Essential Packing

Posted by Caribbean World Magazine on 3 July 2021 | 0 Comments

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3 July 2021

One of the best things about cruising? You only have to unpack once. Here’s the lowdown on your cruise essentials.

When you are visiting multiple destinations, but your accommodation doubles as your mode of transport, the guidance from cruise gurus on luggage is not to overpack. Even on the biggest, swankiest cruise ship, space is at a premium - and there is no point paying for a top-not cabin, if the entire floor is covered in stuff.

Be prudent, regardless of the length of your trip, and make the most of your most versatile wardrobe items that provide different looks when worn in different ways. Be brutally honest when you list what you’ll really need while on vacation. The reality is often very little day-to-day, perhaps swimming gear, a pair of shorts and a tee shirt, with the exception of the cocktail dresses and evening-wear that’s de rigour for cruise ship dinners and entertainment.

Your packing list should take into account the on-ship activities you plan, such as dancing shoes, gym gear or yoga pants. If you have signed up for excursions and onshore day trips, do your homework to establish what you will need for that, such as flat rubber soled shoes for the cobbled streets of XXXXXXX, a pair of binoculars to spot the colourful avifauna in XXXX and fast-drying loose cotton clothing for the water park at XXXXX. Regardless of what you plan to do, the following are often essential:

1. Passport or birth certificate. Because you’ll probably be visiting numerous ports in multiple foreign countries, you’ll need to carry identification with you at all times. Make copies of everything that proves who you are, from passport and birth certificate to marriage document and keep these to hand.

2. Carry-on. When you board the ship, you’ll want to start having fun right away. So while your luggage is being delivered to your room, keep the essentials (like a swimsuit, sunscreen, sunglasses and reading material) close at hand in a lightweight carry-on.

3. A good read. Sure you will need a book or two, but leave the whole library at home - there are often informal book swaps on cruise ships and the shop will have novels in stock. Kindles are a lightweight, space-saving cruise-friendly option for ardent readers too.

4. Portablecharger. Don’t be caught out with cameras, smartphones and tablets that have run out of charge. Make sure you bring device chargers and a portable charger that lets you charge on the go. An extension lead is handy too for cabins where the sockets are thin on the ground, or aren’t ideally located.

5. Formal attire.Casual come-as-you-are dress during the day is followed by a formal dress code in the evenings. Many cruise goers base their entire packing plan around the space they need for a dozen cocktail dresses, 10 pairs of shoes and an abundance of jewellery. If you plan to only wear them once, pack some vacuum-pack bags as this greatly reduces the size of the item for easy cabin storage and transport home.

6. Quick-drying cover-up or pair of shorts. Because some shore excursions involve getting a little wet and wild, you’ll want a cover-up (or change of clothes), so you can ride back to the ship dry and comfortable.

7. Insurance documents

Make copies of all important travel insurance policy documents so that, should something happen, the process will be quick and easy. If you have a smart photo, simply snap a photo to keep copies handy.

8. Food allergy warnings

Make up cards in the local language of the places you are visiting on your cruise, so that you can accurately notify them of food allergies. This can be a real lifesaver (literally!) for anyone keen to trythe local cuisine. Simply look up the language, then use Google Translate to provide a simply one-line warning of food allergies or sensitivities. Write them onto credit card-sized pieces of white card to show to waiters, baristas, hotel staff, or even a doctor. 

9. Aloevera.  

The cruise ship shop will stock high-priced alternatives but nothing soothes sunburnt skin like aloe vera - buy it in balm, spray or wipes. You can also buy a cooling shower gel.


With minimal light pollution and wide open skies, there are few better opportunities to star gaze. Lay on your back on deck for a closer look at the skies or study the constellations from yourstateroom window or balcony.

11. Pashmina.  

Pack a pashmina for the breezy evenings on deck when the air canhave a definite chill, try to find one with reversible colours for maximum versatility.

12. No iron?

You won’t find an iron in your cabin (fire safety first!) so be sure to pack wrinkle spray to perk your clothes up as you unpack your suitcase - spray and hang and you’re set to go!