What could be more alluring than a cruise on the high seas? Enjoy the sun and warm breeze on a cruise through the Caribbean or around the tropical islands of the South Pacific. Maybe a Trans-Atlantic crossing is more to your liking, sailing the famed route between New York and Southampton or an adventure through the Panama Canal. Where ever you decide you’d like to go, chances are a cruise can take you there. From non-stop onboard activities and five-star dining to exciting shore excursions and fascinating tours while in port, cruises are an ideal way to see the world. When you’re ready to relax, the spas and swimming pools, Jacuzzis and sun decks will melt your cares away.
You can tailor your cruise to be as relaxing or as jam packed with activities as you like. And while each ship varies in size and may feature different on-board amenities, there are some basic items that every cruise passenger will want to take with them. After all, on a cruise the world is your oyster and you’ll want to enjoy every moment. So here is a short list of some of the essential ‘must haves’ to make your next cruise an enjoyable one.
Let’s start with the essentials. These are items that can make or break your trip, so it’s best to be prepared.
Passport, visas and cruise documents – Most cruise ships sail through international waters and travel between different countries and for this reason a passport is required. Depending on the countries you visit, tourist visas may also be required, and your travel agent can advise you on these requirements. In addition to your passport and any required visas, your cruise line will need to see your cruise documents. Often times cruise lines will require passengers to check-in online before departure. Checking in on line will allow you to print your boarding pass and you will be required to present this along with your passport at the cruise terminal.
Airline itinerary – Bring your airline itinerary so that your cruise line can reserve for you an appropriate time for disembarkation from the ship at the end of the cruise. Cruise lines usually reserve a specific time for each passenger to leave the ship and disembarkation and luggage collection can sometimes take several hours. If you happen to be catching a flight immediately after the cruise you’ll want to make sure that you’re on your way to the airport with enough time to spare.
Luggage – Unless you’re one of the lucky few who go all out and travel in the largest on board suite, most staterooms are quite small, with very little room to spare. Try taking a matching set of luggage but travel with pieces of a different size. That way, after you unpack and place your clothing and other belongings in drawers and in the closet, you can then conveniently stow your suitcases one inside the other, giving you some much needed cabin space.
Hat, bathers and loafers or flip flops - Let’s face it, the vast majority of cruises revolve around sun filled destinations with beautiful weather. With that in mind, you’ll definitely want to make sure that your bathers are packed for a dip in the pool or for sunning on a comfortable deck chair. Don’t forget light weight clothing for walks along the deck, a hat for sun protection and comfortable pool side shoes. You’ll feel relaxed and look great too!
Now that the essentials have been covered and the contingencies have been planned for, what about the little ‘desirables’ that help to make that cruise just that little bit more enjoyable? Here are some items that travellers may want to consider bringing with them in order to pass the time.
Hanging toiletry bag – Stateroom bathrooms are very small and can be downright cramped. Combat the lack of counter space and prevent toiletry items from falling on the floor at the slightest ship movement by packing your bathroom and personal items in a toiletry bag that you can hang from a towel bar or bathroom hook. This way your toiletries are always accessible and stationary but out of the way.
Formal or Semi-formal dress – Cruises are known for their wonderful food and endless buffets, and the main dining room seatings are where many meals take place. Generally smart casual or semi-formal dress is adequate but there are nights that are designated as formal. This is the perfect opportunity to get dressed up for a nice dinner and if you feel inspired have a formal portrait taken as a remembrance.
Clothes steamer – It’s hard to look your best when you unpack your bag and find that all of your clothes are a wrinkled mess. Irons are not allowed in staterooms as they are considered a fire risk and laundry services on board can be quite expensive. One easy solution is to pack a small clothes steamer. Just fill it with water, turn it on and steam the wrinkles right out of your clothes.
Electricity converter – Cruise ships are based in many different countries and not all have the same power points and electric sockets. If you have any electrical items that you may want to plug in and use such as shavers, steamers, phones or entertainment devices, than an international converter will be useful. Your cruise line or travel agent should be able to tell you what type of power points your ship uses.
With that you are ready to embark on the journey of a life time. The joy of cruising is that you can do as little or as much as you want, so just go with the flow…so to speak, and have a great time. Bon Voyage!