Cruising: 5 things you need and 5 things to leave behind
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I recently returned from my first Caribbean cruise and I am coming up on the one year mark of my very first cruise in the Mediterranean. When I went on my first cruise I spent months researching EVERYTHING. There are about a million articles online with lengthy lists of all the things you NEED for a cruise but in the end, I found a lot of those things left me with a stuffed suitcase and I didn’t end up using most of it. Only a handful of things ended up being really helpful. So here is my official list of cruise essentials.
Things to pack:
These are awesome for giving you some extra spots to hang jackets, lanyards, and purses by the door to keep them handy and they don’t take up a ton of room in your suitcase.
Since the only thing you really HAVE to take with you on the ship is your ship card, having a lanyard is super handy for when you don’t want to haul your whole purse. I really like this lanyard because it has a clip on section if you don’t want to wear it around your neck.
Cruise ships have a lot of rules about extension cords and surge protectors but this power strip is generally allowed and perfect for charging multiple devices.
Being on a cruise means you’ll be spending a lot of time by the water, having dry bags is great for making sure all of your important items stay safe and as an added bonus they can help you keep things organized in your cabin.
Buying water on board can be expensive but if you have your own water bottle you can refill it for free at the buffet. I love my Hydroflask water bottle because it keeps things cold forever which is perfect for long excursions or days on the beach.
Things you don’t need:
While tons of people recommend this online for cruising, I found that once unpacked I could use my suitcase as a laundry basket and when it came time to pack things up I use my packing cubes to sort dirty and clean laundry.
Again, while many cruisers LOVE their alarm clocks, I don’t think it warrants the extra weight in my suit case. Phones work great as an alarm clock and are way more useful than an alarm clock.
A lot of people love using a white board in their room to leave messages or keep track of plans but on my last cruise, I never ended up using mine. A paper and notepad work great to meet those needs just fine.
These are another cruise favorite but often times these really don’t work well on the ship and are just not necessary.
It can be SO easy over packing for a cruise. I was definitely guilty of that on my first cruise. This time around disembarking with just 2 carry-ons felt awesome. Everywhere around us were massive bags (I swear I could have fit in one) and people trying to navigate with 3-4 bags. While cruises give you a chance to be settled in one place for a good amount of time, it is no reason to bring along the kitchen sink! Pack light and spare your back the pain later.