5 Packing Tips for Cruising with Kids

Labadee- Allure of the Seas with kids
Cruising is our favorite family vacation

Tomorrow we leave for a 5-day family cruise. Due to the holidays, I am just now packing. I wanted to take a break to share some family cruise packing tips while it is fresh on my mind. This will be my 18th cruise, my husband’s 8th, my 5-year-old son’s 4th and my two-year-old daughter’s second. So we have some cruising experience under our belt!


Cruise vacations are different from other vacation types. So packing for them can require some different items that you may not think to bring, especially if the kids are joining you. Which by the way, I highly recommend. There are activities to keep every age group entertained on a cruise vacation!
family cruise packing tips

Carry-on bag– You will drop off your luggage at the cruise ship terminal entrance. But you can carry on a bag if you would like- and you should! Depending on when you check-in and board the ship, it could be several hours before you have access to your room. Even after getting access to your room, the luggage will be delivered at an unknown time, sometimes well after dinner time. So be sure to keep a carry-on bag with you filled with anything you might need that first day, such as identification, cruise documents, swimsuits, change of clothes, diapers, and medication. Here are more Boarding Day Tips when cruising with kids.

Baby products – If you are traveling with a baby or toddler, make sure to pack plenty of diapers, baby food, wipes, and formula. Many cruise lines (even the family-friendly lines) do not offer baby specific items anywhere on board their ships. Research to see if your ship  offers offer a toddler water area (one that allows swim diapers), if not bring along an inflatable pool to let your little one get some pool-time fun.

A refillable drink container.  Many beverages (like tea, water, juices and lemonade) are freely available throughout the day and night. But they are typically served in tiny cups. So having your own refillable drink container will allow you to have plenty and carry with you throughout the ship or even ashore on port days.

Extra power source– Power outlets are scarce in cruise cabins; I suggest packing a multi-outlet power strip to charge multiple electronic devices.

Highlighter .  Each night along with pillow candy and cute towel animals you will receive the next day’s activity schedule.   A highlighter will help you mark the cruise activities you don’t want to miss on the schedule.

Research Cruise Lines for Child Programs

The reason why we love family cruises is because of the kid friendly activities. It is important to research the ships before booking. Though the cruise line may be kid friendly each ship offers a different experience of kids programs. Read about Our Favorite Family Friendly Cruise Ship and read about our Royal Carribean Adventure Ocean Progam experience.