Hello, my name is Ashley and I’m a huge packing nerd. I’m not afraid to admit it!
One of the things I love about planning a trip is the PACKING! Admittedly, I don’t love the physical act of putting things in a suitcase.
However, I do love is the research part… I love learning about and searching for all of those perfect little items items that will make my vacation that much better.
The unique nature of cruising presents a special challenge. The smaller space, the wide variety of activities and the expense of certain items onboard leads many to think carefully about what we can and can’t bring. Add in a formal night or two and a small closet and you’ve got yourself a grade A challenge.
In this post, I’m not going to focus on clothing or personal items. Instead, I’m going to focus on a few items that I consider “must haves.” These are the things that I bring with me on every cruise. I may not always need them all, but they’ve all come in handy a time or two. These are the things that are worth the space and then some.
1. Cruise Luggage Tags: When you check in online for your cruise, you’ll print special luggage tags for your bags. At the cruise port, you’ll say goodbye to your bag and it will be waiting for you in your cabin later that afternoon. The special luggage tags allow the curbside porters to load your bag and deliver it to the correct stateroom onboard. Sure, you could print the paper luggage tag and staple it around your suitcase handle, but I love these plastic luggage tag holders for an extra layer of protection. No lost bags here!
2. Eagle Creek Packing Cubes: I have evangelized packing cubes before, but they deserve a second mention. Note that I am specifically recommending Eagle Creek … I have no incentive to mention them by name, except that I LOVE them. I’ve owned this set of Original Pack it cubes for over 6 years. These have been in multiple countries all around the world and are now surviving twice monthly trips to New York. I’ve had the cheaper ones and they rip. Go for the good ones and save your money!
3. Hanging Toiletry Bag: Once you get in the cabin, you’ll need a way to keep your toiletries organized. In a small cruise bathroom, I recommend a hanging bag that will keep everything organized and off the counter. I like and own this Travelon bag. It’s a little big for weekend trips, but it’s my go-to for anything 7 days or longer.
4. Heavy Duty Suction Hooks: While most bathrooms do have a hook for hanging items, sometimes you want a few more. These heavy duty suction cup hooks hold up to 22lbs each. They are so strong, I used them for hanging my laptop bag in my NYC apartment!
5. GoToob Travel Bottles: These are the best travel bottles because you can squeeze them and get every last drop out Trust me.
6. GoTubb travel containers: From the same manufacturer, these little tubs snap tight and hold a number of things. I use them for jewelry, bobby pins, cotton balls, q-tips, etc. They are also great for pills, small items like coins and lots of other uses. Go nuts!
7. Poopourri Spray: While we’re in the tiny bathroom, grab a bottle of this. No explanation needed, except that IT WORKS.
8. Backpack: I highly recommend a good backpack for your carry on. When you embark on the ship, it may be a few hours before you get your checked bag. If you bring a backpack, you can have all of your essential items with you, yet still be comfortable as you explore the ship. Remember to pack your swim gear and a change of clothes for the evening in your backpack as you may not get your big bag before dinner.
9. Dry Bag: If you plan on hanging by the pool or taking a camera ashore for excursions, you may want to consider a dry bag. A dry bag is a sealable plastic bag that can keep important items dry when you’re out and about. Some dry bags allow you to keep your phone or camera inside and take photos through the clear plastic. These are worth checking out!
10. Emergency Flashlight/Flare/Whistle Combo: Ok, this may be bordering on paranoia, but I like throwing one of these in my backpack. I have this exact model and it has traveled with me for years. it’s a flashlight, an emergency flasher, a whistle and more. There you have it! Those are my must pack cruise items.
Did I forget anything ? What would you add?
Also, don’t forget to check out our Friends & Family cruise! When it comes to cruises, planning ahead is the best way to save money. The earlier you book, the more you save!