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What to pack for a cruise Holiday?

Posted: 1/5/2024

Author: Amelie de Moreau

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You've gone through my previous article and you've made the decision to take the plunge!

Now comes the question of packing your suitcase. We'll go through the essentials, the extras (if you still have space in your suitcase), and also the things not to bring with you.

Of course, keep in mind that your suitcase will not be the same if you're traveling to the Caribbean or to Nordic countries in February...

The Essentials

I won't insult you by telling you to bring your passport (with more than 6 months of validity and issued within the last 10 years), identification, and any necessary visas. However, I always advise taking a photo of your passport, driver's license, and/or ID card. While this isn't a valid form of identification, it can help you with embassies and consulates in case of theft.

Bring your credit card because on ships, it's often impossible to pay transactions in cash; all your extras will be charged to your cabin. Ensure it has more than 6 months of validity and inform your bank to unblock certain destinations that are blocked by default (such as the United States); you can either contact your bank to unblock the card or make a withdrawal/payment at a terminal that requires your PIN.

Don't forget to pack your medications (and always take a few extra days' worth in case of flight or ship delays) because even though there's a doctor on board, they may not have all the medications or they may be costly!

Bring sunscreen because you can tan quickly on the deck of a ship, and with the wind from the sea, you may not always feel your skin burning. However, I recommend choosing your sunscreen carefully. Personally, I always buy mineral sunscreen that respects marine ecosystems and biodiversity. While most ships treat wastewater before it's discharged into the sea, I prefer to ensure there are no toxic residues for marine life. Additionally, if you opt for a ship with a rear platform offering various water sports (such as Star Clippers and Windstar), you'll have the opportunity to dive directly into the sea from your sailboat!

Finally, here's a short list of my essentials:

  • An adapter: ships don’t always offer UK sockets (sometimes Uk or European, often depending on the nationality of the cruise line) so take at least one adapter just in case.

  • One or more reusable bottles: you can refill them at the buffet or water fountains if available.

  • Sunglasses, hats, and a book: a cruise is very relaxing, so it could be the perfect opportunity to finally read that book you received for Christmas in 2018. On the other hand, if you plan to visit and participate in ship activities, you may not have time to read. It's up to you! Additionally, many ships have libraries on board.

  • A large beach bag: beach towels are always available on the ship, but bring a large bag to carry them with you during excursions.

  • A small beach bag: for your book, sunscreen, etc. during sunbathing sessions on the ship.

  • Currency for the countries you'll visit: fees for withdrawing money with your credit card can be very high.

And what about Clothing

I always recommend bringing warm clothes, even if you're heading to a sunny destination. The sea breeze can be quite chilly during the evenings (and we love to stargaze on the upper deck at night). Personally, I always pack large scarves of different colors—they take up little space in the suitcase, go with any outfit, and provide good warmth.

You should also check with your cruise line because depending on it, there may be a dress code to follow for certain evenings. Some companies organize white, red, orange, or formal nights.

The extras

Here are some small items I bring along that aren't essential but make my life easier on a cruise:

  • Binoculars: It's always nice to be able to observe what's happening on land or spot seabirds better.

  • Towel clips: It may sound silly, but if it's windy on the ship, there's nothing more annoying than a towel that won't stay in place. Plus, it helps you quickly recognize your lounger.

  • A magnet to mark your cabin: Almost all ship cabins are metallic, and on some ships, I can never remember my cabin number, so I have a small magnet that I always place on my cabin door.

  • A wrinkle-releasing spray for clothes: I like my clothes to be well-ironed; I hate creases! Usually, my steamer does the job, but unfortunately, it's often on the list of prohibited items on board, so I found a spray that can be sprayed on clothes.

  • An alarm clock: You might say it's 2024, we all have smartphones, BUT it's possible that if you cross different time zones during the night, your phone might be lost..

    An alarm clock is still a sure thing.

  • A wake-up light if I'm in an interior cabin. This allows you to wake up with gradual light.

  • A multi-socket adapter: There are often few power outlets in a cabin, and if you're like me and work on the ship, you quickly find yourself having to plug in 4-5 devices at once. Be sure to check if the cruise lines accept them.

  • A robe and sandals: If I have space in my suitcase (or if I'm leaving from a port accessible by car), I like to take my robe with me (unless there's one in the cabin). If I'm heading to the jacuzzi in the evening or to the spa, I like to snuggle up in my robe afterwards.

  • Small ziplock freezer bags: They're always useful, whether it's to store a wet swimsuit during an excursion or to take a small muffin from the lunch buffet to eat later.

  • A pen, highlighter, and post-it notes: Every evening, you'll receive the program for the next day in your cabin, so you can easily highlight the activities you want to do. Post-it notes are always handy for leaving a note for your cabin mate or for the staff.

  • An eye mask and/or earplugs: I'm very sensitive to light and noise. Generally, the cabins are very well insulated, but just in case, I always bring my mask!

You should leave at home

  • Bath and beach towels: They're always available on the ship, either in your cabin or near the pool.

    • Hairdryer: There's always one in your cabin, and it's also likely to be prohibited on board.

    • Shower gel, shampoo, and conditioner: This obviously depends on your hair care routine, but the company always provides them.

    • Items prohibited on board: Cruise lines are very concerned about fire safety, so many items are prohibited on board. Think of anything prohibited on airplanes (flammable and sharp objects), but also, depending on the company, hair straighteners, steam-producing appliances like irons, steamers, and kettles (they trigger the cabin's fire detectors). I always recommend checking the list of prohibited items on board because it varies depending on the company's policy.

    • Alcohol: Some companies allow one or two bottles of alcohol per person, but it depends on the policy. Be sure to check the policy before your departure.

    • Candles and incense: For the same reasons explained above, flammable items are prohibited on board.

    • Drones: This is about respecting privacy and local regulations. However, you should check with the company because some accept them.

    • Children's items: Some companies prohibit baby monitors, plastic toy guns, inflatable mattresses, etc. I advise you to always check the list of prohibited items or contact us before packing such items.

    Finally, feel free to contact us if you have any questions when packing. We'll be happy to answer and share our experience with you!

Article Tags: Cruise, Essentiels,

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