The Ultimate Cruise Pack and Prep List

Having only been on a cruise once before (and admittedly my mother had organised everything for me), trying to figure out everything that needed to be done prior to departure was a little daunting, and I found myself worrying that there was something I’d missed! I’ve compiled all of the things we needed to prepare in advance, everything I packed, and some other tips and tricks for organising a cruise!

As a side note, we cruised with TUI Marella on the Discovery 2, but having been with P&O before it was a pretty similar experience in terms of preparation.

Paperwork and pre-departure prep

I’m going to start off with one of the things that is a must on cruises that you may not have considered booking for other holiday types – insurance! Unfortunately this isn’t a case of ‘it’s advisable to have’, both P&O and TUI require proof of cruise cover when boarding. Do note that this is cruise specific cover and cannot just be your usual travel insurance.

For our cruise, we actually needed to take a covid test (just an at home lateral flow test with a fit to fly certificate) despite none of the countries on the itinerary requiring it. Frustratingly, TUI required it for all cruises up until July 31st, and our cruise set sail on the 30th!

Our confirmation email provided proof of booking and had to be printed to use as a sort of ‘ticket’, and due to flying to Mallorca to embark, we also had to submit API (advanced passenger information) a few weeks before online check in for our flights. This isn’t something I have done in a while, however, I also haven’t flown with TUI before.

On TUI’s cruise control, you can also find your printable luggage tags – P&O mailed these to us alongside some sort of brochure but this wasn’t the case with TUI (which I’ll admit was a little disappointing as I found that to be part of the excitement leading up last time!)

We also had to fill out extra information on the cruise control in advance and fill in a pre-departure covid survey, as well as bringing proof of vaccination status.


A very rare occasion for us as budget travellers – we have 20kg hold luggage, woo hoo! I’ve previously had to be very selective about what I pack so I certainly enjoyed packing all the extras that I probably could go without but for once didn’t have to!

Since around the time of our cruise Heathrow was having all kinds of issues and I kept hearing lost luggage stories, I bought Apple AirTags for our luggage to keep track of them.

Here was my packing list that I had made for myself:

Cabin bag

  • Passports
  • Covid vaccination letter
  • Euros
  • Covid test certificate
  • Magazines
  • Headphones
  • Hand sanitizer
  • FFP2 masks
  • Proof of insurance
  • Confirmation email from TUI
  • Sunglasses
  • Phone charger
  • Camera bag
  • Empty water bottle
  • Pen and paper
  • Ibuprofen
  • Book


  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Shower gel
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Make up
  • Skin care
  • Razor
  • Dry shampoo
  • Sun cream
  • After sun
  • Hairbrush
  • Hair bands

Electronics etc.

  • Hair curlers
  • Portable phone charger
  • Tripod
  • Plug adapter
  • Travel clothes steamer
  • SD card adapter
  • Tripod adapter for phone


  • T Shirts
  • Shorts
  • Skirts
  • Dresses
  • Baseball cap
  • Sandals
  • Trainers
  • Sliders
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Pyjamas
  • Side bag
  • Swimwear
  • Belt

If you found this helpful, check out some of my other cruise related blog posts!

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