Summer is just around the corner, and the vacation season will be underway. If you are cruising this summer, I’m sure you’re getting excited and starting to think about what to pack. Of course, your mind will be on the fun stuff – swimsuits, shorts, cute dresses and tops, comfy pants and loose shirts, fun shoes and sandals. However, there are lots of other things you may not have thought about – things you don’t necessarily need for a land vacation. Cruises are different. Here is a list of things that have come in handy for my family and me when we take a cruise vacation.
Alarm clock/watch – Most cruise ship cabins don’t come with clocks, so if you want to know the time and set the alarm (rather than a phone wakeup call), bring your own. If you’re using your cell phone for this job, make sure you don’t incur roaming charges simply by leaving it on in foreign waters. That can become very costly!
Night light – Once the lights are out and the curtains are drawn, it is very dark in the cabin! Usually, there are no small or dim lights to leave on if a trip to the bathroom or for someone coming in late.
Power surge strip – With today’s technology, everyone has at least one – and often several- devices that need to be charged regularly – phones, laptops, tablets, Kindles, cameras, GoPro’s, etc. Most cabins only have a few extra outlets. If you have several people in a cabin with several devices, pack an outlet strip (or two). This way, everyone can recharge as necessary.
Space savers – Cruise ships do a great job of maximizing the space in the cabin for storage. Yet, it can still get cramped in there – especially if you share a triple or quad cabin. It’s not a bag idea to pack a few hangers, over-the-door hooks, over the door shoe holders (which have up to 20 plastic pockets and great for shoes or for organizing lots of little things – scarves, socks, anything small.
Money savers – Other items you might want to pack because they’re not provided and can be very expensive to buy on board include: bug spray, sunscreen, aloe for sunburns, over-the-counter meds (Dramamine, aspirin, antacids, decongestants, cough remedies), batteries, camera memory cards, earplugs, plastic bags for transporting liquids or wet things (or keeping water out of your gear on water-based tours).
Communication: Once you set sail and turn off your phones, communicating with your fellow cruise mates is not so easy. A great way to stay in contact is to bring a sticky note pad or a dry erase board and markers. Use them outside your cabin doors so that you can leave notes for others in your party. And synchronize your watches – if you still wear one! Another popular option to stay in touch while you’re all scattered about the ship is walkie talkies.
Quick fix – Duct tape goes a long way and is multi-purpose. If you have room to throw in a roll, do it. You’re bound to find the need for it at least once or twice.
Drinks – Bring your own coffee mug if you like to have more than 10 oz at a time. Pack a refillable water bottle if you enjoy the water all day. Water is safe to drink on board. If you enjoy wine, you are allowed to bring one bottle on board with you. Also, bring a corkscrew if necessary.
Money – But be sure to take small bills – 1s, 5s, and 10s – for tipping cab drivers and porters as you travel to and from the port.
Besides, here are some important things to keep in mind:
ALWAYS keep all important documents with you. Make sure you pack your necessary IDs and cruise documents in your carry-on bag. Never pack them in your checked luggage. So even if your suitcase misses the boat, you can get on board.
Carry on: When you check-in at the port, your big suitcase will be taken and brought to your cabin. You may not see it again for a few hours – sometimes not even until dinner time …or, unfortunately, sometimes later if it has been misplaced. Make sure to take a “day bag” with you and keep it with you when boarding the ship. Pack a change of clothes, maybe even your outfit for dinner that night, a bathing suit, cover-up, flip flops, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and a book in your carry on so that you can enjoy the afternoon – and evening- even if you don’t have your luggage. Of course, keep any medications, valuables, contact lenses, glasses, and other important items in your carry-on bag.
Follow these tips and ensure that you will be sailing smoothly on your next cruise!
Anjana Duff is the owner of Travel Connection, a boutique travel agency specializing in tropical escapes and worldly adventures.
She creates customized vacation packages for individuals and groups. With her expertise, clients can relax before the vacation even begins. They are able to focus on what is truly important – connecting with their favorite people in their favorite places.
Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI.
She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds. Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind. She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember. With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.
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