Cruising is one of the easiest types of vacations to pack for. Even though you need a wide range of items, there isn’t an item or weight restriction, so you can really go for your life. And since all you have to do is lug your stuff to the embarkation point and back, you can really go for it. Being able to pack pretty much anything you want is a huge advantage, because once you are in the middle of the ocean, it’s not easy to just nip to the shops and grab some forgotten item. And essentials can come at a premium in the ships on board shops.
So first things first, what sort of luggage should you take?
I guess this depends on how many people you will be sharing a cabin with. On our last cruise we took a backpacking backpack, and a large square hard suitcase. Both had their advantages. The backpack is harder to organize and pack things into when your bringing a multitude of shoes (cause why not?), but when empty it is flat and easy to store in one of the cubbies above the closets. The square suitcase on the other hand is easy to roll, it doesn’t matter how heavy it is, but its more awkward to store in the cabin.
In the end I decided to take my big square suitcase and it worked out well in the end. Our cabin for four consisted of two single beds and a bunk bed. Jake and I shared the bottom bunk, leaving the top bunk as a perfect suitcase storage area.
Now what to wear? I actually wrote an entire post on this topic (cause it’s an important one, so I’m going to send you there) – The ladies guide to what to wear cruising. And in a few days I will write a full post on what to wear when cruising PNG, cause that is a whole different story as well.
Let’s talk toiletries. They are small and easy to forget, and really annoying when you can’t replace them straight away. So have a look at the following list and make sure to add your own must have items.
- The boat will provide things like soap and shampoo and conditioner, but I found its only enough for one person and sometimes they are not prompt at refilling it straight away. Plus if you have hair like mine you will need waaaayyyy more conditioner than what is provided in those little bottles… sooo… I recommend bringing your own shampoo and conditioner at least.
- Hair products. And if you are like me…. 10 different hair products… cause it isn’t easy to tame the afro.
- Body lotion and especially after sun lotions. My after sun lotion got a good workout on both cruises I have been on.
- ALL THE SUNSCREEN (dont be like me and run out and then get the most ridiculous sun burn ever. Who burns the inside of their belly button? This girl.)
- Bug spray if you have port days in tropical locations
- Extra contact lenses and solution if you wear them
No one wants to get sick when they travel, but if you are going cruising, you might want to consider throwing these in your bag:
- Anti sea sickness tablets (lots)
- Panadol (reduces pain and fever)
- Anti diarrhea tablets cause apparently getting the shits is the thing to do on cruises these days
- Hand sanitizer. The ship will provide tons of hand sanitizer stations, but its often a good idea to have a little travel sized one in your bag, expecially when you are on shore.
- Topical wound lotions
- Anything else you would feel really terrible about not having if you needed it
And of course you need to keep busy and there is only so much sun bathing you can do before you need a break.
- A deck of cards
- Books (lots of books)
- Any other games or distractions (I personally LOVE battleships and cards against humanity)
Port days are a whole other story. You will want a good sturdy day backpack as you will end up taking a bunch of stuff with you every time you disembark. Make sure the bag you select is comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
So what should you carry in your backpack?
- Local money is a must, and you will also need to carry your cruise cards and some government issued ID on you when you are on shore, so a little waterproof and theft proof wallet or area of your bag is a good idea.
- Travel sized sunscreen
- A camera
- A beach towel. You are allowed to take the beach towels from the ship, but I always ended up taking my Sandusa towel when we went on beachy shore days. The Sandusa is an innovative new beach product. It’s a waterproof and sand proof towel. Yup, you read that right. It has a nylon backing which protects you from the sand, and since water is unable to seep through, it doesn’t end up attracting all that sticky wet sand. The heavy fabric and nylon backing also makes it sturdier and less likely to blow up in the sea breeze. I loved it. Since I travel with a toddler, he pretty much makes it his mission to track sand and water all over me at all times. With the Sandusa, I can just shake it out and all the sand just falls off.
And of course there are always the random bits that always come in handy like:
- Laundry soap. On some ships, soap comes with the price of the machine, but on others it doesn’t. I always bring a little bag of laundry powder with me so I can have nice fresh clothes.
- A lanyard or something to make sure you don’t lose your cruise card. (I hate lanyards, so I bring along a little purse).
Am I missing anything from this list? Make sure to let me know in the comments.