What should I pack when I go on a cruise?
Cruises have changed much in the last ten or twenty years and whilst they have not necessarily become more “democratic” they are certainly a long way from the stuffy old image of jewellery and tuxedos. Modern cruise-goers, part by preference and part because of airline-style restrictions on luggage, are starting to travel light.
If you’ve never been on one before, the logical question to ask is “What do I pack to go on a cruise?”. Here’s a brief list…
Before you start, make a checklist
It will start with this list, but you will obviously need to add personal things to yours. It’d probably be a good idea to start well in advance. You wouldn’t want to forget something because you didn’t put it on the check list.
Are you travelling as a couple?
If you are travelling as a couple, take 2 cases and spread your essentials between them. That way, if you do lose a case you’ll both have some clothes to wear!
Have you got your travel documents?
This may sound really silly, but in my previous life as a travel agent I never ceased to be amazed at the number of people that turned up at airports or railway stations with no tickets or passports. It’s also a good idea to carry photocopies of them as well, that makes them easier to re-issue if something does happen
Reading and other essential things
This will depend on you and the type of cruise you are going on, but I’d take books on a week’s holiday on the beach, so why not a cruise? Then there’s all the paraphernalia of reading, glasses, spare glasses, business cards (you know you should really!), phrase books or dictionaries (although you can get these as apps for your iPhone these days (other smartphones exist, but frankly, they’re not as good!) and guidebooks (same applies).
We don’t go anywhere without electronic equipment these days, particularly adaptors and chargers. Have you ever gone away with a cell phone and forgotten the charger? Few tourists still use film so remember extra data cards for your camera, batteries (hint: rechargeable ones are money savers) and some kind of music player if you’re going to do any kind of repetitive sport like the treadmill
Generally, a cruise ship will be stocked up on things pharmaceutical and even things medical, but don’t forget adequate supplies of any prescription drugs you take, a small first aid kit would be useful because you won’t always be on the ship, your tired, hot feet will appreciate foot lotion and some kind of bug-repellent for off-ship trips. If you do something bad to yourself and your medicine bag or the ship’s doctor can’t help you, remember your travel insurance certificate because medical care and transport, especially in the US, can get very expensive.
This is something of a minefield and some research would be a very good idea. Daytime clothes aren’t a problem, take what you feel comfortable in but on many ships footwear is required in dining areas. Evening wear is more problematic. If you don’t want to get involved in the niceties of evening dress or formal black tie events, cruise ships are large enough for you to find a place where smart casual is perfectly acceptable. If you do like more formal occasions though, take cocktail dresses (several) or even a ball gown.
Odds and sods
A corkscrew or a Swiss Army Knife should you need them (not in your hand luggage though!), sports equipment (snorkeling gear for example) or laptop for entertainment or if you really can’t leave the office behind.
Do you have experience of cruises? What would you take? Look below to make a comment and share your experience.
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