By Nancy Schretter


Cruising is a great vacation option for families. Figuring out what to pack, however, can be one of the hardest parts of heading off on a family cruise. Here’s a list of everything to consider bringing along on your family cruise vacation.
First, let me make two suggestions. Pack a carry-on bag containing your cruise and travel documents, passport, credit cards, cash, medications, any valuable jewelry, a bathing suit, shorts, top, underwear, your first night’s dinner outfit, reading material, sunscreen, and anything else that is critical to enjoying the cruise. Make sure to include the same items for your children. This way, your valuables will stay with you in case your luggage is lost or delayed and you can enjoy your time after boarding the ship, as luggage can take hours to arrive in your stateroom.

If you’re traveling with kids, make sure to bring along a travel backpack with snacks and fun items (see the link below.) If you’re cruising with infants and toddlers, put plenty of diapers, wipes, ziplock plastic bags, and infant formula in your carry-on luggage – or check to see if the cruise line offers delivery service.

Here’s a suggested kid’s packing list for a one-week cruise. Feel free to modify it as necessary and let me know about anything I might have forgotten so I can add it to the list.

Travel Documents

_ Child’s airline tickets or e-tickets
_ Child’s passport, visa and other proof of citizenship

_ Notarized statements from spouse/ex-spouse if traveling alone with kids under 18

_ Notarized forms if traveling with grandchildren/kids under 18 who aren’t your own
_ Child’s cruise documents
_ Pediatrician’s name and phone numbers (daytime and emergency)
_ Current pictures of your children (just in case)
_ Address book with names and addresses of child’s friends for postcards

Medicines & Sundries

_ Child’s prescription drugs or other important medication (in carry-on bag)
_ Benadryl
_ Antibiotic cream
_ Anti-itch cream
_ Children’s anti-diarrhea medication
_ Band-aids
_ Children’s Tylenol, Advil, Aleve and/or aspirin

_ Pedia Care
_ Baby/Children’s Sunscreen
_ Sunblock for lips
_ Sunburn gel

_ After sun moisturizer
_ Diaper rash ointment
_ Anti-bacterial hand cleaner for diaper bag
_ Children’s insect repellant
_ Stain remover stick and Woolite for clean-ups
_ Ear Planes for plane trips
_ Baby shampoo
_ Infant/ child’s thermometer

_ Drops/antibiotics for eye/ear infections
_ Deodorant
_ Toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss
_ Brush/comb
_ Hair barrettes, scrunchies or hair bands

Baby/Toddler Items

_ Diapers and swim diapers (check if cruise line offers diaper delivery service)
_ Baby wipes
_ Pacifiers (several)
_ Ziplock bags (many for diapers and other messes)
_ Sippy cups and plastic bottles (keep one in carry-on)
_ Dishwashing detergent (trial size) for washing sippy cups
_ Baby formula
_ Porta-crib if needed
_ Booster chair or booster seat aid
_ Umbrella stroller or baby backpack (check to see if strollers can be rented)
_ Bibs
_ Diaper bag
_ Sun hat
_ Blankie and/or favorite stuffed animal
_ Inflatable swim aids
_ Extra changes of clothes


Additional Items for School-Age Children
_ Kids’ electronic equipment and batteries
_ 2-way radios or walkie-talkie equipment (2-5 mile radius) for staying in touch
_ Children’s books and magazines
_ Glasses (bring extras) or contact lenses
_ Contact lens cleaner
_ Sunglasses
_ Favorite stuffed animals, toys and travel games
_ Travel backpack filled with activity books, snacks, games, and other items
_ Portable DVD player, extra batteries and movies

_ Portable gaming system of some type
_ iPod, MP3 player or CD player
_ Disposible camera

_ Travel journal

_ Extra changes of clothes

Other Helpful Items

_ Ziplock bags (plenty – both quart and gallon)
_ Rain gear
_ Snorkeling gear
_ Nightlight and extension cord

_ Duct tape
_ Small flashlight

_ Power strip

Kids’ Cruise Clothing (generally 2 formal nights and more casual/informal evenings)

_ 6-7 t-shirts
_ 6-7 pairs of shorts
_ Bathing suits
_ Cover-up
_ Outfits for casual/informal night dinners
_ 2 outfits for formal nights
_ Long pants, jeans or leggings (especially for Alaska cruises)
_ Long sleeved shirts (depending upon season and itinerary)
_ Underwear (1 set per day plus at least an extra set)
_ Socks (1 set per day plus at least an extra set)

_ Pajamas
_ Sandals/flip-flops
_ Sneakers

_ Sweatshirt (or several if going to Alaska)

_ Water shoes
_ Dress shoes
_ Light jacket
_ Rain jacket or poncho

_ Fleece (if going to Alaska)
_ Belts
_ Hat, baseball cap or visor

_ Gloves (if going to Alaska)
Nancy Schretter is Managing Editor of the award-winning Family Travel Network.

Photo credit: Creative Commons TedMurphy