Posted this note on the Princess board here, but thought it would be appropriate under first-timers, too, because he was asking for a last-minute tip on his first cruise.
I thought about your request for a "last minute tip," and I can wholeheartedly give a great one that we did right before we left on our first cruise.
We went out to Wal-Mart and got a $22 backpack with a bunch of pockets, etc. This has been invaluable on every cruise we've been!
Pamda recommends a "giant tote" if I recall, and this serves about the same purpose (and doesn't feel like a purse to me ;-)
At any rate, here's how it comes into play throughout the cruise:
* When leaving, I use it for the last few things that would not fit in the suitcase. For us, this usually means shoes because the tonic water bottles usually take up this space. Funny enough, the tonic never makes it back home and the shoes eventually make it into the suitcases. ;-)
* On Sea Days, we pack the pool stuff in it -- personal CD player, hats, sunblock, books, ship schedule, etc -- no more rushing back to the cabin for this or that.
* On shore days, it is incredibly helpful. For example, when we were in Catalina, the sun was coming in and out, so we threw in two light coats, but had a place to put 'em when we didn't need 'em. In Puerto Vallarta, I toss in cigs and booze I buy so we don't need to lug 'em, as well as the inevitable T-shirts Art buys. (It helps that you can put it on your back when it gets to heavy to carry). Also, the little pockets are great 'cause I use the teeny one for our cruise cards, another pocket just for wallets, another pocket for the camera and some aspirin etc, and the big part holds tour maps, water bottles, a baseball hat for me, and anything we pick up or need that day.
* When departing, I've used it to lug dirty clothes, as a place to put souveniers, etc etc... It's just great to have a last-chance packing space.
Honestly, it will be the best $22 you spend. Every cruise I say, "I'm so glad we bought this."