Every cruise passenger knows which essentials to pack: comfortable clothing and shoes, swimwear, sunglasses, sunscreen, camera, and film. But to make the most of a cruise vacation, it is important to pack more unique items. Whether your itinerary includes Alaska, Hawaii, the Bahamas, Mexico, the Caribbean, or other exotic destinations, these unique items are easy to pack and will make your cruise all the more enjoyable.
1. Highlighter Pens.
Highlighters are critical for marking must-do items in each day’s events calendar and newsletter. Because each day includes multiple seminars, games, contests, shows, and activities, highlighting the ones you are interested in will help guarantee that you don’t miss out on any of them.
2. Extra Swimwear.
With multiple pools, saunas, and whirlpools on board, not to mention pristine beaches and water sport excursions in nearly every port, having more than one swimsuit is vital to enjoying every relaxing moment in the water without putting on a damp suit. Remember, do not put swimwear on your cabin’s balcony to dry: when the ship is en route to the next port, the 20-30 mph winds will easily toss suits overboard.
3. Plastic Zipper Bags.
These versatile bags are great for any number of uses on a cruise: storing jewelry, keeping small items together inside luggage, keeping cash dry, transporting wet swimwear, or storing a collection of mini beach umbrellas from every drink-of-the-day. Choose both large and small sizes to accommodate a variety of different tasks.
A cruise is all about sightseeing, from watching dolphins dance alongside the ship and picking out landmarks as your ship glides into port to visiting great vantage points on different shore tours and watching other passing ships at night. A good pair of binoculars will help you take in all the sights without missing any detail of your vacation.
5. Cruise Brochure.
Many passengers think that once they’ve booked their cruise vacation, they don’t need the brochure any longer. In fact, cruise brochures contain vital information that can make your voyage far smoother, including detailed deck plans, ship highlights, itinerary schedules, and port of call profiles. Keeping this literature handy can help you remember every reason why you decided to take a cruise in the first place.
6. Bug Spray.
Most people associate mosquitoes with swamps and summer evenings, but many cruise ships visit tropical islands that are home to fair numbers of flying pests throughout the year. If you plan on taking any shore excursions that include hiking through rainforests, touring zoos, or visiting botanical gardens, bug spray can help make the visit far more pleasant. Choose a spray that includes sunscreen for added protection and one less necessary bottle in your luggage.
7. Notebook or Folder.
When most people take cruises to get away from the office or school, why would they consider taking a notebook or folder along on the voyage? Simple – to keep just as organized as they would be on land, so that no critical information is lost that can spoil the vacation. Folders that snap closed are the best choice to keep passports, birth certificates, airline tickets, customs forms and other paperwork in one location for convenient access. Folders are also a great tool for saving daily newsletters or storing professional shipboard photographs safely.
8. Dollar Bills.
While souvenir shops and boutiques onboard cruise ships do not typically take cash, relying on credit or debit cards can cause passengers to miss out on many unique opportunities in different ports of call. Locker and equipment rentals as well as local taxi rides must often be paid for in cash, and many local residents are willing to use your camera to snap memorable photographs for a dollar or two. Snorkeling expeditions may offer tidbits to feed fish and stingrays for a minimal fee, and knowledgeable guides always appreciate tips. Using small bills helps minimize haggling and currency exchange difficulties.
9. Lanyard with Sleeve.
The most critical piece of identification each cruise passenger receives is their onboard ship ID card, which on many vessels also functions as their room key and charge card for onboard purchases. Using a lanyard with a plastic sleeve for the card helps keep safe and in excellent condition, keeping it pristine for a one-of-a-kind personalized souvenir. Dual-pocket sleeves also have room for casino club cards, extra cash, a credit card, or a driver’s license.
10. Luggage Identifiers.
Packing these unusual but useful items is pointless if luggage is lost. Always tag luggage securely and distinctly so it can be located quickly, and be sure to pack additional luggage tags and identification items to add to souvenir bags and other purchases. Of course, each cruise ship supplies color- and shape-coded tags for different cabin categories, but when a ship hosts up to 3,000 or more passengers, those tags are not as unique as they initially seem. Items that make excellent identifiers include:
– Shower poufs, particularly in vibrant or unusual colors.
– Bundles of curly ribbon.
– Bumper stickers or decals.
– Customized or personalized luggage straps.
– Distinctively patterned ribbons, especially if they are braided or knotted in an unusual way.
– Zipper pulls for every zipper on each piece of luggage.
When attaching identifiers, be sure they are easily visible from different angles but do not interfere with potential security examinations or inspections. By packing carefully and making certain you can find your luggage quickly both before and after your cruise, you will get the most use out of each unusual item in your bag, making your cruise vacation the most convenient and memorable vacation of your life.