Your Cruise Checklist: 41 Things People Often Forget on Their Cruise

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Almost everyone, if not all, forgets various things on their vacation, be it their toothbrush, walking shoes, slippers, outerwear, sweaters, and many others!

To ensure you won’t forget them during your next cruise, we wrote this article based on people’s responses in a social media group on Facebook!

Carnival Magic Cruise Ship

1. Highlighter for daily newsletter activities

Highlighter for daily newsletter activities is a quick and easy way to ensure you have your tentative schedule for the day down pat.

2. Towel clips for the deck or beach

Who wants their towels to fly away on a beach? Well, not me! For your convenience, you may use towel clips to hold them onto your chair.

3. Bug spray

This is especially important for any tropical ports you may be visiting because many little insects will beg for a piece of you.

4. Nightlight

If you’re traveling with kids who may be used to sleeping with a nightlight, a nightlight can be a beneficial item you don’t want to forget.

5. Cruise-safe surge protector

Every seasoned cruiser knows there is usually a huge lack of outlets in the stateroom. Bring a small multi-plug outlet for all the extras. Bonus points if you buy a nifty one that includes USB plugs!

6. Sunscreen

There will be many days when you must be outside under the glaring sun. It’s advised to bring sunscreen if you want to return home from vacation with a sunny glow.

7. Alarm clock

While cruise ships often have a wake-up call for guests who want one, sometimes having an alarm clock is more convenient. If you don’t want to have your phone nearby for every second of your vacation, consider bringing a small travel alarm clock to use instead.

8. Water shoes for various excursions

Depending on the ports and excursions, you may want to bring some water shoes.  No one wants to hobble back to the ship with sore, bleeding feet because they’ve walked on harsh terrain.

9. Wrinkle release spray

Cruise ships do have laundry services, but they’re expensive. So bring wrinkle-release spray for the clothes. It’s a quick, easy way to have your clothes look presentable again. Note that irons aren’t allowed, so don’t consider bringing your own.

10. $1/$5/$10 dollar bills for tipping or buying souvenirs in port

The little shops and markets near a cruise ship port or around town won’t take any form of plastic, so bring some cash. In some ports, you will be able to use American dollars, and in other ports, you’ll have to exchange. Either way, it’s advised to be prepared.

11. Small USB-powered fan

Many, many people need a fan blowing to sleep soundly. Bring a small one if you’re one of them, which is suitable when it’s hot at night.

12. Seasickness pills or bracelet

There are many forms of seasickness relief., including ginger, Dramamine, and SeaBand bracelet crowd. Consider bringing some aid that works best for you if the ship’s rocking makes you nauseous.

13. Reusable water bottle

Instead of buying water bottles daily, you may head into a port or bring a reusable water bottle from home for your stateroom. This way, you’ll always have a container and can refill it in your stateroom.

14. Hat

Having a hat aboard a ship offers convenience. It will protect most of your neck and face from the sun and lighten the load on your eyes if you forget your sunglasses on the ship. Plus, hats can add so much style to a vacation outfit!

15. Safety Pins

Whether it’s clipping your towel around your chair on your balcony so it doesn’t fly away, there are hundreds of uses for safety pins. So, to be prepared for any situation, big or small, stash a few just to be safe.

16. A jacket/sweatshirt

Even on Caribbean cruises, it can get chilly in the evening! This is given for Alaska/Canada/Europe voyages, but remember that you should probably bring something warmer for southern itineraries, too.

17. Band-aids

You can put anti-itch cream on for the occasional scratch, cut, and even bug bite; a band-aid can be more helpful, though. Sure, the ship crew would probably be able to get one for you if you asked, but it’s just easier to have them on hand already.

18. Conditioner and shaving cream

Most cruise lines only offer shampoo, bar soap, and body wash in your stateroom bathroom.  Bring your other essentials, like conditioner, shaving cream, makeup remover, and lotions.

19. Wristwatch

A watch is always good to have; it is helpful if you’ve locked up your cell phone and aren’t glued to it during your cruise. Be sure to keep it to the ship’s time throughout your voyage so you know when you need to be back before sailing away while in port.

20. Nail clippers

This doesn’t need much explaining.  If you’ll need nail clippers during your voyage, bring them.

21. Sunglasses

Who wants to squint through beach days and be scrunchy-faced in your tropical photos? No one, of course. Plus, it’s so much better for your eyes to have sunglasses – be sure to get ones with UVB protection.

22. Laundry bag for dirty clothes

Instead of throwing all the dirty clothes in the corner, bring a pop-up hamper or durable bag for laundry. It’ll keep your room looking cleaner and suitable for your room steward. They probably don’t need to see your dirty underwear.

23. Comfy walking shoes

For those long walking tours or shopping along a cobblestone street in Europe, you’ll want comfy shoes made for walking.

24. Lint roller

When you jam your things into just a couple of bags, you’ll, of course, get dust, dirt, pet hair, etc., which will probably end up on some of your clothes. Bringing a small, travel-friendly lint roller means you’re prepared for that.

25. Ibuprofen or other pain medication

Whether it’s a headache, stomachache, cramps, or tense legs from walking all day, you’ll probably want pain relief. Be prepared and bring your medicine of choice.

26. Over-the-door storage hanger

This is a must-have if you’re traveling with more than two people. The little essentials, knick-knacks, accessories, and even small clothing items can go in one of those over-the-door shoe storage hangers and help you keep your sanity in tight quarters with multiple family members. It’s even better if it’s a see-through one.

27. Umbrella

Depending on your destination, you may want to bring an umbrella. If you’re headed to Australia during the rainy season or anywhere in Europe, you should probably consider having one.  

28. Sticky notes

Sticky notes and magnets go hand-in-hand. Sticky notes are perfect for leaving little notes for cabin mates on where you’ll be, what time to meet for dinner, etc. Magnets, meanwhile, are suitable for hanging the daily activities newsletter on your wall and anything else you find essential.

29. Lanyard for key card

On almost every cruise ship, your key to your room is a card the crew gives you before boarding a ship. Buy a lanyard to keep your key from falling out of your pocket. If you ask nicely, the crew will even punch a hole in your card.

30. Razor

This probably isn’t necessary to mention, but you may bring a couple of razors! If your ship sells them, I guarantee they will be costly.

31. Laundry detergent

Bring a travel-sized laundry detergent or a few little pods if you plan to do laundry on board your ship. Once again, if you have to buy it on board, it will be overpriced.

32. Disinfecting wipes

Bring some wipes to do your dirty work if you’re prone to sickness. I would also suggest giving your cabin an extra wipe-down if you know a Norovirus outbreak occurred on the voyage before yours.

33. Ziplock bags

Ziplock bags have nearly unlimited uses for anything from a child’s soiled clothes to keeping your cell phone and camera safe on the beach from sand and surf.  Stash a few in your bag just to be prepared.

34. Luggage tags

Luggage tags are designed to withstand the rigors of travel and are made from durable materials like leather, plastic, or metal. They also have a space for your contact information, so if your luggage gets lost, it can be returned to you.

35. Power strip with USB ports

A power strip can be invaluable because most cruise cabins have limited outlets. Models with USB ports allow for the simultaneous charging of multiple devices, including smartphones, tablets, or cameras.

36. AirTags

Apple has developed small, coin-shaped devices called AirTags that aid in locating personal items. Using Bluetooth technology and the extensive Find My network, AirTags offer a simple means to track belongings such as keys, bags, or wallets.

They can be attached to items using various accessories and emit a sound to assist in locating misplaced objects.

37. Rum runner flask for cruisers

A Rum Runner Flask is a flexible, reusable, leak-proof plastic container for transporting beverages. These lightweight flasks can be easily rolled up or flattened when not in use, making them a space-saving solution for travelers.

They come with a secure, screw-top lid that helps prevent leaks, and their plastic construction is typically undetectable by scanners. While primarily designed for alcoholic beverages like rum, hence the name, they can also be used for non-alcoholic drinks.

However, it’s crucial to remember that bringing your alcohol may violate the policies of some cruise lines, so it’s essential to check the guidelines before deciding to use these flasks.

38. Packing cubes

Try packing cubes! These handy organizers come in various sizes and keep similar items together while maximizing space in your suitcase. Lightweight and durable, with zippers and handles, some packing cubes even have mesh panels for better visibility.

39. Magnetic hooks

If you’re going on a cruise, magnetic hooks can be a valuable and adaptable accessory to have on hand. Since the walls and doors of most cruise cabins are made of metal, magnetic hooks can easily attach without leaving any marks or causing damage.

You can use them to hang clothes, towels, hats, bags, and other items, which can help keep your cabin tidy and free of clutter. Magnetic hooks are available in different sizes and weight capacities, so you can select the ones that best suit your needs.

They’re also portable and easy to use, making them an excellent aid for travel on a cruise.

40. Over-the-door hanging organizer

Maximize your storage space on your cruise and use an over-door hanging organizer. With numerous pockets and compartments, this travel bag offers convenient and organized storage for all your essentials, from toiletries to documents.

Made from durable materials, it keeps your belongings off the floor and within easy reach throughout your trip.

41. Rubber cruise ducks

Cruise ducks are small rubber ducks decorated with various themes that passengers hide around the ship for others to find. When found, the discoverer can keep it or hide it again for others to discover.

Some may even have a tracking code, allowing the original hider to track its journey as it gets found and re-hidden by different people, making it a fun community activity on the cruise.

What else would you suggest packing for a cruise vacation? Let us know in the comments below!

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