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ULTIMATE 4 day cruise packing list

ULTIMATE 4 day cruise packing list

Looking for the ULTIMATE 4 day cruise packing list? We cover the staples you need for every cruise no matter the destination whether you are cruising the Mediterranean, Caribbean or somewhere further afield. It covers what to pack for a four day cruise both clothing and non clothing as well as gives information on cruise dress codes.

Looking for the ULTIMATE 4 day cruise packing list? We cover the staples you need for every cruise no matter the destination whether you are cruising the Mediterranean, Caribbean or somewhere further afield. It covers what to pack for a four day cruise both clothing and non clothing as well as gives information on cruise dress codes. 

Important Note: This post may contain affiliate links which means if you click through and make a purchase I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

Note: It is worth pointing out that while this 4 day cruise packing list covers ALL your cruise staples that should be on any packing list, it is worth also checking out some of our destination specific packing lists as these will cover temperature and location specific dress codes. 

Our specific location packing lists for cruises include:

How many outfits should I pack for a 4 day cruise?

Woman on beach in front of Norwegian cruise ship
4 day cruise packing list

Before we create our 4 day cruise packing list we thought it would be worth talking you through how many outfits your should pack for your cruise and what things you should take into consideration. 

Firstly you will obviously need an outfit a day, or create a cruise capsule wardrobe where you can use items multiple times. 

In fact I find that the sudoku packing method, which uses 9 key wardrobe pieces to make multiple outfits works well for packing for a 4 day cruise. 

Otherwise the 54321 packing method is another good way to try and put your outfits together. 

And one of the joys of going on such a short cruise is that you will unlikely need to do laundry on your trip. But more importantly it is unlikely you will encounter many different seasons or types of weather. 4 day cruises are usually loops and don’t travel great distances therefore you won’t need to worry about packing for lots of different weather conditions. 

The next thing that affects how many outfits you need for a cruise is how often you intend to use the main dining room and how many formal nights there are on your cruise. 

Cruise dining rooms usually have a smart casual dress code and you will find most people usually change for dinner. 

For most days on a cruise there isn’t a formal dress code. On these days I use day to night transition pieces such as a smart casual blouse or nice Maxi dress, that I can wear to dinner one night and then use during the day the next day. This helps reduce the amount of clothes you take with you. 

Now depending on the length of your cruise will determine how many formal nights there are. Formal nights are evenings when people dress to impress in the formal dining room. On more traditional cruise lines such as Cunard you may see tuxedos however on most lines these translates to cocktail dress and chinos with a jacket and tie for men. 

However on a 4 night cruise you can only expect 1 formal night so you don’t have to worry too much about packing lots of formal outfits. 

And if you are traveling on Norwegian cruise line which has freestyle dining there are no formal nights at all. 

And of course you don’t need to do formal night in the main dining room if you don’t want to, as there are plenty of other eateries such as the buffet restaurant where dress codes are not enforced on cruise ships. 

Therefore overall I would have an outfit for each day of your cruise, which could be mixed and match to make part of a smart casual evening outfit as well as one formal outfit. 

Going on a different length cruise – then check out our other packing lists:

Also it is worth packing your cruise carry on carefully and selecting your embarkation day outfit with care. Cruise lines take your luggage at the port and it may not be delivered to your stateroom until after dinner on day one. For this reason we recommend packing to prepare for this.

What to wear on a 4 Day Cruise

Woman in red dress on cruise ship
4 day cruise packing list

Now we have looked at the things that will affect how many outfits you should take on a 4 day cruise, we will now give you an overview of the types of outfits we pack. This includes the number of formal outfits as well as what to wear on a four day cruise for excursions, pool time and more. 

Formal Outfits (1 outfits)

If you are traveling on a line, other than Norwegian Cruise line that is, you can usually expect just 1 formal night on a 4 day cruise. I like a formal night so I usually pack a cocktail dress or maxi dress. However if this is not your style then a pant suit is also a great idea. 

I usually pair this with a pashmina as the air conditioning on cruises is strong and either a pair of sandals that can be used during the day too, or if I have space in my luggage, a pair of heels.

For men we recommend chinos and jacket with a shirt and tie. A Tux is also suitable on most line for men, but is definitely not expected anymore. For more men’s cruise outfit inspiration check out this post.

Smart Casual Outfits (3 outfits)

I usually pack 3smart casual outfits, one for each evening other than the formal night.

All items in this category will be interchangeable as part of my cruise capsule wardrobe and I may partner a top from a dinner with different bottoms for a casual shore excursion look.

Casual Outfits (3 outfits + my embarkation day outfit)

Again, I pack a cruise capsule wardrobe where everything is interchangeable. For a 4 day cruise this will normally 3 outfits along with my embarkation day outfit.

For me this usually consists of be 3-4 t shirts and 2 bottoms i.e. shorts, jeans or chinos depending on the weather and destination of the cruise.


Whenever I get on a cruise ship I first like to head to the main dining room for lunch, and then I like to have either a dip in the pool or a soak in the hot tub. I do this whether I am a hot weather or cold weather cruise. 

If you are going to a hot weather destination however you will want to pack at least 2 swimsuits with you so you can wear one and dry one. 


Useful for in ports but also on sea days when the sun can be dazzling.


An essential whenever you are cruising as the air conditioning on ships can be fierce. For more travel essentials for women check out this post. 


One set is enough.

Underwear (4 sets plus spares)

I will also have underwear enough for the cruise and a few spares


Now I don’t like to bring too much jewelry with me on cruises as I don’t wear it on shore excursions.

However I do love to wear something on formal night and it really doesn’t contribute to overpacking.

If you are nervous about traveling with expensive jewelry we recommend leaving your expensive items in the safe when you aren’t wearing them on the ship. And alternatively there is lots of great costume jewelry on the market which is less stressful to travel with.

Whatever type of jewelry you decide to travel with be sure to check out our guide on how to pack jewelry for travel here.

Shoes (3 Pairs) 

For me there are a couple of essential pairs of shoes to pack for a 4 day cruise no matter the destination. These are: 

  • Sneakers – these work on cities, countryside and more tropical locations. If you are traveling to a hot weather location we recommend getting a light weight pair. Otherwise a white pair of sneakers are very versatile. 
  • Sandals – I like a pair that can be good for walking and that can also be used in the main dining room 

Note: sandals can be replaced with ankle boots for cold weather destinations and Christmas market river cruises.

And the optional shoes I take depending on the itinerary and destination are: 

  • Heels / Smart Shoes- if you want them for formal night. 
  • Flip Flips – useful if you plan to spend a lot of time on the pool deck but not good for European cities when walking. 
  • Water Shoes – useful if you are going on a Caribbean or cruise to the South Pacific where you will be snorkelling and where there can be hazards such as lion fish and coral. 

Beach cover (optional)

Great for in port and on deck. However only needed for hot weather destinations. 

Coat (optional)

Only useful if you are not cruising to a tropical destination i.e. an Alaska Cruise or Europe in Winter.

What do I need to pack for a 4 day cruise (non clothing)?

So now you know roughly how many outfits you will need on a 14 day cruise we turn our attention to everything you need to pack for a cruise no matter the destination 

Passport and identification

A Passport and identification is always required regardless of the length of cruise and destination (ID can be used in some cases of closed loop cruises). 

It is important to remember that you need this to be in your embarkation day carry on as is required for boarding. For more information on how to pack for embarkation day on a cruise check out this post

As there are so many documents that you need to carry with you for cruise embarkation we think a passport holder is a travel essential.

Luggage Tags

Cruises will provide you with luggage tags to label your luggage with so it arrives at your stateroom. Be sure to print these off in advance as it will save you time in the terminal.

Documentation including Covid 19 related paperwork

This includes visas and any vaccination documentation that you may need for your cruise and destination. Again this needs to be in your cruise carry on


You will see many people using a lanyard to carry their cabin card. The reason is this is your cruise identification and payment method on board.

Therefore it needs to be with you at all time. Making a lanyard the most convenient method to carry it. 

When looking for a cruise lanyard we think that the best ones are waterproof so can be used on shore excursions where you will be spending a lot of time in the water and can also be used to keep small amounts of cash and a government issued id. 

Click here to shop the best lanyards for cruise travel.


Top of my travel toiletries packing list is medication. Just remember to pack any meds you need in your carry on and be sure to have prescriptions with you. 

As well as prescription medication some other medications you may like to travel with include:

  • pain medications such as Advil, paracetamol, Tylenol and Ibuprofen 
  • Reflux Meds such as Gaviscon, Tums etc. 
  • Birth Control
  • Inhalers

Sea sickness medication or bands

I personally have never gotten sea sick on a cruise ship and I have cruised on some very rough seas. But that is not to say that no one will ever experience seasickness on a cruise.

If you are concerned about sea sickness be sure to pack some meds with you just in case. 

There are lots of different methods to combat sickness from tablets, wristbands, ginger and more so pick the method that you think will work best for you. 

Click here to shop sea sickness medication

Travel Adaptor

Depending on where you are from, who you are sailing with and where you may need to take a travel adaptor with you to ensure that all your electronics will work. 

I personally never travel anywhere without my trusty Universal travel adaptor that works in pretty much all locations. 

Click here to shop universal travel adaptors. 


What toiletries to pack for a cruise / cruise toiletries checklist
What toiletries to pack for a cruise / cruise toiletries checklist

Although most ships provide toiletries I will always pack some on my own as I think they are better quality than those you get on board most cruise ships. 

For more information on the best toiletries to bring on a cruise check out this post. But generally speaking I tend to always pack 


Some conditioner that can help your hair cope with heat and seawater. 

Toothbrush and toothpaste

Although toiletries are usually provided you will need to bring your own tooth brush and toothpaste.


It is important to be sun safe whereever in the world you are cruising. This is usually available onboard but will cost you a premium if you wait and buy on board. 

If you plan on spending time in water we recommend buying sunscreen that is reef safe. Our current favorite brand is Sunbum. Click here to shop reef safe sunscreen.


I personally always have make-up with me when I go on a cruise for dinners in the evening. However it is easy to overpack.  

For this reason I try to limit travel make-up. After perfecting my makeup bag packing over many trips my travel make up essentials tend to be:

But my favorite travel beauty product is the  Nars Multiple.

This is  one makeup stick that can be used beautifully on eyes, cheeks and lips which greatly reduces the amount you need to pack.

Period Products

For those expecting their period on their travels.

Travel Razor 

I always have a compact travel razor with me no matter the destination but it is especially important for me when I know I will be swimming or sunbathing. Click here to buy travel razors.

Brush and Hair Ties

A mix collection of hair ties are an essential especially if you have long hair. 

If you have more space you could add any of your other hair accessories too.

Lip balm

The contrast between the nice weather on a warm weather cruise with the cruise ship air conditioning is the perfect recipe for getting dry lips. 

We always recommend packing lip balm that has an SPF so your lips are protected when on beach excursions etc. Again my favorite brand is Sun Bum. Click here to shop lip balm for cruise ships.


The best thing about cruises are the ports you get to visit. You definitely will want to capture your memories with a camera. 

If you are traveling on a cruise with lots of water excursions and plan on snorkelling it might be worth getting a GoPro to capture your underwater memories. Click here to shop underwater cameras.


Most new ships will have USB charging ports next to the bed however this is by no means on all ships. Don’t get caught out and take a charger with you and a spare cable. 

What to pack for a 4 day cruise (Optional)

Gym wear

This is only needed if you plan to use the gym on board your cruise ship. If you don’t plan to then leave this behind. 


Can you bring a corkscrew on a cruise ship? Can you bring a wine opener on a cruise ship? corkscrew on white background
Can you bring a corkscrew on a cruise ship? Can you bring a wine opener on a cruise ship? 

Depending on the line you are on, you will be permitted to Bring on board a small amount of alcohol – usually just champagne or wine. 

If you are allowed to bring alcohol on board we recommend using your allowance as this will be cheaper than drinks on the ship. But be sure to check your cruise ship rules before travel so it meets current requirements. 

Note – wondering if you can bring a corkscrew on a cruise ship – check out this post for more information.

4 Day Cruise Packing List Checklist 

  • Passport and Identification
  • Documentation (including Covid 19 paperwork, test results and insurance to name but a few)
  • Medication 
  • Sea Sickness Remedies 
  • Lanyard
  • Luggage Tags
  • Toiletries 
  • Sun screen
  • Lip Balm with SPF
  • Make Up
  • Razor / Shaving Kit
  • Hair Brush and Hair Ties
  • Jewelry 
  • Camera
  • Charger
  • Travel Adaptor 
  • 1 Formal Outfit per person.
  • Pashmina 
  • 3 Smart Casual Outfits (can be made up of repeat pieces that make 3 looks). 
  • 3 Casual Outfits (can be made up of repeat pieces that make 3 looks). 
  • 2 items of Swimwear
  • Beachcover (optional)
  • Coat (optional)
  • Sneakers
  • Sandals – (or ankle boots in cold weather places)
  • Hiking boots (optional depending on the destination and itinerary).
  • Heels / Smarter Shoes – optional depending if you want to dress up for formal out

Have you been on a 4 day cruise? What did you pack for a 4 day cruise let us know in the comments.