Have a cruise booked and it’s soon? It’s time to make sure you have the cruise essentials to pack for your cruise.
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If you read my review on my last cruise, you probably know that I said I needed a break from cruising. I really did! This is why we took a land vacation and went away for a week to Kauai this past May. While falling in love with Kauai, we realized yet again how much we love being on the water and vacationing at beach destinations. This inspired us to book another cruise!
To the Southern Caribbean! And I mean, the Southern, southern Caribbean. The ABC’s of the Caribbean: Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao! I’ve never been to any of these islands. I’m so excited and recently checked in online with the cruise line. Soon it will be time to pack. I need to make sure I’m not missing anything and I also have a few new things I wanted to share with you.
When you embark on a cruise ship for vacation, you are temporarily moving in. The cruise ship becomes your home for the next 7, 9 or 12 days of your itinerary, sometimes longer. It’s important that you bring some comforts that will help you feel more at home.
I don’t have a dozen cruises under my belt, yet. Most of what I’ve learned is from research, followed by experience and let’s not forget, my friend Kim, who is the cruising Queen. I loved having this conversation with her because there are cruise essentials she likes to bring with her that are absolutely genius. And yet, personally, I still don’t bring with me because my needs are different.
That’s the thing, everyone’s needs are different.
So, look over this list, see what will fit your travel needs. These are things that you may have or may not have thought of as cruise essentials.
Best Items to Bring on a Cruise
- Power Strip with USB ports
- USB Adapter in case the above doesn’t have enough ports for you.
- Hanging Toiletry Organizer or an Over the Door Shoe Rack
- Coffee Tumbler for coffee lovers.
- Portable Fan
- Standup Mirror
- Eco-friendly Straws
- Water Tumbler
- Magnetic Hooks
- Tea Lights
- Laundry Bag
- Beach Towel Clips
- Hand Sanitizers and Disinfectants
Cruise Essentials to Pack for Your Cruise
Everyone should bring a power strip. This is one of the items I’d say is one of the cruise essentials. I can’t imagine that the one power outlet (maybe two if you’re lucky) is enough. We all have cellphones to charge unless you plan to put it away and never use it (not a bad idea). What about your camera?
Think about what needs to be plugged in at once. If it’s more than one person in your cabin, the power strip will be for everyone and their electronics.
FYI, no surge protectors allowed. Just a plain power strip.
My personal preference is to buy a power strip with USB outlets. You fix two problems with that. If you like to have them separate to multiples outlets, read on…
Sometimes we bring our laptops, multiple cameras, our phones and well, personally we need more USB ports.
If not, we can’t plug everything in at once at night before bed. I have brought my camera with me thinking it had enough charge from the other day – because we were taking turns with the USB ports- only for it to die on me. Definitely trying that it doesn’t happen again. We should have enough ports.
Over the Door Toiletry Organizer
Recently, for our Kauai trip, I discovered and ordered the most amazing toiletry organizer. Why is it amazing? Because I packed both our toiletries in this organizer and it fit nicely in our luggage pouch. When we unpacked in our Airbnb, I just unfolded it open and hung it up in the bathroom. It was perfect. There are different varieties on Amazon.
If you’re taking a flight prior to your cruise, it may not be the perfect scenario for you because of the rules. When we travel together, we check-in luggage that is slightly bigger than our carry-on.
You may also want to consider an over the door shoe rack instead. This is an amazing bathroom storage hack. If you and your family are staying in one cabin together with only one bathroom, this may be the way to go. There is not enough surface space in the bathroom. This will hang over the bathroom door and everyone can stick their toiletries and other items for later use into the pockets.
Word to the wise, if you’re a coffee drinker, consider taking a coffee tumbler with you. You will thank me later!
The coffee mug is still #1 on my list. Coffee is hubby’s BFF.
Those little cups they provide at the buffet are laughable. Since we like to save money when possible, he fills his 24oz Hydro Flask and BOOM, we don’t have to worry about returning to the buffet for a refill. And, the best part, it’s environmentally friendly.
Also, it’s safe for everyone! Imagine, getting bumped into one of those buffet cups full of coffee. Not fun. It keeps the coffee warm.
This is not something I bring with me, but it came highly recommended and I told everyone about it on my first list. It is one of the top things sold. I had no idea it would be so popular but I’m happy to continue passing on these great tips.
This portable fan is battery operated, foldable and stores easily in your luggage.
Kim likes to use it to sleep at night and to circulate the air that may become stagnant.
This stand-up mirror is another genius recommendation by Kim. Seriously, this one is a hit amongst my readers. So it’s a keeper!
Unless you’re living the suite life, cruise ship cabins are small. If you’re getting yourself dolled up with someone else in the room, it can become cumbersome. If you’re worried about applying your make-up with a good mirror, this standing make-up mirror is a great option to consider.
I personally do not use one because I rarely ever do my make-up. So it’s not necessary to me, but I can see how it would be for Kim and others that do.
Plastic straws have been banned from many of the cruise lines. Your fruity drink is no longer being served with a straw. For some, slurping a piña colada just doesn’t seem right. Personally, I like to have a straw with my frozen drinks. What do I stir my drink with? However, I do know how important it is for the environment that we start eliminating plastic to keep our oceans safe.
Now, you have the option to bring your own straws, many cruisers do, and others don’t care about having straws. It’s all up to you! Until all cruise lines decide to provide alternatives to plastic straws, I highly recommend looking into eco-friendly ones that are either biodegradable or reusable.
Update: Celebrity Cruise Line provides paper straws with your drinks.
Speaking of eco-friendly. We always carry an insulated water tumbler off the ship. You can fill it up at the water stations at the buffet before you head out for the day.
Did you know the walls of the cabin are made of metal? Which is why magnetic hooks come in handy. Great to hang your lanyard, hat or any other item you don’t want to just toss around the cabin.
They sell lanyards on the cruise ship, but if you don’t want to wait, there are plenty of pretty options on Amazon for great prices. And yes, you need to carry your cruise ship card with you whenever you leave your cabin.
Cruise Tip: After you receive your ID Card, stop by guest services or the casino and borrow their hold puncher. Punch a hole into the corner or the top of your ID card. Now you hook it to your lanyard.
I love bringing battery-powered tea lights. It’s a cheap night light and really takes up no room in the luggage. Your local $1 store will have them.
This laundry bag has been with me on a few trips already. I like that I can throw it all in a bag and then I literally stuff this bag into my luggage with the dirty clothes. I see some that recommend that popup laundry bags which are great too, but I can’t imagine packing that with clothes in it.
Let’s be real, any bag will do.
Because you never know when you will get seasick make sure to bring sea bands just in case, this helps my best friend when she cruises. I’ve been told that if you eat a green apple or take ginger pills that help with motion sickness too. I never get seasick, so I can’t tell you if that’s true, but worth the try!
Beach Towel Clips
One of the things I learned I could use on my last Celebrity cruise and at the beach was beach towel clips. I saw so many people with these clips on their chairs and I quickly learned why. The towel does not stay on the chair and it’s the most frustrating thing having to fix it over and over again. I will not forget to add this to my cruise essentials list next time.
I found a few fun ones below.
Hand Sanitizer & Disinfectants
I normally carry hand sanitizers and wipes with me when I travel. Sometimes in the min travel section of your pharmacy or Target, you can find mini spray disinfectants.
With the coronavirus (hopefully behind us when we start cruising again), it’s even more imperative to travel with these items. On cruise ships you will find hand sanitizer stations set-up everywhere. On some lines, they have staff posted with spray bottles to make sure you disinfectant your hands before embarking the ship or entering dining areas.
We shouldn’t rely on what’s on the ship, try to carry your own to keep germ-free hands between hand washes.
If you’re heading on a beach holiday on your next cruise, don’t forget to read my Beach Packing List. Beach towels, snorkel gear and more!
What are your cruise packing tips? I’d love to hear about what your cruise essentials are.
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