As an experienced cruiser, I've got tons of tips to make your next cruise vacation a breeze.
Whether it's your phone in the car or your wallet at the restaurant you just left, we all know the sinking feeling when you remember you've left something important behind. The sensation is more keenly felt when you are in the middle of the ocean on a cruise ship and you figure out that you have left an item you needed at home.
Although it might not herald the end of days and put an end to your cruise prematurely, it can be a pain and somethings, unfortunately, will either be expensive or hard to replace for the duration of your cruise. Below you will find a few must-have and must not be overlooked items., not to be missed every time you cruise.
1. First of All, You’ll Need First-aid
If you are anything like me than you and you have a love of cruises that go to the sunny locales available, you are going to want to think about making sure that you pack some basic first aid. I'm not talking about going full bushcraft survival but you will likely find yourself going to places and doing things that you don't necessarily do every day and for that reason, you should take at least a few bandaids and some antiseptic to keep your engine greased for the whole cruise.
Band-Aids can be great especially if you are like I was on my first trip and I tried to walk everywhere which meant that I got a blister on my foot from a new pair of shoes that I hadn't had the foresight to wear them in before I left for the trip.
Waterproof bandaids are the best for most purposes as they will keep down the chances of any kind of infection creeping in and I have found that they also seem to limit the kick from the saltwater by keeping it off the most affected parts. That said a bit of saltwater can do wonders for healing up the occasional boo-boo.
2. Have Adapter, Will Travel!
If you travel outside your home country or on a cruise ship that comes from another country originally like Royal Caribbean ships, that do ports from Australia during the Aussie peak season you will need to consider bringing the right kind of power adapter with you so that you can charge all of your devices whilst on the ship.
I personally use and suggest that you go with an AIO adapter (preferably with USB charging ports) that will work no matter where you might be on this big blue marble of ours. It is handy to have one of these at hand because if you pick the right one you can charge your devices whilst still having access to an outlet for running other devices ⠀
3. Need Power, Charger Ahoy
When you carry anything on board that has batteries or needs to be charged, it pays to ensure that you have all of the chargers and extra batteries that you need for the entirety of the trip.
Unfortunately, it is pretty likely that anything outside of the standard charger types like those for Apple and Samsung phones will be available and even then they will either cost you a premium if you are lucky enough to find them.
This can be a real pain when it comes to capturing memories of your cruise and you spend the whole time trying to conserve battery life to allow it make the distance of the trip if at all possible.
4. Emergency contact list
These days we all have our family and friend's phone numbers saved into the memory of our phones, but a problem arises if that information is needed by someone and they don't have access to your PIN, fingerprint or even your face.
It could turn out to be a godsend to have a hard copy of all your emergency contacts in your backpack or in your stateroom.
5. Passports and identification at hand always
I think we have all at least heard of one story of people turning up to the cruise or plane terminal and they have left their ID and passport etc. without their passports, birth certificates or required visas and getting turned away. If it's the last thing you do before you walk out your door, always check to make sure you've got all the identification and paperwork that is required for every step of your trip.
Whether its passports or visas for countries you'll be visiting, forgetting any one of these could leave you stranded while your cruise ship sails away. For an extra layer of security, keep copies of all of these (as well as your travel insurance policy) in a separate location from the originals.
6. Doctor, Doctor - Medications
Other than a handful of over-counter meds (cold and flu tablets, pain relievers, and seasickness treatments) that are sold at more expensive prices, cruise ships don't really have a load of medications on them, except for a small supply for emergencies. When traveling and especially when traveling on a cruise ship you should ensure that you have a good supply of your required medications. If you take vitamins or anything else like that it is your responsibility to ensure that you have enough of the medications and supplements that you require for the entirety of your trip. It is important to also ensure that you have an extra amount so that should you not be able to get home straightway, then you will have enough to last you till you get home or to see a doctor. While most cruise ships bring seasickness prevention pills either in the sundries shop or in the medical center, you shouldn't forget if you're prone to seasickness
7. Pack Light, But Not Too Light
You're likely to run into unpredictable cooler weather or temperatures even on your way to warmer cruise locations, but keep in mind that even if the weather is beautiful and stable the temperature in the ship can vary drastically like in the main thoroughfares the ship where the air conditioning always set on the cooler side of things. Packing a jacket or even just a light hoodie means that you will need to fork out more cash to deal with the cool air, especially if you travel somewhere like the South Pacific where the cooler air of the south has a tendency to occasionally follow you at least part of the way there. money being spent on an overpriced piece of clothing you never wear again.
8. Snacks, Snacks and more Snacks - Snack bars/packs
Port days mean spending the best part of a day off your cruise ship so it pays to be prepared to not being close to an all you can eat buffet for the day. Access to food when visiting a port can be a lot more difficult then you might have considered. For instance, some locations might not have shops within traveling distance or they may not be able to meet your dietary requirements.
It is a good idea to make sure you take some water and snacks with you, just be sure to stay in line with local customs requirements, which usually means not open foods or foods that aren't packaged. Taking food off a cruise ship is very much frowned upon unless it is a snack bar or similar that is properly prepackaged. Not the kind of food that you will find on your usual cruise ship, so if you want or need that kind of food throughout the day be sure that you have packed a sufficient supply.
9. Sanitary items aren’t always easy to find
This one is for all of the ladies If you are going on a cruise, be sure to have a supply of your usual brand of tampons and sanitary products.
It is a really good idea to have enough products at hand just in case that time arrives, especially if you are at sea and your access to be able to purchase such products is severely limited, it can also be a problem to be able to gain access to sanitary products when at some ports and islands, so don't pin your hopes on being able to access them that way. Consider this a travel bag with a tampon to hold them.
10. Midnight snack, where it’s at - But how to store
One thing you can use is Freezer bags, they are good for almost anything, except maybe soups! If you are really going to up your sneaky snack game then I would suggest Snaplock bags, the thicker plastic gives better protection to your chosen munchies and the seal means everything stays good for as long as it can.
They are also pretty handy when you are at port and you need somewhere to put your phone where it isn't going to get flooded by rain or drained by you going for a swim. It can also be good for keeping sand out of your phone as I have had this happen before and it took a bit of messing around to get it out of my charge port and out from the corner of my screen protector.
They are my chosen comrade when you do a buffet run for midnight snacks or even for a little impromptu cheese platter when I just want to chill out with the sound of the water passing by the ship whilst on my balcony.
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Ivana Divac from Serbia on March 15, 2020:
Thanks for sharing, this is really a great reminder for everyone.
Maxwell Kamlongera on March 15, 2020:
Good advice on the physical contact list: you never know what kind of mishap you can get into and if your phone is unavailable or you can't unlock it, that can be counterproductive.
Liz Westwood from UK on March 14, 2020:
Thanks gor sharing your experiences to help others. This is a very useful list for anyone planning a cruise.