Packing for any holiday, particularly a cruise, is exciting as you know your much-deserved break is imminent. Once you open and begin to load your bag, naturally you’ll go for the essentials first – daytime clothes, fancier gear for the evenings, theme-wear for the party nights on deck and of course in most cases, your swimmers.
While packing for your cruise can be a daunting prospect and with so many things to remember to take with you, it can be difficult to think about some of the extras that you might not realise can come in very handy.
We have compiled some of these easily forgotten items which can make your cruise easy. Don’t forget we also have a list of the things you shouldn’t take aboard your next cruise.
As much as the crew members repeatedly scrub and clean every surface on your ship, chances are bugs and bacteria can still hang around and can very easily be brought onboard by other passengers.
You can be one step ahead of the germs by carrying some hand sanitiser and using it in addition to the many dispensers available around the ship. Carrying sanitising wipes and using them outside of the dining rooms, such as on the poker machines in the casino before you play or in the theatre will also reduce your chances of picking up a bug.
A pen that attaches to your lanyard
For as much technology as modern cruise ships have, for some reason there is still an awful lot of paper employed when it comes to formalising onboard purchases with a signature.
With this in mind, having a pen handy is something that be a real time saver on your cruise holiday. From needing to sign these receipts at the bar to playing trivia, a pen is a cruising essential. Have one that attaches to your lanyard and you -and often your bartender – won’t spend precious holiday time looking for something to sign for those fancy cocktails.
Snap lock bags
It will take up very little room in your bag, but a packet of snap lock bags will come in very handy for protecting your valuable electronics or important ID documents when going ashore in destinations where they might get wet (such as South Pacific islands).
These little plastic bags are also handy if your in-cabin television remote looks a little bit on the gross side. Inserting the remote into a large snap lock bag ensures you can still use it but don’t actually have to touch it.
Plastic shopping bags
Having some good quality plastic bags such as ones you get from major retailers including David Jones, Myer or JB Hi-Fi are good for any wet items.
They are lightweight and fold up so they don’t take up much space but are handy for when you go ashore and need to take wet clothing such as swimsuits on and off the ship. They are also handy for any dirty clothes you may have to pack at the end of your cruise.
Bags can also be handy should you purchase anything ashore from market stalls which might not have any bags of their own at hand.
A small door-stopper to keep your balcony door open
If you have booked a stateroom with a balcony, having a small stopper to keep the balcony door open will help you enjoy the sounds of the ocean as you drift off to sleep.
It’s also handy if you’re wanting to turn off the air-conditioning in your room. Many ships do not offer a simple “off” switch on the in-cabin control. Instead, propping the door open will generally kill the air conditioning for as long as the door is open.
A small fold up beach bag
When the time comes to disembark the ship for a day on an idyllic tropical beach, you will most likely find you have a stack of stuff you wish to take ashore.
Having a beach bag which you can throw things into such as suntan lotion and towels will make your life much easier, particularly if you are tendering ashore. It also makes the security clearance easier on your return as having one bag to keep your stuff together will ensure you pass the checkpoint with minimal fuss and inconvenience.
Imodium and Antibiotics
A harsh reality when you travel is that from time to time, your stomach can get upset in a variety of ways. These include drinking the local water – even inadvertently through ways such as having ice melt in your drink, or by consuming a salad that has been washed in unclean water.
Having a reasonable supply of easy, over-the-counter medications on hand such as Imodium will ensure you can treat yourself and manage the symptoms without an expensive trip to the onboard medical centre. Simple antibiotics can be helpful in neutralising basic bugs and other nasties, with most local doctors happy to prescribe a basic course ahead of travel.
A small travel-sized bottle of laundry deodoriser, will ensure suits and dresses remain fresh throughout your voyage, without needing to be shipped off to the expensive onboard laundry.
Additionally, products such as Fabreze are also known to help remove wrinkles in clothing, which are often inevitable when delicate garments go into a suitcase.
A spare pair of shoes
From Asia to Alaska, no matter where you are cruising, chances are you will walk through water or be outdoors when the heavens open.
Having a spare pair of walking shoes will ensure you can give each pair significant time to dry without being forced to walk around in wet or grubby shoes.
Some laundry pegs
While the idea of doing laundry while on holiday has about as much appeal as walking on hot coals, having some pegs in your bag can ensure you have nice dry swimsuits wherever your adventure takes you.
Take note though that these are intended for you to hang up items in your stateroom bathroom. It is against the rules of many cruise ships to hang up items on your balcony, as these can be an enormous fire hazard if the wind blows an item over the edge and this in turn gets caught in the ship’s wash and sucked into one of the engines.
What do you take with you to make your cruise easier? Tell us below in the comments!