Are you heading out on your cruise soon (or not so soon) and looking for all the top cruise necessities? Well, you are in luck! I have been on numerous cruises and know all the top must have cruise accessories that you should not forget to pack on your cruise!
After spending 30 days straight on a cruise ship without a decent pair of sunglasses and a waterproof phone case, I can safely let you know what the top cruise accessories are to avoid making my silly mistakes! I know how stressful it can be to pack for a cruise, whether it be your first rodeo or your 15th cruise.
I have put together a handy cruise planner which I offer to my readers completely free. This free, printable cruise planner is equipped with budgeting guides, shore excursion trackers, daily itineraries, packing lists, and more-- so make sure to check it out and fully prepare for your amazing cruising adventure!
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Top 40 Must Have Cruise Accessories
While you may think you have everything you could ever need for a cruise, there may be a couple cruise accessories that could easily prevent any major headache coming your way. Every cruiser is different, so the must have cruise accessories will be tailored for each and every unique traveler.
However, these top 40 must have cruise accessories are the most commonly forgotten or most useful items for both me and others in the cruising realms. After cruising my entire life, these 40 items are things I will double-check to see if they are packed before I leave for a fabulous cruise.
Related: Fun Things To Bring on a Cruise
Wearable Cruise Accessories
1. Cruise Lanyard
The number one item that many cruisers regret forgetting is a lanyard to hold their cruise access card. Nearly every cruise line at sea keeps track of its passengers through key cards.
While you may think that you would just put your cruise key card in your wallet, you will be surprised by how many times you head over to the cruise buffet from your stateroom, locking yourself out in the process! That is exactly why a cruise lanyard is one of the must have cruise accessories leading this complete list.
2-Pack Cruise Lanyards with ID Holder (from $9.99 on Amazon)
2. Cruise Key Holder
Kind of going with the lanyard, you should definitely make sure you have a plastic cruise key holder in your collection of must have cruise accessories. If you purchase a lanyard with a key holder included, you can ignore this cruise essential, but if you are planning on packing a lanyard you already own, you will want to purchase a clear cruise key holder.
This is because the access card you will receive when boarding your ship will more than likely not have a pre-punched hole to clip your lanyard onto. These clear cruise keycard holders will allow you to safely attach your lanyard, while allowing all functionality (except when you need to swipe your card).
6-Pack Clear Cruise Key Holder Pack (from $5.99 on Amazon)
3. Fanny Pack
While you may have seen lanyards and key card holders on plenty of other cruise necessities lists, you may not have seen fanny pack. I only just recently began bringing my handy-dandy fanny pack with me on cruises, and let me tell you, cruising could not be any easier since!
I brought mine on my Panama Canal cruise and felt 10x safer carrying around my phone and cash secured to my waist, within eyesight. Before, I would bring either a purse or backpack, but both seemed impractical on most of my shore excursions. Thus, a fanny pack is by far one of the top must have cruise accessories for your next cruising adventure.
Herschel Fourteen Waist Pack (from $25 on Amazon)
4. Quality Sunglasses
Like I stated earlier, I, unfortunately, brought extremely low quality (from the gas station) sunglasses on my last cruise, and definitely paid the price. On a cruise, you can expect to spend a TON of time outdoors-- whether laying out on the pool deck, or spending time exploring in port.
That is the exact reason why you need to pack a durable and quality pair of sunglasses (preferably two). I highly suggest not picking up a pair at a convenience store on your way to the departure port, as these tend to be low quality and can break, leaving you with either no sunglasses or having to search for a far more expensive pair at sea. As one of the top must have cruise accessories, sunglasses are essential.
Lightweight Polarized Sunglasses (from $15.99 on Amazon)
5. Light Windbreaking Jacket
Another one of the must have cruise accessories is a lightweight jacket, preferably one with wind resistance. Whether you are heading out on your Alaskan cruise or sailing through the warm seas of the Caribbean, you will not regret packing this simple piece of clothing.
I cannot tell you how many times I have had to walk outside at night on a cruise ship. From late-night shenanigans with my friends to heading over to the buffet during a light drizzle, a light jacket will come in handy. Plus, this cruise necessity will not take up much room in your luggage! Do not underestimate your wind predictions for your future cruise and come prepared with a windbreaking jacket!
Columbia Waterproof Jacket (from $24.98 on Amazon)
6. Waterproof Watch
As one of the top cruise accessories, a waterproof watch may be the exact cruise essential you need for your exciting cruise adventure. If your cruise will be going through different time zones, this may be just the cruise necessity for you! It can be difficult to keep track of time while onboard, especially while you are having a blast.
While the cruise ship employees will try their best to remind you of time changes and the current time, it is best to pack or wear a watch on your cruise. Make sure to seek out a waterproof wearable watch, as it is better to be safe than sorry while sailing the high seas!
Casio Classic Sport Watch (from $19.18 on Amazon)
7. Wrinkle Release Spray
As the next one of the must have cruise accessories, wrinkle release spray is not technically a "wearable" accessory. However, it will allow you to wear all your favorite formal and other outfits that you are dying to show off on your cruise! Most cruise lines will not offer irons within their staterooms (and you cannot bring one onboard), so the best way to stay fresh and sleek is by packing wrinkle release spray.
While I hope you will not run into any problems while getting ready for your cruise formal night, it is best to come prepared by packing some wrinkle release spray. I highly recommend avoiding the aerosol varieties, and pack one similar to the ones displayed here, with a manual spray system.
Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus Static Release 2 Pack (from $13.94 on Amazon)
8. Ear Plugs
On a more serious note, you may want to pack a quality pair of earplugs along with the rest of your cruise accessories. You have noooo idea who will be in the staterooms to the left and right to you, and may end up staying in a room adjacent to a crew area! Make sure to review the list of the noisiest rooms at sea to avoid before your cruise.
On my last cruise, I was located on a lower deck near the anchor. While at first this didn't sound that bad, every morning I had a nice alarm at 5 am of the anchor dropping, far earlier than the actual alarm I set on my phone. Lesson of the story-- always pack a pair of earplugs to avoid any unnecessary issues. Plus, they are only a couple bucks, a small expense to make your cruise all the more enjoyable!
Flents Ear Plugs with Case (from $2.98 on Amazon)
9. Sun Hat
Another item you may already own is a sun hat! Similar to the sunglasses above, you will definitely want to include a protective sun hat with your cruise accessories. You will more than likely be spending a bunch of time in the sun, so make sure to purchase or pack your sun hat before you leave!
This is an especially important cruise accessory if you are cruising where UV rays are intense-- whether in the Caribbean, a mountainous environment, or around the equator. I purchased the exact one shown here for my cruise in 2019, and it work perfectly! This handy sun hat protected me as I crossed the equator-- a terrible feat when considering the intense sun!
Sun Straw Hat with Wide Brim (from $23.99 on Amazon)
10. Motion Sickness Band
If you have never been on a cruise, or your body does not react well to motion/ being on the sea, you may want to consider adding motion sickness bands to your must have cruise accessories list. While it is important to pack Dramamine, you may want to try out a non-medicated alternative first.
Many cruisers swear by acupressure sea bands, which help relieve all sorts of motion sickness issues! From nausea to migraines, these motion sickness bands boast amazing reviews on Amazon by thousands of avid cruisers, making them one of the top must have cruise accessories that you should pack for your next cruise.
Sea-Band Acupressure Band (from $5.82 on Amazon)
1. Cruise Magnetic Hooks
The easiest way to organize your stateroom when you first arrive on your cruise ship is by pulling out your handy magnetic hooks, and slapping them on the magnetic walls and ceiling of your stateroom. Yep, you heard that right! Most cruise stateroom walls are completely magnetic, and therefore, you can optimize your storage by hanging any items on the wall.
What better way to step up your stateroom storage situation than by hanging up any and all items that would have otherwise ended up on the floor. I swear by this exact set displayed, as they can hold over 60 pounds at a time! Make sure to pick up a set that is capable of holding all of the items you plan on hanging within your stateroom.
Magnetic Swivel Hooks 10 Pack (from $14.99 on Amazon)
2. Over-the-Door Organizer
What better way to utilize your newly obtained magnetic hooks than hanging an over-the-door organizer on your walls or from the ceiling? Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to just put shoes in this organizer.
As one of the top must have cruise accessories, you can place any and all items you have packed within these slots! I typically place my shoes along the bottom few rows, place my socks in a couple others, any charger cords in some of the other slots, and other cruise accessories throughout the others.
24-Pocket Over-the-Door Organizer (from $8.38 on Amazon)
3. Cruise Toiletry Bag
Another cruise accessory you are not going to want to forget is a cruise toiletry bag. As one of the top cruise accessories, this storage device can store any and all of your bathroom and get-ready essentials for your amazing cruise adventure!
Make sure to keep your eye out for one similar to the one shown here, as you can, yet again, hang this cruise accessory on your magnetic hooks. I had this toiletry bag for my cruise and filled it will all my makeup essentials that I used daily. I then placed the bag on one of my handy magnetic hooks right next to my stateroom's desk-- a convenient spot not taking much if any room in my small cabin.
Toiletry Bag with Hanging Hook (from $22.99 on Amazon)
4. Cruise Packing Cubes
Another one of the top cruise accessories is packing cubes. While packing cubes are, in my opinion, important to utilize on any vacation, they are EXTREMELY important to utilize on cruises! In fact, I don't remember the last cruise I have been on where I didn't use these in one way or another.
Everyone knows that cruise staterooms can be slightly smaller than hotels... ok, significantly smaller! Nothing is worse than having to dig through your luggage everyday to find your perfect outfit in the small space of your cruise cabin. Make sure to grab a set of packing cubes to keep your clothes organize at every stage of your cruising vacation.
6-Piece Set of Packing Cubes (from $20.99 on Amazon)
5. Cruise Planner
Something that I rarely hear other cruise bloggers talk about is utilizing a cruise planner to organize everything before your trip. I have found having all of my thoughts and plans in one place has really allowed me to relax while on my cruising vacations. As one of the must have cruise accessories, a cruise planner can help you put your mind at ease during your cruise.
This cruise planner is filled with helpful guides, making sure you are diligently prepared for your cruise. Whether setting up your budget, planning shore excursions, tracking your cruise packages, creating daily itineraries, or starting your packing list, this cruise planning is a great way to prepare for your perfect cruise!
Cruise Planner (from $2.95 on Etsy)
6. Sticky Notes
This next cruise necessity is very easily overlooked. If you are like me, you are obsessed with having all your documents organized, and in one place. One of the top ways to get and stay organized during your cruise is through utilizing sticky notes!
You will be surprised by often these will come in handy during your vacation-- whether bookmarking the next day's shore excursion or leaving a note for your kids on your door when you leave to grab a snack. This is the exact reason why you need to add sticky notes to your list of the top must have cruise accessories for your next cruising adventure.
8 Pack Sticky Notes (from $7.99 on Amazon)
Most cruise lines will give there passengers a list of the daily activities through some sort of newsletter. Typically your cruise stateroom steward will drop off the next day's list of activities in your room the night before, and this is where your highlighters will come in handy!
As one of the top cruise accessories, highlighters are truly one of the best ways to keep track of all the things you want to do during your limited time onboard. Plus, you can highlight any important information in your other documents to reference during your sailing.
Sharpie Liquid Highlighters (from $9.97 on Amazon)
8. Collapsible Tote Bag
If you have more things to bring with you into port than what a simple fanny pack can carry, you may want to consider bringing along a collapsible tote bag. As one of the must have cruise accessories, this bag provides ample amount of room to carry snacks, towels, souvenirs, and more-- and can be collapsed at the end of the day!
You can also utilize a collapsible tote bag during your cruise when you head up to the top deck pool! Just put all your chair clips, water bottles, towels, and sunscreen in the bag, and carry all your cruise necessities up with you.
Reusable Collapsible Tote Bag (from $32.99 on Amazon)
9. Cruise Document Organizer
To ensure you have everything where you need it... when you need it, make sure to grab a cruise document organizer before you leave. As one of the top must have cruise accessories, a document organizer can easily save you from several massive headaches on your cruising adventure.
Cruise lines are notorious for not having organized communication between their corporate offices and the onboard team. Therefore, you should definitely make sure to print out and have any and all documents ready to go before you board. Also, make sure to use an organizer that is waterproof in case of any unforeseen accidents.
Waterproof Document Organizer (from $13.99 on Amazon)
10. Luggage Tag Holders
When you arrive at your cruise terminal, you will inevitably be handing over your luggage to the impressive onboard team to bring through security, and eventually drop off at your stateroom. You will more than likely be required to place your cruise line's specific luggage tags on your suitcases.
To prevent these paper cruise line luggage tags from falling off (eventually leading to your luggage delivery being delayed), I highly recommend packing quality luggage tag holders when planning for your cruise accessories. The ones showed here are large enough to hold most cruise line luggage tags, allowing you to relax and enjoy your cruise vacation as soon as possible!
Quality Luggage Tag Holders (from $7.75 on Amazon)
1. Cruise-Approved Power Strip
If you are planning on bringing anything much more than your phone in regards to electronics, I highly suggest looking into purchasing a cruise-approved power strip. Why can't you bring a regular power strip? Well, cruise lines are pretty strict on their regulations in regards to what passengers can bring onboard-- this means that any power strip brought on my passengers has to not have surge protection.
Cruise ship staterooms are notorious for limited outlets, so make sure to prepare correctly with a cruise-approved power strip on your list of the must have cruise accessories.
Cruise-Approved Power Strip (from $11.97 on Amazon)
2. Waterproof Phone Case
As one of the top cruise accessories, a waterproof phone case or protector can be essential is you plan on enjoying any shore excursions on the water. Plenty of avid cruisers (including myself!) love cruising in the Caribbean. With this comes numerous snorkeling and boating experiences, all leading to a higher risk of phone water damage.
This simple device can save you hundreds of dollars and prevent you from loosing are the precious and priceless photos you took on your cruising vacation! I highly suggest picking up a waterproof phone case as one of the must have cruise accessories.
Universal Waterproof Case (from $9.99 on Amazon)
3. Portable Charger
For those planning on spending a TON of time in your cruise ports, you may want to invest in a quality portable charger. Alternatively, if you love taking pictures on your phone and do not want to spend your time by an outlet constantly recharging your phone, as one of the top cruise accessories, a portable charger is for you!
Finally, if you would like to use your phone as your alarm clock and would like your phone by you while you sleep, you should definitely pack a portable charger. Most cruise staterooms have very few outlets and more than likely do not offer very many near your bed. Make sure to bring a portable charger, one of the top cruise accessories, for your next cruise!
20000 mAh Portable Charger (from $27.99 on Amazon)
4. Durable Phone Cords
Another one of the essential cruise accessories is durable phone cords. Make sure to invest in a couple good quality cords before your cruise to prevent any unnecessary inconveniences. Cruise lines will charge obscurely high prices for common goods such as charging cords and sunscreen as they know guests will be left hopelessly in need of them while in the middle of the ocean.
Therefore, you should definitely do some research into some good quality charging cords for your specific phone. I use the ones shown here for my iPhone, and have not had any problems with them yet!
High Quality iPhone Chargers (from $9.99 on Amazon)
5. Waterproof Camera
This next cruise necessity is not quite essential, but can allow you to capture some of the best photos of your cruise during your vacation. As one of the top cruise accessories, a waterproof can be a worthwhile investment if you have any water-related shore excursions.
Whether snorkeling at Key West or swimming with wildlife at Stingray City, Grand Cayman, a waterproof camera will capture those once-in-a-lifetime moments to carry with you forever!
Waterproof Digital Camera (from $76.98 on Amazon)
6. Cruise Night Light
If you are booked in an inside cabin on your cruise, you may want to consider bringing a night light. As one of the top cruise accessories, a night light can provide you with just enough light to allow you to move around your cabin at night. A small, portable light is the best option to bring on a cruise.
Make sure to opt for the battery operated variety to ensure the longevity of operation. There are plenty of motion-activated lights on the market for avid cruisers to bring with on their cruises as well.
Night Light Motion Sensor (from $13.99 on Amazon)
Cruise Pool Accessories
1. Towel Chair Clips
My favorite pool related cruise accessory is a good set of towel chair clips. The pool deck can become pretty crowded, and you will want to reserve your party's chairs with your towels and chair clips. Plus, the top deck can be quite windy-- prevent your towels from falling to the ground with these affordable towel chair clips.
As one of the top must have cruise accessories, these cruise chair clips will save you from minor annoyances that can quickly add up on your cruising vacation. Plus, you can easily add these clips to your port bag to use at any beaches you visit during your adventures on shore.
Quality Towel Chair Clips (from $5.99 on Amazon)
The next one of the must have cruise accessories is a compact, quality pair of binoculars. This cruise necessity is especially important if you are cruising to any more scenic destinations like Alaska, New Zealand, or South America. However, I tend to pack a set of binoculars and throw them in my collapsible tote bag when heading to the pool deck on any cruise!
You will be surprised by how many times you find yourself running to the edge of the ship, searching frantically for the whale everyone was talking about or a group of dolphins in the distance. A compact set of binoculars won't take up much room in your luggage, and will more than likely come in handy during your exhilarating cruise adventure!
Occer Compact Binoculars (from $35.99 on Amazon)
3. Snorkel Gear
Another great one of the top cruise accessories is a reliable set of snorkeling gear. While many destinations and ports will offer snorkel gear to you, there is typically a fee you will have to pay (they also are not usually good quality). To fully enjoy and take in your underwater vacation, I highly suggest investing in an affordable, yet reliable, set of snorkeling gear.
This way, you can see all the colorful fish in the Caribbean or explore other underwater wonders without have water filling up your snorkel mask or filling your breathing tube. A good set of snorkeling gear will not take up much room in your luggage and can come in handy during your time in port.
Adult Snorkel Set (from $29.49 on Amazon)
While this may seem like a no-brainer to you, I can not tell you how many times I have forgotten to pack sunscreen when going on vacation! Make sure to double check that you packed your favorite sunscreen before leaving on your cruising adventure.
As one of the top cruise accessories, cruise lines will significantly increase the cost of this good onboard as they know passengers tend to forget it at home. Therefore, stop at a convenience store or order some sunscreen on Amazon before you leave on your cruise vacation.
Sun Bum Sunscreen (from $13.49 on Amazon)
5. Towel Bands
As an alternative to the towel chair clips mentioned above, a cruising genius has invented a seemingly better way to secure your pool towels to your chair. While chair clips are great if you are spending an hour or so at the pool or beach, towel bands are meant to last the full day on the pool deck, reserving your chair the entire time!
These towel bands are one of the must have cruise accessories for their incredible resistance against the wind. Towel bands may end up saving you more valuable space in your luggage and collapsible tote bag as well!
4-Pack of Towel Bands (from $9.99 on Amazon)
As one of the top pool cruise accessories, sandals are an absolute must! One of the biggest draws to the cruising experience is the laidback atmosphere laying out around the pool. No one likes taking off (and don't even get me started on putting on!) socks and sneakers before heading into the pool.
Therefore, you should definitely not forget to pack your favorite pair of comfortable yet stylish sandals for your time on the seas. I guarantee you will not regret packing a pair of sandals that will not take up much room in your limited suitcase storage!
Steve Madden Kimmie Sandals (from $33.63 on Amazon)
Other Cruise Necessities
1. Reusable Water Bottle
While many cruisers know that water is completely free onboard cruise ships (well, included in your fare), some do not realize that this does not include water bottles. Therefore, I highly recommend packing a reliable and insulated reusable water bottle to use during your time on and offboard!
While you may not be able to fill your water bottle directly from the buffet water fountain (hygiene issues), you can easily transfer water from one of the provided cups or ask a bartender to kindly fill up your water bottle onboard. This way, you can stay hydrated and happy during your fantastic cruise with one of the must have cruise accessories.
Hydro Flask Water Bottle (from $20.97 on Amazon)
2. Cruise Tumbler
If you prefer to drink your alcoholic (or non-alcoholic) beverages in your own container, I highly recommend investing in a nice tumbler to bring along! While you are allowed to bring your drinks wherever you want on a cruise, I like using a tumbler as one of the top cruise accessories.
This way, if I am dancing at the night club or leave my group for a while, I will know exactly which drink is mine without a doubt! Plus, this one shown in the picture (the one I personally use) is insulated and will allow your beverage to stay cool for ALOT longer!
Simple Modern Classic Tumbler (from $22.30 on Amazon)
3. Cruise Door Decorations
This next one of the must have cruise accessories is not technically essential, but can make your cruising adventure more fun and youthful! Avid cruisers know that when you walk down the long hallways of the family-friendly cruise ships, you will notice miraculously decorated doors.
If you are cruising with kids or a big group, it may be a great idea to search Etsy or Amazon for funny or cute magnetic door decorations to fully personalize your cruising adventure!
Sea Life Magnet Set (from $9.99 on Amazon)
4. Day Backpack
If you are looking to go the more traditional backpack route while in port, you should make sure to bring one with ample storage, solid construction, and made from a waterproof material. Depending on the port I am visiting, I will sometimes bring my North Face backpack, equipped with everything I could ever need!
If you have a lightweight day backpack already at home, I highly suggest bringing that along on your cruising adventure. As one of the must have cruise accessories, a backpack can provide security and comfort during your ultimate cruise vacation.
North Face Borealis Backpack (from $88.95 on Amazon)
No one likes a stinky bathroom, but do you know what's worse? A stinky bathroom in a small cruise cabin! On my last cruise, my cousin decided to bring some Poo-Pourri along, and all four of us within our cabin could not have been more thankful!
You will be going in to various foreign ports and eating delicious foods-- potentially some that you have never tried before. That, paired with the increased amount of food you are guaranteed to indulge on in the cruise buffet, will more than likely mean more trips to the restroom! Come prepared with some Poo-Pourri, one of the must have cruise accessories, to cover up the stink and continue enjoying your cruise vacation.
Poo-Pourri Before You Go Spray (from $23.85 on Amazon)
6. Portable Fan
The next one of the must have cruise accessories in a battery-operated portable fan. It is fairly difficult to regulate the temperature and air flow in most cruise cabins, so it is best to come prepared with a compact fan to make your cruising experience far more enjoyable and comfortable.
Bringing along a small, battery-operated fan is also great for anyone who prefers to sleep with white noise. Ultimately, a portable fan will potentially allow you to fall asleep quicker to wake up the next day, and have a blast whether in port or enjoying a day at sea.
Battery-Powered Portable Fan (from $12.13 on Amazon)
7. Playing Cards
You would be surprised by how often I have either wanted to play cards with my family onboard cruise ships or have whipped out a deck to practice my favorite card games during my vacation. This convenient and compact entertainment option is one of the best must have cruise accessories that you should pack if you are an avid card player like me!
You will more than likely notice plenty of card playing opportunities on your ship's daily activity bulletin. What better way to meet other eager cruisers that enjoy a game of cards over coffee and a great conversation about your cruise experience?
Bicycle 2-Pack Playing Cards (from $6.97 on Amazon)
8. Cruise Journal
If you are like me, you want to remember and cherish every second of your cruise. Unfortunately, I tend to forget many of the amazing memories I make and people I meet on cruise ships practically every time! Recently, I have begun writing down my experiences daily on cruises through a journal, one of the top must have cruise accessories.
Since then, I have been able to go back in time and dream of the days of sailing through the Panama Canal, having the time of my life singing karaoke, and meeting fascinating and unique people from around the world-- all thanks to the journal entries I created every morning onboard my cruising adventure.
Moleskin Classic Notebook (from $15.99 on Amazon)