Recently my family took a 7 day cruise to the Caribbean. Of course, I did my research and wanted to be 110% prepared before we debarked. I started planning and packing about one month prior. The following 8 items are my absolute (uncommon and often forgotten) must haves…
Digital Waterproof Watch
There is no need to pack your fancy Rolex watch. While some people may think having a watch on vacation is not a good idea, I disagree. I purchased inexpensive watches for everyone in my family. When you first arrive on your ship, I recommend setting your watch to the ship’s time. Therefore, when you arrive to the different ports, you will know exactly what time the ship is leaving. Many people have missed their ship because they returned to the port on the port’s local time and not the time of the ship. When searching for a watch, I recommend a waterproof watch with an alarm. It will serve multiple purposes and you don’t have to worry about it being damaged in the pool or at the beach.
Your ship’s cabin key card (sail and sign card for Carnival cruisers) is basically your life line while on the ship. In addition to being your cabin (room) key card, it also contains your account information, used to make purchases on the ship, and used for identification for boarding. On some ships, it is also used to turn the light on in your cabin. You need to keep your card with you at all times. I recommend putting your card on a lanyard. The customer service desk will punch a hole in your card for you. I also recommend taking your own lanyard so you don’t have to settle for the over priced lanyards at the ship’s gift store. I absolutely love this damask lanyard I found on Amazon.
Nylon Drawstring Bag
I also purchased everyone in my family a drawstring bag. Each person’s bag was a different color. These bags made by Liberty and sold on Amazon came in 16 different colors. Drawstring bags are excellent for taking your books, ipad, or sunglasses to the pool. You can also use the bag off the ship in lieu of a purse or backpack.
Cruise Ship Luggage Tags
I never felt comfortable printing my luggage tags from home and simply stapling them together. I found these luggage tag holders and they were perfect. They are designed specifically to hold and display cruise ships e-documents. You don’t have to worry about the risk of your tags being torn apart and having your luggage lost. The tags come in a pack of 8 and can be used multiple times. They are very inexpensive and can be used over and over again.
Power Strip or Extension Cord
Cabins have very limited outlets. On my first cruise, I was unable to charge my ipad, fitbit, and mini laptop at the same time. I was prepared for my last cruise. For under $15.00, I purchased the set of two Belkin Surge protectors.
** Verify your ships requirements for power strips and extension cords. They may only allow power strips or cords without the surge protector option. **
Over the Door Shoe Organizer
Counter space in the bathrooms of the cabins are very limited. I purchased this over the door shoe organizer for $9.99. It was perfect for holding my toiletries in the bathroom. Initially I was concerned that I would hear the organizer move constantly when the ship is moving or when opening and closing the door. To my surprise, I never heard it.
Make sure you take plenty of small bills. Small denotations can be used for tips while at port. Also if you plan to do shopping and negotiating, you don’t want to have large bills. The local shop owners will try their hardest to not give you your change. They will offer you everything in the store first.
Over the Counter and Prescription Medicine
Photo Credit: Clip Art Sheep
Don’t forget to basically pack a full medicine cabinet. In addition to your regularly scheduled meds, pack things such as motion sickness pills, band aids, sun block, insect repellent, upset stomach meds, anti-bacterial creams, etc.. I would rather pack an item and not need it than to have to purchase it for three times the price in the gift store.
I hope you found these tips helpful. I would love to hear other useful must haves for your cruises. Please comment below with any questions or comments.
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