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Whether you consider it a dream or an inconvenience, much of what we consider normal or take for granted on land is  stripped away on a cruise ship. You can’t drive to the corner store to pick up something you need, your cell phone’s only real function is as a camera, and neither your cash nor your credit cards have any value on board (but I still would recommend keeping those safe). Weird, right?

Consequently, cruisers have come up with lists of items that make life on a ship just a little bit more like home. While I don’t claim to have anything truly innovative, the following items are on my list of what to pack for a cruise.


Moleskin. On a cruise, you walk. A lot. And you walk in those really cute sandals that have been sitting in your closet since last summer so you have forgotten that the strap rubs your heel until it’s raw. And then you walk in those gorgeous heels that are normally reserved for those “sit and look pretty” occasions rather than trekking from your cabin to the dining room. Pretty soon, your feet hate you.

Moleskin is a sheet of soft, felt-like material on an adhesive back that you can cut to size. I have used it on various parts of my shoes to prevent injury. Alternatively, if you already have a blister, you can apply moleskin to your skin (on top of a bandage, ideally) to minimize friction. You are welcome!

Hanging jewelry holder. I discovered this two or three trips ago and am in love! Not only does it roll up neatly and hang from the closet, but it keeps all of my jewelry tangle-free.

Post-Its. I am an early riser when I am on vacation and my husband loves to sleep in. Since the idea of laying in the dark for several hours while my vacation slowly ticks by is inconceivable, I am up and out of the room while he is still snoozing away. And, without the ability to text one another, leaving notes is the next best way to ensure we meet up. Post-Its also come in handy if you travel with friends or family staying in other cabins to coordinate meeting times and places.

Travel scissors. A million reasons exist as to why you should have scissors, but I take them if for no other reason than to cut the aforementioned moleskin to the size you need.

A folding tote. If you buy souvenirs or just need an extra bag for port or by the pool, it’s hard to go wrong with a waterproof folding tote. Last trip, I over packed and we had to pay $100 because my suitcase was 8 pounds too heavy (ouch). On the way back, I transferred my heavier items to my folding tote and came in under the airline limit.

Ziploc bags. Great to have on hand to pack liquids, use for wet swimwear after a day at the beach in port, and separating your dirty clothing. I love the small sizes for keeping ear buds and USB cords together.

A wad of $1 and $5 bills. Why? Last trip we tipped four different shuttle drivers, two porters, three tour bus drivers, two tour boat crews, and our room steward. On top of that, we used small bills to pay street vendors for photos and small purchases in port. While there are ATMs on the ship and you can get change from the customer relations desk, it is just easier to come prepared (an not pay the high ATM fees).

A water bottle. Guess what? The water that comes out of your bathroom tap on a cruise is filtered, purified, and as clean as anything you are likely to drink out of a bottle. This means you have, essentially, unlimited free bottled water in your stateroom! My husband packs individual serving powdered drink mixes to mix in his water. On our last cruise, I was wishing I had brought my water infuser bottle which is similar to the one on the left. I could have used the cut melons from the buffet to make fruit-infused water.

Why go to this trouble? While water is free in the dining establishments, buying a bottle of water to carry around the ship or take ashore will run you anywhere from $2.50 to $5 depending on the cruise line and size of the bottle. And, if you have a soda habit, prepare to pay $2 per can or more.

Extension cords and/or a travel surge protector. If you are an electronic device addict, what I am about to say might cause a certain degree of panic. You are about to be confined to a room with ONE outlet (two if you count the one in the bathroom). And, unlike a hotel room, moving furniture around to find hidden outlets does not work. We travel with two cell phones, two Kindles, an mp3 player, a camera with a rechargeable battery, a CPAP machine, and a small fan. The lovely little Belkin 3 outlet charger on the left even has USB ports so you can leave your plug-in USB chargers at home!

Do you have favorite items you cannot do without on a cruise? Comment and talk about your cruise necessities!


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