Knowing what to pack for a cruise can be a challenge, we get it. Whether you’re a seasoned cruiser or hitting the ocean waves for the first time, packing that all-important suitcase can seem like a real challenge.

But don’t worry, help is at hand! Having collectively spent more than 16,000 days at sea here at Bolsover Cruise Club, we’re pretty confident we know a thing or two about what to pack for a cruise.

Here are our top tips to help ensure your cruise packing goes swimmingly.

Pack like you’re holidaying on land…

Don’t get too stressed out over the thought of being on a cruise – pack like you would if you were going on a land-based holiday. OK, so this might seem obvious, but on a cruise you’re going to be moving between destinations (and possibly even climates, depending on the length of your holiday) on an almost daily basis.

The best piece of advice we can offer is to research your destinations. It might sound boring, but you don’t want to disembark at a port only to find its temperature plummets during certain times of the year, and all you’ve packed is shorts and flip-flops!

…but treat your ship like its own destination

The best way to approach packing for a cruise is to treat your ship as a destination in its own right. This might sound a bit odd, but bear with us. Depending on who you’re cruising with, each cruise line and ship will have its own dress code. Whether that’s the Gala Evenings on board P&O Cruises ships, or the ultra-laid back Virgin Voyages, there will be some level of expectation as to what you should wear.

Familiarise yourself with onboard dress codes before you decide what to pack for your cruise and the rest will be a breeze. After all, you don’t want to miss out on anything simply because you didn’t pack the right clothing!

Accessorise accordingly

There’s no understating the importance of accessories on a cruise holiday. While you’ll likely spend your time on board with little more than a key card in your pocket (or a Medallion device if you’re on a super swanky Princess Cruises MedallionClass® ship), this won’t be the case once you step into port.

A small rucksack is a great idea for taking ashore. If you’re mooching around the ship, a tote or a beach bag might be a better bet, perfect for carrying those select few items like your sunglasses, sun cream and that novel you’ve been meaning to read for the past six months.

We’d argue that one of the most important things to take on a cruise is a watch. There’s every chance you will switch between different time zones throughout your journey, and a watch is the most reliable way to know exactly what time it is! Most phones will adjust accordingly, but you can’t always rely on them to do so. If you do move into a new time zone, this will be made known throughout the ship, both over the announcement system and usually through a note left in your stateroom.

Don’t forget your tech

Love it or loath it, technology plays a key part in our everyday lives – and cruising is no different. Although you might be tempted to take a holiday from your phone while you’re away, it might not be the wisest idea. Many cruise lines have apps you can make use of while on board, where you can book seats for watching the entertainment, reserve yourself a spa treatment or simply send instant messages to other people in your party.

If you’re heading out for a day in port then a power bank could be a wise investment to prevent your phone from running out of charge. On that note, also make sure you pack whatever charging cables you need for all your gadgets and gizmos!

Money matters

We might have largely made a shift towards a cashless society, but this isn’t going to be the case everywhere you visit. Relying on your credit card for those in-port purchases may serve you well in some places, but in others, cash is king.

Taking a small amount of local currency for each port is a good idea. In our experience, a lot of places will accept US dollars, regardless of which country they are in. If you want to avoid being left with a selection of random coins when you return home, the best tip we can offer is to take US dollars and convert them as you go if they won’t accept them as they are.

It’s also a wise idea to wear a money belt while you’re out and about. Not only will this keep your cash out of sight, but it’ll also free up your hands.

Practical packing for your cruise

A few other items are worth considering when deciding what to pack for a cruise. Long-sleeved tops and cover-ups are a must if you are visiting any religious sites; from Thai temples to the Vatican, certain locations will expect you to cover your shoulders and knees when you visit.

Even when you’re visiting warm destinations such as on a Caribbean, it can get chilly once night falls. Having a lightweight jacket or sweater to hand will help keep the coolness at bay and be easy to throw on if the temperature does drop.

Comfortable footwear is also crucial when you’re cruising. Whether you’re wandering around the ship on a sea day or pounding the streets of your latest port, comfort wins the day. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of opportunities to don your favourite pair of smart shoes in the evening.

What items would you add to our list of what to pack for a cruise? Let us know in the comments below.