Anyone who has ever cruised will know the double-edged sword that can be the last night on board. On the one hand, it can be a memorable night spent with new friends, a last celebration, or an incredible sail in to somewhere amazing. The flip side of the coin, however, is that your cruise has come to an end, and as you disembark the next morning, hopefully you are left with the kinds of happy and unique memories which a holiday at sea can bring.

For my part, I am fortunate to have many memories of last nights. There was that final dinner more than 20 years ago with new friends who became lifelong best friends, watching Moorea bathed in moonlight on a sail-in to Papeete in Tahiti, and toasting workers on the Panama Canal from our balcony as we cruised through the locks leading into Gatun Lake.

I asked our Facebook community recently about their last night’s on board, and received some interesting and touching responses. Lisa told us that returning from New Zealand on her first ever cruise, she and her friend stayed up all night to enjoy the moment of arriving back into Sydney. “It was one of the most emotional, happy times of my life that I will never forget,” she said.

One cruise fan also emailed me with an in-depth description of a memorable early morning sail in to New York past the Statue of Liberty after a Canada and New England cruise, and another described a particularly happy dinner party on board a ship where her mother, who was recently widowed, had made some new friends.

Casting a look at the funny side of life, there are also a few things to be aware of when it comes to last nights on board. As one woman told me: “You should include making sure you have a safety pin or two!”

On her last night on board a cruise arriving back into Sydney, the zip broke on her husband’s only pair of jeans. “I asked at the Purser’s Office if they had any safety pins and all they could offer me was a sewing kit with a tiny, tiny gold safety pin – which would not go through layers of denim, so I ended up sewing him into the jeans with the needle and thread!”

When it comes to packing for that last night – remember your bags have to be outside your door at some point during the evening, usually before midnight – do make sure you keep everything important out in a carry on bag; your medications, documents, glasses and so on.

And in the wise words of the legendary cruise director, John Heald, as said on our last night aboard Carnival Splendor in Mexico: “Whatever you do tonight, don’t forget to keep some clothes out for disembarkation as we can’t lend you a bathrobe! Happy cruising!