Keith and I like cruising. One of the reasons we enjoy cruising is the ability to disconnect. While cruise ships do offer WiFi, it’s not the same and cruising gives us the opportunity to really put technology away.
I ran across this post titled “9 Cruise Packing List Omissions that Can Completely Ruin Your Trip”. It’s a good read and offers some items you definitely want to pack – like medication, sunscreen, and your passport. But I wanted to add a few things to the list because packing for a cruise can be a little different.
A couple of months before your cruise, check out the cruise line’s website and see if there are activities and amenities you can book in advance. Cruise lines have become very sophisticated and you can make spa and dinner reservations, book shore excursions, and even buy internet minutes. Years ago, Keith and I would get on the ship and have to run around to make all these arrangements. Now, we can embark and just focus on relaxing. Also, see if your cruise line has an app. For instance, Norwegian Cruise Line offers passengers an app, which has restaurant menus and account review.
Also, check the loyalty programs for your cruise line. There are many little perks to being a frequent cruise traveler – like internet minutes, special cocktail receptions, and laundry services. Know what your loyalty program level gets you. Don’t pay for something you can get for free.
Here are five things to take with you on your next cruise:
- Something to carry your keycard. Remember cruising is a cashless environment. Your keycard gets you on/off the ship and it’s your method of payment. So guys might want something to keep their keycard in. I always bring a wristlet or crossbody bag with me. It’s small and I can carry a few items, including my keycard.
- A small carryon bag. As much as the cruise line wants to get everyone their luggage on embarkation day before dinner, that doesn’t always happen. So we try to cut the cruise line some slack and walk onboard with enough to get us through dinner. By then, our luggage has arrived. It also works for disembarkation.
- A good book. Waiting for trivia or bingo to start? Read a good book. Sitting on deck early in the morning as the ship is going into port? Read a good book. Of course, you’ll want something to read as you’re soaking up the rays. (If you’re into that sort of thing.)
- An insulated travel mug. I carry a Yeti with me everywhere I go. I love a nice big cuppa tea in the morning. And I want it to stay hot. Instead of complaining about coffee cups on the ship, I bring my own. Then in the afternoon, I can fill it with cold water and it says cold. Best thing ever.
- The Mobile Passport app. If you cruise out of Fort Lauderdale, the Mobile Passport app (FREE on iTunes and Android) will speed your trip through U.S. Customs dramatically. Set the app up with your passport info before you leave and, when you’re ready to disembark, just fill out your declaration in the app.
Cruising is a very relaxing way to travel. But it does take a little preparation. So, we don’t have to make any big decisions during our vacation. Well, except whether to have red or white wine with dinner…
Image captured by Keith Lauby somewhere off the coast of St. Thomas, USVI