Cruising is an immensely popular getaway with hundreds of ships setting sail each year with millions of passengers enjoying cruise vacations all over the world. A cruise is a convenient way to visit different destinations in different countries, explore new cultures, and break away from your routine, and the right cruise accessories, gizmos, and gadgets can make your oceangoing getaway even easier. Which of these accessories will you add to your packing list?
What Makes a Great Cruise Accessory?
Storage space, drawers, and counters can be very limited in cruise ship staterooms. The very best cruise accessories are small and easy to pack, not taking up much room in luggage or in a cabin.
The more versatile an accessory is the more useful it will be in different ways throughout the vacation or in different cruise destinations. Furthermore, the best accessories are relatively inexpensive so they don’t cut into the cruise vacation budget.
Top 30 Cruise Accessories You Need to Pack
Every traveler will have different needs for the accessories, gizmos, and gadgets that serve them best on a cruise. You may not use the same items on every cruise, or you may need different accessories for different cruise lengths or destinations.
Each of these items can be a helpful, useful tool for your cruise travel, and they can each be used in creative ways to make the most of your cruise vacation. Click on any item for direct shopping information so you can be properly accessorized for your next cruise!
Luggage Tag Holders
If you will be dropping off larger pieces of luggage for cruise ship porters to deliver to your cabin, you will need luggage tags to identify your bags and where they belong.
Good quality luggage tag holders will not only keep that identification easily visible, but will protect tags in case of rain or breezy conditions that could blow luggage tags right off your bags. The best tags will have metal cables or sturdy clips to fasten securely to your luggage.
An organized document holder can keep all your important travel papers in one convenient place. This is particularly critical for group or family cruises, when it may be easiest for one person to hold all the boarding passes, passports, airline details, and other travel documentation.
Choose a document holder that can sort papers into different sections as needed – such as pre- and post-cruise paperwork – so you can easily access what you need exactly when you need it.
Long corridors filled with matching doors can be confusing, especially early in your cruise when you might not remember your cabin number right away. Adding simple decorations to your cabin door can help you find it more easily, or can coordinate a group so everyone can find other friends and family members.
Choose magnetic frames or other simple decorations that will not damage the door’s surface when removed. The tropical porthole from Cruise On is a great option to add even more cruise flair to your travels.
Your cruise ship ID card is more than just your personalized identification on board, it is also your room key, casino club card, and charge card for buying drinks, photos, and souvenirs.
Keeping your card safe is essential, and a sturdy lanyard will hold your card so you don’t accidentally leave it behind on a table, counter, deck chair, or slot machine. Some lanyards also include waterproof pouches or pockets so you can also carry along some cash, another credit card, or other items with ease.
Collapsible Tote Bag
A lightweight, foldable tote bag can be invaluable for carrying gear around different ports of call, when spending time at the beach, or just lounging on the pool deck.
These highly portable bags take up very little space but can expand to great sizes to hold all sorts of necessities, no matter what you need to carry along wherever you are visiting. Depending on the bag, you may also have water resistant materials, secure inner pockets, built-in clips, or other options to organize your gear.
RFID Money Belt
Keeping your passport, credit cards, and cash safe while you travel is a serious concern. 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. Choose a discreet option and be sure the straps are the appropriate size to fit properly around your waist or hips.
Reusable Water Bottle
Staying hydrated on vacation is important, especially when you may be engaging in different activities and tours in warm climates. Instead of paying high prices for bottled water, a reusable water bottle can be easily refilled and will generate less plastic waste. Sturdy bottles can also include handles, clips, or holders so they can be attached to a belt or bag with ease, freeing your hands without losing your bottle.
If you can’t get revved up to enjoy your cruise without your morning coffee, consider a thermal travel mug so you can more easily move around the ship while enjoying your java. That way, in case you need to be waiting for a tour to start, want to move between activities, or just want to enjoy a morning stroll during a day at sea, you don’t risk spilling your coffee on stairways or when the ship may shift position.
Waterproof Phone Pouch
If you plan on enjoying aquatic activities, such as beach days, snorkeling, boat tours, or visiting the ship’s water park, a waterproof phone pouch can keep delicate electronics safe from accidental splashes but still close at hand to record all the fun. Be sure the pouch is the appropriate size for your phone, and consider pouch designs that may include extra pockets or clips for other uses as well.
While your phone might be able to resist a few random splashes, it won’t hold up to being immersed in water and isn’t suitable for underwater photography. Instead, opt for an inexpensive underwater camera for those once-in-a-lifetime snorkeling or scuba-diving shots, or to be sure you get great photos at the beach or pool.
Cruise-Approved Power Strip
Standard power strips and extension cords aren’t usually permitted on cruise ships, but you can bring along power cubes or outlet extenders to add outlet space to your cabin. Choose a model that also includes USB ports to easily recharge all your devices, and you’ll be fully powered and ready to go for each day’s activities.
Most cruise ship staterooms do not have alarm clocks, but you don’t want to miss any early morning activities or excursion departure times. While you can set wake up calls or use the alarm on your phone, a simple, battery-powered alarm clock can be easier and more reliable without draining your phone’s battery. Ideally, choose a clock with a lighted display so you can easily see it in the dark.
While an alarm clock can be useful in your cabin, a simple waterproof wristwatch can be essential whenever you’re out and about during your cruise. Many smart phones will automatically reset their time based on GPS signals, but cruise ships typically stay on “ship’s time” which may be different. A basic wristwatch can keep you on time without any confusion about local times. Choose a waterproof model that won’t mind a dip in the pool or a visit to the beach!
A highlighter can be invaluable for noting what activities, lectures, and shows you don’t want to miss on cruise ship newsletters. While many cruise lines offer interactive apps for their daily activities lists, the paper version can be more convenient to carry around without using up your phone’s power, or if you simply prefer to leave your phone in your cabin so you aren’t digitally distracted from your cruise.
Beach Towel Clips
If you do plan to head to the beach or lounge by the pool, a set or two of towel clips can keep your beach towel in place no matter how breezy the day may be. These clips come in a wide range of festive styles to show off your cruising spirit, but be sure you choose clips that are large enough and strong enough to contend with heavy towels and stiff breezes.
If you prefer not to fuss with towel clips, towel bands from Cruise On can be a great alternative. These strong, sturdy bands are large enough to attach around most deck chairs and will firmly hold towels down even in the breeziest conditions. When you’re ready to leave, the bands can also help roll up your towels and other beach gear to keep it compact.
While you can buy a basic face mask and snorkel on most cruise ships, and shore tours will typically provide gear for guests to use, you may feel more comfortable with your own equipment. With your own gear, you can be sure of a proper fit and adequate sanitizing, and you can even choose gear to accommodate a moustache, prescription glasses, or full-face fit if preferred.
With space at a premium on cruise ships, an over-the-door organizer with multiple pockets can be a great way to maximize space and keep many different items organized. These are great to hold bottles – shampoo, sunscreen, bug repellant, cosmetics, etc. – or can also hold shoes, hairbrushes, phones, socks, and many other items.
Hanging Toiletry Bag
Another way to organize your space in a tiny cruise ship cabin is with a hanging toiletry bag. These small bags can hold medications, cosmetics, hair accessories, toothbrushes, and many other small items in one convenient space, and they slip easily over hooks in the ship’s bathrooms. This will not only keep these items in one space, but will also free up valuable counter space.
Cruise ship bathrooms are notoriously tiny and often have very little ventilation, which can make extended visits to the bathroom uncomfortable and embarrassing. A quick spritz of Poo-Pourri can minimize odors, however, keeping everyone more comfortable and at ease, especially when you’re sharing that one tiny bathroom with an entire family.
The Steam Clip is the ultimate in a versatile tool, and can easily adapt to hang in different types of showers to give you a place to hang wet clothing or wrinkled clothes that need to hang to straighten out. This clever gadget is also a smart phone stand and has an integrated bottle opener, thread cutter, and ruler, giving it may potential uses in one small, easy accessory.
That beautiful formal outfit you so carefully packed in your luggage can easily become wrinkled, and wrinkle-release spray can ease those creases and freshen your attire for a fabulous formal night. Be sure to pack along only a small bottle, however, in order to be in compliance with luggage security guidelines and to avoid bringing along extra material you don’t need.
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 more quickly dry wet swimwear or shoes so they can be worn again more comfortably.
The metal doors and jambs of cruise ships are a great place to use magnetic hooks, giving you more space to hang hats, scarves, purses, lanyards, and other items to keep them organized and accessible. Choose clips that are medium-strength for better holding power without being too hard to handle, or consider magnetic clips that can also help you hold and organize daily cruise newsletters, bonus offers, and other papers.
While cruises are filled with activities, you’ll quickly find that you also have different waiting periods – while you’re waiting to board the ship, waiting for a show to begin, or riding in a bus on your way to a shore tour. A deck of playing cards or other simple travel games can be a good distraction so you don’t get frustrated at these inevitable waits.
Cruise ship cabins, particularly interior staterooms, can be very dark at night, and it’s easy to stumble around, stub toes, and trip over unfamiliar furniture without a light. A small, portable night light is the ideal solution, especially if you position it in the bathroom so you don’t need to turn on any bright overhead lights. The motion-activated, battery-operated light from Cruise On is especially useful and ideal for all cruise ship cabins, without needing any valuable outlet access.
While most cruise ship staterooms are reasonably soundproofed, you could hear a great deal of nearby noises in your cabin if it is located near the gym, nightclubs, lounges, or other busy areas. A simple pair of foam earplugs can quickly cancel out unwanted noises so you can sleep more soundly and wake up refreshed for your next day’s adventures.
It can get surprisingly chilly at night on cruises, even in tropical destinations. Packing along a light, compact jacket will help keep you comfortable without adding the extra bulk of a full jacket or sweatshirt to your luggage. Choose a rain-repellant jacket for even more versatility in different weather conditions.
A small pack of sticky notes can be very useful on a cruise. You can easily leave notes on your door to let others know where you’ve gone, or leave notes on their doors to invite them to activities. You can also leave easy notes to your stateroom steward if necessary, or use the notes as quick door decorations to find your way to your cabin.
While you don’t need cash for purchases on a cruise ship, small bills can be very useful for giving tips for room service delivery or leaving an extra gratuity for cruise ship personnel. Cash is also often necessary for small purchases on shore, such as renting a locker or beach gear during a shore tour, or purchasing small souvenirs when you’re prefer to keep your credit card out of sight and secure.
Also Read: Set Sail With Must-Pack Cruise On Gear
Which of these cruise accessories do you find most useful? Are there other gizmos and gadgets you won’t cruise without? Visit Cruise Hive on Facebook to share your essential cruise gear tips!