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BEFORE YOU GO

33 Things People Forget on Their Cruise

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It’s pretty obvious that most everyone ends up forgetting something here and there that they meant to bring on their vacation.  Based on people’s responses in a social media group of the things they’ve forgotten that they wish they hadn’t, we’ve put together a list of things you don’t want to forget when packing for your cruise.  Also, some of these items you may not have thought to bring at all – so we hope this list helps!

Items People Forget on Their Cruise

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1. Highlighter for daily newsletter activities

This is a quick and easy way to ensure that you have your tentative schedule for the day down pat, and that it’s easy to notice for any member of your group.

2. Towel clips for the deck or beach

Who wants their towel flying away? Not me! Use clips to hold them onto your chair so a gust of wind doesn’t claim them captive of the sea.

3. Bug spray

This is especially important for any tropical ports you may be visiting, because there’s bound to be a lot of little insects begging for a piece of you. (literally!)

4. Nightlight

If you’re traveling with kids who may be used to sleeping with a nightlight, or an adult that likes to be able to see where they’re going when they get up in an interior cabin, a nightlight can be a crucial item that you don’t want to forget.

5. Power strip for more outlets

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

6. Sunscreen

Whether you claim you “never burn!” or you’re trying desperately to come back home from vacation with a sunny glow, bring the sunscreen.  Chances are, the amount of sunny days you have will be more than enough for a sunny glow… and you don’t want to come home looking like a lobster and feeling like a fireball instead.

7. Alarm clock (most staterooms don’t have one!)

While cruise ships will often offer a wake-up call for guests who want one, sometimes an alarm clock is just easier.  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/a rocky beach

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

9. Wrinkle release spray

Cruise ships do have laundry services, but they’re expensive.  For the clothing you packed so carefully that still somehow ended up a wrinkled ball in your suitcase, bring wrinkle release spray. It’s a quick, easy way to have your clothes looking presentable again.  And before you ask, irons aren’t allowed so don’t consider bringing your own.

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

Often the little shops and markets near a cruise ship port or around town will not 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 though, you’ll be prepared.

11. Small fan

Many, many people need a fan blowing to sleep soundly.  If you’re one of these people, or you just tend to get hot during the night, bring a small one.

12. Seasickness pills or bracelet

There are many forms of seasickness relief.  Some swear by ginger, others by Dramamine, and then there’s the SeaBand bracelet crowd.  Consider bringing some form of aid that works best for you, in case the rocking of the ship ends up getting to you.

13. Reusable water bottle

Instead of buying water bottles each day you head into port or for your stateroom, bring a reusable one from home.  This way, you’ll always have a container for some thirst-quenching goodness if you happen to pass by a drinking fountain, and will also be able to refill it in your stateroom, too.  The big bonus here is: you won’t be using up tons of unnecessary plastic with disposable ones.

14. Hat

A hat gives you a two for one.  Not only will you be probably protecting most of your neck and face from the sun, you’ll also lighten the load on your eyes if you forget your sunglasses on the ship.  Plus, hats can just 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, or pinning in some shorts that you realized are a little bit loose on you, there are hundreds of uses for safety pins.  So to be prepared for any situation big or small, stash a few just to be on the safe side.

16. A jacket/sweatshirt

Yes, even on Caribbean cruises it can get chilly in the evening!  This is pretty much a given for Alaska/Canada/Europe voyages, but keep in mind that you should probably bring something a bit warmer for southern itineraries too.  It’s always a good idea to have it on hand, even if you never use it. (But you will!)

17. Band-Aids

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

18. Conditioner and shaving cream

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

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19. Wristwatch

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

20. Nail Clippers

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

21. Sunglasses

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

22. Laundry bag for dirty clothes

Instead of throwing all of the dirty clothes in the corner (guilty!), bring a pop-up hamper or durable bag for laundry.  It’ll keep your room looking cleaner, which is good for your room steward, too.  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.  ‘Nuff said.

24. Lint roller

Another peril of jamming all of your things into just a couple of bags is dust, dirt, pet hair, etc. is going to probably end up on some of your clothes.  Bringing a small, travel-friendly lint roller means you’re totally prepared for that. Level: expert.

25. Ibuprofen or other pain medication

Whether it’s a headache, stomachache (let’s be real here, it is vacation with lots of drinks and unlimited food), cramps, or tense legs from walking all day, you’ll probably want some pain relief. Be prepared and bring your medicine of choice.

26. Over the door storage hanger

Frequent cruising families swear by these.  If you’re traveling with more than say, two people, this is a must-have.  All of the little essentials, knick-knacks, accessories, and even small clothing items can go in one of those over-the-door shoes 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.  Curb the clutter: preserve sanity.

27. Umbrella

Depending on your destinations, you may want to bring an umbrella.  If you’re headed to Australia during rainy season, or anywhere in Europe you should probably consider whether you have room for one.  They fold up into such tiny sizes these days, so you’ll likely have room and it’ll likely be worth it.  Just don’t forget to actually bring it into port.

28. Sticky notes

Sticky notes and magnets kind of go hand-in-hand.  Sticky notes are perfect to leave little notes for your cabin-mates on where you’ll be, what time to meet for dinner, etc.  Magnets are good for hanging the daily activities newsletter on your wall, as well as anything else you find important.  The cabin walls are metal, so your stuff can go just about anywhere.

29. Lanyard for key card

On almost every cruise ship, your key to your room (and to buy stuff) is a card the crew gives you before you even board.  Instead of trying to keep it from falling out of your pocket or stowing it deep in your wallet, buy a lanyard.  The crew will even punch a hole in your card for you if you ask nicely.

30. Razor

This probably isn’t necessary to mention, but just in case anyone is likely to forget: bring a couple of razors!  If your ship sells them, I can guarantee they will be very expensive.

31. Laundry detergent

If you do plan to do laundry onboard your ship, be sure to bring a travel-sized laundry detergent or a few of those little pods.  Once again, if you have to buy it onboard it will be outrageously overpriced.

32. Disinfecting wipes

For everything from your TV remote, to your bathroom counter, doorhandles, and more, sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry.  Yes stewards do clean the cabins, but it’s hard to know what surfaces they pay extra attention to, and how hurried they are on any given day.  If you’re prone to sickness or would just feel better about it, bring some wipes to do your own dirty work.  (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

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

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

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BEFORE YOU GO

Review: Jack’s Shack Grand Turk

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Located in the Turks and Caicos Islands is the Grand Turk Cruise Center, a cruise port that was built by Carnival Corporation in 2008. The port is designed to berth two cruise ships at a time and has one of the largest Margaritaville’s in the Caribbean inside the terminal gates. Guests usually flock to the giant pool with swim-up bar, or sit on the beach right in front of the cruise ship.

Jack's Shack

For the guests that want to experience Grand Turk in a not-so Grand way (and free Wi-Fi), they can make their way down to Jack’s Shack. Jack comes from the northeast and was an engineer that was hired to develop the Grand Turk Cruise Center for Carnival Corporation. While he was down there, he was approached to help build a dive shop for one of his friends, and you could say the rest is history.

How To Find Jack’s Shack

Jack's Shack

When you disembark your cruise ship in Grand Turk, you will have to go through a gift shop before you can access the cruise terminal area. One you’re through the shop, turn left and walk down to the beach. When you’re on the beach and looking at your cruise ship, to your left will be the dock and to the right is miles of beach. You will to turn right and keep walking. You will eventually come to the end of the Carnival port area where you will notice there are no more beach chairs. If you look on the shore you’ll see pink houses, keep walking for a few more minutes and you’ll come up on (or smell the jerk chicken) from Jack’s Shack. Or you can look for Topher. Once you see him you know you’re close because he’s normally on the beach welcoming people.

Meet Topher, The Caribbean’s Most Famous Dog

Jack's Shack

Topher (short for Christopher Columbus) is a Goldendoodle that came to Jack’s Shack several years ago as a little fluff ball. Now, he’s still full of energy and loves to entertain the cruise guests. There is nothing this dog won’t do. He goes paddle boarding, digs deep in the sand looking for crabs, swims, and patrols the beach to make sure no other dogs move in on his territory. As nice as he is, he’s really territorial. If stray dogs come on the deck at the shack, Topher gets aggressive with them and barks them off of it.

Pick The Bar or Beach… or Both

Jack's Shack

If you want to grab a cocktail when you’re at Jack’s Shack you can belly up to the tiki-style bar and be get an island0 concoction or local Turk’s Head beer.

If you want to go straight to the beach before other people do, get yourself a chair or ask one of the friendly workers there to help you get situated. The blue beach loungers are free but there is a $10 charge if you want to get an umbrella (and believe me, in the Caribbean sun you’ll need one.) The water is warm, blue, and clear, just as you’d expect at an idyllic Caribbean island. Grand Turk is a great port to forgo an excursion and just have a laid-back beach day, and Jack’s Shack is the perfect place to bury your toes in the sand.

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Jack’s Shack accepts cash, and credit cards with a $20 minimum.

Drink Menu

Jack's Shack

  • Janet’s Mojito $10 (fresh mint, lime, white rum, and soda)
  • Mermaid’s Take $10 (blue raspberry, vodka, soda, and lime)
  • Golden Doodle $10 (Red Bull and dark rum)
  • Dark and Stormy $10 (Ginger beer and dark rum)
  • Jack’s Shack Rum Punch $10 (coconut rum, topical punch, grenadine, and dark rum)
  • Reef Recker $10 (coconut and pineapple rums, blue curaçao, and juice)
  • Sandy Vagina $10 (coconut rum, vanilla vodka, and pineapple juice)
  • Blue Margarita $9 (tequila, lime, blue curaçao, and sprite)
  • Jazzy Cockatoo $9 (coconut rum, mango juice, and dark rum)
  • Paranoia $9 (white rum, lime, sprint, and peach schnapps)
  • Sex on the Beach $9 (vodka, cranberry, pineapple, and peach schnapps)
  • Señor Peniz $9 (jalapeño infused tequila and mixer)
  • Pina Colada Virgin $6, Full Strength $11

Food Menu

Jack's Shack

  • Jerk Chicken $10
  • Burger $10 (cheese add $1)
  • Hot Dog $10
  • Butterflied Shrimp $17
  • Cracked Conch $11
  • Fresh Local Fish $12
  • Grilled Italian Hotdog $8
  • Conch Fritters $8
  • Chef Special (see chalkboard)

Side orders with an above order $4, separate $6

  • Fries
  • Salad
  • Rice
  • Hot Jerk Sauce $10 bottle

Don’t Forget About the Free Rum Shot

Jack's Shack

You can go to the Jack’s Shack website and sign up or print your voucher for a free rum shot while you’re visiting. It’s very simple and you can use it even if you don’t buy anything, just hand them the voucher and you’ll get a shot of rum, easy as that.

I have been to Jack’s Shack a number of times over the last few years and always enjoy my beach day there. If you’re looking for a quieter, smaller alternative to Margaritaville, I highly recommend taking the walk down the beach to this fun spot.

Final Thoughts

Jack's Shack

Is Jack’s Shack significantly cheaper than Margaritaville? Not really. But it does offer a break from the crowds and has locally sourced food that is cooked right in front of you. If you plan on using your credit you’ll want to ask them if the credit card machine is up. Hurricane Irma did a number to Grand Turk and the internet is still spotty. Once you go to Jack’s Shack once, you’re return time and time again.

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BEFORE YOU GO

5 Reasons to Book Your Next Cruise Onboard

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Any time you’re on a cruise having the time of your life, the first thought that comes to mind is “Okay, so when can I do this again?” Maybe you’ve even gone home after your cruise and immediately received those emails to “sail with us again.” But a lot of cruisers don’t know about (or just don’t take advantage of) the ship’s future cruise desk, where you can book your next cruise while you’re on one – and get a ton of perks for doing it.

Why Book Your Next Cruise Onboard?

1. Money off your onboard account

Want to get some money taken off the bill of your current cruise? Sometimes, booking a future cruise while onboard one will grant you credit to your current onboard account. So, if you know you’re going to cruise again (aren’t we all?), why not go for it and take advantage of the free money?

2. Future onboard credit

One of the most popular reasons cruisers will book a cruise while they’re on one is the guarantee for onboard credit toward that future cruise. The amount of onboard credit offered will vary, but who can pass up free money? Especially when we all know we’ll be taking another cruise at some point or another. Carnival Cruise Line ships have the Loyalty and Cruise Expert desk where you can take advantage of this. 

3. No set sailing date

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When you book another cruise while you’re on a cruise, you don’t have to commit to a specific ship, itinerary, or sailing date. Instead, you are given a time frame, usually anywhere from 12 to 24 months, in which you have to use this deposit toward your next cruise. So, if you put down $500, you might have, say, 2 years within which to book your next cruise and apply that $500 toward that cruise. This is important to know, because many people hesitate to visit the future cruise desk on a ship because they think they’ll be locked into specific dates. Not everyone knows their vacation schedule that far in advance, and the cruise lines know that. That’s why this flexible option is such a good deal.

Read More: Carnival Change Future Cruise Credit Program

4. Discounts or room upgrades

Yet another perk to booking while onboard is the potential to receive discounts and room upgrades. Instead of waiting around for the next sale to come through your email, you can simply talk to the friendly faces at the future cruise desk about any deals offered for your next cruise. That sounds much better than spending hours clicking through tabs to find the best deals and discounts.

5. Travel agent credit

There are some cruisers who won’t book their next cruise while onboard one because they have a trusty travel agent back home. The only way for a travel agent to get credit for the booking (and therefore to get paid) is they book it, and the cruiser doesn’t want deny them that credit. However, on most cruise lines, as long as your travel agent booked the cruise you’re currently sailing on, the future cruise desk can arrange it so your travel agent’s name is also on your future booking. Just make sure that when they show you your booking confirmation you see your agent’s name as well.

Do you book your next cruise while on your current cruise?

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BEFORE YOU GO

Navigating Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port (Port Everglades)

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If you’ve sailed from the Fort Lauderdale cruise port, you know how busy it can get. Especially during the winter cruise season, sometimes there are 12 ships embarking cruise guests at the same time. Recently, the cruise port received major upgrades.

Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line, and Princess Cruises sail from the port on a seasonal or year-round basis.

Getting to Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port

Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port

The Port Everglades Cruise Pier is accessible from interstate 95 and 575. There are three entrances into Port Everglades.  The 17th Street Causeway entrance which is located at Eisenhower Boulevard, State Road 84 entrance located just off of US 1, and the I-595 East entrance.

Proper identification such as a driver’s license or passport is required and your vehicle may be subject to search.

  • I-95 south, take Exit #26 to I-595 East. Exit 12b, to Port Everglades.
  • I-95 north, take Exit #24 to I-595 East. Exit 12b, to Port Everglades.
  • I-75 north or south, take Exit #19 to I-595 East. Exit 12b, to Port Everglades.
  • On the Florida Turnpike north or south, take Exit #54 to I-595 East. Exit 12b, to Port Everglades.

Alternative Transportation

If you’re flying into the Fort Lauderdale airport for your cruise you can get a taxi, Uber, shuttle service, or take advantage of the cruise line transfer service that is available for purchase when you book your cruise.

  • Uber: $12-$16
  • Taxi: $20
  • Cruise Line Transfer: check with your specific cruise line

If you’re flying into Miami and cruising from Port Everglades, expect a 45 minute to an hour transfer. Like Fort Lauderdale, you can take advantage of a cruise line transfer, shuttle service, or an Uber. A taxi is by far the most expensive way to transit between the two locations.

Parking Prices

Parking fees at the Fort Lauderdale cruise port are some of the cheapest in Florida and are charged on a per-night basis. The parking garages are multilevel and are secured. Each parking garage at the cruise terminal has crosswalks to the corresponding cruise ship.

  • $15 per day for regular cars and trucks
  • $19 per day for oversized vehicles

Alternative Parking 

There are park and cruise hotels in the area that let you park your car in their lots if you purchases a night pre or post-cruise. One of the hotels that I use when I drive to Fort Lauderdale is the Hilton Garden Inn Airport Cruise Port. This property offers a charter bus service that will take you to and pick you up from the cruise pier.

You can also park your car off-property at a reduced price set by the company. Each park and cruise location will vary in price and will offer a shuttle to drop you off at your designated cruise terminal.

Tips

  • If you’re driving to the cruise pier and want to experience less crowds, consider boarding later. Most cruisers try to be the first passengers on the ship. By giving yourself extra time to get to the cruise pier and not rushing, the embarkation experience will be much more pleasant.
  • In my experience of flying into the Hollywood-Fort Lauderdale International Airport, taking an Uber has been the most economical way to get to the cruise port. If you’re considering Uber, use promo code ydhf9 for $5 off your first four rides.  You can even enter the code before you use it.

Do you have any tips for sailing from the Fort Lauderdale cruise port?

Featured photo via Port Everglades

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Hi, this may be of interest to you: 33 Things People Forget on Their Cruise. This is the link: https://cruiseradio.net/33-things-people-forget-cruise/