Cruise packing tips: 5 everyday items you’re forbidden to take on a cruise ‘Huge no-no!’

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While it is important to make yourself feel at home on board a giant and sometimes overwhelming vessel, there are a few items you are not allowed to take on a cruise. In a previous Life Well Cruised YouTube episode, Ilana Schattauer explained the five items forbidden on a cruise, and the other five items you can happily leave at home. 

Five forbidden items: 

Iron and a clothes steamer

Ilana said: “You cannot bring an iron on a cruise and that is because it’s a fire hazard. 

“On some cruises, you will have a self-serve laundromat that you can go and use the iron. 

“But many don’t so if you do need your items to be pressed, you need to take them to the dry cleaning service on the cruise. 

“It’s normally about £5 for a suit or evening gown.”

Coffee maker or kettle

“This comes up often, I guess people like to have a kettle in their cabin,” the expert said. “But on most cruise ships, this is not provided. 

“However, what you can do, if you do like coffee or tea, you can order this from room service. 

“Of course, you can also go around the ship and pick up coffee or tea from the buffet or main dining room as well.” 


“You can’t bring any hard alcohol onto a cruise,” Ilana said. “There are some people who try to sneak this on – if you do, do this, the cruise lines are getting better at finding this in luggage. 

“They will confiscate it” and may not return it. 

Royal Caribbean for example says: “Guests are not allowed to bring beer or hard liquor onboard for consumption or any other use.

“Alcoholic beverages seized on embarkation day will not be returned. Security may inspect containers (water bottles, soda bottles, mouthwash, luggage etc.) and will dispose of containers holding alcohol. 

“Guests who violate any alcohol policies may be disembarked or not allowed to board, at their own expense.” 

Candles or incense

“Of course, this is a fire hazard and a huge no-no,” the cruise expert said. “On a past cruise, my parents had a neighbour who was burning incense in their cabin, and it was reported.” 

Power strip or extension cable

“Do not bring an extension cable or adaptor that isn’t surge protected,” she continued and it has to meet the cruise line’s requirements. 

The reason is although the outlets look the same as the ones in our homes, the way they are wired is different. 

If you used a standard surge-protected strip and there was a power surge, it will start a fire because of the wiring difference. 

And because they are a fire hazard, they get confiscated to keep everyone safe.

Extension cords should be less than one metre long. 

Five items you don’t need to bring:


“Yes and no,” Ilana commented. “You’ll be provided – if you’re in a standard cabin – the basics, shampoo and conditioner, and shower gel. 

“If that’s good for you you don’t need to bring anything else. 

“Something to note, you can bring full size bottle on your cruises. 

“And I have a little tip or hack you can use, if you have a hairdresser that you go to regularly, ask them if they have any samples of any hair conditioners or hair treatments, because of the seawater and chlorinated water from pools, you’ll find your hair will really dry out on the cruise.” 

Beach towels

“You don’t need to bring beach towels on your cruise, you can save yourself some space in your luggage,” she added. “The cruise line will provide that for you. 

“Some cruise lines will have you sign out and sign in the beach towels. Other cruise lines don’t have you do that but make sure you do bring them back to the cruise ships. 

“If you don’t bring them back you will be charged.” 


“Some people like to bring hangers, they buy them and bring them, but I have never brought hangers for a cruise,” Ilana remarked. 

“You usually get 25 per cabin, but if you need more, you can ask the cabin attendant to have more hangers. 

“It’s never a problem, oftentimes they will give you wire hangers from the laundry.” 

Hair dryer

“You get a hairdryer in your cruise ship cabin,” she explained. “But I do warn you, it’s going to be hotel quality.” 


“You can bring snacks on a cruise – pre packed, something like granola bars or protein bars, something for the excursion days,” Ilana suggested. 

“However, I do have a tip for you so you can leave all your snacks at home, because the food on a cruise is delicious and plentiful. 

“Bring some small sandwich-size ziplock bags and when you go to the buffet, take the snacks you like and put them in a zip lock bag.” 

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