As my next cruise draws near I am starting to once again focus on packing and it got me thinking, we often pack things now that we only realised we needed once we boarded a cruise ship for the first time.
I thought it might be useful for those about to embark on their first cruise to be given a ‘heads up’ so to speak on what they might want to consider squeezing into the suitcase, just in case.
1: Extension Lead. On the newer vessels they often have more than one power outlet in the cabin but I boarded a ship once that had only one. The cruise was 3 weeks in length and it proved to be a nightmare. Even one extra socket can make a huge difference.
2: Antihistamines. It was actually my friend that recommended this. She never travels without allergy pills and now, neither do I. It’s always good to have them for insect bites or stings but they work well if you should suffer heat rash. The one a day pills are sufficient.
3: Travel Adaptor. This might seem like an obvious one and it could appeal to cruisers new and experienced, but I cruised on British ships for so long that when it came to a European cruise line I completely forgot I would need a plug adaptor. Thankfully I remembered the second I was on my way out of the front door but it could have been a royal pain had I not realised in time.
4: Bottle Opener. Some cruise lines (and only some) will allow you to buy alcohol ashore for private consumption in your cabin. Don’t forget to pack a bottle opener, nothing worse than buying local beer and not being able to open the bottle once back to your cabin. Check before buying that you can do this as like I say not all lines allow it.
5: Walkie Talkies. If you are travelling in a large group or you are just the type of couple that will lose each other at every possible moment then pack some walkie talkies. They are perfect for communication onboard and ultimately finding each other should you become separated. I am still yet to get a set but next time I cruise with my friend I vow to buy them!
6: Memory Cards. I know your camera and smart phone will have them and you probably think there will be enough space, but trust me there won’t. I never travel without spares for my phone and my camera, there are so many things to see whilst cruising you will want to capture every moment and if it is your first cruise the last thing you want to experience is “memory full”.
7: Torch (Flashlight). Again it was my friend who brought a torch on one of our cruises together and what a blessing it was. You usually find the light switch for the bathroom is outside the bathroom and turning it on in the middle of the night can result in a blinding glare. As you open the door it’s more than likely you are going to wake everyone else in the cabin. Use the torch instead during the night, especially if you are in an inside cabin. Your cruising partner will appreciate it!
8: Swimwear. This one is a good one to remember especially if cruising with kids. Although you of course will pack swimwear it’s always worth packing it in your carry on luggage. If you arrive at the ship and the weather is good then the kids can jump straight in the pool and you can enjoy some down time until your cabin is ready. Or you could join them in the water!
These are just a few little ideas for you to consider in the future, there are many other obvious things that no matter what, we would never forget. For example I don’t go anywhere without ear plugs but it’s not something I would necessarily recommend everyone pack.
I want to know if you can offer ideas on other useful things to pack?
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Mole skin or blister bandages, travel fan, extension cord (absolute must!) lip balm with spf, small sewing kit with scissors, safety pins, wrinkle releaser spray, neosporin, burn gel, some kind of hat, air freshener, empty water bottle that you can fill with ice water to use by the pool.
Take an over the door hanging shoe rack for shoes and other odds and ends. The fold up and are easy to carry in you luggage. They also don’t weigh much in you luggage.
A few photocopied or printed sheets of the areas you want to visit when you arrive in port …and directions to get there.
I travel professionally, things I never leave the house without are 1. Sudafed 2. allergy meds. 3. immodium (a total lifesaver at times, you never know when you will need it) 4. Prilosec, again, you never know 5, aspririn. 6. extra batteries for those things that take them. 7, a spare set of keys in every single bag I bring. most luggage now comes with a keyring attached in one of the pockets. I hang a car key and a house key from that ring. I have a house alarm, so I don’t worry about security. I also highly recommend putting your contact information not only on the exterior of your luggage, but copy it and place it on the interior of your baggage. Also photocopy your passport and keep a copy of it in your luggage. Keep a copy of the contact information for all of your credit cards, in case you need to contact the companies to cancel the cards.
Don’t forget duct tape either. If you have a bag damaged in transit, and I’d bet a lot have, pack this to keep your bag content private. Nothing worse than looking up the baggage chute and see your under wear or your favorite suit. It is a permanent fixture in a bag for traveling, be it a cruise or not!
Great list – I never would have thought of a bottle opener! One thing I’ve learned to pack is a small(ish) bag to take shopping. We have quite a collection of small backpacks, sling bags and totes because it took us forever to learn to pack one. 😉
Post-It notes for leaving messages for cabin mate or people you are traveling with.
Instead of a torch I always take a plug in night-light (along with the extension lead) – its ideal for finding your way around the cabin in the dark!
Instead of a torch, I always take a plug in nightlight (along with the extension lead) – great for finding the bathroom in the night!
We recently found magnetic clips to be very useful. Most cruise cabin walls can hold a magnetic clip and you can hang your itinerary in one, daily newspaper on another, excursion packing list, etc…