You are a veteran cruiser. You scoff at those people hauling several enormous pieces of luggage out of the taxi for their seven night cruise. You’ve figured out packing for a 108 day world cruise includes the same items as packing for a 14 day cruise. Still, there are items that aren’t so obvious that should be included in your luggage.
- Your pre trip research. This voyage brings you to a port you’ve never visited before. It’s not Lisbon or Barcelona, so it might be highly unlikely you will pass this way again. If you haven’t signed up for a tour, you aren’t going to walk down the gangway and wonder “What should we see?” Do thorough research beforehand. Find a couple of great restaurants. Bring a street map. Highlight the must see sites and best hours to avoid the crowds.
- Extra eyeglasses. You have reading glasses or prescription lenses. They can get broken or lost. Yes, you can buy replacements, but you will be paying tourist prices or be paying out of pocket to get new lenses from an optician. You have at least one extra pair at home. Toss them in your bag.
- Extra sunglasses. It’s the same logic as above. They are so easy to lose, unless you wear a cord around your neck. Juggling both reading glasses and sunglasses can often mean one pair is forgotten or misplaced. Ships and tourist shops in port sell sunglasses. You know what that will cost. You have them, so bring them.
- You need a sweater. Yes, you are going to the tropics, but it gets cold at night. Even if the temperature stays up there, the ship is moving through the water at about 20 mph. This creates a breeze. You will need a sweater at night. Plan ahead.
- Don’t forget the windbreaker. You are visiting ports famous for their high numbers of sunny days. It does rain, otherwise the vegetation wouldn’t look so lush. Expect an overcast or rainy day. You ship will sell logoed windbreakers. You’ve checked them out before. Recalling the high price, pack your own.
- You need a hat. You’ve likely got this one covered. A straw, wide brimmed hat favored by British gentleman in 1930’s murder mysteries will be ideal. Take this a step further in your thinking: If you plan to sit in a deck chair reading those murder mysteries, the back brim of the hat will get crushed. You need a ball cap that will shade your eyes.
- Prescription medications. This one is so obvious. Recall the early days of the pandemic when ships were quarantined and not allowed to dock. Even if you simply choose to extend the land portion of your vacation, you need to be sure you’ve got your pills and potions. Pack for a couple of extra days.
- Computer passwords. This is a piece of paper that should be carried in your jacket pocket when boarding and locked in your stateroom safe upon arrival. You might decide to buy something on eBay. It happens. Your e-mail account might lock you out. Don’t trust those codes to memory.
- Ideally the type with a bottle opener on the other end. You will find great wines and beers in port. You will buy some to bring back to your stateroom to enjoy on your balcony. Having a corkscrew means you can be spontaneous.
- Empty soft sided luggage. This includes a shoulder bag for shore excursions. You will likely leave the ship with more than you brought. You will buy duty free liquor. The ship’s logoed windbreaker because you forgot to bring one. Antique plates from that delightful little shop down the cobblestone lane. The volume of luggage tends to expand. Prepare for it.
- Photocopies of key documents. Before leaving home, copy your passport, credit cards, Covid vaccine card, drivers license and other important papers. Carry this like your password sheet. Lock it in the safe. If the ship’s personnel recommend carrying your passport ashore, a copy will hopefully suffice. If your wallet is stolen, you have copies of your cards with numbers for reporting to your credit card company.
- Addresses and phone numbers of friends. Maybe e-mail is how you communicate at home, but you will find some great postcards ashore. The ship has postcards too. Few people send surface mail nowadays. The card you send will show you were thinking about them.
- White dinner jacket. Maybe your pastel linen sports jacket if it’s not a formal ship. Although it’s winter back home, you are sailing into a warmer climate. Enjoy dressing the part.
- Computer charging cables. They are so important and so obvious, but easily forgotten. Has anyone noticed when Apple brought out the most recent generation of the iPad, the charging plug has changed at both ends? You want to have the right cables on hand. Not try to buy or borrow them once your battery runs down.
You are an experienced cruiser, but it’s easy to forget things!
Cover photo: Carnival Splendor cruise ship and Disney cruise ship at dock in Port of Miami ©Dennis Cox/WorldViews