Cruise passengers like nothing more than sharing knowledge with other travellers. From planning to packing, and enjoying all that a ship has to offer, they are constantly exchanging great cruising tips.

We are in the second week of the series where we compile 100 of the best cruise tips of all time. In this round we have 20 tips on how to pack for your cruise and things to do when you first embark.

Feel free to share your best tips in the comments section and help your fellow cruisers out.

They may well make it the final list!

Packing for your cruise

1. Check the climate of your destination

Pack according to the climate of the places you’ll be sailing to. And if you are heading to an unfamiliar climate, it could be a good idea to look online and see what others suggest. Here’s our must-haves for an Alaska cruise.

2. Pack clothes that can be mixed and matched

It’d be nice to have your whole wardrobe at your disposal but what you need is a few pieces that can mix and match and make different outfits!

3. Do laundry on board

Have a luggage bursting with clothes? This will help you to cut them down, just wash and they are ready for another wear! Most lines offer laundrettes that charge a nominal fee and all you need is to bring some laundry liquid/powder with you. This tip is especially helpful if you are cruising in the summer and foresee yourself wanting to change into fresh clothes a few times a day.

4. Leave the iron at home

Even the travel ones. They are viewed as fire hazards on board. Try to pack clothes that don’t wrinkle easily and if you really need to smooth something out, there is usually an iron and ironing board in the laundry.

5. Magnets for the walls

Most cabin walls are metal. Having magnets around will allow you to hang things on the wall like wet bathing suits, clip daily itineraries, leave messages and other important documents on the wall.

6. Multi-socket adaptors/power boards

With all the electrical devices we have these days, you’ll most likely find them lining up to get recharged at the end of the day. However, lines like Carnival and Royal Caribbean have banned guests from bringing them on board.

While P&O Cruises say that they may be allowed on board if they are deemed to be in safe and proper working condition.

You might try to sneak to one through security but Carnival Cruise Line also suggests on their website that you can request one from your room steward who can supply one for the duration of your cruise.

7. Medications

Remember to pack medications for common ailments as they are much more expensive on board. It will also be safer and more convenient if you have the medications you are used to at hand.

8. A towel clip will come in handy poolside

The deck can get very windy and clipping your towel to the lounger will prevent it from flying off in the breeze and also mark the lounger so you can easily spot it while relaxing in the pool.

9. Bring a water bottle

You can save the environment and money if you bring a water bottle and refill it at the fountains at the gym. It will also be handy to keep a bottle of water with you when going on excursions.


Just embarked

10. Head to the main dining room on embarkation day for lunch

Many people make a beeline to the buffet when they get on board on the first day. Lunch at the main dining room to get away from the chaos at the buffet. This is one of the best-kept secret of cruisers, use this one wisely.

11. Organise your dining

Guests are often asked when they book their cruise if they would like early or late dining. If you didn’t get your desired allocation, approach the Maitre d on the first day of your cruise to request a different time. If you are planning on going to many of the excursions, pick the late seating because many of them won’t get you back in time for the early seating.

If you have any dietary restrictions, now is also a good time to confirm with the Maitre d if they have been made aware of it.

12. Practice good hygiene habits

Hit the hand sanitiser stations installed all over the ships frequently. Or even better keep a good hand washing regime, especially after using the toilet, before eating and when coming back on board after an excursion. Also, be mindful of not using your hands to reach for the food at the buffet.

13. Be considerate to your neighbours

The doors of the cabins shut rather firmly on their own. Your neighbours will thank you for closing them gently. This is for all times of the day. You never know if someone is have a lie in or taking an afternoon nap.

When returning at night, remember to keep your down and also be mindful if you are out on the balcony and also remember to turn off the balcony lights.

14. Don’t skip the muster drill

Attendance is mandatory and there have been reports of ships ordering passengers to disembark for failing to turn up.

15. Unplug all power boards/adaptors when you leave your room

This is a safety requirement on all cruise ships to avoid any fire hazards.

16. Take the stairs

The lifts get crowded easily and taking the stairs is a good way to clock in some exercise. Don’t forget to hold on to the handrails though, the ship can get rocky when passing through rough seas.

17. Buy a spa pass

The spa pass gets you access to spa facilities like steam rooms, saunas, thalassotherapy pool and heated tiled loungers. Passes are usually limited to ensure the facilities aren’t overcrowded, so check if your ship’s spa offers them on the day you embark.

18. Look out for special offers at the specialty restaurants

The specialty restaurants might run special offers of the first day of the cruise where guests are likely to be dining at the buffet or the main dining room.

19. Sneak a peek at the menus

The main dining room menus are planned for the week. Just head to the purser’s desk and ask to see them so you can decide which night you don’t want to miss and plan accordingly.

20. Buy wine by the bottle

It is often cheaper to buy wine by the bottle rather than single glasses and the waiters can also save your bottle of wine for another night if you can’t finish it in one meal.

Read other parts here:

Part 1: Before your cruise