I’mmmm baaaaack! After 12 glorious days away from everything–yup, even blogging–I’ve returned to real life. Gone are the warm, crystal clear waters and lazy afternoon. Oh man, can someone please send me back there to write an article or something? Anyways, I wanted to put this together before I forgot. Here is my cruise packing list of just the items you won’t think of bringing, but should. These are random items that I’ve found to be particularly useful for your time at sea.
Update: For the latest and additional must-haves from readers, check out this post. Don’t miss out on things like portable battery chargers and more!
1. A Mini Power Strip
I can’t tell you how many times this comes in handy. When you’re trying to charge your Kindle, iPad, camera battery, and blowdry your hair, the two sockets aren’t going to cut it. And oh wait, your boyfriend/hubby/kiddo needs to charge something too? Trust me, it’s a must-have. This is a great travel one.
2. A Day Bag/ Beach Bag
This is easy to overlook, but don’t forget that you’re going to need something to carry your towels and sunscreen around the ship. That bag should also double as the bag you can take on your shore excursions and to walk about the ports. I’d look for something large enough to hold two beach towels, along with sunscreen, your wallet, and a water bottle. Ideally, it’d have a zipper on top to keep any small items from falling out!
I have a couple of these Dogearred ones and they get my vote for a cute and functional tote–the sayings on them are the best! However, if you’re low on space, I also have this bag, which folds up into a tiny square and still holds a TON of stuff.
3. Dollar Bills
When you order room service at 12am, it’s always nice to give the person who delivers it a little something extra.
4. Bug Spray
On some cruises, I haven’t needed it, but on my last one we spent an hour on a beach and I left with 22 bug bites. I really really really wish I had packed it. If you don’t want the bulk of a spray can, I’ve used Repel’s 30% Deet Wipes. They’re easy to toss into your tote for the day.
5. A Mini Purse/Wristlet
Ladies–this one is a must. Normally, I’m the girl with the fairly large satchel shoulder tote with everything imaginable inside, but no one wants to lug that around a ship. That said, you still need something big enough to carry your ship card aka “SeaPass”, some chapstick, and your folded up daily itinerary.
6. Zip-lock Bags
These things are a lifesaver for wet bathing suits, oily sunscreen bottles, loose papers, and electronics you want to keep sand and water free.
7. Waterproof Camera
Please don’t be one of the people who spends $30 onboard for a disposable camera. I’ve owned both Olympus and Pentax waterproof cameras. They’re less expensive than Go-Pros, but those are amazing too. This one is waterproof up to 27 feet and would be perfect to take snorkeling.
Or if buying a waterproof camera’s out of the question, you might want to think about getting a waterproof case for your phone. I’ve used the Lifeproof line on my iPhone and it’s never failed. I know the iPhones are supposed to be waterproof these days, but I still get a little nervous about it.
8. A Refillable Drink Cup
Of course there are glasses on board, but they’re tiny and who wants to go back to get water every five minutes? Bring a cup of your own and you can fill it up with your beverage of choice. If you haven’t tried one of these Bubba cups, you should! I love how it keeps my drinks cold for hours.
9. A Highlighter
“I’m trying to get away from the office, why would I need a highlighter?” you ask. Well, each day you’ll receive a cruise itinerary with pages of activities, and it’s so easy to forget what you want to do. With a highlighter on hand, you’ll remember all of the activities you want to check out.
10. An Over-the-Door Shoe Organizer
I’ve been on cruises with my girlfriends where it’s been four of us to a room and let me tell you, that 1’ x 3’ wide counter is not going to hold everyone’s stuff. With toothbrushes, hair brushes, styling products, and make-up, this organizer is small to pack, but can keep everyone’s stuff separate and at-hand. It’s also great if you’re a family and need to keep your little one’s toys and gadgets off the floor. Update: I’ve heard that some cruise lines will charge you if it damages the door, so bring kitchen towel or use a T-Shirt as a buffer.
BONUS: I think these cruise ship label holders are amazing! I’m always worried that the stickers will fall off and my luggage will get lost, but these will help your labels stay securely attached to your luggage.
Guess what? There’s MORE. I compiled the top suggestions and recos from the comments below and created: