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11 Items to Pack For Your Next Cruise



“What should I pack for my cruise?” is one of the questions that comes up almost every day. And it’s not just first-time cruisers who ask, given that different trips require different items.

I’m going to leave it to people with far better fashion sense to offer up clothing suggestions, however, I do have a few other recommendations that might come in handy.

11 Items to Pack For Your Cruise

1. Packing Cubes 

Packing cubes are one of the reasons that I’m not a disorganized mess anymore when I’m packing for a cruise. You can easily use these cubes in a few different ways, whether to group outfits day-by-day or sort of quadrant off different types of clothing into their own compartments.

It’s hard to believe something so simple can make such a big difference, but these cubes have made me a more organized traveler and that’s resulted in me having more room in my luggage. As an added bonus, when the trip is over, you can use these to separate clean and dirty/wet clothing.

A lot of people use the four-piece set, but for practically the same prices, you can also get a six-piece luggage organizer set.

2. Yeti Cup 

I never really “got” the appeal of a Yeti cup until I was on a nine-hour flight from Atlanta to Venice with friends who swore by theirs. While at the airport, they filled their cups.. and when we landed nine hours later, those cups were still full of ice. I bought my first Yeti cup the next day and have traveled with one ever since.

I’m not a scientist, but from what I’ve read, these cups work thanks to a combination of thermodynamics and vacuum insulation inside the actual cup itself. They’re perfect for taking on a shore excursion or lounging by the pool.

Can you find cheaper versions? Yes. But it’s worth getting the real deal. Trust me, your ice will thank you.

3. Extended Phone-Charging Cord 

At long last, cruise lines have begun putting USB ports in staterooms. After all, while we might like the idea of disconnecting during our vacation, they know as well as we do that it’s not likely to happen. So if you’re lucky, you’ll have a USB port somewhere close to the bed.

I like to give myself plenty of wiggle room, so I’m a big fan of a 10-foot phone charging cord. That may seem like a lot of cord, but while many modern staterooms have a USB port next to the bed, it’s on the vanity in others… so the extra footage really comes in handy.

4. Water Shoes 

When I started cruising, I didn’t even know what water shoes were. But when I was on a shore excursion to Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica, they had them for sale and for rent. I bought a pair and have since wondered how the heck I managed without them. Water shoes are great in so many different scenarios, especially if you’re going to be visiting beaches that might be on the rocky side or have a lot of crushed seashells on the shore.

5. Waterproof Phone Case 

This is another product that I first used at Dunn’s River Falls, and was glad I had. After all, when you’re basically climbing up a waterfall, it’s both a great photo opp and a way to really easily ruin your phone if you don’t have a protective covering!

The waterproof phone case also proved really useful during a trip to Sting Ray City at Grand Cayman. Anytime you’re going to be around water, one of these is practically a necessity.

Buyer beware: They sell cases at the Dollar Tree and similar outlets, but do you really want to put the fate of your expensive phone in the hands of a cheap case?

6. Lip Balm 

Being a guy, lip balm wasn’t even on my radar when I was packing for my first cruise. But after spending a few days in the Caribbean without it… yeah, I haven’t made that mistake since.

READ MORE: 13 Items Every Girl Needs For A Cruise

Do you know how they say little things can make your trip? Well, little things can just as easily break it. And while dry, chapped lips probably aren’t going to technically break it, they can sure make things uncomfortable.

7. GoPro 

Granted, unlike most of the items on this list, a GoPro isn’t exactly cheap. But this camera is a must, especially if you’re the adventurous type and you want to capture some of those one-of-a-kind experiences.

Ropes course on Carnival Sunrise.

As I write this, the GoPro 7 is now out, but you can find an older model with nearly as good quality in the $150 range on Amazon. The major differences between the newer model and the older ones are the touch screen, better image stabilization, and the fact that the newer models are waterproof even without a case.

I’ve strapped mine to my head (or my chest) and captured incredible footage of everything from snorkeling excursions to traversing the ropes courses. Since the GoPro has attachments that make it wearable, you’re allowed to bring it on some attractions where cell phones or cameras aren’t allowed.

8. Hanging Toiletry Bag 

There’s only so much counter space to be found in the bathroom your typical stateroom. With one of these hanging toiletry bags you instantly give yourself more counter space and help keep things organized, which counts for a lot when space is at a premium.

Hang it on the bathroom door or on the inside of one of the closets in your stateroom. You can fit everything in here from shaving cream, shampoo, soap, lotions, razors, and toothpaste.

9. Portable Phone Charger

Prior to 2017, I always carried around one of those small chargers that, if you were lucky, would charge your phone up to 50 perfect before running out of juice. It was basically enough to get you back to a real charger.

Then came hurricane season and, with it, an extended blackout that taught me the value of having a much stronger portable charger.

Since then, I always have my Portable Charger Anker USB with me. It will charge my iPhone XR from zero to 100 percent six times before the unit itself has to be recharged. You can charge it through a USB charger or a cord, and it will also let you charge two devices at a time.

Plus, it’s small enough that it’s easy to take anywhere, which is important to me, whether I’m hanging out on the ship and don’t want to go back to the room for a charge or I’m on a shore excursion and can’t.

10. Towel Clips 

So a lot of people see these and immediately think of chair hogs. But guess what? Polite cruisers use them too.

Whether you’re hanging out at the front of the ship where it can get windy, or you’re using them to keep your towel on your chair while you take a swim, these are mighty handy.

These chair towel clips are designed to clip towels on the back of the chair and they’re very sturdy. They even come in an eight pack, perfect for sharing (or, if you’re like me, replacing the ones you misplace over the course of the week).

Tip: Do not try and use your girlfriend’s hairclips, because she’ll get ticked off when they snap in half.

11. Portable Safe

A friend turned me onto this item after they’d had something stolen from them at the beach.  What’s great about this item is that it has plenty of room for your valuables, but isn’t incredibly bulky. Plus, the stainless steel cord can be wrapped around, say, your deck chair (or beach lounger) and then locked with a four-digit code of your choosing.

Translation: In order for someone to steal your stuff, they’ll have to steal the chair, too.

The Masterlock Handheld case is 8.5 inches by 3.5 inches, so it’s perfect for a passport, cell phones, sign and sail cards, and wallet. Thanks to this cool gadget, I don’t feel the need to make sure that someone is staying behind at the beach chairs or cabana to keep an eye on our stuff. And that peace of mind is priceless

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America's trusted voice on cruise vacations. Editor of Cruise Radio and producer/host of Cruise Radio Podcast and CRN audio briefs.

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