You got the basic packing list for your cruise. But here, thanks to a cruising expert, are the 11 things you really need to pack.
Every cruise line will give you a long and thorough list of what to bring on your cruise. But cruising expert Janice Wald Henderson—who’s traveled thousands of nautical miles, made port in 86 countries on six continents, and sailed all five oceans and seven seas—always makes sure these special items are in her suitcase. No matter where she’s headed.
1. Smart tablet or E-reader, with books, magazines, and movies already downloaded: Wifi can be pricey (or both slow and pricey) onboard.
2. Big Ziploc® bags for going on shore excursions with swimming or snorkeling: You can toss in wet suits afterwards and keep other belongings dry. These are also handy for when buying wine ashore and keeping bottles from bumping into other backpack belongings, possibly breaking.
3. Backpack or tote for carrying items like books, bottled water, and sunscreen around, onboard or ashore.
4. Waterproof dry bags for electronics: These protect phones and cameras when tendering ashore or walking on docks (I’ve seen too many fall into the sea).
5. Your own shampoo and conditioner; even if on a luxury line providing posh product, the toiletries may not agree with your hair.
6. Foldable duffel bag packed into bottom of suitcase or stuffed into outside pocket; I use it later for all the dirty laundry so I can stow my souvenirs safely in my hard-sided luggage for the trip home.
7. Flash drive containing your passport information, cruise and travel insurance docs, and medical prescriptions and dosage (or take pics on your smartphone). It’s amazing how many cruisers might lose or misplace meds and remember the med name but not the dosage.
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8. If prone to seasickness, test what remedy works best for you before a big cruise, then pack it.
9. Wide-angle and telescopic lenses for your camera: I’d jump overboard if I missed a great shot of a bald eagle, dolphin popping out of the water, or a breathtaking building going by.
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10. Antibacterial wipes and gel: I wipe down everything, like remotes and phones, in my cabin. Cruise ships can be places to pick up germs, so I like to take no chances when on the go or where it might be inconvenient (or even impossible) to wash my hands thoroughly.
11. Even if booked on a super-casual cruise, I still pack a little black dress for me and a sport jacket and dress shirt for my husband. That way, if we decide to dine ashore or go club-hopping, we’ve got the right attire.
Speaking of attire, for the latest nautical looks that are just right for cruising this year, go here. Want to know what our Travel Editor always packs in her suitcase, no matter where she goes? Go here to find out.