Are you planning a cruise vacation?  Many people go on cruises because they are essentially “hands-off” vacations. The cruise ship provides transportation between cities, provides all your meals for you, gives you a place to sleep, and a place to be entertained.  Basically you don’t have to do anything once you get on the ship. 

Of course there are many options for cruise ship vacationers to enhance their cruise such as paying extra for shore excursions, fancy dinners or drinks, or for extending your trip before or after the cruise by staying in a local resort in the embarkation or debarkation port city.  These enhancements also extend to activities on the ship as well.  Some people enjoy going to the art auctions or spa facilities each of which typically cost extra on top of the cruise ship ticket price.  Some others like shopping at the duty free store for discounts that can’t be found at home.

If you plan on going on a cruise you should keep these things in mind and consider how they may affect your packing.  Some sites like CruiseDirect can help you plan for your cruise as well for shop for it because they have a lot of information which is particular to your cruise alone. 

If you plan on paying extra for a fancy dinner you may want to bring your own bottle of wine to keep costs down.  If you are planning on doing a lot of sightseeing you may want to bring a digital SLR to capture better pictures.  Sunscreen and other skin care items are important for outdoor activities, and formal wear is advisable for those formal nights on the ship.

Of course all cruises are a bit different and every family or couple on vacation will want to do different things but as a whole there are a few important things that most anyone going on a cruise should think about while packing.

Important Things To Bring On A Cruise

If for instance you are going on an international cruise, even if it is as simple as a short weekend cruise to Baja California, you need to make sure you bring your passport.  In recent years traveling to Mexico didn’t require a passport but things have changed and you will not be able to board a cruise ship heading to any Mexican port without a passport.  Essentially the passport is almost as important as your ticket to board the ship. You may not really need to bring a passport wallet but the passport itself is a must.  Once you board it can be safely tucked away in your luggage.

Another very important thing to bring on a cruise of any length or destination is a nice camera, camcorder, or other kind of device like a phone which captures pictures or video.  As is the case for any vacation you will not want to come home without pictures to remember the vacation.  Of course bring the camera is not the hard part.  Most people remember their cameras but what is often omitted from travel plans is the batteries for the camera.  Unless you have a rechargeable set of batteries you will need to bring your own otherwise you will spend a fortune buying batteries in the ship’s on board store.

The same goes for medicine and is even more important the longer the cruise is.  If you get sick on the cruise ship and need some Nyquil or Tylenol then you can easily purchase some in the onboard store or in most any port-of-call however the cost will be much lower if you can bring your own from your own medicine cabinet at home.  You will thank yourself if you do get sick and if you don’t then you won’t take up too much additional space in your luggage being prepared.

For those cruise travelers going to exotic destinations you may want to bring your own set of old-fashioned print maps.  In this digital age it is easy to relay on our smartphones and GPS for everything but many locations out of the country either don’t have service or our phones won’t work due to us having domestic cell phone plans.  Unless you have global phone coverage or you know you will have service having a print map and hard copies (or offline copies) of your digital needs will be a lifesaver… especially if you plan on going on a do-it-yourself sightseeing tour.

When on a cruise ship for the first time you may be surprised at the size of the rooms you are staying in or the facilities.  Traveling light is very important.  Many small cruise ship rooms come with built in hair dryers so bringing your own is often unnecessary.  Personal items like body wash, shampoo, and conditioner are also provided on many cruises so these can be additional items that you can leave behind.  The power outlet situation however will most likely be pretty lacking.  Considering the amount of digital items we have and travel with these days you may want to actually bring a power strip and/or extension cord.  This can help you stay organized and fully charged while setting up camp in your room.  If you are relaying on your cell phones and rechargeable cameras on your trip you need to make sure you have the ability to keep everything charged and without a power strip this can be problematic.

First time cruisers are also sometimes green when it comes to formal night.  Not all cruises have formal night so you will want to find out if your booked cruise does ahead of time and if it does make sure to bring a set of formalwear.  You may feel a little odd packing for this occasion but you will be very happy that you did when the night comes around because the entire boat is usually prepared for guests dressed in formal wear.  Shoes, meals, photos, and on board entertainment are geared for a well dressed crowd and participating will be a particularly fun memory as well as experience.

Cruise ship vacations are always popular due to their all-inclusive feel.  Just because you expect the cruise ship to be relatively all-inclusive however doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t prepare.  There are countless ways to make your trip more enjoyable and personalized for you and your families tastes.  Even something as simple as bringing a bottle of your own special wine can make your cruise that much more enjoyable.  The again some people will truly want to let go and bring as little as possible letting the chips fall as they lie, and that’s fine too.