What should a new cruiser pack?

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Bloomington, IL
92 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
My friend and her family are going on their first cruise. She keeps asking about special things to pack for her and the kids, but I can't think of anything outside of a normal beach vacation. Am I forgetting someting?
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Southern California
2,292 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
I would suggest not to pack a portable DVD player and movies or those handheld Nintendo games. The first cruise that we took our kids, my wife packed those items and my kids did
not use them even once. They took up valuable carry-on space.

5,767 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
Originally posted by july128
My friend and her family are going on their first cruise. She keeps asking about special things to pack for her and the kids, but I can't think of anything outside of a normal beach vacation. Am I forgetting someting?
Probably a no-brainer, but sunblock is important. Also, a lot of people take two bathing suits per person. That way, while you're waiting for a wet one to dry, you've got a dry one to wear. If you're comfortable using the "Search" bar on here, you'll find lots of ideas and suggestions on what to bring and what NOT to bring on your cruise. The most common thing, especially for first-timers, is over-packing. First, lay out everything that you think you'd like to take, then start eliminating things that you really don't need. Simplify outfits by mixing and matching. No one will notice if you wear the same shirt or shorts (or pants) more than once.
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255 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Maybe a camera for the kids to take their own pictures with. My younger two kids(10 and 7) like bringing a small journal to jot down their vacation memories.

The only time mine have used their handheld games is at the airport or on the plane(other than DS16 who's iPod is never out of his pocket. He did enjoy taking pictures with it in Europe, though!). Depending on how far they have to travel, those might not be worth the space to bring.
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phila, pa
51,879 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Originally posted by july128
My friend and her family are going on their first cruise. She keeps asking about special things to pack for her and the kids, but I can't think of anything outside of a normal beach vacation. Am I forgetting someting?
if your friend is sailing with multiple people in her cabin- i suggest an over the door shoe holder.
how old are the kids--- and what type of cabin did they book?

I also suggest leaving the kids electronics at home
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88 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by cb at sea
Nope...you really don't need anything on a cruise that you wouldn't need on a beach vacation....
Ginger candies? Those little patches that people put behind their ear? One of those adaptors that turn one plug to 3? Night light if they booked an inside cabin unless they love pitch black? No packing of beach towels.
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Pittsburgh Pa.
458 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
The thing we have figured out over the years is you will nead about half of the clothes you pack and take a little extra cash (everyone you come into contact with expects a tip). Cruising is the greastest way to take a family vacation so have fun.
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6,291 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Loose clothes (trust me)
Comfortable shoes
100 $1's for tipping and use in port
Small bottle of Tide
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79 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
There's a thread in the New Cruiser's section titled "things I wish I knew before my first cruise" or something like that. It might be a sticky. It's about 70 pages long and is worth a read.

Tips I picked up - over the door shoe organizer, refrigerator magnets or magnetic clips to leave messages, post-its, a highlighter for your daily newsletter, lots of small denomination currency, a power strip/surge protector, alarm watch or clock (cabins don't have them), gum (ships typically don't sell it for obvious reasons), OTC meds and basic first aid items (expensive on board), extra memory cards for your camera, ziplocs/plastic bags, all in one laundry detergent sheets or tabs if your ship has facilities, Crystal Light or other flavoring if you plan to drink non-bottled water on board.
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Sandy Springs, GA
6,559 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
Just pack for the beach ... but forget the beach towels and stacks of beach toys. Little ones might want water wings, but other things just take up space.

Take whatever medications, diapers, shampoo, sunscreen, etc. that you know you will need. It's available on the ship, but it's expensive.

Forget all the excess stuff like shoe holders unless there are many people crammed into a cabin. We've never used highlighters, clips for curtains, walkie talkies (they don't work anyways), bubba kegs or any of that other stuff. They'll have what you need for eating, drinking, sleeping, washing on the ship.

If anyone tends to get seasick, talk to the doctor before bringing along over the counter meds for children. Adults can use bonine (meclazine) or ginger. I wear a patch, but I know I get seasick ...
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