We want you to make the most of your cruise. It is sometimes the little things we don’t think about that cause the most amount of undue stress when we travel. But with a little careful planning you’ll be set for your trip. We have put together a top 15 list of cruise accessories to consider. While cruise ships themselves are the size of floating malls, cruise cabins are not known for size (who can afford a suite?!) We like to think efficiency is key to cruise vacation planning. Efficiently accessorizing the little things helps with the end goal while vacationing: peace of mind.
#1 - Luggage Tag Holders
Any repeat cruiser understands the check in/check out process pre and post cruise. If you will be dropping off larger pieces of luggage, cruise ship porters will deliver them to your room (and deliver them to customs once the cruise ends). With so many familiar looking pieces of luggage out there, an easily identifiable and yet durable set of luggage tags will help with this process.
The cruise line will often give you a cheap paper set, however as owning a good solid pair is inexpensive, it just makes it worthwhile to bring your own. Good quality luggage tag holders will keep that identification easily visible and protect tags in case of rain or windy conditions. A swift breeze at the port has sent many a paper set flying off in the wind. The best luggage tags will have metal cables or sturdy clips to fasten securely to your luggage.
Check prices here: Luggage Tag Holders
#2 - Document Holder
An organized document holder is certainly a must for keeping all your important travel papers in one convenient spot. Think of the organizational benefit this can provide for groups or family cruises, when it may be easiest for one person to hold all the boarding passes, passports, airline details, and other travel documentation.
Even in the digital age, having backup paper copies is a necessity in case our digital devices go down for one reason or another. A document holder that provides different sections for labeling (or color coded) is preferred for easily recognized papers. You will likely have airline, hotel, pre-cruise, excursion, post-cruise and possibly other forms of documentation to keep organized and separated.
Check out current prices: Document Holder
Pro Tip: Make sure to save all your cruise documentation post cruise. You never know if you will need to reference them again, and your cruise card can be a neat memory piece down the road.
#3 - Lanyard
For those who have not cruised before, you will understand that your cruise ship ID card is your own personal key card. Not only is it needed to get off and back on the ship from port day shore excursions or shopping, but is also a room key, casino club card, charge card for buying drinks, photos, souvenirs and more. Keeping your cruise card safe is essential, and while most cruise lines are good about replacing if lost, sometimes there is a fee involved. A sturdy lanyard will hold your card so you don’t accidentally leave it behind on a table, bar counter, deck chair, or slot machine.
Lets face it, when you are in vacation relaxation mode it’s easy to forget things!! Some lanyards also include waterproof pouches or pockets so you can also carry along some cash, another credit card if preferred, or other items with ease. With the knowledge of your card hanging around your neck, you can take one less worry off the list. Your only concern when owning a lanyard is making sure it’s positioned in a certain way while sun bathing as to avoid any awkward tan lines.
For current prices, click here: Lanyards
Pro Tip: Sometimes Cruise lines provide these. Ask ahead to avoid buying your own unless you want a personalized one.
#4 - Collapsible Tote Bag or Small Day-pack
A collapsible tote bag is the one travel necessity that you don’t realize you need until you set sail. In fact, we call it one of the must haves. Because this cruise accessory can fold and fit into the palm of your hand, a pocket, or purse, makes this a no-brainer budget friendly accessory worth having. It only takes one trip back and forth from your cruise ship cabin with both hands full to realize how convenient having a small personal storage carrier can be.
Whether heading to the pool, buffet, game-room, or exploring your cruise ports, you will have that extra space you need to easily carry towels, hats, glasses, phones, water, sunscreen, books and more. Other common uses for cruisers: pool-side tote; laundry bag for your cruise cabin; shopping bag for port purchases; beach bag for towels, water, lotions,etc. As this collapsible tote is versatile, flexible, convenient, and low in price, it makes this one of the most purchased cruise accessories.
For current prices, click here: Collapsible Tote
A good day-pack is also similar to a collapsible tote, however it’s unlikely it will fold and fit in the palm of your hand. One advantage of a day-pack is for shore excursions. Being able to wear the daypack over your shoulders as a backpack and give your tired arms a rest. It’s also ideal for sight-seeing or short hiking trips, allowing you to bring needed essentials.
Current pricing available here: Osprey Day Pack
#5 - RFID Money Belt (Radio Frequency Identification)
Keeping your passport, credit cards, and cash safe while you travel is a serious concern. A loss of any or all of these is a significant problem or worry that no one wants to deal with, especially on vacation. While most of us believe the immediate threat is pickpockets, it’s easy to overlook theft of another kind. An RFID money belt or waist pack will not only hold your gear conveniently close, but will also block potential wireless signals that could lead to identity theft or hacking. Drawing little attention by choosing a discreet option is recommended. Just be sure the straps are the appropriate size to fit yourself comfortably.
For latest pricing, click here: RFID Money Belt
#6 - Full Snorkeling Face Mask
If you or your children are any type of a snorkeler, this is a game changer. Ever had children complain or cry because the ocean salt water has stung their eyes? It’s not fun. The old school separate mask and snorkel have a habit of getting twisted and letting in water, particularly for children who constantly fuss with the setup.
The full face snorkel will soon be the foreseeable standard. People don’t naturally breathe from their mouth, so why be forced to do that the old way with a separate mask and snorkel? Children will likely catch on faster, and have a more enjoyable time. In addition to breathing more freely, you’ll also be able to see more cool stuff. With 180 degree vision, this mask offers a much wider view than the old-school suction device. An added bonus is you won’t be sucking on plastic and chewing on an awkward mouthpiece.
For current pricing, click here: Full Snorkel Face Mask
Pro Tip: If using the full snorkeling face mask for the first time, test it out once in the cruise ship pool to get a feel for it before unleashing yourself in the ocean.
#7 - Miniature Fan
A small fan can be a huge help on a cruise vacation. Not only will a small fan provide a consistent breeze to circulate air and keep your stateroom cooler, but even a low hum will help create white noise for better sleep and privacy. A small fan can also be used to speed up the drying process of wet swimwear or other damp clothing.
For pricing, click here: Miniature Fan
#8 - Towel Bands
Forget towel clips, they are now considered a thing of the past and have been replaced by towel bands. Towel bands are the better solution to keeping your cruise ship towel from flying off your pool chair. When compared to towel clips, these bands are much easier to pack, lighter, and the flexibility allows them to fit over all types of deck chairs. You’ll secure your beach towel more easily to your beach chair while also creating an easy way to recognize your ‘spot’ in the midst of all the others. They can also be used on car seats, boat chairs, and other places that towel clips would fail to work.
Check out current prices here: Towel Bands
Pro Tip: If you are picky about keeping your dirty laundry separate from any clean laundry you might have at vacation end, wrap a towel band around your dirty laundry bag. This will surely keep it snug from spilling before you get home.
# 9 - Night Light
Cruise ship cabins (especially those windowless interior staterooms), can be quite dark at night. It’s very easy to stumble around or stub a toe on a chair or edge of the bed with little or no light for guidance. An inexpensive, simple and ideal solution, is a small portable night light.
Positioning this light away from the bed(s) closer to the washroom is a great location. The motion-activated, battery-operated light from Cruise On will not take up valuable plugs needed for other electronics or gadgets. This is also a bonus for cruising with small children who are used to sleeping with a nightlight.
Check current prices here: Night Light
Pro Tip: This is a must have cruise item if you are cruising with children. Sometimes a small night light helps reassure in an unfamiliar environment.
#10 - Alarm Clock
Cruise ship cabins are usually neat, tidy, compact and full of most things a hotel room provides, yet we have never had a cabin that has come with an alarm clock. While (hopefully) no one wants to be woken up by an alarm while on holiday, it will certainly come in handy when you have an early morning cruise excursion. Most cruise excursions are run by fairly strict timelines, and you likely won’t find an excursion that will wait for a sleeper inner.
An inexpensive alarm clock is just the trick. The below good quality and easy on the wallet model, offers USB charging to keep those plugs available for other needed items.
Follow this link to see prices: Alarm Clock
# 11 - Water Bottle
Bringing a water bottle(s) sounds simple enough, but you would be surprised how many cruisers forget this necessity. As you will likely be perspiring in hotter weather, staying hydrated is just good practice. Whether a trip to a port beach, working on that tan around that cruise ship pool, or exercising in the cruise ship gym, a strong and readily available water bottle is essential. We recommend one that is sturdy, can take drops or get kicked around, and has a secure lid that avoids leakage or spillage if knocked over.
For latest pricing, click here: Water Bottle
#12 - Power Strip (approved by Cruise Lines)
Cruise cabins will have limited outlets. Standard power strips are usually not permitted by cruise lines, so we recommend a simple power cube that also has USB charging. This will especially come in handy for cruising families with multiple electronics all competing for charging space.
Check out latest pricing here: Power Strip
Pro Tip: We have been on multiple cruises where a child of ours has been sick for a day or two. This essentially means more time in the cruise cabin where fully charged electronics certainly come in handy.
#13 - Over the Door Organizer
We’ve already established that cruise ship cabins are at a premium for storage space. Any accessory that can help organize your space is a plus. A small over the door hanging organizer can help with this. Something simple to hang over your washroom or closet door to help separate and make all your many accessories more accessible.
This is particularly handy for parents cruising with children. Having a quick convenient spot for sun screen, bug spray, tablet chargers, water shoes, phones, socks, and the list goes on, can be an added plus.
For current pricing, click here: Door Organizer
Pro Tip: Just because these organizers have many little storage spots, doesn’t mean they have to be used. Try to pack only the accessories you believe are needed. Start you planning with a packing list well in advance, an add or remove items as you believe are needed or not.
#14 - Waterproof Phone Pouch
Any cruiser planning any sort of water based activity, beach day, lounging by the pool, a boat tour, or snorkeling to name a few, can know their electronics are safe from splashing kids, or unexpected rainfall. Look for a pouch that fits your phone’s size, and make sure to look for ones with extra pockets or clips for added uses.
For latest pricing, click here: Waterproof Phone Pouch
#15 - Power Bank
Smart phones have become the new option for picture taking. A full day excursion and those long days in port, we use our smartphones for so many functions, so it’s important to keep them charged. On long shore excursions, we use our phones to take photos and videos, as well as to check our messages and emails when we find free WiFi!If a shore excursion involves a lengthy coach ride, it’s nice to be able to read an ebook or play a game on your phone or tablet.
It’s no wonder these devices use battery power quickly when we don’t have access to an electrical outlet!A small but powerful power bank is a necessity to make sure your devices stay charged during long days in port.This highly-rated model is compact at just under four inches long, and will charge phones, tablets, or almost any other small electronic device that uses a USB cord (just don’t forget to take your charger cord with you).
For current pricing, click here: Power Bank
Pro Tip: Cash is King
While cruises are known for being ‘cashless societies’, one will often find the need for cash. Cruise lines will charge a daily gratuity to be added to your final bill (which can be prepaid), however if you want to tip your room steward, wait staff, or for room service, cash is certainly best. Cash is also often necessary for those smaller purchases on shore. This could be for renting a locker or snorkel gear. Even for purchasing small souvenirs, cash is much preferred to otherwise flashing a credit card that is best left out of sight and secure. It’s also fairly impossible to negotiate and pay for souvenirs from street vendors that only accept cash.
We hope we have given you some good pointers and options with our recommendations. Whether you have your own list of must have cruise accessories, or no list at all, it’s important to plan what is right for you and your family. Vacationing is like most other things in life: it can take practice. If you are a cruise ship rookie, we guarantee you will learn from your first cruise and be better prepared for your next one. We certainly wish you the best on your travels. Bon Voyage!!