If you’re scratching your head wondering what to buy that frequent cruiser for Christmas, consider getting them something they can use on their next cruise vacation. There are a number of must-have travel items that can enhance the cruise experience, and many of them can be reused for day-to-day use as well.
You can also jazz up your gifts with cruise-themed stickers or logos from their favorite cruise line. Several websites, like ProSportstickers.com or Zazzle.com allow you to order stickers with photos or logos from Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, and many others.
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Check out these 10 useful Christmas gifts for cruise travelers:
When passengers arrive at the cruise port, the cruise staff issues them a cabin card (these are usually called something different depending on what cruise line they’re sailing on), that unlocks the cabin door and gets them on and off the ship, but it also functions like a bar tab for purchases onboard.
Lanyards with cardholders make toting the card around a breeze and help so they don’t misplace these essential items.
If the frequent cruiser on your Christmas list usually sails in an inside cabin or porthole stateroom (versus a stateroom with a balcony), it can get stuffy inside. A mini fan is great for adding some air circulation as well as some white noise when sleeping.
Outlets are usually fairly limited and aren’t always located near the bed, so wrapping up a small extension cord with the mini fan would be also helpful to them so they can prop the fan up on the nightstand.
Water Filtration Bottles
Cruise ships continue to push add-on beverage packages with bottled water bundled in, but there’s no need for passengers to spring for the package.
There’s water in the cabin sink, in the buffets, and in the bar areas – although it probably won’t taste as crisp as bottled water. Gift your cruiser a water bottle that filters water automatically, like the easy-to-use GRAYL purifying bottle, or the LifeStraw bottle, and they’ll save some cash and have clean, delicious water.
Insulated Coffee Mugs
If the cruise passenger on your holiday shopping list enjoys sipping an early morning coffee and watching the sunrise, the mugs onboard just won’t cut it. A quick stroll on the top deck with the breeze chills that steaming coffee, so an insulated mug can solve this.
Related: What to Expect on a Christmas Cruise
Purchase one that can double as a cold beverage holder – they are perfect for exploring those sizzling Caribbean ports of call.
Travel-Sized Board Games
If your family member or friend enjoys river or expedition cruises, the onboard entertainment on these ships can often be limited. Bringing along some travel-sized board games, checkers and chess, trivia, or playing cards, can be a fun way to meet other cruisers and fill in some of the downtime in between ports. Just remember to keep these gifts small, so they aren’t a space hog in the luggage.
With cruise ships getting bigger and bigger, there’s a lot more walking involved getting from one side to the other. A fitness tracker is a fun gift that allows your cruise traveler to monitor how many steps they take, calories they burn, and miles they walk.
Be aware that most of the new models must be used with a smart phone, and cell services on cruise ships are limited and very expensive. However, there are a roster of affordable fitness trackers (like the OneTeak pedometer) that do not require any type of connections.
Many ports of call in the Caribbean include stops near pristine beaches, but the shoreline can be rocky (or muddy) so waterproof shoes are very helpful.
They can also be used on adventurous shore excursions like exploring caverns in Mexico, kayaking in the Bahamas, or riding dune buggies in Jamaica. Be sure to buy a quick-drying pair with solid grip on the soles (for that slippery pool deck).
Dry-Erase Message Board
Ideal for cruisers who frequently travel in groups, a dry-erase board can help communicate plans among passengers. Cell service and WiFi onboard cruises can be spotty can be slow, so keeping in touch with other travelers takes some creativity.
Passengers can mount the boards on the outside of their doors, and friends and family can scribble notes as they pass by. Just be sure to purchase a board with magnets or other adhesives that do not permanently stick to the door.
If the person you are Christmas shopping for is a bit of a rebel, consider getting them some cruise flasks. Most cruise lines have strict alcohol policies prohibiting guests from bringing their own onboard, thus subjecting them to onboard prices (if they plan on enjoying adult beverages).
That doesn’t stop some passengers from filling small, clear plastic flasks and sneaking them onboard in their luggage.
Shore excursions on Caribbean Cruises (and elsewhere) are all about the water and the usefulness of a sturdy dry bag cannot be understated. They help keep cell phones (for all those great photos), watches, and other electronics safe and dry.
Dry bags come in different varieties such as backpacks, carry cases, and even wearable waist pouches. Make sure the bag rolls three times and clips closed – otherwise it is likely just water resistant.
If you have a friend or family member that will be onboard a cruise during Christmas, many cruise lines like Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean (plus others) allow you to order something special that can be sent to their cabin like flowers and champagne, or you can add onboard credits for shore excursions and specialty restaurants, gift cards for the spa, and more. So, find out when they are setting sail and give the cruise line a call.
Also Read: Is a Christmas Cruise Really Worth It?
Happy holidays everyone!