1. Power Strip – Most cabins usually only have 1 power outlet which is not nearly enough to handle all of the electrical charging needs of my husband and I so to prevent arguing over whose turn it is to “plug in”, I always bring a power strip so we can plug anything we want in simultaneously (mp3 players, camera batteries, video camera, curling iron, etc…)
2. Alarm clock – There are many fun things to do on a cruise ship but you will miss out on the scheduled activities (and some food) if you don’t keep track of the time. Sometimes there is a clock on the phone in your cabin but I have been on many ships that lacked this important feature in cabins, which prompted to me start bringing my own portable alarm clock so I always know what time it is. Another benefit of bringing my own alarm clock is then I can have my alarm clock by my bed, rather than use the ship’s wake-up call service and have to get out of bed to answer the phone when the wake-up call comes.
3. Air freshener – Unless your spring for a suite, your cabin will be much tighter quarters than you are accustomed to at home so if you are traveling with a companion, you will both appreciate remembering to bring this little convenience item to make the restroom a more welcoming place.
4. Beach bag – I pack an empty beach bag in my suitcase to use for hauling all my stuff to the pool and to use in ports if I plan on going to a beach or to use as a shopping bag to hold all of the souvenirs I pick up throughout the day. This bag also comes in handy if you end up buying too much stuff so you have an extra bag to pack for the journey home.
5. Flashlight – If you opt to stay in an inside cabin, this will come in handy as these cabins are pitch black when the lights are off (even during the day), as there are no windows whatsoever. You might think you will not have trouble finding the bathroom in such a small space, but it is amazing how many times you can stub your toe on the mission to the bathroom (or the light switch) and a little light to guide your way will be much appreciated.
6. Small pocket knife – I pack a small Swiss Army knife, the kind with a scissors, tweezer and toothpick, in my suitcase so getting through airport security is not a problem but then I have a handy multi-purpose tool as you never know when you might need to clip off a loose thread of a price tag on a new piece of clothes.
7. Light jacket – A jacket for a cruise to a warm and sunny place might not seem logical but if you would like to venture to the outer decks after sunset, especially toward the front of the ship, it can be a little chilly or windy depending on mother nature and the speed of the ship.
8. Water shoes – Whether you will be participating in water sports in port or just going to a beach, your feet will thank you for bringing some type of shoe that can be worn in the water as the degree of rocks varies greatly from port to port and I have found that I would rather bring water shoes and take them off because I do not need them rather than to wish I would have brought them when I am wading through the sharp rocks.
9. Highlighter – Each evening you will be given a schedule of events for the next day and I like to highlight each activity that interests me as I am reviewing the schedule so I can quickly reference these activities throughout the day.
10. Ziplock bags – You never know when these may come in handy for a swimsuit that is still wet when it is time to pack to go home or maybe an unexpected leaky toiletry. I like to pack a few bags in a variety of sizes (sandwich, quart & gallon) so I am prepared for any use I may need them for.
11. Empty water bottle – You can quench your thirst with unlimited beverages in the ship’s buffet (water, lemonade, iced tea; varies by ship) but typically the glasses provided are rather small. Therefore, if you want to limit your trips back to the buffet (usually located in the back of most ships), you might find it useful to fill your own water bottle with your beverage of choice so you can keep hydrated while laying by the pool or taking in a show at the opposite end of the ship. I would suggest bringing an obviously reusable water bottle from home as I brought an empty bottle from one of the better brands of bottled water (sturdy bottle) and the ship’s staff understandably mistook my empty bottle for trash and I sadly lost the bottle I intended to use all week on day one.
12. Lanyard – This will come in handy to keep your cruise card available at all times…especially if you do not plan to carry a purse or wear clothes with pockets. You will need to carry your cruise card with you at all times when you are on the ship and in port as it serves as your cabin key, identification when debarking or embarking the ship in port and also is necessary to present anytime you want to buy something aboard (souvenirs, alcoholic or soda drinks, spa services) since ships operate as a cashless system and use your cruise card to charge any purchases to your shipboard account.
13. Medicines – I always bring a kit that includes most things that I may or may not need including acetaminophen, ibuprofen, motion sickness, antacids, stomach ache, allergy, bandages, antiseptic and feminine hygiene as everything is much higher priced on board. I thank myself every time myself or someone I am traveling with needs one of these items for being prepared and not having to spend a small fortune in the ship’s gift shop to buy a small package of Tylenol for $10. You never know when you are going to have a headache or a stomachache, especially when there are so many opportunities to eat.
14. Games – One of my favorite things to do during days at sea is to find a table in one of the many common areas on the ship and play games (cards, backgammon, Yahtzee) so I always pack these games so I am sure to have the games I want to play with me. On many ships, you can also borrow games from the ship’s library but they are first come, first served and the selection of games may or may not suit your interests so I like to always have my favorites with me so I do not have to depend on the library’s selection.