Cruising is such a fun way to enjoy a family vacation, but it is a little different than a land based vacation. Here is a list of 10 essential items that will help make your next cruise vacation easier.
Pop Up Laundry Hamper
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I read this tip on a cruise message board and it was so helpful. Take a pop up laundry hamper with you. You can usually find these at the $1.00 store and they take up very little room in your luggage. We put ours in the corner of our stateroom and it helped keep the clean items from the dirty items. I emptied it twice during our cruise by putting the dirty laundry into our empty suitcase. So easy!
While there was laundry available on our ship, it was not cheap. On formal night my son got his white shirt dirty and my husband got a spot of soup on his tie. Using the Tide Pen I was able to get all the stains out and save both items.
I usually keep a small scissors in my toiletry bag when I travel, but on occasion I don’t bring it. I found having it to be so helpful on our cruise. We could cut wristbands off after excursions, cut tags off new clothes and cut strings from existing clothes.
Always bring an extra stash of plastic sandwich, quart and freezer size bags with you. You never know when you might need them if one of yours breaks. Plastic bags are useful for bringing seashells and other small souvenirs home. They also came in handy when my daughter’s necklace broke.
Colored Duct Tape
A few years ago we went on a family cruise and during debarkation someone in the cruise terminal almost walked off with my sister’s bag. They had mistaken her bag for their bag and if she hadn’t caught it who knows what might have happened to her stuff.
So this time right before we put our luggage out I placed long pieces of bright duct tape on every side of our bags and marked our name on them. It made our luggage easier to locate when we disembarked and hopefully kept the wrong person from grabbing it.
The tape can also be handy for attaching your luggage tags to your suitcases before your cruise instead of lugging a stapler around.
Sticky Notes, Paper, Highlighters and Pens
Regardless of where I am traveling I like to have sticky notes, paper, highlighters and pens. On a cruise they come in handy for leaving notes for your cabin mates, highlighting the daily activity paper, writing down information and for general doodling and note taking.
Lanyard with a Plastic Badge Holder
We did bring lanyards on our last cruise, but the cruise cards have changed and you really can’t punch a hole in them the way that you used to. Be sure to purchase lanyards with badge holders off Amazon or another site. You will pay a small fortune for these once you are onboard your ship.
Fully Functioning Waterproof Cell Phone Case
If you plan to go on a cruise where you will be swimming or snorkeling this is a must for taking pictures with your cell phone. Read the Amazon reviews carefully. I found a great case that protected our phones and even floated which I thought was a perk. The problem was they did not function well underwater for taking pictures. What a bummer! So buy this item early and fully test it out to be sure you can still operate your camera and your phone while under water. I think I should have purchased this waterproof case instead!
Waterproof Bag for Valuables
If you plan to do any beach excursions and everyone will be in the water get a waterproof bag for your valuables. While you can leave many items like jewelry in the safe on the ship, you can’t get around bringing your identification and money ashore. We found a great waterproof bag that we could wear so we didn’t have to worry about leaving our valuables laying around or try to secure a locker.
While there is a ton of food available on ships, there are not many snacks. If you have a craving for chips or your kids want some goldfish or other crackers, you will pay a premium for them onboard. While you may be able to find them in port, you will want these for the sea days or to bring on long excursions. If you have the room, pack a few of your favorites. You will be glad you did.
Have you cruised recently? What were your must have items that made ship life better for you?
If you need a comprehensive packing list for your trip, check out my post The Essential Summer Vacation Packing Checklist.
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