What to pack for a cruise from someone who’s been on the 110

  • I’ve been on 110 cruises, so I’ve learned a thing or two about what to pack for a trip at sea.
  • It is important to have all your travel documents with you as well as a list of any medications you are taking.
  • I think it’s worth taking up space in your bag with binoculars, a journal and a bottle of wine.

As someone who has been on 110 cruises around the world, I have learned some of the best things to bring with me.

A few special additions to your regulars could bring you a little moment of pleasure to add to the adventure you’ll experience as your ship sails away.

Here are 10 things I make sure to pack for every cruise.

The magnetic hooks help me make better use of the small cabs

I read something a long time ago about how steel walls in cruise ship cabins are perfect places for magnetic hooks, so I always bring some.

Bathing suits, towels, pajamas and bathrobes quickly fill the two usual hooks on the bathroom door, so the extra hooks keep wet clothes off the beds.

It’s a relief to pack a little compass

For no really good reason, I like to take a little compass.

On more than a few occasions, knowing the directions helped me during shore excursions or even where to go or avoid the sun on board.

I always make sure I have a few business cards

As an author, I have business cards that promote some of my books and also open doors to new people or writing groups.

I am happy to take advantage of the advantages I can find through the people I meet on board.

Important documents are an obvious must and I like to bring copies


I bring my passport and a photocopy of it.


It may seem unnecessary, but pack a copy of your passport, driver’s license and insurance card.

In the unfortunate event of document loss, a photocopy expedites an emergency replacement or provides temporary identification.

A driver’s license also helps when visiting ports and an insurance card is useful in case of any medical emergencies.

Ready-made labels are very useful for postcards or even for filling out forms

I love sending postcards, but it’s not always easy on a ship.

Address labels encourage me to send letters to the less fortunate people on land.

My search for stamps in foreign ports has slowed down my card shipment somewhat, but it just adds another challenge to getting the shipment done.

It’s worth the extra space to bring a nice pair of binoculars

Binoculars should be easy to carry around, but are often overlooked due to their bulk.

Fortunately, more compact ones have become available as technology has improved. With them, marine life comes closer and details otherwise overlooked are right in front of you.

If you happen to be taking a longer cruise or a cruise in tropical locations, it might be worth visiting a sporting goods store to find a nice new pair of binoculars that will give you an expanded view of the boat.

I always record my moments at sea in a blank journal

blank leather bound diary sitting open on a wooden surface

As a writer, I like to document my travels.

Nicholas J Klein/Shutterstock

A blank journal motivates me to keep track of events on board, people, recipes, memories, and even my personal thoughts.

For years to come these journals can bring to life the wonderful trips you and your loved ones have taken. Often, memories of special events will resurface after they have been long forgotten.

Packing a list of passwords for your essential online accounts can be invaluable

Many times I tried to get to my emails, but the passwords are hidden in my memory. As such, I stumble upon resetting passwords on the ship’s usually cumbersome internet.

So, if you’re a little forgetful, it might be wise to keep your keywords and passwords safe with your important papers to save time and frustration.

In addition to bringing my current medications, I make sure to have a list of them handy for emergencies

At every visit to a doctor, clinic, hospital or pharmacy their first question will be about the medicines you are taking.

I once needed eye medication for glaucoma in St. Thomas and the pharmacist asked for the colors of my pills and thankfully was able to understand my needs.

But I wouldn’t rely on this kind of solution – usually, just the unpronounceable name of the drug itself will do.

Between my late wife Donna and I, we saw doctors, dentists, and even the ship’s doctor while we were sailing. In most cases, we smugly pulled out a printed list of our current medications when asked.

A nice bottle of wine lets you start your trip in style

someone pouring red wine into a wine glass

Most ships allow you to bring at least one bottle of wine on board.

Day Of Victory Studio/Shutterstock

Almost all cruise lines now allow passengers to bring a bottle of wine or champagne on board.

Our family takes advantage of this generosity, which allows us to start our vacation in style.

It is recommended, however, that you bring a corkscrew to understand the happy contents.

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