What to Pack for a Cruise

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There are lists out there that have anywhere from 50 – 100 items you need to bring on your next cruise.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t have room for all of that plus clothes and bathroom items – and no one wants to see me without those essentials!

There is a saying about packing for a trip. 

Bring half the clothes you think you need, and double the money!  

It may sound funny, but I’ve actually found this to be very true.  We’ve enjoyed numerous cruises and each time have picked up great tips from other travelers.

Many of these items you’ll already have, it’s just a matter of adding them to your packing list.  If you’d like to get a copy of the list I use, join our list, I’d love to have you!

1.  Extra Pair of Sunglasses

It never fails, I buy a nice a pair of sunglasses and you know what happens! They get lost or broken!  Every time.  The store on the ship or the tourist shops will charge you 3 -4 times what a cheap pair in Target will cost you.  Even if you just pack a dollar store pair, you’ll be covered and with luck you won’t need them, but will have them.

2.  Ziploc Bags 

These are easy to pack and don’t take up much room at all, but they can be used for so many things.  From carrying a piece of fruit or snack on your excursion for the day, to bringing your wet bathing suit back from the beach or snorkeling trip.  No one likes to sit in a wet suit!

3. Post – It Notes

This one may seem a bit odd, but hear me out.  If you’re traveling with other families, couples,  friends  or just your spouse, communications on board the ship can be a bit tough.  Many cruise lines now have apps that you can download and text each other, but the reception is spotty since it uses the ship wifi and messages don’t always go through.

Post-it Notes could be easily left on cabin doors for messages such as “meet at the pool at 3 pm”, or “we’re back from shore”.    Even notes to your cabin steward asking for extra towels or a thanks for the towel monkey!

4. Extra Batteries

Not everything uses rechargeable batteries.  Double check the items you are packing to see if anything needs AA or AAA batteries, an extra set could save you frustration, and money.  My old set of noise cancelling headphones uses AA batteries and I use them even while by the pool.

5.  Portable Charger

Similar to number 4 above is a portable charger.  Phones, tablets, camera batteries, etc all need to be recharged.  If you are out for a day long excursion with a dead phone and no longer able to take pictures or post that great shot on social media it’s just  frustration you can easily avoid.   

Small ones are available and take little room to pack.  Don’t forget the charging cord for the devise you want to charge.   The chargers cord only works to recharge the charger itself, without the devise cord you’ll have a useless charger and no way to hook up the devise.

6.  Highlighter

I know it sounds more like an item for a back-to-school list, but I really like having this on the cruise.  For those of you heading out on your first cruise, each night your room steward will  place the next days cruise itinerary on your turned down bed;  sometimes with mints!  I love those, and those towels animals! 

I like to take a few minutes, either that night, or during breakfast to review what activities are going on aboard the ship and highlight what we want to see that day.  Many people don’t like to feel scheduled to be some place at a certain time, but if there’s a show or activity you want to do, highlight it so you won’t miss it.  Rock climbing may only be open from 9 – 10 am, or the yoga class you wanted to take is a 6 am or 3 pm.  It’s an easy way to see all the things you’re interested in and as the time approaches you can decide if you want to head in that way.

7. Re-fillable insulated cup

This is another one you may think is a bit strange, but I packed this on our last cruise and loved having it!  The cups in the buffet areas are pretty small and if you need a couple of coffees to wake up you could be there a while.  Bring your cup with you, fill it up and off you go.  Now I will say that the cruise lines are extremely health and cleanliness conscience,  and I’m glad they are.  They do not want you filling up your water bottle or thermos from the water fountains or coffee/juice machines.  Please use a glass/cup and then pour it into your travel mug.  We all thank you!

8.  Magnets

I never really thought of this before until I read somewhere that the ship walls were metal.  Well obviously Donna, but ok I just didn’t give it any thought.  If you bring a refrigerator magnet with you or a small magnet with hook, you can use this to hold your ship pass (which you should put on a lanyard you also bring with you), the cruise itinerary for the next day, or anything you may want to hang to get out of the way.  Cabin rooms are extremely small, any space you can utilize that is not on a surface will help keep your room more organized.

9.  Chair Clips

This is a personal preference one, but some people swear by having their chair clips with them.  I guess they don’t like it when the towel falls off the back of the chair.   Don’t spend a lot of money on these either.  Although the little flamingo ones are so cute, you can get some large plastic clips at your local Dollar Store that will do the trick.

10. Beach Bag

Don’t get caught heading out on your all day excursion or a day at the pool or beach and be stuck with nothing to carry your items.  Pack an inexpensive collapsible tote that you can fit a couple of towels, sunscreen, your latest read, and maybe some snacks into.  Throw that Ziploc bag and portable charger in there too!  If you really want to be resourceful, if your carry on bag for your flight was a backpack, let it do double duty and use it for you day bag while off the ship or going to the pool

Of course, I have to give you one more!  

11.  And More…

I just couldn’t end this without adding a few more, so quickly here are few things I found to be helpful.   Bring a watch, many times you will pull into port your phone will pick up island time but the ship does not change time while in port. THE SHIP WILL LEAVE WITHOUT YOU!  Be on time and know what time it is and when you need to be back.

If you have an inside cabin it will be dark as a tomb in there.   You may want a small nightlight or if you are traveling with small children it could be handy.

Detergent wipes, antibacterial wipes/lotion.  I lumped these together but both are good to have.  Of coure there are so many reason for the antibacterial wipes/lotion but the detergent wipes could come in handy as well with all that great food!

These are a few of my go-to items that I pack when headed on a cruise.  Please tell me what you bring to make your cruise successful.  Comment below and please like, share and pin this post if you found it helpful.

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