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The 19 Best Cruise Accessories You Need to Pack in 2024

The 19 Best Cruise Accessories You Need to Pack in 2024

Looking for cruise accessories to make your upcoming vacation even better? Do you feel like you’re not quite prepared for your cruise, or do you want to be more organized?

I’ve got you covered with all of the must-haves for a cruise, along with some extras to make your vacation at sea the best ever.

Or maybe you know an avid cruiser, or someone who’s going on their very first cruise? Any of these cruise accessories make great gifts!

I’ve organized all of the best cruise accessories based on where you’ll use them—around the ship, in your stateroom, for packing and organizing, and for shore excursions. Keep an eye out for the pink SBC star next to my very favorite cruise accessories I know you’ll love!

Should Be Cruising Pink Star

The SBC star denotes must-have cruise accessories. These are things I would never cruise without!

Disclaimer: I may receive a small commission when you make a purchase from a link on this site, at no added charge to you. For more info, please read my Disclosure Policy.

Cruise accessories for around the ship

Should Be Cruising Pink Star

Cruise card lanyard

On lots of cruise lines, your cruise card is used as your stateroom key as well as your payment method on board, so it definitely gets a lot of use! To have easy access to your cruise card (and to make it less likely to be misplaced), a cruise card lanyard is a must-have accessory.

There are several types of lanyards available, but I prefer the kind with a quick-release clip so I don’t have to pull the entire lanyard over my head when handing the cruise card to a staff member.

I also prefer clipping the lanyard directly to the cruise card. (Guest Services on most cruise lines can punch a hole in your card to attach the lanyard clip.) Sometimes crew members need to swipe the card, and it’s easier to access compared to taking your card in and out of the plastic pouch that comes with many lanyards.

These lanyards allow you to choose to use the waterproof pouch to hold your card or use the clip. It’s a good option if you’re not sure which method you’ll like better.

Tip: Norwegian Cruise Line will no longer punch a hole in your cruise card to attach a lanyard clip. Due to their RFID chip technology, NCL cruisers now need to use a pouch-style lanyard. Buy one before your cruise to avoid paying inflated prices on board!

Beach towel clips

Sick of your towels not staying put on windy days? These beach towel clips will secure your towel to your lounger. If you have any beach excursions planned while in port, these are perfect to take along if you’ll have access to loungers or beach chairs.

Tip: Your beach towel clips can do double-duty to hang wet swimsuits from the clothesline in your stateroom bathroom.

Cruise accessories for your stateroom

Should Be Cruising Pink Star

Power strip with USB

If there’s only one cruise accessory that you purchase for your trip, it should be a power strip. There are never enough outlets in the stateroom to charge all of our phones and other electronics. Most cruise cabins have only one or two outlets for the entire room!

If you bring a power block or power strip, be sure that it’s not surge-protecting or it will be confiscated. Ships use an ungrounded electrical system. The surge protection that is a safety measure for your home electronics is actually a fire hazard on ships.

(Note that some cruise lines including Disney prohibit all power strips. Some, like Royal Caribbean, prohibit extension cords. Check your cruise line’s list of prohibited items before taking any power strip on board)

Magnetic hooks

Did you know that cruise ship walls contain metal? Strong magnetic hooks are perfect for hanging hats and bags on the wall so they don’t clutter your limited counter space.

They can also be used to hang tickets and itineraries on the wall. I use a mixture of magnetic hooks and magnetic clips to organize all of that essential clutter.

Be sure that you purchase heavy-duty strong magnets such as these. A regular refrigerator magnet probably won’t be strong enough to stick to your stateroom wall.

Over-the-door organizer

Space is extremely limited in cruise staterooms! An over-the-door organizer is great for holding all of those smaller items while still keeping them visible. We use ours for toiletries and hair care items that would normally be cluttering the counters.

Be sure that your organizer is flame-retardant (like the one below). Cruise lines may confiscate organizers that aren’t flame retardant. (Don’t discard the organizer’s packaging in case your steward asks for proof.)

The organizer can be hung over the outside of your bathroom door with the included hooks.

Tip: If you use the magnetic hooks listed above, you can also hang your over-the-door organizer on the wall.

(Note that some cruise lines including Disney prohibit all over-the-door organizers. Check your cruise line’s list of prohibited items before taking an over-the-door organizer on board.)

Should Be Cruising Pink Star


There isn’t much ventilation in cruise ship bathrooms. To prevent odors from stinking up your entire cabin, a few spritzes of Poo-Pourri on the water in the toilet bowl works wonders.

The natural formula includes essential oils, and the non-aerosol spray is environmentally safe. This magic liquid doesn’t just mask odors, it seals them in the water before they have a chance to reach the air!

I prefer the Original Citrus scent of lemon, bergamot, and lemongrass, but there are now several other varieties available including Lavender Peppermint and Tropical Hibiscus.

Battery-operated night light

Especially if you have an inside stateroom, it will be very dark inside your cabin. A battery-operated night light is a must for nighttime trips to the bathroom. Any night owls in your group can return to the room and safely make it back to bed without having to turn on the main lighting.

This model has a motion sensor mode, as well as on and off settings, so it won’t waste battery power.

Pop-up laundry basket

Are you planning to pack light and wash some of your clothing during your cruise? Many cruise ships have laundry service or self-service laundry rooms. This pop-up laundry basket fits easily in your suitcase (it folds down to an eight-inch circle) and can hold a full load of laundry!

We put ours in the closet, and it makes a huge difference in the neatness of our stateroom.

This laundry basket has handles and a pouch for detergent and fabric softener, so it’s easy to carry to the laundry room.

You may also like: Nine Pre-Embarkation Day Questions for New Cruisers

Cruise Accessories for packing and luggage

Packing cubes

When I first heard about packing cubes I was honestly baffled. Why would I need to put bags inside of my bags?

Not only do packing cubes help organize your suitcase by keeping like items with like, but they also allow you to fit more inside! They lightly compress clothing so it takes up less space.

When you’re unpacking your suitcase, the packing cubes can be placed directly in dresser drawers or on the shelves in your stateroom closet. The mesh panels make it easy to see what’s in each cube.

Try a set, and you’ll become a packing cube convert as well!

Should Be Cruising Pink Star

Waterproof luggage tag holders

Before you leave for your cruise, you’ll need to print out a luggage tag for each item you’ll be checking in at the port. The paper tag is folded, looped around your bag’s handle, and stapled to itself.

To prevent the paper tags from being ripped off, these waterproof luggage tag holders are great. Plus they look a lot nicer than stapled paper!

You simply fold your paper tags as usual, then fold them in half and slip them inside the waterproof sleeves. The sleeves securely attach to your luggage with the included stainless steel loops.

Your checked luggage will be held with thousands of other bags until the ship’s staff delivers it to your stateroom using the information on your paper tag. Eliminate delivery delays caused by missing or damaged tags by protecting them in these inexpensive holders.

Be sure to choose the correct size luggage tag holder for your cruise line. The ones above are the proper size for Princess, Carnival, Costa, Holland America, P&O, and Norwegian. Royal Caribbean and Celebrity have different size tags.

Cruise accessories for shore excursions

Mini travel safe

On embarkation day, before your stateroom is ready, you’ll likely be carrying cash, cards, electronics, and other valuables. How do you protect these items if you want to take a dip in the pool or hot tub?

These small travel safes are quickly becoming a favorite for cruise travelers. Just place your valuables in your travel safe and secure the safe to your deck chair or lounger.

Travel safes are also perfect for beach excursions. Thieves know that you’ll likely put your valuables under your towel or pile of clothing. Deter theft by attaching your travel safe to your beach chair, umbrella, or even a fence.

The safe locks with a custom three-digit combination or a key, and the locking loop is a heavy-duty flexible steel cable.

Anti-theft travel bag

Pickpockets commonly operate in cities frequented by tourists, and they have sneaky techniques to liberate you from your money and property!

Prevent thieves from having easy access to your cash, cards, and identification with an anti-theft travel bag featuring locking clips, an RFID-blocking pocket, and anti-slash straps.

This secure bag is perfect for city shore excursions, and it also makes a great airplane carry on and cruise embarkation day bag!

What do you need to put in your carry on bag? I share exactly what you need to put in your carry on for embarkation day, plus I’ll give you a free carry on packing list!

Tip: Use your travel safe’s locking loop to attach your anti-theft travel bag to your lounger at the pool or beach.

Money belt

If you’re not carrying much ashore, a money belt is a good option for keeping your cash, cards, and ID safe and secure.

An RFID-blocking money belt keeps your valuables safe from pickpockets and deters RFID skimming of credit cards and IDs.

There’s also enough room to hold your smartphone, another item commonly targeted by thieves.

Tip: Keep a small amount of cash handy in another pocket or wallet for small purchases. Only access your money belt in a secure location, never on the street.

Collapsible water bottle

Don’t chance getting sick from drinking tap water in port! Single-use water bottles are pricey both on board the ship as well as in port. They’re also not the most environmentally-friendly option. The ship’s tap water is safe to drink, so just fill collapsible water bottles before heading to shore.

These water bottles are made from food-grade silicone and roll down to a tiny size, perfect for tucking in a bag.

The attached carabiner can be used to secure the bottles to the outside of a backpack on shore excursions.

You may also like: How to Avoid Getting Sick on a Cruise

Full-face snorkel mask

Do you have a snorkeling excursion booked? Most tour companies will provide basic snorkel gear, but you’re usually welcome to bring your own.

You’ll be glad you did! Snorkeling with a full-face snorkel mask is a vastly better experience than using a traditional mask and snorkel.

The larger, convex lens allows a much broader field of vision. The snorkel itself is attached to the mask (it can be removed for storage), so no fiddling and adjusting are necessary.

The best part is that the full-face mask allows you to breathe normally. Your nose and mouth are in a sealed chamber, so you can breathe naturally through your nose. Plus, you don’t have to hold a potentially germy snorkel in your mouth!

The mask also has a GoPro camera mount on the top, so you can capture all of your snorkeling adventures, hands-free.

We love our full-face snorkel masks so much that I wrote an entire post about them: Why You Need a Full Face Snorkel Mask for Your Next Cruise

Packable rain jacket

Is rain in the forecast? You could pack a cheap poncho, but these hooded packable rain jackets fold into their own pocket and take up so little space. Every member of my family owns one of these (they come in lots of colors for both men and women). They look so much better than a plastic poncho, and the material is breathable and fully waterproof.

Packable backpack

Like the rain jacket above, this packable backpack also folds into its own pocket and can be easily tucked inside even the most over-packed suitcase!

These lightweight backpacks are perfect for active shore excursions where a tote bag would be too cumbersome to manage. The 30-liter size is perfect for holding a beach towel, change of clothes, sunscreen, and other necessities for the day.

Packable shopping bags

I’ve been using these Baggu packable shopping bags for well over a decade, and I absolutely love them. They come with a matching pouch to fold them into, so they don’t take up much space in our suitcases.

I use them to separate my shoes from everything else in my suitcase, as well as any dirty laundry that I’m taking back home with me.

They wash and dry well, and the ripstop nylon material can hold up to 50 pounds! They’re ideal for carrying your in-port shopping. When you’re not cruising, they make perfect reusable grocery bags.

You may also like: Eight Things That Will Surprise New Cruisers

Should Be Cruising Pink Star

Power Bank

We use our smartphones for so many functions, so it’s important to keep them charged. On long shore excursions, we use our phones to take photos and videos, as well as to check our messages and emails when we find free WiFi!

If a shore excursion involves a lengthy coach ride, it’s nice to be able to read an ebook or play a game on your phone or tablet.

It’s no wonder these devices use battery power quickly when we don’t have access to an electrical outlet!

A small but powerful power bank is a necessity to make sure your devices stay charged during long days in port.

This highly-rated model is compact at just under four inches long and will charge phones, tablets, or almost any other small electronic device that uses a USB cord (just don’t forget to take your charger cord with you).

Looking for more cruise accessory ideas for yourself or for a gift? Check out my Ultimate Cruise Gift Ideas for All Budgets and Best Cruise Ship Games to Pack for Adults and Kids

Have you used any of these accessories on a cruise? What did you think? Do you have any other must-have cruise accessories? Let me know in the comments below!

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Carrie Ann Karstunen


Wednesday 1st of December 2021

I like the idea of the magnetic hooks and the lanyard. My daughter lost her key TWICE the last time we cruised.

Carrie Ann

Thursday 2nd of December 2021

Hi Jolayne, I think your daughter needs a lanyard! :D I guarantee I'd also be constantly losing my cruise card if I didn't have it right around my neck. Standing in a long line at Guest Services to get a new card is no fun!


Wednesday 1st of December 2021

I always struggle with snorkelling and having water come in my mask. Maybe those full face ones would help me!

Carrie Ann

Thursday 2nd of December 2021

Hi Nina, my full-face snorkel mask is one of my favorite cruise accessories! The strap design really helps keep water from coming in your mask, and it doesn't rip your hair like the rubber straps do. I bet you'll love it!


Wednesday 1st of December 2021

These accessories are must haves for cruises but definitely useful on all kinds of trips. I love the idea of an over the door organizer and a power bank is always a good reminder!

Carrie Ann

Thursday 2nd of December 2021

Hi Chelsea, you're right - so many of these cruise accessories are useful for all kinds of travel. My power bank has saved me so many times, since I use my phone for everything when I travel!


Wednesday 1st of December 2021

This is a great list! I've never thought about the beach towel clips. Great idea!

Carrie Ann

Thursday 2nd of December 2021

Hi Yanitza, Thanks for reading! Towel clips are something I always take along on my cruises and days at the beach :)


Wednesday 1st of December 2021

How have I not owned towel clips before? That would be useful in so many situations!

Carrie Ann

Thursday 2nd of December 2021

Hi Megan, I love my towel clips! They're great for the windy Lido deck and at the beach. I also use them to hang wet bathing suits to drip dry in the bathroom, and to pinch curtains closed to keep the sun out when I sleep in! They're so versatile and inexpensive :)