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Packing for an around the world cruise? Here’s what you need to know

Author: Laura Ellsessar

Published on:

Updated on:

Packing for an around the world cruise should be stress-free as you get ready to depart on your adventure. Discover tips on what to bring along and what to leave behind.

Packing for an around the world cruise can initially seem daunting. A world cruise offers a once in a lifetime experience by extending over a long period of time, usually around three to four months, and including a vast number of ports to explore.

With the extended length, you’ll need an array of clothing for your world cruise and have lots of travel documents to organize and bring along.

Annie and Dave Butwell are a couple with an incredible amount of knowledge on packing for an around the world cruise. They’re big fans of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, having cruised over 1,000 nights with them with over 250 more still to come over the next three years.

We spoke to the veteran travellers as well as major cruise lines to rustle up the best advice to share with our readers.

A packing list for a world cruise can help you to feel prepared for your holiday, so here are some tips on what to get in order and pack for your next world cruise.

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General travel essentials

When packing for an around the world cruise, one of the most important things to remember is your essentials for travelling to foreign countries such as your passport and credit cards.

Oceania Cruises advises you to contact your credit card and phone companies to alert them that you will be travelling for an extended period of time through multiple countries. This will avoid any stress of cancelled credit cards or lost phone service.

Also, make sure to look into the guidelines of your specific world cruise to double-check if there are any visa requirements for your trip. Keeping an extra copy of any important documents is also a great idea on what to pack for world cruises in case an original is lost.

- READ MORE: Best world cruises from adventure & culture to budget & luxury -

The Butwells recommend packing for your world cruise in soft luggage as opposed to hard luggage. These bags can be flattened to fit under beds or are flexible enough to use to store random things around your room and take up less overall space.

MSC Cruises suggests that you don’t forget to pack a journal for your cruise holiday to document your adventures as they happen – although an electronic diary can be a good idea to save space. A camera with any necessary batteries or memory cards is a must for your trip as well.

Prepare well for your world cruise and you'll be relaxing stress-free as you sail around the globe. Credit: Shutterstock

Day clothes

For your trip around the world, it’s important to plan ahead on what clothing to pack for both your days at sea and on excursions. Simple tops and bottoms will allow you to mix and match without feeling like you’ve worn the same outfit over and over. Lightweight clothing is also a great option so you’ll never be too warm, but can layer if the weather gets chilly.

MSC Cruises advises women to bring along a scarf or shawl to cover their shoulders and arms should they attend any sacred places and need to cover up.

Sunglasses and sun hats were also recommended by the Butwells to add to your packing list for the good weather you’ll encounter both on shore and as you lounge by the pool onboard.

- READ MORE: MSC Cruises reveals two ships will sail World Cruise 2023 -

The couple also noted that those leaving Southampton should have options for warmer clothes, which will be needed for a day or two after leaving port and a couple of days as you return.

The cruising duo take around 21 days’ worth of daytime clothes which they split into weeks and pack into separate bags which can be stored underneath their bed and taken out as needed.

Pack a couple of swimsuits and coverups for your world cruise to be able to take a dip in the pool or a swim in the ocean. The Butwells also bring their own snorkel gear and reef shoes. Be sure to pack whatever you’ll need to take part in your favourite activities!

Get excited for your upcoming holiday as you plan and pack! Credit: Shutterstock

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Night clothes and miscellaneous items

When thinking of what to pack for a world cruise, it’s important to remember that there may also be some nicer dining options onboard where you’ll want to dress a bit nicer than normal.

Oceania Cruises recommends having a couple of snazzy skirts or dress options for women and smart shirts and trousers for men that gives options for more formal evenings out and can still be mixed and matched to wear many times.

- READ MORE: Top 16 destinations to visit in 2022 and how to cruise there -

While packing for an around the world cruise, don’t forget to bring along good shoes both for day and night, including walking shoes and dress shoes. The Butwells recommend you don’t bother bringing along new shoes which will need to be broken in as the blisters will ruin a lot of the experience.

Packing cubes can help even the most disorganized travellers gain some structure by keeping things grouped together within their suitcases. They’ll also be able to store your clothing in your cabin or can just be tucked into your suitcase and take up little to no space.

With all of your preparation you'll be able to really soak in every destination. Credit: Shutterstock


One of the most important things to remember before your trip is to refill and pack any prescriptions you will need for your time abroad.

The Butwells also suggest you pack your favourite toiletries as you may not have access to everything while in foreign countries and continents. Taking enough for your entire cruise will avoid the need for tracking down toiletries during your time on excursions.

- READ MORE: USA, Australia and beyond – Fred. Olsen’s World Cruise 2024 -

If your bathroom doesn’t have much storage space, there should be room beneath the sink to store all your toiletries and medications.

A small first aid kit with plasters should also be packed to have on hand in the case of any small cuts while on your world cruise.

Use these tips to create your own packing list before you embark on your next world cruise! Credit: Shutterstock

Tips for life onboard

Pondering what to pack for a world cruise can be difficult but planning ahead can help keep your stress levels down. MSC Cruises recommends purchasing a laundry package that will save you money and calm any fears about running out of clean clothes.

If you’re a reader, Oceania Cruises suggests packing a Kindle or e-reader to save space while still indulging in a favourite hobby. Although do remember most ships have libraries onboard, too. Some passengers may also want to bring their laptop to transfer photos to while on their trip and to watch their favourite shows on the cruise Wi-Fi.

- READ MORE: Princess Cruises announces 2024 World Cruise to 51 destinations -

Don’t forget to bring any convertors needed to plug in your phone and laptop chargers! The Butwells also recommend a socket extension for your cabin as you’ll find yourself needing more than what the room holds.

When visiting so many different countries on your world cruise, consider bringing along a pair of binoculars to get an up-close look at the wildlife.

Use these tips to create your own personalized packing list for your world cruise and you’ll be calm and organized as you depart on your adventure around the globe!

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