps, etc. You can also organize it so the next day’s outfit/shoes are there ready to grab first thing!
  4. Waterproof Lanyards
    • I first used mine in Hawaii, and now LOVE taking it on vacations with me! It was great for our excursion to Atlantis, and since many people tend to spend a lot of time at the pools on the ship, this allows you to keep your phone (and room key/cards) handy, but still safe from the water. 7 Things to NEVER Bring on a Cruise plus 10 You MUST! #AD #CruisingCarnival
  5. Clips for Towels
    • It can get really windy up on the decks at sea, and you don’t want your towel or swim cover-up to blow off your chair, so bringing clips to fasten them as you lounge or swim is a great idea. 7 Things to NEVER Bring on a Cruise plus 10 You MUST! #AD #CruisingCarnival
  6. Highlighter
    • Each day you’ll get the pamphlets with all the happenings and schedules for the ship, and since there’s SO MUCH to choose from, having a highlighter so you can mark things makes it much easier. You can even do different colors – like pink for ‘have to do’, yellow for ‘maybe’ or green for ‘the kids and blue for ‘the adults’. 7 Things to NEVER Bring on a Cruise plus 10 You MUST! #AD #CruisingCarnival
  7. Flat Shoes
    • Crew members said how often people, particularly women, bring just fancy or nice shoes with heels, then hate how bad their feet are hurting or have a hard time walking on a moving ship. It’s a good idea to bring a pair of flats, just in case.
  8. Clock
    • There are no clocks in the cruise cabins, so if you’re like me and practically HAVE to be able to see what time it is during the night (or day), bring your own. I recommend a small, cheap one that’s easy to pack/transport.
  9. Conditioner/Lotion/Etc.
    • Our previous cruises had shampoo and body wash in the showers, but no conditioner or body lotion. If you may need those, bring your own just in case there isn’t some supplies. Also bring your own shampoo and other personal products if you’re very picky as to the brand. 7 Things to NEVER Bring on a Cruise plus 10 You MUST! #AD #CruisingCarnival
  10. Blanket/Shawl/Jacket
    • In the theater, and up on deck, it can get a bit chilly at times, so it’s a good idea to have something you can wrap around yourself. I love taking one of my soft, fluffy blankets with me – especially if we plan to watch one of the movies on the big screen by the pool!

What would YOU add to this list for a cruise vacation?

Check out our other posts from our Carnival Cruise fun!

Why Shorter Cruises are Totally Worth It

5 Common Cruising Myths Debunked!

Atlantis Resort Bahamas: Our Aquaventure Day #AD #atlantisbahamas #bahamasatheart

Atlantis Resort Bahamas: Our Aquaventure Day

How to Date on a Cruise Vacation

This content may contain affiliate links. We earn a commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase. We may earn money, free services or complementary products from the companies mentioned in this post. All opinions are ours alone…

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Kelly Dedeaux

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16 Responses to “7 Things to NEVER Bring on a Cruise Ship, plus 10 You MUST!”

  • Power strips will be confiscated by Security if you to try to bring one onto a Celebrity or Royal Caribbean ship.

    • You can have a power strip as long as it isn’t a surge protector. There is a difference and surge protectors are banned.

    • We have been on Celebrity in the Baltic (2017) and the Mediterranean (2018)
      and they didn’t take our power strip.

    • Power boards are not allowed on Royal or Celebrity shios in Australia. I’m not sure on other lines as I have only cruised these two. I think it is because Australians woukd be bringing Australian powerboards and the cabin outlets are different voltage to Australian voltage requirements.

  • Under always bring Steps 7-10 heading say never bring “item” – just letting you know. 🙂

  • I always bring a plastic accordion file on vacations, especially cruises. It holds tickets and documentation before boarding and the daily newsletters, ticket stubs, and souvenir photos we accrue without them getting bent or wrinkled. Plus, it packs flat in the outside suitcase pocket and makes scrapbooking/journaling easier after the trip.

  • My husband and I are going on a cruise in November for the first time, on the carnival elation. Any tips for us with our three boys ages, 17,12 and 5?

  • Three things i’m glad I had on our cruise to Alaska were 1) magnets with clips attached. I could hang our excursion tickets right on the wall. (Cruise ship walls are steel) 2) a collapsible cloths hamper. It stored flat in my outside suitcase pocket and kept our room tidy. 3) disinfecting wipes….a small travel pack. I used them on the fold down travel tray in the airplane and did a wipe down of our room on the ship…just in case. Oh, and I threw in extra hangers too! I was able to completely unpack our suitcases on the Emerald princess cruise ship…we had a balcony room and found we had plenty of space.

  • Great ideas!! One thing I would add to the must bring list is a small first aid stash and basic medications, like Ibuprofen, tums, etc. That stuff is so expensive if you have to buy from the gift shop!

  • We always just have one plug in and my husband sleeps with a c pap machineso you need a long extension cord to reach that one plug in on table

  • I will be going on my first cruise this summer & I am very excited! I made a travel Roll-up Blanket with a 2 zipper pouch to store a book, documents, small items to take with me. Since it will double as a travel pillow or a cover up blanket, it should be perfect for the plane ride & lounging on deck on those chilly evenings/movie nights!

  • There are certain cruises that allow you to bring alcohol – Disney being one of them.

  • One thing I always take is those command hooks that you can put up and take off, they are great! You can hang some by the door, to hang lanyards on, (great for if traveling with kids, they hang it up when they get in the room, and its there when you go out) you can also hang a couple in the shower for wet bathing suits!

  • We have only cruised on Disney and booked to travel on Royal for our first time but Disney does allow alcohol per person at each port. They will take your power strips and any over the door hangers (they have damaged too many doors in the past). We do not cruise without magnetic hooks and magnetic dry erase board. We love to make a small command center on the door that keeps us organized throughout the week.

  • Post it notes and marker or pen to write with for your cabin door. The post it’s to use if your magnetic clips on the door are all occupied. As far as the command hooks, I also brought the hooks with the suction cup for the shower stall . Actually, the hooks that require you to flip the hook down to create the suction. They are usually strong enough to hold wet swim suits or my special scrubby.

    The over the door organizer I use is the jewelry type, but the shoe organizer would be much better for larger items, like some of your clothing but I used mine for misc things like small flashlight, chargers, emergency meds, first aid, xtra glasses, toiletries, perfumes, etc. The jewelry style had some larger pockets for lotion bottles, etc, and the actual size of the organizer I didn’t have to be concerned about taking up so much space in my luggage.

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