39 Useful Things to Pack For Your Cruise (Including 17 You’d Never Think Of)

Wondering what to pack for your cruise? We’ll assume you know to bring your swimsuit, socks, and underwear for your next cruise.

Suitcases on a cruise ship
What to pack for your cruise can be daunting, but having sailed dozens of times, we have some things to consider bringing that you might not think about.
39 Useful Things to Pack for a Cruise (Including 17 You'd Never Think of)

But what else should you bring? There are a lot of things many people wouldn’t think to pack that can be extremely useful. That’s because cruising is different from any other vacation. Most other places you aren’t on a moving vessel for a week at a time — miles away from the nearest store.

Cruising requires you to plan ahead and bring everything you might need. While we typically tell people to pack light, there’s no shame in being prepared for anything on your trip.

Having been on literally dozens of cruises across every major line, we know what’s important to bring… and what you can leave at home. To help you out, we’ve rounded up a list of nearly 40 useful items that you need to take on your cruise. 

(Need more packing ideas? See our complete 85-item printable cruise packing checklist. Going on an Alaskan cruise? See what to pack for an Alaskan cruise here.)

What to Pack for a Cruise

Note: The links to Amazon used below are affiliate links. Should you make a purchase, we receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.

A Small, Portable Cabin Fan

While you can certainly get by without it, many people bring along a fan for the cabin. Not only does it help to have some air circulating in the room (there are no ceiling fans in a cruise cabin), but it is also nice to have white noise to drown out any sounds while you sleep. For about $25 on Amazon, this model has two speed settings and will fit on a nightstand.

One important tip — no matter which sort of fan you bring, you want something compact. Remember that you’re going to have to lug it to the ship and back home.

Outlet Adapter

Packing an outlet adapter is a good idea. Normally ships only have one or two plugs. This simple device offers three plugs (one on each face) where only one is available.

Have an iPhone? What about a tablet or a laptop? A small fan? A nightlight, curling iron or straightener? You can see that outlet space can be at a premium in a small cruise cabin.

That’s why we recommend packing an adapter or two that will expand the number of plugs. You can pick one up for just around $5. Just be sure it doesn’t have a surge protector, which isn’t allowed on the ship. 

4-Wheel Spinner Suitcase

You likely already have a suitcase or a duffel bag to pack your clothes in, but it’s a good idea to switch over to a 4-wheel spinner suitcase if you don’t have one. The walkway from the cruise terminal to your cabin can be pretty long. There are often stairs, inclined walkways, and thresholds to pass.

Having a traditional rolling bag gets caught up in your feet and takes up a lot of space when dragging it behind you. A 4-wheeled suitcase like this one can be right at your side and is also much easier to navigate down narrow cruise ship hallways.

Hand Sanitizer

There’s no glossing over the health issues that have hit the world and the cruise industry. While cruise lines go to major lengths to keep people healthy on their trip, it’s a good idea to take matters into your own hands… literally.

There are hand sanitizer dispensers all over ships, but it’s smart to bring your own so that you don’t have to hunt. Use it regularly throughout the cruise. The good news is that it’s not expensive. Just be sure to get smaller containers that can fit easily in a pocket or a purse. You can find hand sanitizer for relatively little.

Over-the-Counter Medicines

Over the counter medicines
Packing over-the-counter medicines is a smart move. You don’t want to be stuck without in the middle of the night in the middle of the ocean.

No one goes on a cruise thinking about getting sick, but it does happen. And whether it’s just a headache from a little too much sun (or too much to drink!), or you have an upset stomach, the last thing you want to do is have to tough it out without any sort of remedy.

On the ship you will have a small shop selling medicines, alongside other sundries like toothbrushes and deodorant. However, the prices are expensive and they aren’t open 24 hours. It’s much cheaper and more convenient just to pack a little of everything with you so you’ll have it at the moment you need it.


Nothing beats sitting out on the balcony of the ship, watching the sunset and sipping a glass of your favorite vino. The good news is that most cruise lines allow you to bring a bottle of wine or champagne along with you (sorry, beer and booze aren’t allowed).

Considering the prices on the ship, passengers should take advantage and bring as much as their cruise line allows. It can save you considerable money and trips to the bar.

(Read: 30+ Easy Ways to Save Money on a Cruise)


We’ve all done the dance when you want to open a bottle of wine and search frantically for a corkscrew. If you can’t find one, it usually ends up with you cutting out the cork… and spitting out bits of cork every time you take a sip of your drink. So be sure to pack a corkscrew with your wine. A $5 purchase can save you a lot of headache.

Leakproof Wine Bottle Protector

If you bring a bottle of wine, then you should always pack it in your carry-on. This way you don’t have to worry about it breaking, leaking through your clothes for the week, and possibly getting on other people’s luggage.

Still, it’s a good idea to protect those fragile bottles, even in your carry-on. A leakproof bottle protector offers some protection so you don’t have to worry about accidental breaking.

Cabin Nightlight

The cabins on a ship can get dark — especially if you’ve booked an interior room that doesn’t have windows. So what happens if you get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night while trying to navigate a small, unfamiliar cabin with furniture? Your shins pay the price.

We like to pack a glowing nightlight like the ones above to give us a little something to see by. The lights shown here cost about $10 for two on Amazon.

Don’t want a nightlight? You can also keep the bathroom light on and close the door. That provides some light as well.


It’s been said that the key to a happy marriage is a good bathroom fan (ok, we just made that up). Unfortunately, cruise ships don’t offer fanned vents and the cabin is pretty small. If you have a balcony then you have a source of fresh air. Otherwise, you might want some Poo-Pourri to help mask bathroom odors.

This stuff doesn’t go in the air. You spray the toilet water before you go and it creates a seal on the surface that keeps odors away. People who use it swear by it.

Over-the-Door Shoe Organizer (NOT for Shoes)

Let’s be clear. You shouldn’t bring enough shoes to fill up an entire shoe organizer. That’s packing too much. However, they serve more than one purpose.

Hang it over the bathroom door and you have a perfect place to put small items like deodorant, shampoo bottles, sunscreen bottles, and anything else. This way you don’t have to take up valuable counter space in the small ship bathrooms. You can find them for less than $10. They also fold up flat so they don’t take up much room in your luggage.

Magnetic Hooks

Magnetic hooks like these can be placed just about anywhere in the cabin to give you place to hang items out of the way.

In a cruise cabin, efficiency of space is extremely important. After all, a cabin can be only about 160 square feet, meaning you can’t waste a lot of space. That’s why bringing magnetic hooks can be helpful.

The walls and ceiling of the cabin are actually made of metal. So you can place these hooks just about anywhere and have a place to hang hats, lanyards, clothes, and anything else. Best of all, they only cost a few bucks meaning you don’t have to spend a lot to keep the cabin organized.

Wet Wipes (Do NOT Flush)

Ok, let’s be real for a moment. Your cabin bathroom will have plenty of toilet paper, but it is the one-ply stuff that is practically see-through. In other words, it doesn’t feel that great to use and doesn’t leave you feeling clean.

That’s why we’d suggest packing some wipes that offer a better clean and feeling than only using the toilet paper.

One important thing — even if you pack wipes that say they are flushable, do NOT flush them. Place them in the trash can in the bathroom. Flushing anything but toilet paper can cause issues in the ship’s waste systems.

Ziploc Bags

Bringing resealable Ziploc bags is one of the smartest things you can do. From keeping your phone/wallet dry while you swim to keeping wet clothes separate from your dry luggage, Ziplocs are worth their weight in gold. Bring a handful and know that you’re covered for anything you might encounter.

Slip-Resistant Flip Flops

Ok, most people know to pack a pair of flip-flops on their trip. They are a beach and pool essential. But are you packing sandals that actually have tread? Those cheap flip-flops can have a sole that’s rubbed smooth. With wet decks on the ship, it can be like walking on ice when you have no tread.

Instead, look for a pair with actual tread on the sole. We like Reef sandals in general, which we find to be real comfortable. the reviews for them are outstanding.

Mask and Snorkel

Want to get a look under the water? We don’t blame you. It’s a completely different world under there, and the beauty of snorkeling in tropical waters shouldn’t be missed (especially if you have kids or teens!). And while you can rent gear from most places you’ll visit on your cruise, we’d actually recommend bringing your own equipment.

First, paying to rent a mask and snorkel can be expensive — $10 to $15 on the cheap end. But as well, you are using something that others have used before, which is a little weird given that the mask and snorkel go right on your face and mouth. This set is around $30 on Amazon and comes in several colors.

Phone Charger

Just a friendly reminder. You should go ahead and put the charger in your suitcase now. It’s too easy to forget. The last thing you want is to be in the middle of the ocean and realize that your phone battery is flashing red.

Think you won’t use your phone on a cruise? Many lines have apps for your phone with things like maps and schedules that are extremely helpful. As well, many people hop on the wi-fi to stay in touch back home.

Phone/Passport Dry Pouch

Dry pouch for a phone
A dry pouch like this one can keep your phone dry while by the pool or on the beach. You’ll see lots of other passengers using them.

If you are planning to go to the beach, you’ll want somewhere to keep your passport, credit cards, room key, and cash dry. This bag is a best-seller and is less than $10 on Amazon. You can also use it for your phone if you want to bring it with you to the beach. (You can read our full review and test of this case here.)

Wide-Brimmed Hat

The sun in the tropics is no joke. The more direct rays mean you burn more quickly. There is no better way to avoid sunburn than to keep the sun off you to begin with. Big hats are always in fashion on a cruise because they protect your face, shoulders and neck from getting sunburned.

A lightweight version won’t break the bank (just around $20 online) and will help keep you cool. We highly recommend something not made of heavy cloth and nothing that’s dark, which can leave your head sweltering.

Walking Shoes for Port

Everyone knows to bring some sandals if you’re headed to the beach, but if you’re going on a cruise then you should also bring some comfy walking shoes. Excursions (or just exploring the port) involves a lot of walking. You don’t want your feet to be uncomfortable while you are on vacation.

Already have a pair of shoes? You might want to invest in some insoles to make them like new again.


Land ho! Or is it? Believe it or not, there’s a lot to see when you’re out at sea. Many passengers love having a pair of binoculars to people watch from afar or simply look at other ships out on the open ocean. An affordable pair won’t set you back that much and you won’t be heartbroken if you accidently drop them on the deck. You can find a pair for about $30 on Amazon.

Jacket or a Hoodie for the Ship

Think it’s all sun and warm weather if you’re sailing to the Caribbean? Think again. With the ship moving, the wind onboard can be chilly, especially at night. And if it rains? Things cool off dramatically. This is to say nothing of the air-conditioned places on the ship — like the theater — can be downright cold.

Pack a jacket or a hoodie just in case. You can find them for about $30 online just in case you don’t have one already.

Netflix (Or Other Services) for Binging

Netflix logo on iPad
One of our favorite things to do after a long day in port is chilling out with some of our favorite shows. Due to internet speeds, it’s a good idea to download programs ahead of time if possible.

How do you pack Netflix? To be sure, not all wi-fi connections on a cruise allow streaming, and even if they do, internet is expensive on the ship. Netflix (and other streaming apps) allows you to download many episodes to your computer or tablet beforehand so you can watch without an internet connection.

Having a few episodes to binge on a cruise is one of our guilty pleasures. It’s also a great way to keep kids entertained if you feel like taking it easy in the cabin.

A Passport (Though a Birth Certificate Is Usually OK)

Passport visas
Bringing a passport is ideal for a cruise as it helps you leave the terminal more quickly when you return, but you can get by using only a birth certificate.

Sure, you may know its ideal to bring a passport to cruise (though you can sail with a birth certificate in many cases). But do you know why?

First, passports are smart in case something comes up and you have to leave the cruise early to return home. It simply makes things easier. To be honest, however, the vast majority of cruises go off without a hitch. 

Where a passport is truly handy is getting off the ship at the end of the cruise. These days most ports have facial recognition to process passengers. If you have a passport, you simply walk off, take a quick photo, and then walk out of the terminal. Those with birth certificates usually have to wait in line to meet an agent. 

Lanyard for Your Room Key

Lanyards come in handy for putting your cruise keycard at easy reach. Considering that you use this card for everything — opening your room, playing in the casino, ordering drinks — you’re always having to fish it out of your pocket or purse. With a lanyard like this one, it’s right around your neck, making it easy to reach. You’ll also see them for sale around the ship if you forget to pack your own from home.

Sunscreen (Lots of it)

Bottle of sunscreen sitting on a table
Packing plenty of sunscreen is a must for any cruise to the Caribbean. Remember to pack in small bottles if flying to your port.

We like to call the day after the first day at sea “Lobster Day.” That’s because many people spent the first day getting too much sun and look like a bunch of lobsters walking around the ship.

You may not realize how powerful the Caribbean sun is until it’s too late. That’s why you should pack plenty of sunscreen. Amazon offers up inexpensive sunscreen, but you can also find deals at your local supermarket.

Aloe Gel (In Case Sunscreen Isn’t Enough)

Everyone knows it’s a good idea to bring sunscreen, but many people never think to bring aloe in case you get burned anyway. The lower latitudes of the Caribbean mean the sun is much stronger than your skin is likely used to.

Being able to prevent and treat sunburn is important to enjoying your cruise. Grab a bottle of aloe gel to bring on your vacation.


These days, almost all of us check our phones for the time. But when you are in port, it’s often easier just to carry a cheap wristwatch. That way you can be sure you get back before the ship leaves port, as well as keep track of when any scheduled activities onboard are about to happen. This one is only around $15 and is water resistant (a must on a cruise).

Swimsuit Cover Up

After time at the beach or the pool, you don’t want to walk indoors flaunting what your mother gave you in a swimsuit. Be sure to bring along a cover up that you can slip over your outfit to add a little modesty.

Best of all, you don’t have to worry about big wet spots on your clothes if you use a cover instead of putting shorts and a tank top over your outfit. You can find them for about $10-$15.

Waterproof Drybag

Testing the bag in Mexico
Even after a real-world test in Mexico, this waterproof bag kept all our belongings dry.

There’s always a conundrum when you head out in the water. What do you do with your valuables? That’s why we suggest having a drybag. Put your items in the bag, seal, and roll it up and you have a splash-proof container that you can take into the water with you.

No more having to worry and keep an eye on your valuables on shore. They also come in practically any color you’d want and with a waterproof phone case.

We reviewed three different bags, and this one by Freegrace was the clear winner while costing only about $20 on Amazon.


Box of dramamine
The vast majority of passengers don’t get seasick on a cruise, but a cheap pack of Dramamine is a good idea to pack.

Most cruises will have some seasickness medication out for passengers to take when the waves get rough. You will still likely want to bring your own. It’s only a few bucks and can keep you from feeling bad if the ocean picks up.

Don’t like taking pills? There are also patches you can wear.

(Read: Will I Get Seasick on a Cruise? Everything to Know About Sailing Comfortably)


Like a cellphone charger, you know to bring your shades on a cruise. The only problem is that it’s so easy to forget them at home or in the car. With the reflection of the sun off the ship and the water, having sunglasses is a must.

Get you an extra pair for your trip and put them in your luggage immediately so that you don’t have to worry about forgetting them later. Worst case, you’ll have a backup pair on your cruise.

Lightweight Backpack

If you want something to carry a change of clothes and some towels — without the bulk of a regular backpack — check out this lightweight bag. Because of the polyester material, it’s no big deal if it gets wet because it will dry quickly. If you don’t need it, the bag also folds down into a small pouch that takes up hardly any space in your luggage.

This is perfect for port days when you only need a small bag that you don’t mind getting wet. The one shown here costs about $20 on Amazon.

Waterproof Valuables Case

Whether you are hanging by the pool or don’t want to leave your valuables on the beach while taking a dip, a waterproof case is a must-have. Use it to keep your phone, wallet, keys, and anything else dry as a bone so you don’t have to worry just because you want to go swimming. You can get two bags for about $12.

Towel Clips

Towel clips
Inexpensive towel clips are great to pack for a cruise. They keep the wind from whipping at the corners of your towel, making it easier to relax.

One of our pastimes on the ship is to watch people struggle with laying their towel on their beach chair. With the ship constantly in motion, there is almost always a breeze on deck. So while you’re trying to relax, the corners of the towel are whipping up and down.

Bringing a few clips like these can help keep your towel secure to your lounge chair and save you some stress. These cost less than $10 for a pack of 8.

Cabin Alarm Clock


Cabins don’t have clocks. And while most people want to leave the alarm clock at home, we suggest bringing one. It’s nice to be able to see the time at a glance. Not only will it make sure you don’t miss any onboard activities, it’s also nice to know what time it is if you wake up in the middle of the night.

And if you’re the sort of person who likes getting up early to be the first off the ship, then this $20 alarm clock is worth its weight in gold.

Wrinkle-Release Spray (TSA Compliant)

If you’re worried about wrinkles when you unpack your clothes, then this spray is just the thing. Irons aren’t allowed in cabins for fire safety reasons. If you want something pressed, you have to send it down to laundry services. Or, you could pack this, spray the wrinkled item, hang it in the closet, and let the spray do the work.

Just make sure the one you get comes in a small bottle so you can pack it with you even if you have to fly to your cruise port. We like that the one shown here only costs around $7 for a bottle.

Money Belt

Want the convenience of a fanny pack without the bulk? This belt comes in a ton of colors and sits flat against your body with your shirt over it. Put in your passport, cash, cell phone and more, so they are always at an arm’s reach, but safe from pick pocketers. In other words, an investment of less than $10 can give you peace of mind.

Cash Money

We don’t usually carry cash with us on a day-to-day basis. Credit cards are accepted everywhere here at home. However, on a cruise we make sure to pack enough cash to get us through the trip.

Using cash is more secure than using your credit card in foreign ports, plus credit cards aren’t accepted everywhere like they are back home. And if you need more cash on the ship, the ATMs onboard are pricey (expect fees of $6-7 per transaction). You can read our article here to figure out how much cash to bring with you.

Refillable Bottle

Hydro Flask on a cruise deck
Having a bottle with you is smart on a cruise. You can fill it up and sip, without having to head to a bar or the buffet every time you want a drink of water.

Whether you are hanging out around the ship or heading into a port of call, it’s always nice to have a refillable bottle with you. This way you can always have some water nearby instead of having to find a restaurant to get a drink. We have used this one from Hydro Flask and loved it for our cruise as it kept things cool for a long time (though it is a bit pricey). 

TSA-Compliant Luggage Locks

No, luggage locks won’t keep your things safe if a thief really wants into your bag. But they do make it tougher to get in, taking away crimes of opportunity.

For just a few bucks you can keep your bag locked closed with these locks and keep any fast hands from getting your valuables. One lock is about $8 on Amazon, but you can get a better deal buying multiples.

Cruise Packing Checklist (What Else You Should Bring)

Packing for a cruise is a little different than any other vacation due to the simple reason that in the middle of the ocean it’s not that easy to run out and grab something you forgot. That’s why in addition to what we have above, here are a few more basic items you’ll want to bring:

  • T-shirts
  • Shorts
  • Swimsuit
  • Pants
  • Walking shoes
  • Toiletries
  • Nice clothes for formal night
  • Books/magazines for poolside reading
  • Travel documents

To help passengers out, we’ve put together a complete 85-item printable PDF checklist that makes it easy to make sure you have everything you need. You can see (and print) our full cruise packing checklist here.

What You Don’t Need to Pack

We’ve focused on what you need to pack for a cruise… but there are many things you don’t need to bring. They simply take up space and are already provided.

Hair dryer in a cruise cabin
A built-in hair dryer will be in your cabin, meaning you can leave yours at home.

Hair dryer: No, you don’t need to pack a hair dryer for the cruise. All cabins come with one built in. It’s a small, hotel-style hair dryer, but it will get the job done. If you want, you can bring your own from home.

Soap & shampoo: If you have soap or shampoo that you just have to have, then go ahead and bring in on the trip. That said, every cabin bathroom comes with a soap and shampoo dispenser in the shower. So if you forget your soap, then you are covered. And if you don’t care about what type of product you use, then it’s something you don’t have to pack.

Beach Towels: Just like a hotel, cruise ships provide you with towels in the cabin to use. That’s to be expected. But a nice perk is that ships also provide beach towels. These towels are often in your cabin when you arrive or you can grab them from the pool deck.

You can take these beach towels down to the pool and even bring them with you off the ship. Just be sure to bring them back because you are charged for missing towels at the end of the cruise.

Prohibited Items on a Cruise (Do Not Bring)

The great thing about cruising is that the cruise lines are pretty lenient on what and how much you can bring. If you’re used to flying, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. There are no real baggage limits (within reason) and things like liquids don’t have to be contained to three ounces.

That said, there are some things you can’t bring on the ship:

Alcohol and beer: Yes, cruise ships will let you bring on a bottle of champagne or wine with your carry-on. Things like liquor, beer, and other spirits are strictly against the rules. If caught trying to sneak these on through security, they will be removed and likely discarded.

Weapons that might harm other passengers: Guns, pepper spray, tasers, and other things of this nature aren’t allowed for obvious reasons. Plus, you also don’t want to be caught with these in a foreign port. It pays to use common sense here; if you aren’t able to bring it onto a plane because it’s considered a weapon, then you shouldn’t try to bring it on a cruise ship (though things like nail clippers are just fine).

Anything that can start a fire: Hair products like curlers, hair dryers, and straighteners are allowed. As well, cigarette lighters are ok to pack too. But things like candles, hot plates, electric blankets, heaters, and other items that heat up are prohibited.

For more on luggage and baggage rules for your cruise, see our article here.

What to Pack for an Alaskan Cruise

The items we’ve covered above are about packing with a Caribbean cruise in mind, as this is the most popular cruise destination in the world.

If you are headed to Alaska, your packing list has many similarities, but will be a little different. Specifically, it includes more cool weather gear, including warm socks, hat, and gloves.

We’ve covered what to pack for an Alaskan cruise here.

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39 Useful Things to Pack for a Cruise (Including 17 You'd Never Think of)


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39 Useful Things to Pack For Your Cruise (Including 17 You\'d Never Think Of)


  1. I’m travelling solo, so I’m worried about sunscreen and being able to apply it properly to cover my body. I’ve never been a beach-goer, so I’m also concerned that a cruise is not for me. Any ideas?

  2. You do not want to be left behind with your actual passport locked away in your cruise cabin. Take it with you when you leave the ship.

  3. So far I haven’t seen anyone mention bandage type protection for falls or blisters. I highly suggest bringing the blister bandage to help with blister pain.

  4. Just a reminder, most cell phones have a flashlight built in! They sure do come in handy. When I am out and about on board ship, I take my phone with me.

  5. I’ve learned about cornstarch. Baby powder is questionable. But cornstarch is food safe therefore beach safe. In a old spice jar or shaker will allow you to get the sand out of all those un comfortable places sand can get

  6. While preparing for my cruise I just read your question from last year. You probably learned that she would be denied boarding because she would have been denied re-entry into the US. As it is now a full year later I’m sure all is well and re-entry is no longer a concern. I’m not knowledgeable with immigration laws and it’s possible I missed something with my Google search so if I may ask did you and your wife have success or encounter any difficulties with your cruise plans.

  7. Heartburn meds…you will likely be trying many new foods and the worst thing is to get heartburn and have nothing to take care if it….

  8. I usually bring a couple of dryer sheets and 1-2 laundry pods with me so I can do a load of laundry before we leave. That way I’m not packing dirty clothes in my luggage.

  9. Reef makes excellent flip-flops (they are very comfortable & give you great traction [even when wet, depending on the model you purchase]), but I suggest you link to one of the models (available in both men’s & women’s styles) that has one more great feature that few other flip-flops have: bottle openers built right into the bottom of the sole!

    I’ve had several pairs of them over the years and they are now the ONLY flip-flop brand that I will buy. They can be a little bit pricey (depending on a person’s point of view) , but if you look for sales and clearances you can find deals, and they are well worth even full price.

  10. Hello Cruzely Staff,
    My new wife and I would like to take a cruise…
    My fiancé does not yet have her green card for re-entry to the USof A. Nor does she have her PASS PORT.
    She does have a photo ID though.
    Are the PASS PORTS required to have as long as you will stay on the ship and not disembark on the different ports of call?

  11. Carnival has a retractable clothes line in the bathroom. I take clothes pins to hang swim suits etc on
    They also work great in hotels if the curtains don’t close all the way. I keep some in my luggage at all times.

  12. When using the outlet adapters if your bring a multiple extension cord and use the adapter you can charge several items a once without having to wait for your turn.

  13. I am so glad to be so informed as we are going on a cruise on the Costa Pacifica along argentina>Canary Islands>casablanca. I thank all who have offered their suggestions and advice. I have always camped so this is so new to me. Thank you.

  14. You listed TSA approved luggage locks, but the cruises I have been on indicate that the luggage given to the porters must remain unlocked. Of course if you fly to the port, you should use the TSA locks, but remove them at the port.
    Personally I wish they would allow the TSA locks, as I don’t like having my bags sit around the hallways unlocked. (I have been trying to pack in a small enough suitcase that I can carry on board, but still go overboard-not so much with clothes and toiletries, but with all of the other stuff we bring. We bring most everything you have listed in the article.)

  15. I have always packed a small flashlight and a set of walkie-talkies. One time, the power went out on our ship. Everyone was screaming and some were crying. It was at night. I left our dining room table and made my way back to our cabin. Luckily, it was only one deck up and right off the elevator. I got the flashlight and came back out in the hall where people were sitting along the walls. Everyone cheered and asked…how did you know to bring a flashlight? I told them, it’s just something I always bring!
    The walkie-talkies are great too if you can’t find your loved one. You just get on an agreed-upon channel and call them! Great for the larger ships! I’ve been on 10 cruises, so you just learn as you go what you need that you didn’t think of beforehand.

  16. I’m hoping someone can help me. We are a group of 12 adults traveling on the Reflection. I’m in charge of organizing a scavenger hunt for one of the sea days. I’m thinking about 20 questions that would entail getting an item/or answering a question.
    If someone has done this or could offer suggestions of questions, I’d appreciate it very much.
    I’ve gone on Pinterest and searched on line……

    • I’ve had them take a photo with themselves and the captain, Their name and date written in the sand with a bonus if they put the Port in it also. Photos with their whole group, photos with Any of the Characters such as Dr. Seuss Characters, or Ship Mascots. A pic in hot tub or pool, or on the water slide, Exotic animal from one of the ports, bonus if animal is being held, Pic of jumping from something, {Feet off the Ground} pic with someone in the Hairy Chest Contest {Not from your group} Pic participating in Any excursion in ports. I have a whole list of things in one of my cruise folders. I would just have to find it. But this is what I can remember off the top of my head.. Hope this helps..

  17. Another thing I keep plenty of is unscented Preparation H cream. I know it sounds crazy, but it is a must have for sunburns or any kind of burn as far as that goes. Use it generously on your burn and it will decrease the swelling and begin the healing process faster. Most pain associated with burns are due to the swelling and inflammatory prcess. The ingredients in PH cream are made to treat swelling and redness. I promise it works wonderfully!

  18. I actually carry a power strip with me. There are usually only 2-3 outlets tops in the cabins and if you have lots of electronics and need to plug in a hairdryer it sure comes in handy.

    • extension cords are not allowed on cruise lines I’ve been on, nor are outlet adapters with surge protectors.

      • The extension cord depends on the cruise line, and the choice of cord. The skinny ones that just have a fairly thin cord with a small block of two or three outlets on the end seem to be OK, on Carnival at least.
        Totally agree on the surge protected adapters. We have a couple of different ones that are not surge protected, and they’re deemed safe for cruise ships.

  19. We use little hard cases with caribiner on them for our cash, ship card and credit card. (search for Money ID Card Badge Holder Dry Box on Amazon) We got ours at Ron Jons years ago, but just bought some for family members recently. Hubby attaches his in his swimsuit pocket and I attach mine to my swimsuit strap. This way, we can just relax and enjoy the water. If they steal our towel or hat – oh well, but we can still pay for things and get back on the ship. No fuss, no muss.

    • I was in Mexico City with my kids. I stayed behind with my daughter who felt ill. Once she felt better, her energy kicked in. Next thing you know, we are riding bicycles we rented. It starts pouring rain. We have our cell phones in cute little baskets in front of us on the bikes. I always carry ziplock bags when I travel. Came in handy to keep our cellphones dry!!!

  20. I bring an old hotel key card or old casino players card to use where your room key goes to keep air/lights on while you are out of the room. Just leave it in for the duration of the cruise.

  21. I make my own wrinkle releaser. Take a small spray bottle and once arriving on the ship, insert a dryer sheet and fill with water. Shake it up and spray clothes lightly and give them a little shake. Wrinkles are gone. No worries about what size bottle or fluids. I even use this at home.

  22. I used a shoe rack holder on my first cruise. Was definitely a good idea. I hung it on the back of a closet door and put some shoes. Sunscreen. Sprays, makeup, chargers anything that can fit

  23. I love the idea of the dry bag.When we went on a cruise to Jamaica ,we left our valubles on shore and we couldn’t really enjoy since there were people selling things on shore and we had to constantly keep an eye on our things.

  24. I like your suggestion to bring a copy of our passport along with our actual passport so we can keep the actual one safe. My husband and I want to go on a cruise together soon. I think the tips you shared will help everything on the cruise go smoothly!

  25. on the 10 drink package can you buy more then one?, and if you don’t can you fine out. cause the drink package is a little high for the reason that you will only be on the ship six day’s so why would they charge you for seven days

  26. A fitted sheet works even better. Place water bottles or something similar in the corners to anchor it down with elastic edge up at the top of the bottle (when it is standing. Helps keep sheet in position and sand from blowing onto sheet because it makes a kind of ‘play pen’ shape.

  27. when we go to the beach or think we may need to rest on the ground or seating is dirty I pack a top sheet. they pack well and sand shakes off easily, plus everyone already has at least one so no add’l expense.

  28. We also have put something on the outside of our door so we could find it quicker. Also if you put up a light weight chalk board or dry erase board people can leave you notes.

  29. These were all life savers on the cruise I just went on. Fan is not necessary though as cabins are air conditioned the walls on the oasis of the seas were textured wallpaper so suction cups or magnets did not work but the bathroom had plenty of hooks

  30. I always buy a few rain ponchos from the dollar store prior to traveling so that if we need them, we are not at the mercy of the local gift shops. Another handy thing is to put a few dryer sheets in your suitcase so that it stays fresh smelling.

    • Those are great ideas! Love the dryer sheets idea. With the humidity of being at sea, freshness is always nice.

    • Check out Frog Toggs rain gear. I got a very lightweight rain coat for about $15. It packs down small into a little bag that’s included. The clouds just opened up in Roatan but my wife and I had our rain coats on in seconds. My in-laws were not as prepared.

  31. Since the ship has a lot of metal use heavy duty magnets with hooks on them. I place them around the cabin to hang things on.

    • May I emphasis “heavy duty” magnets in Cynthia’s post? The 1st time I just took some cheapies and they slid down the wall one something was attached to them – they weren’t strong enough.

      With heavy duty magnets I have placed my wrung-out swimsuit on a hanger and hung it from them to finish drying with no problems.

  32. Our must-have is a pop-up mesh laundry hamper. It packs flat in your bag and is a life saver in keeping the tiny room tidy and keeping your clean clothes fresh and separate from what’s already been worn.

    • I use packing cubes. It saves so much room in my luggage. Once in the room, I unpack on the shelves and hangers and then designate one of my largest packing cubes for dirty laundry that lives on lowest shelf. Once home, it too can go into the washer.

      • Once you unpack your suitcases and slide them under the bed, leave them open and you can use them to store your dirty clothes or a place to keep your souveniers.

    • We take a few Gain-scented kitchen-sized trash bags to use for dirty laundry. You can store the dirty clothes in a closet, in luggage beneath the bed, or wherever, all while keeping the dirty clothes smell to a minimum and also keeping dirty clothes from touching the inside of your luggage. Trash bags take up no room, hold their structure pretty well while filling, and I can reuse them for their intended purpose once we’re home.

  33. Things I advise to bring that are not on this list:

    Highlighters: To note which activities you wish to do on the cruise agenda.

    Playing cards / games: To use when you just want to chill but stay active.

    Ponchos: Depending on your destination.

    Lanyards: Get your sea pass card punched and attach it to a lanyard around your neck.

  34. The Alarm Clock only has 4 time zones, “4 US Time Zones Selectable (P/ M/ C/ E)”, not Hawaii or Alaska and nothing if you want to travel internationally and it’s set by radio, so not suggested.

  35. Another thing that is a must for people wearing glasses is a small eyeglass repair kit which can be bought at the dollar store. A screw came out of my glasses while I was going through security. I need them to see. I did not have one and no one else did. Guest services took them and told me they would see what they could do. Who else but the Captain had a kit and fixed them for me. What a life saver. Will not travel without one now!

    • That’s a great thing to pack! It’s tough when you’re in the middle of the ocean. No easy way to get things like repair kits out there.

    • It is a good idea to bring an extra pair of glasses if you are truly dependent on them.I have been an optician for 40 years and have heard way to many stories about glasses getting lost or destroyed at the most inopportune times.

    • I also went to Walmart and purchased the little dental repair kit to keep in my bag when I travel. It’s terrible to be away from home and you lose a crown. The repair kit has dental cement to put it back on until you can get back to your dentist.

  36. Thank you for suggesting that you should pack a small portable fan for your cabin on the cruise. My husband and I are thinking of going on a cruise and I want to find the best one. I’ll have to do some research and find something we will both love.

  37. There is a safe in the cabin where we put all our valuables. It’s big enough to put our tablets. So unless you bring a laptop or something big, there’s really no need to get a lock for your suite case. We keep all our valuables in our carry on so they are never out of our possession.

    • We don’t agree with that. We don’t like the idea of luggage being out of our sight and not secured in someway — even if we carry all valuables with us.

      • I LOVE the panasonic Lumix Camera. I don’t even take my big Nikon anymore. If you buy one that is not waterproof though, you MUST bring a waterproof hard case for it… and make sure travel guides know you have a camera and not to get you wet. Brought mine to the waterfall at Falmouth and just as I was putting it away the guide decided it was funny to splash us all. My camera stopped working and that was it for my day. I was sooo upset… Thankfully it dried out and it worked for the rest of the cruise.

  38. What about a battery charger for those rechargeable batteries.

    A torch for when you are walking in darkened areas.

    Also, tablets for sea-sickness even if you think you don’t need them!! You just never know.

    • Get a Watson battery charger, for ALL your Electronics – check B&H Photo and Video
      works with Camera, Camcorder, GoPro – almost anything

    • agree on the sea-sickness medicine. I just got off a really rough cruise-just general bad weather, not hurricane related-and was glad I had my medicine. There was 2 out of the 4 of us in the room who needed to take it over the course of several days and I was afraid we would run out.

  39. Do not forget constipation and diarrhea pills. God forbid you would need them, but if you do, you need to have them.

    Also pocket sanitizer bottles–those little bottles of purell. use it each and every time you get done with a menu, or after touching handrails in a stairway. Washing is better–but not always convenient.

    A small extra battery for your e-reader is a good idea too.

  40. Another reason you need a watch: ships operate on “ship’s time,” which may or may not be the time your longitude-sensitive (local time) phone may give you.
    If you rely on your cell for time, you may be back to the ship an hour early (bummer) or an hour late (real big bummer).

  41. I thought I would see Chap Stick on the list with the wind and the sun, but no one has mentioned this tiny little life saver!!

      • lol, I cannot live without chapstick. I just bought one with spf 30 (wish it was 50). We’ll be cruising in July. It didn’t even occur to me that I needed it, I just instinctively bought it since it had a good spf. I use chap stick every day.


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