Prior to our cruise on the Carnival Sunshine a year ago, we scoured the internet, message boards and talked to friends for what to pack. Based on what I read and learned, here is my list of 10 things (or groups of things) to pack for a cruise.
(2) Wet wipes. There is very little time between cruises and there are a lot of staterooms to clean. Use these to wipe down the knobs and handles in your room. It only takes a few minutes and allows you an opportunity to get to know your stateroom.
(3) Drinks. Some cruises offer soft drinks as part of the package. Carnival charges extra so we carried on a six pack of Coca-Cola and a small case of water. The water was great for excursions and the pop was a nice treat. We also brought the allowed two bottles of wine but didn’t drink either!
(4) Water shoes and sandals (Water proof, preferably.) If you plan to hit the local beaches, having shoes that you can wear into the water is great. No worries about stepping on something either on or off of the beach. We brought lightweight sandals in our ship-to-shore bag along with our towels and water that we wore during shopping and returning to the ship. We went during then rainy season and the decks were perpetually wet. Having waterproof sandals saved us the worry of our shoes being ruined and also allowed us something to wear while our beach shoes were drying.
(5) Medicine / first aid. Aside from prescription medicines, it doesn’t hurt to pack a little extra. I tossed the travel first aid kit that we keep in the car into the suitcase. In addition, I had a thermometer, adult and children’s ibuprofen, cold medicine, lozenges, band-aids, sea bands and … I forgot the Pepto Bismol and regretted it. If you aren’t used to eating such rich foods, you may need this.
(6) A watch. For every member of your party, including kids. Whether you want to meet up for dinner, a show or just want everyone to check in, this is necessary. We didn’t find clocks anywhere on the Carnival Sunshine. There wasn’t even an alarm clock in our stateroom. In the real life world, we don’t always need a watch because we carry our phones everywhere. On the cruise, unless we knew we would be taking pictures, we often just left our phones in the stateroom leaving us clueless as to what time it was. We allowed the kids some freedom but wish we had the kids wearing watches so they knew what time to meet us!
(7) A mesh tote bag and a closed tote. When you go ashore, you’ll want a bag that aerates your wet stuff and a waterproof one for things that you don’t want to get wet. We found that a string backpack was light and small (both for packing and wearing) yet big enough to toss a few necessities in.
(8) A gym padlock. A combination lock is something I take with me whenever we travel. If we go to a beach or water park, it is nice to be able to padlock your tote bag to the chair. Not to secure the chair, but to secure your belongings. Just wrap the tote bag straps around the chair and secure the lock so the bag cannot be opened. Yes, you can rent lockers but it can be inconvenient for more than one person. If you just want a place to stash your sandals and sunscreen, this does the trick. It isn’t theft proof but it is a deterrent.
(9) A reusable coffee mug or tumbler and travel size dish soap. It’s not necessary, but sure is handy… Especially if you did like I did and get up early so you can sit, read a book and drink coffee or juice. Each morning, I went for coffee and juice but since I brought a reusable glass that wasn’t good for hot drinks, I ended up filling up a few of the cruise ship coffee cups to carry back. You’ll be glad you grabbed the dish soap when you try filling up coffee after lemonade.
(10) A light jacket. It gets chilly at night and sometimes during the day if it rains!
Hopefully your trip will be an enjoyable one and this list will help you feel more prepared!