Packing for a cruise is unlike packing for any other trip. If you are taking your first cruise, there can be a lot of uncertainty. What is the right cruise attire? What items need to go in what bags? (If you’re confused by this question it will make sense in a minute.) What items might you want that would have never thought of? If you are planning a Disney Cruise, here’s our best guide on what to pack.

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Essential Items

First of all, there are some essential items you’ll need to make sure you have. Like, you won’t even be able to get on the ship without some of these.

Essential Documents

These are going to be the documents you need to get yourself and your stuff on the ship and to take care of any issues you might have during your trip. My favorite way to pack these is to get an accordion folder like this and keep everything together in my backpack.

  • Cruise documents
  • Passports
  • Driver’s Licenses
  • Cruise Luggage Tags (sent by Disney)
  • Travel Insurance Information
  • Medical Insurance Information
  • Cash (just a few small bills for tips for room service or baggage handlers at port)

Medication

You’ll want to make sure you have any prescription medications of course. And even though they sell some over the counter medications on Disney Cruise ships, I always make sure to pack my own.

  • Prescription Medications
  • Over the Counter Medications (pain killers, stomach meds, etc.)
  • Medicine for Sea-Sickness or Nausea
  • Aloe Lotion (in case of sunburn!)

Sun Protection

On a cruise you definitely need sun protection. While a lot of your cruise will have activities inside, there is also the pool deck and ports you will stop at. And if you are sailing in the Bahamas or Caribbean, the sun can be brutal.

  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses

Disney Cruise Attire: Clothes to Pack

Figuring out what clothes you will want for your cruise can be a challenge! Especially as you are moving through different destinations, might have themed dinner nights, and might want to change clothes for different activities during the day.

When packing for a cruise, I like to think of the day in three parts:

  1. Morning/Daytime (a casual outfit, like shorts and a t-shirt)
  2. Activity time! (swimsuits, or whatever other clothes I might need for a certain activity)
  3. Dinner (something a little dressier/nicer than what I wore earlier in the day)

While Disney Cruises do have themed nights like Pirate Night, participation in these themed nights is completely optional. Most nights, you’ll find “Cruise Casual” listed as the dinner attire, which pretty much means anything goes (except, you know, don’t wear a swimsuit to dinner). So you definitely don’t have to bring a different outfit for dinner.

Here’s a good cruise attire packing list to get you going! Obviously add your own clothes here based on personal preferences. And if you are taking a cruise somewhere non-tropical (like a Disney Alaskan Cruise!) you’ll want to make sure you pack the clothes that are appropriate for that different kind of weather.

  • Shorts — enough to wear a pair each day
  • T-shirts — at least one for each day
  • Dresses — optional for dinner
  • Pants — at least one pair because it can sometimes get chilly
  • Dressier shirts — optional for dinner
  • Light jacket — Again, it can sometimes be chilly in the mornings and evenings, or even in the restaurants.
  • Shoes — I usually bring a pair of sandals I like to walk around in, a pair of dressier sandals, and a pair of flip flops. If you plan on working out or running the Castaway Cay 5K, bring tennis shoes too.
  • Socks — Always good to have, and on the new Disney Wish you need them for the inflatable Incredi-course.
  • Undergarments — obviously
  • Pajamas
  • Swimsuits — at least two
  • Swimsuit coverups
  • Rash Guards — The sun can be brutal, so I like to have a rash guard with me at Castaway Cay I can throw on if I feel like I’m getting too much sun.
  • Dressier clothes — If you are planning on dining at Palo, Remy, or Enchanté, there is a dress code.

Toiletries to Pack

Obviously, your toiletry kit is up to you and your personal preferences and routines. But here’s a list to get you started. Also, I really love having a hanging toiletry bag like this, because I can hang it on the towel rack next to the sink and not have my stuff taking up so much precious counter space.

Also, note that shampoo, body wash, conditioner, and body lotion are NOT on this list. Disney Cruise Line provides these in each stateroom. Right now, they are from the beloved H2O+ line, which is really incredible. In the future, this line is eventually going to be discontinued, but I’m sure Disney will restock the ships with something equally great. So there’s not need to take up room in your bag with shower essentials.

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Facewash
  • Skin care products
  • Razor
  • Deodorant
  • Make up
  • Hair products
  • Hair brush
  • Straightener or curling iron
  • Contacts/glasses/contact solution

Convenient Items You Might Want

There are some items you might want to pack that are just going to make your life on a cruise easier. I wouldn’t call these essentials, but once you use them on a cruise ship you may find that they are must-haves!

  • Lanyard — To wear around your neck with your room key and ID in (often times when you leave the room these are the only things you really need).
  • Magnetic hooks — The doors in your room are metal, so these hooks can be really useful. I like to put one on the back of the room door and keep our lanyards there so we don’t forget them when we leave the room.
  • Refillable water bottle — You can use this on the ship, but also when you leave the ship for excursions!
  • Zip-top bags or dry bags — To put wet swimsuits or clothes in when needed.
  • Portable charger — This is especially great to have during excursions or on Castaway Cay if you are taking lots of photos and videos with your phone.
  • Excursion bag — Bring some kind of beach bag/tote bag/backpack to take on your excursions or on Castaway Cay to put your phone, water, essentials in.
  • Non-perishable snacks — While Disney has lots of food everywhere, I sometimes felt like there was a food lull mid-morning when I just really needed a granola bar. You can also bring your own movie snacks instead of buying them at the theater.
  • Books — I mean, hello, this is a travel blog for bookworms. So obviously.

Fun Disney Cruise Items to Pack

To make your Disney Cruise a little more magical, there are some items you can pack for extra fun!

  • Door Decor — Lots of families decorate their stateroom doors with custom magnets. I also love doing this because it makes it easier to find your room! (You can find lots of options on Etsy!)
  • Autograph Book — For the kiddos to get autographs from their favorite characters.
  • Pirate Night attire — Get into the theme with pirate clothes. Definitely not essential though, and on our cruise they provided everyone with a bandana to wear at dinner.
  • Beach necessities — If you have kiddos, you might want to bring a few easy to pack beach toys. Also…goggles!
  • Character costumes — If your kiddos are really into a certain character or princess, let them bring a costume to make it even more fun for them!
  • Pins for trading — If you are into Disney pin trading, you can trade on the ship!

Packing Your Embarkation Day Bag

When you arrive at the Disney Cruise terminal, you will hand your luggage over to be loaded onto the ship, but you will keep a carry on bag with you. Because it can take several hours for your luggage to show up in your room, you’ll want to make sure you have some essential items in your carry on bag.

  • Essential documents (IDs, cruise documents, etc.)
  • Medications (Pack any medications you might need between arriving on the ship and getting your luggage.)
  • Swimsuits and cover ups (If you board the ship early, you can go ahead and get in the pool even before the ship leaves port!)
  • Change of clothes (Your luggage may not arrive until after your dinner time, so pack a change of clothes for dinner if you are going to want it.)
  • Portable charger (You will likely have some time on the ship before you can get into your room, so pack a portable charger just in case!)

Packing for Castaway Cay

When you get off the ship at Castaway Cay, you want to make sure you have anything you might need during the day. You don’t want to have to make the trek back to the ship if you forget something!

  • Room Key and ID
  • Swimsuits and Coverups (Honestly, just wear these all day on the island.)
  • Sunglasses
  • Hats
  • Sunscreen
  • Medications
  • Beach toys, goggles, etc.
  • Portable phone charger
  • Refillable water bottles (stay hydrated!!!)
  • Wet bags/zip-top bags for wet clothes, swimsuits, etc.
  • A few dollars (if you want to mail a postcard at the post office)

Packing for Debarkation

When you pack up to leave your cruise ship, Disney has a service where you can put your luggage out the night before debarkation and then just pick it up in the cruise terminal the next morning. This saves you having to lug all your bags to breakfast the next morning and off the ship.

If you want to do this, you usually just have to have your luggage out in the hallway with the appropriate luggage tag (they will leave them in your room) by about 10 p.m. the night before.

Here are a few pointers for packing for this.

  • If you are packing up before dinner, leave out your pajamas.
  • Leave out an outfit for the next day. And don’t forget shoes!
  • Leave room in your carry-on to put your dirty clothes/pajamas you are still wearing when your luggage goes out.
  • Try to leave out just the essential toiletries so the rest can go in your regular luggage.
  • Make sure you don’t pack your essential documents in your regular luggage!
  • Leave out medications.

What NOT to Pack for Your Disney Cruise

Here’s what you shouldn’t or don’t need to pack on your Disney Cruise, from things you just won’t need, to items that are prohibited.

Things You Won’t Need

  • Towels — Beach towels are provided both on on the pool deck and at Castaway Cay. When you are getting off the ship at Castaway Cay, make sure to pick up towels before you take the tram or go down the walking path.
  • Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Wash, Body Lotion — These are provided in your stateroom (and they are great!). So unless you need something specific, there’s no need to have these take up room in your luggage.

Items Prohibited on a Disney Cruise

  • Weapons of any kind
  • Illegal drugs
  • Homemade or perishable food
  • Irons
  • Lasers
  • Bottle warmers
  • Candles
  • Balloons
  • Musical Instruments
  • Sporting equipment
  • Coolers (unless needed for medical, dietary, or baby food reasons)
  • Over the door hanging organizers

Find more details about prohibited items here.

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