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20.  Toss in a couple of decorative magnets to mark your cabin door – makes it easier to find down a long corridor of identical cabin doors.

21.  Binder clips or clothespins are always handy for playing with or holding back a pesky shower curtain or a towel.

Ranger-roll your clothing – gets more in your suitcase with fewer wrinkles – Here’s a YouTube video with some packing hacks for you.

22.  Don’t pack anything breakable in your large bags.  They stack them about 5 high when they bring them on and off the ship – crunch, squish!  You’ll want to keep your breakables in your carry-on bag instead.

Bonus tip

Teach your kids how to pack by making a “Clothes Kid“.  Have them lay out an entire outfit on the floor in the shape of a kid from the socks to pants to shirt (plus undies!).  Have them make one clothes kid for each day of the trip. Then inspect them and change out items as needed.  Once you approve, roll each outfit up and secure it with a rubber band.  Then you can instantly tell what clothes have been worn and what hasn’t – sheer GENIUS!

23.  Many cruise destinations are to high-poverty areas.  Wouldn’t it be fun to bring along small gifts for any children you may meet during your stay?  Pencils, toothbrushes, stickers, or little dollar store toys, are all good choices that don’t take up a lot of room.

24.   I almost didn’t put this in because this is a double-edged sword.  A tablet or iPad of some kind. WiFi at sea is ridiculously EXPENSIVE.  Like, you have no idea how expensive it can get.  Even if you aren’t doing anything, it will automatically update Facebook and other apps in the background without you even being aware of it.  My suggestion is to keep it in airplane mode at almost all times.  Then just limit yourself to like 10-15 minutes a day to check important messages or post a couple of pictures.  There are also Internet Cafes on shore, but you have to be careful about security for your passwords.

25.  A nightlight or small flashlight.  Especially in an inside cabin, they are pitch DARK at night and you don’t want to stub your toe.

PS:  I’m adding this item in based on a comment from a reader, here is a very clever battery operated nightlight. It won’t take up any of your valuable plugs and these are battery-operated and motion-sensitive.  They even use velcro straps to fasten to the bedframe, so you won’t leave a sticky residue.  They come in a three-pack, so you could put one under each side of the bed and one in the bathroom.  These light up when your feet hit the floor and then the light is muted under the bed, so you won’t disturb the other sleepers.  They are tiny and easy to pack – brilliant.

Clever little nightlights to use in your ship's cabin. Especially for inside cabins - they are very DARK.

Wish me luck!  I think it’s going to be a fun cruise.

As promised – here is the link to the PRINTABLE LIST of the 25 packing items from this post.


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39 Comments on 25 Fabulous Tips on Packing for a CRUISE

  1. Bungee cords make gr8 clotheslines for drying swimsuits. Thread the bungee cord through the straps, or for trunks through the legs then attach the cords to convenient anchor points (I generally wrap the cord around the anchor point and hook it to itself).

    I keep a few magnets, a highlighter, pens, pencils – all those little items you mentioned in a vinyl see-thru cosmetic pouch & throw it in the suitcase when packing. I also carry 2 bright coloured Leis and hang one on our door and the other on the balcony for identification.

    Your tip about zip lock bags is gr8 I always carry a selection of sizes to store goodies. Always good for putting cookies and fruit in when going on excursions.

  2. My husband and I make a packed to never use the elevator. We were successful on a 10 day cruise and now going on a 14 day Panama Canal Cruise. This is what we do in order not to gain weight. Walking is also a good thing. Up and down stairs makes a great difference. I know not everyone is able to do this but if you are it is great. We don’t feel guilty eating dessert every night. We have cruised about 20 times and all your ideas are really good. For your followers who have not cruised before I would encourage them to go on a cruise. It is a great value for a vacation. We always have so much fun. We have cruised on several different cruise lines. All have been good. Each one has it’s own plus.

    • You’re right, that is so smart. I love to wear my Fitbit and see how many steps I get on board. It’s a LOT. Hope you enjoy your Panama cruise. I’ve heard it’s beautiful.

  3. I have decided to print a calendar and put excursions on. You can add spa appointments as you go. Did you know the walls are metal? Ours were -magnets were our friend. For notices to each other.

    • Surprisingly, I had never thought of bringing it anywhere BUT a cruise, but I sure could have used one at last months Build Your Blog Conference. There were 4 or 5 class options every 2 hours and I kept forgetting which ones I’d picked. I’m going to add it to my conference packing list.

  4. Thank you for sharing all of these tips. We are going on our first cruise in June. It won’t be a typical one, but I’m sure I can apply a lot of the information you have shared here. Pinning this for later!

  5. Great tips! I also take water bottles so I can fill up on the lido deck and carry them to the other ship activities. Otherwise you get thirsty and succome to purchasing drinks (OR you have to walk a mile to get a drink). Also, instead of buying the soda card, either made do with the free iced tea and lemonade, or take along flavor packets for the water. Fanny packs are good for excursions also. I will be using some of your ideas on my retirement cruises, thanks!

  6. Some ships do not have outlets in the bathroom. I find that battery-operated tea lights make good night lights. Depending how bright they are, you may want two in the bathroom.

    If you are on a ship with inside balconies, it is fun to put up window clings to identify your room from below.

    • You know, I never thought about using those little battery operated ones. I think I’ll add that to the post. That way you aren’t taking up one of your valuable outlets and they are very small and don’t take up any extra room. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I can’t tell you how happy I am to have come across your blog! We are going on our first cruise in two weeks, taking my parents on RC Oasis for their 50th Anniversary, we are very excited but nervous and your well thought out and very detailed list really helped to put some of my fears to rest….thank you so much for sharing this valuable information!!!

    • Thank you! I’m so glad you appreciated the tips. Cruises are so much fun, but it’s kind of nice to have a little advance warning about what to expect. Did you check out my other post on how to save money on a cruise and how to manage the buffets without doing too much damage to your waistline? They definitely will try to get you to spend money on stuff you don’t really need, but if you’re smart about it, you won’t have a big bill at the end.

  8. Brilliant tips! I never went cruising, and your advises are extremely helpful. I am so glad you shared them. It’s very good idea to involve the kids in packing, I am gonna try it with my daughter next time. I am curious what she gonna pack. Greetings

  9. I think the suggestion about bringing medicines was right on. We have taken snack foods, candy, gum, and pop on board. And on Carnival, if you go to the Purser’s desk, and ask, they’ll provide you with “carnival” playing cards, for free, or they did last time I cruised with them. We’ve also taken a soft side cooler, and our steward kept ice in it for us. Cruises are a great value. Additionally, my brother went to a store called Gabriel Brothers before his honeymoon cruise, and purchased a tux. Gabe’s is the ” Big Lots” of department stores, And I think he paid about $50. for it.

    • $50 bucks for a tux is a great value and he’ll be able to use it again and again. Unlike our clothes that go out of style quickly, men can wear a tuxedo forever.

  10. Something to add about the cards. Most ships with Casino’s have huge stacks of cut decks that they cannot use anymore and often they will just give them to you if you ask, at most they may charge you $1-2.

    • That’s a great tip. Thanks for sharing. My sons collect decks of cards, so they would have been happy if I’d brought them home some.

  11. Great tips!!
    I am going on my 4th cruise April 16th but i always like to see what tips other people have. Very helpful tip putting a magnet on your door to help you find it! I don’t know how many times i tried my room card on other peoples doors!!

    • That’s funny! I wonder how many people were freaking out thinking someone was breaking into their room! This time, my cabin was right by one of those metal strips in the hallway. For the first day, I kept thinking people were rattling the doorknob, but it was just people clicking their wheely bags over the metal strip. Fortunately, I’m the soundest sleeper ever – I used to live down the street from a fire station…

    • That’s great, especially coming from a cruise magazine. Feel free to share some of these tips with your readers. I popped over to your site – you’ve got some fantastic photography. I just wish I could take photos like that.

    • You are going to have such a wonderful time! I almost went on a different blogger’s cruise on the Allure of the Seas – it looked like a wonderful ship! Hope you enjoy your trip.

  12. I LOVE this list – I will do it all, except the toys!! But a deck of cards? Yes! Thanks for sharing this. Oh, it will be so helpful

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