Do you have any cruise tips - either for beginning cruisers or veterans? Leave them here!
When preparing for a seagoing voyage, all experienced cruisers have a mental packing list of necessities. Naturally, passport/photo ID, air and cruise documents and credit cards lead everyone's list.
Over the years, I've heard of wonderful items some cruisers won't leave home without, including ear plugs, sleeping masks and even night lights (so you can see your way to the bathroom at night without turning on the light). Air freshener is another, since candles aren't allowed and those cabin bathrooms get a lot of use.
It's a sign of the times that some of us now take anti-bacterial gel. I have found a new antibacterial handwipe of the moist towelette variety called PAWS, which kills Norovirus, flu virus, hepatitis, and a host of other diseases you may pick up when traveling.
My wife's list of extras include a magnifying make-up mirror with suction cup and, to help endure those endless airport lines, Game Boy. She never leaves home without a framed photo of her family, and I even know people who bring pics of their pets.
This week, we'd like to tap the collective cruising experience of 200,000 subscribers to this newsletter. What special items do you take along to improve the enjoyment of travel and your cruise? Click this link Chit Chat Message Board and find the messages asking for cruise tips to share them with other cruisers.
I am the editor, but I also speculate, ask questions and play devil's advocate. I reserve the right to change my mind.
Hubby takes his handheld GPS. He likes to see how far we've gone, whatthe ship's speed is etc.
Me, I like to take a new book to read on sea days.
Star Princess 2005, Sun Princess 2005
Caribbean Princess 2006, MSC Lirica 2006 , NCL Pearl 2007, Majesty of the Seas 2008, Carnival Destiny 2008, MSC Lirica 2009, Carnival Valor 2009,Carnival Legend 2010, Carnival Liberty 2010,Carnival Fantsay 2011,Carnival Valor Feb 2012, MSC Poesia Dec 2012, MSC Poesia April 2013
I suggest bring a lighted travel alarm, a night light, a heavy duty extension cord, a steamer, a blow dryer and a few 2 liter bottles of soda.
The rooms get pretty dark, so the night light will keep you from brusing your toes while walking around in the dark. The lighted travel alarm will keep you informed as to the time, plus you can set alarms as reminders. There is a shortage of electrical outlets on most ships, so an extension cord is a must. I'd suggest a heavy duty one for blow dryers and curling irons which draw a lot of current. An extra compact blow dryer is nice if you're both getting ready at the same time.
Obviously, soda is expensive on the ships, so hit a store up in the city that your cruise originates from and bring some soda along. A clothing steamer is also nice to remove the inevitable wrinkles that your suitcase put in your nice clothing.
I bring all the usual things everyone else has mentioned----special hairdryer, mirror, electrical strip, etc. etc, but my very favorite thing to bring is my coffee warmer.
I like to have coffee while I am getting dressed, BEFORE breakfast, and I like it HOT HOT HOT.
So, I just drop in the 1 cup warmer and I'm happy.
So is DH
HAL Statendam 2x
HAL Ryndam 2x
I like to bring a small sewing kit and extra safety pins, an over the door shoe organizer that's clear. I put batteries, hair gel, spray, suntan lotion etc. Anything that would usually be on a counter. The cabin stewards love them. Highlighter pen for marking the daily schedule to make sure i don't miss an activity. A small first aid kit with extra bandaids. Cold medicine and Tylenol as they are quite expensive on the ship.
I have posted this before, but I'll do it again. I pack a port bag before we leave home. Bug repellant towelettes, small first aid kit, emergency supply of med's I need, sunscreen, small travel roll of TP, protein bar, disposable poncho..all the things I usually take into ports. That way, it's ready to go and I don't forget anything in the excited rush to go do things.
1. Guys, don't forget to pack those black socks/dress shoes for formal night. Saw at least a couple guys on our recent cruise in suits and tennis shoes...Looks ok on David Letterman but...Well, you get the idea lol.
2. Even if you live within close enough flying or distance to the port your leaving from, fly out the day before and spend the night at a hotel near the port if you can possibly get the extra day off and can spare the extra bit of $$$. On our recent cruise we got up at 3:30 am to get to the airport, fly out etc. It went ok, but it would have been so much nicer to have just flown out the day before and relaxed....This is one lesson I learned for next time.
3. I've posted some about this before. Get to know your staff well especially your room steward, waiters etc. They are interesting folks and have interesting stories about their families, home countries etc. Then tip them at least a bit more than expected especially if you had good service from them. As I've said before, we were suprised how many freebie drinks & take home goodies we received without ever asking for it just because we took the time to get to know the staff/crew a bit.
4. Hit the pool on a port of call day and cut the port a bit short if you don't have something major to do while there. You'll probably have the whole thing nearly to yourself.
5. Don't request a table just for 2. You'll miss out on getting to know some nice folks. Even if you are like me and not a real extrovert, it is a neat part of the whole experience. Saw some couples who did the 2 only at a table thing while on our recent cruise and they also tend to be stuck in corners or in the very back of the dining room. They almost stick out in way and looked a bit lonely after a couple days.
6. Go in with a great attitude and roll with the punches even if some things don't go perfectly...Have a sense of humor about things. Pace yourself and just relax.
Carnival Holiday (1999 ?)
RCI Sovereign of the Seas 2007
RCI Enchantment of the Seas 2009
This is actually a paraphrase from memory of a list of tips given out by a cruise director.
"Do not expect things to be the same as at home. You left home to find things that are different."
I loved it.
We could never survive without a power strip..camera, phone, hair dryer, whatever......also a trash bag contains the dirty laundry...if you use the laundry, bring a couple of those Tide detrgent squares...like little bricks, they take up no space...I saw a woman board with a gallon of laundry detergent..OH MY!
Trip, with her book & tea!
Chat Hostess & Board Moderator
If you have a sea day coming up, Read the daily newsletter the night before and pick the activities you want to do the next day. A yellow highlighter or just a pen to mark the activity is a must. Carry the newsletter with you the next day so you know what you wanted to do, when it is and when.
Remember: You can't do EVERYTHING. Give yourself time to relax.
__________________ Cruisemates Community Leader/Moderator
"There is a great difference between being well traveled and just having been to many places." ~Me
Does anyone know of anyone becoming ill while cruising on Island Escape in 2005 because my father contracted Legionnaires disease in October 2005 and died, my parents had faulty air con in their cabin, any information regarding this would be greately received
The best thing you can pack for a cruise is a big bag of "tolerance". You have expectations of this cruise, but so do others. Use your bag of tolerance as best you can and be tolerant as best you can without getting stressed. But dont waste your vacation because everyone does not think or react like you.
Do your own thing and brush aside some "things" that could potentially bother you, dont let them bother you, enjoy your vacation.
In reality, maybe this packing message is to those that should pack some "consideration" in their cases and then show it when they get onboard to their fellow passengers.
Thats cruising, a big melting pot and usually the item a lot forget to pack is....consideration
As you know, airport delays are horrific this year. I strongly recommend flying to the home port a day early, stay in a local hotel and board the ship relaxed and refreshed. If your flight is cancelled or delayed it's your nickel to fly to meet the ship at the first port.
1. Plastic baggies to pack a lunch for port days
2. Camel back or hydration pack to fill with water for port days. My backpack has this built in with a straw over my shoulder to access water.
3. Bright color luggage tags to identify your luggage especially if you have black luggage. Their is nothing worse than looking at the name tags on 100 pieces of luggage to find your own.
4. Small bills for tipping luggage handlers before boarding
FOR THE LADIES I BRING A "PLASTIC SHOE HOLDER" AND HANG IT OVER THE DOOR EITHER IN THE BATHROOM OR IN THE CLOSET. YOU CAN PUT ALMOST ANYTHING IN THE DEPARTMENTS AND IT TAKES UP LESS SPACE.....FOR INSTANCE: SOCKS, UNDERWEAR, MAKE-UP, BATHING SUITS, TOWELS, ETC.
One item that I love is a clear document holder. The ones I use are just a little larger than a 10" envelope and have a flap with a tie ore elastic band on it. As soon as I book a cruise, I start adding all of my paperwork to this holder. When I am ready to board, I just pop it into my tote bag and I have everything I need at my fingertips. I include my docs, passport, travel insurance info, packing list, serial numbers/model numbers of cameras, laptops, phones etc that I am bringing. I include a copy of our paid excursion reservations, and a computer generated list of names, addresses and phone numbers for banks, credit card companies, friends and family members. We carry a few business cards to give to new friends on the ship and a list of our credit card numbers (the ones we carry). I put this in the safe in our cabin as soon as we board and then I just keep it as a souvenir of the cruise and as a reference for future cruises.
I also pack another one and keep all my receipts in it to check my bill on the ship.
I have found a jewelry case that I love for traveling. It is a soft leather/vinyl bag that folds in half and zips. There are holes for earrings, loops for rings and necklaces and even a couple of zippered pockets. I bought several of these for Christmas gifts this year because I loved mine so well. Keeps all my jewelry organized and it fits in the safe. I haven't lost a piece of jewelry since I bought it.
Been there - done that:
2005 Holiday, Sensation, Conquest,
2006 Conquest, Celebration, Holiday,
2007 Freedom Grand Med, Holiday
2008 Fantasy & Sensation,
2009 Fantasy, Holiday & Dream Grand Med
2010 Fantasy and B2B Elation
2011 Monarch of the Seas
2012 Booked - Breeze from Barcelona 12 days
I just love this thread...thank you for posting it!!!
I just copied most of it and printed it out for my group meeting in April.
The only thing thing that I do a little different is ...I tie a bright ribbon or fabric to the handle of each of my pieces of luggage. They really stand out when I am looking for it in the baggage area.
Maybe take a small fold up umbrella for the ports that may have a little rain shower. We had rain while in Dominica one time. Now that I think of it...it may have been the Rain Forest??? DUH!
I make large pom-pom/tassels for our luggage. I make them out of flourescent orange yarn for ours. You can see the luggage coming a mile away. I have made them for others in our traveling group too. I use a different color of flourescent yarn for each family. I've used pink and green and yellow so far. When making them I braid 6 strands together to make the part to tie to the luggage handle. It makes it very strong and havent lost one yet since I started braiding them.
Our friends all appreciated them and havent taken them off their luggage yet. Some have been used for several years now.
Theres just too much black and navy luggage out there. I now buy bright colors to replace old and broken pieces.
1. collapsable cooler. Have to have my chilled Arizana rx stress ice tea
2. water proof pouch ( type with either a waist belt or neck langyard) for going ashore. Keeps digital cameras, cell phones, and ipods safe and there's room for S&S card, money, etc. Plus they're small and easy to carry
3. travel clothes line with suction cups....easy to hang suits, shorts and wet towels in the shower area.
“The Sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.��? --Jacques Cousteau
Thanks Paul for this topic, it's always a good one.
A lot of what's been suggested I do and I do it because of cruising these postings!
Things like flourescent duct tape on the handles of my luggage, bungie cords to keep the balcony door open, multi-outlet adapter for the electrical outlet, batteries, folded rain ponchos from the sporting good store (about 3"X4" good for one time use), a packpack for shore trips.
We also bring snacks, diet sodas and peligrinos packed in large zip lock bags that we place in a rolling carry-on size suitcase. On the way home the suitcase doubles as a souveigner (sp?) bag.
OK - here are a few I always take: ear plugs, eye blinds and personal reading light. Especially in a smaller cabin you if you are awake at night, or your partner is, you don't have another room to go to to read or watch TV. With the above it is easy for one person to sleep while the other is reading or watching TV.
Here is another I have seen mentioned (though I can't imagine why): air freshener.
As for bathroom items, I keep a travel bag packed all the time that I can just grab and go. It has travel sizes of everything and duplicates of things I would use at home. That way I don't have to worry about taking an inventory every time I pack.
But speaking of inventory, these packing lists have proven to us to be very helpful: