14 Cruise Accessories for Ridiculously Hardcore Cruisers

Power Cruiser Necessities

There are varying levels of cruise fans out there on this big, beautiful, water-covered planet (71% covered in fact – wikipedia’d the ship out of that).  From first time cruisers to this woman who has over 200 sailings under her belt after retiring on a cruise ship – we love you all. But, the cruise accessories below will likely appeal more so to the latter type of ship mate.

When approaching the terminal before shipping off, you can typically tell who knows their ship. The first timers leave all of their cruise necessities in their checked bags. They’ll fumble with passports, boarding passes, and luggage tags. They stop and take pictures with every prop along the way.  We were all there at one point – don’t worry, it’s cute.

The experienced cruiser shows up with their luggage tags and boarding docs affixed to their bag and person (see cruise necessities below). They have a carry-on with the required gear to b-line it to the lido deck. They stiff-arm the guy soliciting photo ops, and they’re poolside before some of us are even through security.

A while ago, we posted 26 Cruise Packing Tips and Hacks that has since gone viral. We’ve seen insane amounts of traffic and thousands of pinterest pins. That article prompted a bunch of our experienced ship mates to share products and cruise necessities that they won’t leave shore without.  That’s where most of these ideas originated.

Below are some of the tell-tale accessories that the cruiser before you is legit. Of course, any and all ship mates can get value from these cruise products, but we expect it’s the veterans that will be most excited when seeing these below… unless they already own them all.

cruise power strip non surge

#1 – Power Strip (Non-Surge Protection)

We humans love our gadgets… Kindles, iPhones, laptops, hairdryers, shavers, curling irons, etc. Hardcore cruisers know that outlets are tough to come by in your temporary ocean abode. With this little, lightweight power strip & device charger, you’ll have everything humming at once. NOTE: Some cruise lines strictly prohibit power strips with “surge protection,” so make sure to get one without surge protection built into the device.



over the door hanging organizer

#2 – Cabin Organizer & Space Saver

Another great hack used by the cruise gurus… the over-the-door hanging cruise cabin organizer serves as the perfect tool to keep your sea-home nice and tidy. It’s ideal for shoes, bathroom products, your new travel mug (see above), and all that other stuff that typically finds its way to the cabin floor.



cruise accessories

#3 – Windproof Towel Holders

It gets really windy up on the top decks of a cruise ship. The serious cruisers know this and use this little hack as a way to outsmart mother nature. Clip your towel on your deck chair and you’ll be sure it’ll be there when you get back from the Lido Bar. It doubles as a great way to stake your claim and secure your precious poolside real estate. Otherwise, the hardworking cruise staff could mistake your seat and towel as abandoned and send it off to the laundry. That $25 deposit could have easily been saved with this handy cruise accessory.



waterproof smartphone case

#4 – Waterproof Smartphone Cover

No only is this great to have poolside, but also comes in particularly useful when leaving the ship. Stop wrapping your device up in a t-shirt when at the beach or snorkel adventure. Stick it in this waterproof cover and avoid a smartphone tragedy. With this cruise necessity, you can also take sweet underwater pics. Get side-by-side with a big fat sea-turtle and enjoy an underwater selfie.



cruise luggage tag holders

#5 – Luggage Tags

A couple weeks before you set sail, the cruise line will send your luggage tags or give you access to print them online. If you’re a cruise pro, you’ll then slide those right into your luggage tag holders.  If you’re like me, however, you’ll accidentally rip them and end up duck taping the remaining pieces to the side of your bag. Don’t be like me.



cruise cabin wall magnets

#6 – Magnet Hooks

Did you know that the walls separating you from your ship mate next door are made of metal? Probably not – but, hardcore cruisers do. And, they take advantage of it using these magnet hooks. Slap a few of these puppies on your wall and you just created a bathing suit hanger, lanyard holder (see below), or hat rack. Combine these hooks with the hanging organizer above and you’ve just created a mind blowing, Martha Stewart-like contraption. I think she actually invented that combo while behind bars.



Cruise Lanyard Key Card Holder

#7 – Cruise Lanyard & Key Card Holder

If you’ve sailed before, you’ve seen this cruise necessity… the Cruise ID Holder and lanyard. At first, you may have thought, “holy ship that’s nerdy.” But, after the third time you’ve lost your key card, you begin to reconsider. No more digging through pockets – you’ll never forget where your ID is while hanging around your neck. As soon as you get back to your cabin, you can take it off and hang your cruise lanyard on your metal hook (see above). And as an added bonus for our cruise pros, you can show off your platinum status to everyone in the room. Make way… VIP coming through!



portable beach lock box

#8 – Portable Lock Box

The portable lock box serves multiple purposes on your cruise.  You can be a pool-chair-hog while securing your iPhone, cruise card, casino winnings and more. The cruise staff won’t be able to move it because it’ll be safely locked to your chair! You can also take it down to the beach while at port and swim worry free. Your stuff will be safely secured by your lounge chair. A burglar would have to drag the whole chair off the beach to get your stuff!



easybreath snorkel and mask

#9 – Easybreath Snorkel & Mask

If you’re like me, a normal snorkel has always been more of a big straw than an underwater breathing device. I may as well be using one of those old McDonalds straws when I get out there in the beautiful Caribbean waters. It took 2016 years, but there’s finally an amazing solution. The Easybreath Snorkel and Mask allows you to breath normally while out there racing sea-turtles or finding Nemo. On your next cruise, you can now enjoy the refreshing saltwater without ingesting half of it! For our snorkeling fans out there, this is an absolute cruise necessity!



cruise binoculars

#10 – Cruise Binoculars

We got this great idea from our amazing users in the comments section below. Binoculars come in particularly handy when cruising along shore (like an Alaska Cruise), when spotting ocean creatures, or checking out the blonde on the next cruise ship over. You may also need the extra long-viewing-power on one of the mega ships, like the Oasis or the Allure of the Seas. Prop yourself up on the top deck and use binoculars to either spot, or continue hiding from friends and family as they roam the decks below. This particular set of Bushnell Binoculars are very affordable and have amazing reviews on Amazon.



solar iphone charger

#11 – Solar Device Charger

Rather than sitting in your cabin waiting for your phone to charge on your Power Strip, you can head to the top deck and let mother nature do the juicing. Both you and your device can sit there taking in the sun, while getting energy in addition to a beautiful bronzed hue. This works well for smartphones, portable speakers, eReaders, cameras, gaming devices, and other accessories.



Travel Packing Cubes

#12 – Packing Cubes

This is suitcase porn for the neat freaks and super-organized cruisers out there. When preparing for a cruise, this packing cheat helps assure you bring the perfect amount of clothes and to keep them neat and tidy all week. Your undies have their own home. Your pants. Dresses. Socks. All counted and hanging out in their designated zones, waiting for their cruise debut. And your packing cube set wouldn’t be complete without the included laundry bag. You can work up a good stink hiking exotic ports or climbing cruise steps all day. Trap those soiled items all by their lonesome and keep tonights outfit so fresh and clean.



beachcomber lounge chair

#13 – Portable Beach Lounger

If a beach chair and a towel mated, this portable beach lounger would be the glorious offspring. It has the comfort of a lawn chair, with the added convenience of a beach towel. It folds up nicely for easy carrying and even has an extra pocket for magazines or leftover pizza.



cruise coffee mug #14 – Coffee Mug

We mentioned this cruise necessity in our 26 Cruise Packing Hacks & Tips and readers LOVED this idea. Cruise pros know how tough it is to get your caffeine fix while at sea. The cruise lines really make you work for it with those 6oz thimbles they call coffee mugs. Good luck trying to bring one of those things back to your room. By the time you’re up/down the stairs you have 3rd degree burns and 2oz of joe left. With this travel mug, you can fill up once and go about your day.



Travel Fan

BONUS#1 – Cruise Cabin Bedside Fan

This cruise necessity is a “must have” for your cabin. Both for temperature control and to add some peaceful white noise! Unfortunately, you won’t be able to regulate the air conditioning in your stateroom. And while you can always layer up, you can only shed layers down to that newly sun-kissed skin of yours. For those that prefer a cooler temp, this small travel fan works wonders. It’s also ideal for maintaining a calming white-noise to drown out the sounds of the honeymooning couple next door.



Hanging Toiletry Bag Cruise Cabin

BONUS#2 – Hanging Toiletry Bag

Your cruise cabin bathroom is slightly larger than an airplane lavatory but definitely smaller than a hotel bathroom. Your shelf space will support a deodorant stick and maybe a Visine bottle. But that’s it. Rather than piling up your toothbrush on top of your makeup on top of your hairbrushes, try this. We call it the “cruise cabin bathroom toiletry buddy.” It has more pockets than you do bathroom products. No more pulling hair out of your dentures. Everything will have its own, private and organized home!



Collapsible Beach Tote Bag

BONUS#3 – Collapsible Port Tote Bag

This cruise necessity will make your port stops so much easier. Grab some towels from your room and some snacks from the Windjammer before heading down to your port. Or, unfold your collapsible bag and stock it with new goodies that you acquire while port shopping! The bag is lightweight and sand / water-resistant. Perfect for beach or water excursions! And, it folds up to the size of playing cards for storage when not in use.



Our Cruise Accessories post has gone viral on Pinterest! If you’d like to save this to Cruise Board, you can easily do that using the button below.


If you know any cruise pros, make sure to send them this post. If YOU are a cruise pro, please let us know which items we’ve missed in the comments below! Click “Share” below if you found any of the Cruise Accessories above helpful.

166 Replies to “14 Cruise Accessories for Ridiculously Hardcore Cruisers”

  1. Who needs all that shit, its just another way for Amazon to make money. I have cruised several times and never needed luggage tag holders, just attach your tag to your bag and seal it with clear packing tape, it will work better then a tag holder since their is no seams for water to get through and a wind screen for my book, come on now just learn how to fold the pages. Towel clamps to keep the staff from taking my towel away? just go to the dollar store and buy chip clips for $1.00, they come in all different shapes and stiles and works just as good and cost a hell of a lot less. And what about that door holder for all your personal needs !! what a joke that is, THEY DO HAVE COUNTER TOPS IN THE BATHROOMS. So why do you need to hang your shoes in them etc…. My handicap cabin (oceanview) has so much counter space I could cut up a whole chicken and still have room left over. I have seen the interior cabins and for 2 ppl, if you don’t bring your entire bathroom from home their is plenty of room, so the hell with Amazon. Extra hangers are a MUST if your planning to dress up every night. I found that those ppl who wear those sail away card holders are very snooty like their shit don’t stink, so I don’t recommend them or the cabin door white board, this will draw attention to ppl who are looking to steal from you since you are basically telling them, (I’M NOT HOME HELP YOURSELF) whatever happened to just leaving a note INSIDE your cabin. As for everything else it is just common sense so don’t wait until the last month to start packing because you will forget something as basic as your toothbrush or your contact solution. Happy cruising everyone.

    • Businesses are out to make money and that what our economy is supposed to be about. YOU don’t have to buy this stuff but others will. You are probably the guy who complains when the buffet line has no soup spoons because you can’t enjoy soup with a teaspoon.

    • Well…I have been way more than “a few times” and discovered I already have all but the wind protector (but I use a Kindle instead) and a portable lounger. Lighten up dude. You will get some more cruises under your belt and maybe chill a little with experience!

    • Nobody said you had to buy any of this stuff from Amazon. You can get a lot of this stuff anywhere. But a lot of it is a good idea. I’m getting the Belkin Surge protector from Walmart.com because the store doesn’t actually have it. I’ve looked at 3. I’m taking my tablet to listen to music so there’s another good idea. And we can’t leave a note inside out cabin because the other people on the ship with us are not staying in the same room. Most people on cruise ships don’t bother other people’s cabins & a steward is usually around most of the time so this this is a pretty decent list.

      Sorry you are so miserable you have to bash someone else’s list that they find useful. Happy cruising & hope you don’t need any extra plug ins on your next cruise.

      • Alicia, I read on Carnival website that you cannot bring anything with a surge protector. Only extension cord without surge protector.

        • I have a personal Power Wheelchair, a BiPap breathing machine, and a Nebulizer. I have always been allowed power strips with surge suppressors and extention cord for my appliances. So they do make exceptions, at least for Medical devices. Over the years, we have cruised Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Holland America and next is Princess B2B in December fot 4th time.

          Also, I would like to add that I always have a yellow highlighter to use to make sure that we don’t miss an activity that starts at a certain time.

    • Wow! Tell us how you really feel Rick! No need to be so rude, it’s just suggestions, nobody said you must have these items before you are allowed to board!

    • Wow! You are a complete jerk. If these ideas are not for you then just move on. However, I appreciate the writer of this article taking the time to offer these tips, because I am a first time cruiser. In addition, I found some very useful tips in this article, I love to shop on Amazon, and I’m not a total cheap skate as you clearly are. Oh, and you can put the dry erase board on the inside of the cabin door. Duh!

    • I enjoy your internet demeanor and simple English, however my only complaint is the description on #11. It seems to refer to the Sun as a planet, which is incorrect.

    • Hope you have never forgotten your toothbrush. You need it to clean out that nasty mouth. Relax, some people may need extra space. or enjoy having some nice things around them. who are you to judge? hope your not on my next cruise.

    • NEVER FOLD THE PAGES! you monster, poor books. I do agree with half the stuff you don’t need however when you are in an interior room and 3 people the over the door organizer is helpful for things like sunscreen, and odds and ends. Also if you are in an interior room a power strip is a must have.

    • Lanyards are a necessity for kids. As far as bathroom space your accessible cabin bathroom.has much more space than other cabins especially the inside categories

  2. I bought the Cruise Tags based on the ship of RC tags. I did take another idea of using your business card in your regular luggage tags but changed it a bit. I bought the Avery Business Cards that you can print on your own computer. I created a business card that showed my first and last name i a very large font. Then, I added a QR Code with the rest of my information so it was not readily available for someone to copy down.

  3. I think there is a happy medium here. Ownership of all these gadgets does not make one a hard core cruiser… it points more to being an Amazon shopping addict (kidding). Using all this stuff means having to pack it. That is a downside so think about whether or not you want to schlep it all with you. One point regarding the white board on your cabin door… it let’s everyone walking by know that you are not in your cabin. Kind of like posting all your vacation pics on FB while you are away; it announces that you are not at home. Think about that. My husband and I use post it notes inside the cabin to keep current on where we are heading.

    • Yes, a good color variety of Post It notes is a Must!

      Not a bad idea to take antibacterial wipes for things that others touch…..like your door handle, TV remote, and bathroom everything.

      Maids and stewards go from one room to the next. I would bet my LIFE that they do not use Purell between opening and closing all the doors…

      If anyone knows differently, please tell me so I don’t have to do this!

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  5. I own and keep packed most of the list above, in addition to binoculars. You’d be surprised how handy they are. But, to each their own I guess. I like to make my trip easy and stress free.

  6. Well if I have an e-reader, I don’t really need a transparent book cover, then, now do I?

    But I don’t really understand how Rick Miskovits feels — lol.

  7. Not only were these GREAT tips ( my Amazon cart is always up and ready!) but the comments were quite entertaining!! I’m getting ready to take a cruise (first) in two weeks so thanks for the great tips ShipMateMike! Ryan, go have a glass of wine, or TWO! 😉

  8. I brought the magnetic hooks on my last cruise, but found that there was nothing that they would stick to. Unless you are on a very old ship, nothing is metal.

      • I have another must have/bring -at least for me. Since drawer space or closet shelf space (depending on your ship, of course) is often at a premium, I bring one of those collapsible fabric closet shelf things (usually sold with sweaters in mind) that affix to the rod. You can put an amazing amount of folded clothes in them and stay organized. And, they pack flat.
        Also, I always take one of the zipper top plaid plastic bags from the dollar store to act as my onboard hamper for my dirty clothes. They pack flat and are practically weightless!

        • One thing we thought of regarding drawer space and clothing: a collapsible laundry basket with a liner would’ve come in handy. I’m picturing something that we could bring aboard empty and collapsed, but zip out and take off as an extra carryon on our way out. And not to be indelicate, but we wished we had BROUGHT NEW underthings that we could switch out and discard as days went by and we had to choose between STORING or PAYING TO LAUNDER certain articles of clothing that are cheaper to replace than launder at cruise prices.

          • That zipper top idea would work, but I’m picturing something with a small footprint that would stand up.

          • We store our empty suitcases under the bed and use them for dirty laundry. You can wash out undergarments, roll them in a towel to soak up excess water, then hang in the bathroom or over a chair to air dry. The blow dryer works quickly to dry underwear too if needed!

  9. Great tips! Thanks!

    Have you tried downloading audiobooks to your phone/iPod? So nice to listen to a book in the sun… Easier on the eyes and neck. Download your books at home before you leave for the cruise if you don’t plan to purchase Internet .

    Insulated cups for cold beverages… The Carnival ones are about $10 on the ship.

  10. Great list and thanks for the Amazon links (nice touch)! Other suggestions and a necessity for me is a small personal fan (like a desk fan). Many have a USB connector which would work nicely with the multi-outlet charger. Most everyone I travel with is always freezing, so the air is never cold enough for me, so I have a fan that can blow in my direction while I sleep. I also bring the XX Large ZipLoc bag for the dirty clothes. It’s especially nice because you can squeeze the air out and seal it like a Space Bag and keep the dirty separate from the clean during your travel home. If you plan to buy gifts or souvenirs, you may want to pack a foldable travel duffle as extra items might not fit in your suitcase. I too pack extra hangers as there are never enough! I bring gallon sized Ziploc baggies which can come in handy for a number of things. If I have any snacks in the room, I store them in the baggies as well so the food is not left sitting out. I know this last item sounds ridiculous, but to each his own…..right? LOL….On Royal Caribbean, if you get a drink or soda package they give you a nice cup, but I don’t like sipping out of the hole in it (I know I may be a little weird), so my last trip I packed some long straws that made my drinking so much nicer. Actually, I was repeatedly asked where I got the long straws 🙂

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  12. We just finished our first cruise. There were three of us per cabin and the extra hooks and wall hangers would’ve come in handy. We were smart and thought about the binocs and luggage tags ahead of time. I think the whiteboard is a great idea: we were a large group with different cabins and were always dropping by each others’ cabins trying to find each other. I’m thinking of the portable lockbox and the beach lounger as gifts for Father’s Day…they would be handy for summer outings even if we don’t go on a cruise. Thanks for the great ideas! BTW we also bought the lanyard first thing. It’s the least snooty thing ever…but the bracelets were available and handier so we abandoned the lanyard fairly quickly.

  13. Guess I am missing the boat on this one “BONUS 2 – Portable Lock Box” can’t this just be cut off the chair?

    • Kim – the handle / locking mechanism is metal. It would take bolt-cutters to get it off. Hopefully someone will call the authorities as soon as they see someone with bolt cutters walking down the beach 🙂

  14. Encouraging people to use things to save lounge chairs will most likely anger die-hard cruisers. Cruise lines may not always be good about enforcing the policy, but chair saving is actually not allowed on most cruise lines, not to mention it’s just plain rude.

    • I really saw that ShipMateMike was providing an idea to prevent your towels from blowing off when you hop off of your lounger to take a quick dip in the pool to cool off or when you walk across the deck to grab a soda or other beverage. Those decks are windy and if your towel is not secure, it will likely blow right into the pool or on top of the guy sleeping 4 chairs down.

      A suggestion that I’d like to make is to bring 4 large safety pins and some ribbon. Before the trip, cut the Ribbon so each is about 2 ft long. When you pick up a towel for your lounger, fold each ribbon in half and at the half way point, safety pin one of these to each of the 4 corners of the towel. This allows you to tie your towel to a lounge chair so it does not blow off. (again, not to “safe seats”, but to keep your towel secure).

      Prevents your towel from continually blowing over your legs from the bottom end or slipping down behind you when you are propped up scanning the scenery or reading via your preferred method.

      When you are done with the towel, simply unpin your ribbons, pin them together and toss the towel in the used towel bins on deck.

    • But, it makes sense that you’d want to save your chair while swimming… Isn’t that allowed? I wouldn’t try to save one to go have lunch and come back but just while I’m swimming… yes.

  15. Here’s a few security tips:
    Though I don’t have much to add about gadgets, I do have some advice. On land, having witnessed the theft of an old man’s backpack (with his passport) by brazen thieves on a moped, resulting injuries as he was dragged down the street with many people around. And my wife’s wallet stolen from her bag when she took her camera out, I recommend the following:
    1) A money belt. They can be a pain in the a**, but it’s hard to steal money and passport from them.
    2) Record all credit card/debit phone numbers to a report theft as soon as possible if you are a victim. Keep these in your room.
    3) A copy of your passport and all tickets is a must, not a nice to have!
    4) Women should avoid purses but if you must have one, keep them closed as much as possible if you have valuables in them. Avoid opening them in public places. Get your cameral out of your purse before you arrive at you destination on land. Consider a fanny pack.
    5) Inform your credit card companies of your travels so they can monitor and allow you to use them without them getting suspicious of far from home spending habits.
    6) A way to translate, either as a smartphone feature or a simple translation book can be handy in countries that do not speak English.
    7) Put your name, address phone number on your camera and mobile. phone. It is easy to leave without them onboard ship going to various places. 8) Lock your mobile/smart phone with a password or number.
    9) Utilize your cabin’s safe for valuables you leave in your cabin.

    In Europe, gangs of “professional” pickpockets roam the touristy areas looking for prey, especially in summer and in crowded places. They can be kids as well.

      • just found this site.. and we do cruise… more at our empty nest age… my DH (dear husband) takes so many shoes… to dress in.. and mine are in a heap…we live in a small town.. no dressing up required….but the shoe bag…or whatever.. I have one inside every closet… will go out ASAP.. and pack… never thought of taking…thank you…

    • I was just informed and bought these… The as seen on TV stores carried GoGo belts for $10. They are small stretchy belts fits under clothes and fits a lot of things in them. phones passports ids cameras etc.. I love them. They are not bulky like the fanny packs.

    • My mother had her camera stolen from her zipped purse while in line for the Vatican. It had pictures from my sister’s wedding in Florence on it. That’s how skilled the pick pocket thieves can be!

      • This happened to someone I knew while riding the bus in Rome. The pickpockets are quick and they unzipped her purse and took her wallet. She did have the wallet in an outside pocket of her purse. Not a good idea. My strategy to avoid theft of the good things: Put them all in the bottom of your bag (crossbody makes it harder to steal with leather straps), then put all the stuff like portable umbrellas, etc on top, zip it shit and hold your purse by placing your hand on the zipper. It may not completely prevent someone grabbing my bag, but it is not going to be an easy steal. And yes, pickpockets are very skilled.

  16. An even better way to keep up with larger groups is walkie talkies so you wont need to incur exta cost on cell phones when in roaming areas and get the ones that go far enough to use if some stay on the ship and some get off at ports.

  17. We carry a Dollartree pop out box to keep cameras, lanyards, earrings etc corralled in – it had been our greatest (cheapest) purchase. You might also want a small flashlight, post-its for steward messages on mirror, Dollarstore ponchos (2 for a buck), and sewing kit – in case anyone still knows how.

  18. We have cruised a fair bit on different cruise lines and find the available hanging space is usually much more spacious than the drawer space.

    We save the light weight hangars from the cleaners and hang as much as possible. Putting the cleaner bags over several hangars and fan folding into the suitcase helps keep wrinkles out. As soon as we arrive we just hang up all the hangars and we found the clothes don’t crease as badly if hung. Also make for a really quick unpacking and escape to the pool deck.

    When we come home and the clothes are dirty we discard the hangars, roll the dirty clothing. This gives us extra space and frees up some extra weight in our luggage for the souvenir shopping we have done.

    We also save the plastic zippered bags/cases that items like pillowcases and sheets are sold in and recycle them as packing ‘cubes’. It makes it easy to store socks (bras) and underwear in one, swim wear and beach stuff in another so all you do is grab and go. Quick for unpacking, as well just stuff them in the drawers or on the shelves and go. Also helpful when you need to put a lot of items in those small bedside drawers.

    I always take a couple of zip lock bags for the camera or iPad in case we get caught in a brief sun shower/downpour at the beach or in town, helps to keep the sand out as well. Also helps contain all the small items that float around the bottom of the beach bag.

    Oh yes, I almost forgot, we sometimes go for longer cruises or back-to-back trips and in order to pack less, I pack some laundry soap ‘pods’ and some dryer sheets as well because it is sometimes hard to find non-scented varieties in the laundry room dispensers on board (I am allergic to some perfumes). These items fit nicely into a small plastic storage container with a lid so they don’t get crushed and leak. You meet some great people in the laundry rooms onboard.

    Happy traveling!

  19. Yay love all the info on here. Guess I will be looking out for these things. I thought I was doing good with the pop up hamper! Lol

  20. Take a photo of the ship’s daily news / activities paper on your cell phone then if you forget to take it with you whilst you’re out and about you have it on your phone to refer to!

    • Love this tip. I was spending time putting my interests in my calendar so my mates could take the paper. That’s fine until you change your mind/miss it while napping/just too relaxed (lazy) to go to the other end of the ship for the planned activity. This idea is SO much better. Thank you!

  21. On the Disney cruise we went on, we used old Disney gift cards with magnets glued to them (kept on the wall by the door) as the card for the lights. That way, we wouldn’t forget our room key as we left. We’d just take the “light card” out and leave it on the wall as we left. We also took.clothes pins to hang bathing suits to dry on the little clothes line in the shower.

  22. Wow, I thought we were pretty experienced and we’ll organized but there are some great tips here. Thanks, we will definitely be trying some.

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  24. Great tips and now a question. My granddaughter wants to decorate the door, where do I get the things people decorate their door with?

    • You can only decorate your room using those Command Strips. They are able to be pulled off the walls/doors following the instructions and shouldn’t damage anything if used correctly. They sell them at walmart in the houseware dept I believe (near the paint dept).

  25. Many people talk about some of these things in the facebook group I am in. Your additional plug cannot have a surge protector (fire hazard). Many said you can get them at walmart w/out the surge protector. They dont allow the cabin door hanger thing anymore as it damages the door. Many say just put a towel on the door before you hang it or wrap the hanging things with something that’s soft and will prevent damage. The luggage tag thing is cool and many past cruisers have recommended them, however I wonder how the cruise line feels about them. The reason they are put on your handle is that the would be easy to see. The tags hang down, so they will have to pick up the tag to see whats on it. The towel clips are not to hold your seat or others seats. Is good to keep it from blowing away if you leave for the bathroom or to go get a drink, but to hold your spot or others no. Many passengers are complaining that too many people hog chairs all day and others dont have a place to be.That snorkeling thing is cool and many that have it love it, however its expensive. Happy Cruising everyone!

  26. Wow lots of ideas! I have been on at least 20 cruises never needed clips and have washed some clothing an put on balcony to dry. I do take one dollar ills to tip. I take a first aid kit with lots of medicine. Disinfect wipes give me piece of mind cus I wipe everything done in room incuding pillows. I take some non alcohol drink bottles an fill with alcohol. I use the miniature bottles to spike my free drinks or soda pop drinks. Laundry detergent is a must if cruise is longer than seven days. Power strip is very helpful if u need hair dryer an irons. Best thing for ladies is pillow proof spray helps hair look good the second day or dry shampoo is a good idea. I also like slippers or flip flops to walk around room the cruise line will provide a robe if requested. I take a silk robe lite an space saver. To re address meds take enough for every one in party for if u need to purchase meds can be three to four times hire including bug spray or sunscreen.

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  28. I really want the book cover! We actually use TWO shoe organizers, one for each side of the bathroom door. Sometimes the hooks don’t work well, so I tie them together with flat shoelaces, which allows the door to close better. Perfect for toiletries and hair accessories inside, and flip flops, sunscreen, phones, chargers, etc. in the outside. Lanyards, white boards, and multi-plug outlets are a must when you are cruising with kids and teens! We also love the towel holders (we use plastic clothes pins with magnets, bought at Micheals), as they work perfectly for “hanging” (attaching?) swimsuits to the chairs on our balcony. The AC in the cabin takes forever to dry swimsuits, but the heat/sun/wind on the balcony dries them much faster! Also great for hanging the daily schedules to the door.

  29. Here’s one thing I wouldn’t travel without – a braided clothes line (such as the one from Rick Steves). It’s fabulous when you suddenly find that your cruise ship has no self-laundry facilities. No clothes pins needed. I have had it for 10-15 years and it’s good as new. We take it everywhere we travel – cruising or not. Hang your swimsuit or laundry. I do like the idea of taking some command hooks to simplify indoor hanging if the weather is bad or you have no balcony. That I hadn’t thought of before.

  30. Another good hack is to place a few clothespins at the bottom of those light weight shower curtains so that they do not sway into you or suck in from the temp of the water and stick to you. Works great. At the end, simply throw away. I also have the clip magnets from the Dollar Tree that we just clip our swimsuits to in the room. They dry MUCH faster out there than in the bathroom and if you put them in the large picture window while you are out it is even better. Over the door organizer is a MUST and this time I have 5 of us in one room….with 3 kids I am thinking 2 of them is a plus! Each will have two flat folding boxes from the Dollar Tree as well and a pop up hamper each that FINALLY they will carry in their own suitcases. Suitcases go under the bed for things purchased. Post its are a MUST as are a few pens. My clips for towels are from the Dollar Tree as well. I also pick up some little plastic containers with lids that I put smaller amounts of things like hair gel, ponytails, kids jewelry, etc. My medicine is kept in a smaller sized kit i got from the hardware department that is meant to corral screws, fuses, etc. I just put it in each compartment (or more if Advil!) and label with a sharpie on top of the case. Works great and travels well and fairly flat! I DO have a small makeup bag changes to “beach bag” that has a few things that we might need on land if something happened. A few bandaids, wet wipes, etc. I just throw it in my bag and most times do not touch it. Just better safe than sorry!

  31. Thank you so much fro your reply. I’ve traveled often but have never been on a cruise so I dont really know what to expect. I liked what you said and the way you said it. Youre good people 🙂

  32. Here’s a tip.. you know, how everyone wants to bring those surge protector power strips.. you really won’t need it.. newer ships now have smart TVs, which means there are 2 USB hubs behind the TV you can use to charge 2 phones. The nightstand usually has 1 plug and also the desk with the mirror has 2 USB and 2plugs.. i think that should be enough to cover for phones, camera or any other tech.. happy cruising eveyone.. will be sailing in 2weeks.. super excited..

  33. Hard to come up with anything new, but here are a few different things we have learned after about 12 cruises. I print out extra copies of the luggage tags and place one in each suitcase that I check at the cruise port in an outside zipper pocket, so if the other tags come off (we now have the fancy ones) the cruise personnel can easily determine where your luggage goes. I also use matching colorful ribbon tied around each suitcase handle so that they appear to be connected. Helps the ship personnel group your luggage and helps you find it in customs when you disembark. My husband uses a CPAC machine and there are never plugs near the bed so I bring along a long extension cord that we loop over the ceiling to the plug using Command Hooks on the ceiling/wall. Saves tripping over the cord at night. I always pack “Space Saver Bags” in luggage so I can put soiled clothes in them and squeeze them tight to take less space on the way home to make more room for souvenirs. I used to use zip lock bags for beach stuff, but have converted to waterproof zipper pouches as they are so much easier to get in and out of. We also gave up the shoulder strap beach bag for a waterproof lightweight backpack. So much easier to carry and has all those great pockets. We always travel with our insulated coffee mugs to fill up on Lido and enjoy on deck. Lately we bought large Yeti mugs which are to die for. You can fill with ice/water/juice/lemonade and they stay cold forever. We use them as little ice buckets. We also found it was silly to bring bottled water on board. We do still bring on soda and our wine allowance. When we embark, we load all of that in an extra small roller board suitcase to get through security checkpoint and on board. So much easier than carrying around loose. Once we drink all the soda, we have an extra suitcase for goodies or laundry. If you bring wine on board, don’t forget your cork screw! If you bring on bootleg alcohol, I found that “Rum Runner” products work great in checked luggage.

  34. No one has mentioned Downy Wrinkle Release. We had 2 “formal nights” on cruise in April so brought extra dressy stuff rolled in suitcase. Just spray on the downy, shake, then hang. No more wrinkles!

  35. The XX ZipLoc bags are the best! Dirty clothes, wet swimsuits etc. I picked some up at the local Dollar Tree.

  36. Wow!! I have half this stuff just for cruises, the luggage tags, towel holders not just for a cruise but for at home also, over the door organizer (use one at home for same thing-just more expensive and nice looking) is awesome, a place for lotion, hairbrush,deodorant,toothpaste, curling iron, sunscreen, etc..I hate a messy counter top. Th magnets are good as well, and I go to the dollar tree for a pop up hamper, then at the end dump all dirty clothes into a suitcase and leave the hamper there. As for the lantern I wear one everyday at work so I’m use to it, i don’t have to worry about loosing it and its so easy-ours are the breakaway ones that clip by magnet

  37. I enjoyed ShipMateMike’s article, added things to the list I started about 2 months ago and read every single reply. Lots of good tips – especially the battery-operated tea lights and the “hanging shelf.” My cruise is 4 months away and I’ve been compiling a list of tips/hacks for 2 months already. Smooth sailing, everyone!!!

  38. A must have is ziplock bags. We like to order room service prior to leaving the ship, bag up our BLT’s and take them with us

  39. Well let me say a must have for our family list.
    Small $1 dry erase board and marker, from the dollar tree or dollar store, then stick it to the out side of your door, you can tell the kids, or other members where you are or when to meet you where.
    #2 we also use large gallon size ziplocks for the kids and pack a complete outfit in each, so they just grab a bag in the morning and get dressed.

  40. What a great tip-sheet @shipmatemike and thread of comments .. here I am reading it a year-plus after originally written. We use the sticky-backs and place the notes on the inside of the exterior door for both the room steward and each other (privacy is maintained in this fashion). Clips for towels (get the ones with magnets and you have a two-fer – use them to hold the day’s schedule on the wall at night, and your towel to the chair during the day.

    Some additional items that we have found which help us enjoy our cruises a bit more are …

    1 – air freshener for the bathroom – we just plug in the “tropical mist” or “evergreen” and that cures the occasional back-flow odoriferous delights which a closed loop sanitary system sometimes provides.

    2 – small table cloth for the in-room table and if we have a balcony, we include one for there as well – we also bring along picnic tablecloth clamps or weights to keep the table cloth from flying away to sea or to those next door. Just makes those early morning coffee and danishes and late night snacks taste better 😉

    3 – travel with my Macgyver assortment of connectors for the electronics in our bags/hands – we use #1 belkin suggested multi-outlet; we used to carry a “line-out” cord to connect “our” music to the audio input on the tv (sometimes available) now we just use a bluetooth speaker and play our music softly, extra charging cable (because if I don’t have an extra, I will step and break the only one I have)

    4 – flowers – carry on a nice bouquet of carnations etc and they will find you a vase and you know have your flower for your formal nights … carnations last forever in the harsh cruise cabin environment

    We go on cruises to relax and enjoy each other’s company, so we tend to do a lot of sitting and watching the ocean go by … enjoy your next cruise!

  41. You never know if you’ll need it until you see it, which is why guys love browsing through hardware stores! That said… it isn’t time to get something when you need it. Plan ahead. These are great suggestions, and I like some of Rick’s ‘alternatives’; and I love saving money on Amazon!

  42. i use a gallon zip lock baggie, when im anywhere near a pool, just incase someone might jump in. lol my grandchildren were actually hollard at by some idiot, who said, he didnt come to a pool to get splashed. I told him to lighten up and where the adult only area was.

  43. most ships do have a small laundry mat usually 3 or 4 washers/dryers and an ironing board. you do pay to use the washer/dryer but the iron is free first come first serve.

  44. As a travel agent, I recommend the items that are listed. The gentleman that mad the bad comment must have had a bad experience while sailing. The items come in handy, especially when they’re more than two people occupying a cabin. Making everything easily accessible and not so cluttered. If you’ve had a bad experience, maybe you may want to take some of these items into consideration for your next sail and see the difference they can make for your trip. Happy sailing.

  45. Reading your response while waiting in line at the market, that first line made me LO so L that everyone wanted to know what I was reading. To funny, but I’m the matchy match cruiser so this CruiseGirl4Life will most likely have a few of those treasures. Thanks for the input … it made that market line a lot more enjoyable.

  46. In our first 30 day plus cruise trip I learned of the exorbitant price of having your laundry ‘sent out’: anything to wash, hang and dry laundry (washed with the free shampoo – I am frugal) is my thing. I asked for extra hangers, got the flimsy metal ones, and jury rigged them to hook into the air vents – voila! a clothes dryer.

  47. If I didn’t have the room card carrier I would be locked out all the time! It is not attractive, and in no way does it make me feel snooty!

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  49. true, i had a surge protector taken once when boarding.. BUT, the next two times i went, i brought a multi USB thing, like the one shown in this post, and it got through no problem. You can also just bring a usb hub that turns one into 4+ if you dont feel comfortable bringing the plug outlet.

  50. There are pop up hampers made out of mesh or vinyl and they lay flat in your suitcases until you get there. Very handy! I just empty it and put the dirties back in a packing cube to take home. You can also take along your oldest undies and discard of them as you go, along with eliminating some of the dirty laundry you are making room for a few new treasures to bring home. 😉

  51. I take a bunch of Purell wipes for the most commonly touched surfaces in the cabin but also to wipe down the arm rests and tray tables on the airplane so we don’t pick up any nasty germs BEFORE the cruise.

    I found some fancy jeweled lanyards that wrap your wrist (a bit more elegant than the ones that hang around your neck) because we like to dance and it means not having to carry a purse!

    A highlighter and post-its are a must for me for the onboard activities and any guidebooks for shore.

    I like a nightlight for the bathroom and my bedside travel clock can be used as a gentle flashlight (doesn’t wake your roommate).

    I keep dirty laundry in a large zip lock bag to keep the funk away from clean clothes. I use laundry sheets, which take up very little space and contain soap and fabric softener (the only item not found at the dollar store!)

    This was a terrific post, full of suggestions that may work for some travellers and ideas for all types of adventures! Thank you for your thoughtful writing.

  52. I am going on my 11th cruise this September Some things I find interesting which I had not thought of before and will help since 1st time with 5 in a room. My suggestion is bring your own flavored coffee creamer they do not have it on the ships. I am known on the ships as the coffee creamer girl, I share so I get to know alot of people!! Happy Cruising

  53. And if you don’t want to look like everyone else you can always bring your own lanyard me and my wife did that it made us different in a good way and easy to know they were ours when at the pool and water park.

  54. If you are planning on driving to your port of call consider useing a rental car as it is cheaper to rent one to drive there and again on your way back then to pay for your car to be in a parking lot the whole time you are on your cruise. I learned this tip from a travel agent that was looking to save me some money so I would enjoy more of my trip.

  55. Some cruise lines have complimentary decks of playing cards at guest services they are fun to play cards with or to take home as a free souvenir.

  56. OTake your own band aids and maybe gauze and medical tape. You walk so much you get blisters and the clinic will charge a mint for a bandaid

  57. Also, there are new purses with slash/cut proof materials with locking zippers. I just used one on my first cruise. Yes, they take a bit more time to get in/out of but that is the point.

  58. We returned last week from our first cruise and I used many of these tips, and wallowed in hand sanitizer and used wipes, but still came home sick. Just about everyone in our group got sick. Since viruses are airborne, I almost wish that I’d also donned a mask when I was on the plane or in a crowded elevator! Already booked for our 2nd cruise next February so I have lots of time to research all these ideas.

  59. Anything & everything used as a party decoration can be used to decorate a door. Get stick on magnetic strips which are very flexible & I think they’re made of some kind of plastic so they’re lightweight. That way you attach them to the decorations & you’re set. For example my friends were celebrating their wedding anniversary on the 1st day of our last cruise. I made a banner before leaving home saying,”happy anniversary love birds!” Snuck over to their cabin door & had it stuck it up on the door before they knew it was there.

  60. Hey I do that but in addition use the ship’s hairdryer set on high on the stubborn wrinkles once I spray on the wrinkle releaser. Oh the dollar store sells the same product for you smart cookie, $1! Get a couple of small spray bottles & fill them with the dollar store stuff & that usually is enough for a two week trip.

  61. Much of this is his choice, but I recommend the blow up hangars if you plan to wash in your cabin. They help clothes dry faster . Not so sure about other hangers. I usually put the heavy
    Terry robes on the floor of the closet and use their hangars. From the south and I always bring an old fashioned hand held fan with me just about everywhere. Both these items are light and small getting ready for my 4th cruise !

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