5 Must-Haves For Your Next Family Cruise

5 Must-Haves For Your Next Family Cruise

Last Updated on May 26, 2022

A family cruise can be one of the most fun vacations you can take with your little ones. Whether you’re traveling across the Atlantic or the Pacific, there are some essentials that you will want to bring along to ensure the trip goes smoothly and everyone has an awesome time. Before you pack your suitcases, be sure to check out this list of five must-haves for your next family cruise!

Family swimsuits

No cruise is complete without that photo of you and your family in coordinating swimsuits. And we’re here to help you make it happen. Whether you opt for a goofy family coverup or something stylish for mom and dad, remember that comfort is key. To accommodate all body types, think about getting one such as a Lands End plus size bathing suits with adjustable straps and cutouts in strategic places (like under tummies and behind hips).

Always take into account how much time you’ll spend at sea — if it’s going to be hot all week, then minimal coverage might not be such a bad idea after all. For dad, it’s all about swim trunks and swim shirts, as is for his junior. Whatever their styles are, be sure to pick out pieces with rash guards or SPF.

For your little princess, pick out a floral coverup or pretty two-piece with a skirt and top such as these swimsuits for little girls. Many cruise lines also offer swimwear for babies and toddlers. If you’re bringing your little one on board, you’ll want to pack a few extra items in your carry-on.

Here are some must-have items for kids — swim diapers (to keep poop from getting in the pool), rash guards (for sun protection), bathing suits (two per day), and flip flops or water shoes (to protect feet from hot decks).

Toys and games

Playing is something kids just love to do—and it’s good for them, too. Many cruise lines offer activities for kids to do but sometimes you just want to spend time together as a family. For moments when you want to hang out in your cabin, having familiar toys from home can help your little ones at times when they feel homesick. Boards games or a deck of cards also allow to include the whole family.


Bring some tech to keep your kids (and yourself) busy on a long trip. A few favorite picks: Nintendo Switch and iPads are not only great for keeping kids occupied, but can be a lifesaver when it comes to calming children down or even sleeping.

If you’re bringing preschoolers or babies with you, however, know that they probably won’t make much use of electronics—keep their entertainment needs simple by packing books and toys for them instead.

And don’t forget about cell phones—download apps before you go so everyone has something to play with as soon as you get off the boat. Remember that some areas may not have a strong signal, although your cruise line will have wifi nevertheless, be sure that you download everything you need.


Pack healthy, easy-to-grab snacks for your kids when you’re going on a family cruise. It may be tempting to grab sweets or sugary beverages onboard, but these treats are high in sugar and low in nutrition. Instead, pack healthful snacks like nuts or dried fruit so that your kids have plenty of energy to enjoy their time at sea. Similar to toys, having their favorite snacks on hand can help the homesick blues stay at bay.

Easy-to-carry traveling systems

A lightweight baby stroller and baby carrier can make all the difference in the world if traveling with an infant. There are several different brands of strollers available on today’s market, but there is no denying that some travel systems are better than others.

First things first: if you intend to go on board with your stroller, make sure it will be easy to store when not in use. Also, call ahead or look up their stroller rules online to be sure that there aren’t any restrictions. Many parents consider family cruises a great way to get some time off with their kids.

As fun as they can be, however, packing for one can feel overwhelming. Preparing kids for a family cruise and packing for your toddler are both essential parts of planning that shouldn’t be overlooked. Ensure everyone has their must-have items and double-check your list before you set sail.

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