The Most Comprehensive/Useful Cruising Tips & Tricks I Have Found Thusfar

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Atlanta, GA (Duluth)
2,869 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
Thanks for the great list - I thought I had a comprehensive one, but this includes ALMOST everything.

If you like the air in your cabin to move, I always travel with a small fan. Some cabins can be warm, so I never travel without one (yes, even to Alaska). I buy one of the 7" or 9" fans and give it to my cabin steward along with the extension cord at the end of the voyage - they always appreciate it.
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Disney Dream 11/2014 (Bahamas)

Navigator of the Seas 4/2011 (W. Carib)

Norwegian Pearl 2/2011

Norwegian Sky 5/2009
Carnival Inspiration 10/2008 ((W.Carib)
Costa Mediterranea 3/2008 (E.Carib),
Explorer of the Seas 8/2007 (Canada/New England)
Caribbean Princess 4/2007 (E.Carib)
Carnival Celebration 2/2007 (Carib.)
Golden Princess 8/2006 (British Isles)
Carnival Victory 12/2005
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Celebrity Mercury 4/2005 (Calif.Coastal)
Caribbean Princess 12/2004 (E.Carib)
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Star Princess 9/2003 (Alaska Inside Passage)
Carnival Triumph 2002 (W.Carib)
RCCL Enchantment of the Seas 2001
Carnival Ecstasy 2000
Norwegian Majesty 1998
Carnival Ecstasy 1998
RCCL Grandeur of the Seas 1997
Regal Princess 1995
Carnival Holiday 1993
Admiral Cruises Emerald Seas 1991
Dolphin 1990
Chandris Britanis 1989
Southern California
122 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
And for anyone reading the list please take everything with a grain of salt. Make sure anything it suggests does not violate the ships rules, such as taking food off of the ship. Great idea in principal but not actually allowed!
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RCCL 12 Nt Greece & E.Mediterranean Cruise Sailing On The Legend Of The Seas May 19, 2007
North Carolina, formerly Maryland
3,431 Posts
Joined Sep 2003
I've never seen a list that complete. The only thing I would add is that if you have a waterproof watch, make it a cheap one. That way if it gets lost or stollen, you're not out much. Mine was about $6 from WalMart and is probably meant to be a kid's watch.
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Joanne T. Berends
Ottawa Canada
4,275 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
What, only 286 tips? Of the first 125 I read i'll only be using abot 3-4.
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9,405 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Whew! Amen to that! By the time you go through the list, you could have taken 3 cruises!

Originally posted by cruisinbuddy
What, only 286 tips? Of the first 125 I read i'll only be using abot 3-4. Thanks.
Southern California
122 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by cruisinbuddy
What, only 286 tips? Of the first 125 I read i'll only be using abot 3-4.
LOL, I doubt anyone will use them all, but it pretty much encompasses everything I have read on all the other lists combined! And as a 1st time cruiser it was helpful to read some 'insider' tips, as opposed to generic packing lists etc. I haven't even read it all the way down, but I printed it and it's 23 pages!!!
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RCCL 12 Nt Greece & E.Mediterranean Cruise Sailing On The Legend Of The Seas May 19, 2007
Springfield, Illinois
381 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
Great tip list. Let me add my:
The Cruise Don’t Forget-List
Edited by John Dale Kennedy

These items were originally compiled by many cruisers intended as good advice to their fellow cruisers and, for the most part, is in their own words; I have edited for grammar and misspellings! While you may see some duplication, I’ve tried to eliminate as much as possible. I was too lazy to categorize. Of course, if you brought everything cruisers recommend, you’d have to drag along another piece of luggage…or a trunk!

Although I think most of these are for the Caribbean, even Alaskan and Baltic cruisers will find many items useful.

Use these for what you think might help your own situation. Like me, I’ve tried some and dumped others. Frequently little things keep a good thing from working; each ship is different, remember!! For instance, those universal door hooks are useless on extra wide bathroom and cabin doors which can also fit too tight to close with the hook in place.

I’ve organized this in two parts: The List which is pretty straightforward and Cruise Tips which is a mixture of good advice in cruisers own words…honestly. My smart-ass comments are in italics.

The List
Duct tapeoh, the uses for this stuff. They will make themselves known to you.
Binocularsespecially for those days at sea close to land: Panama Canal, Alaska, etc.
Camera/extra batteries/film?/memory sticks for Digital
Highlighter markers, for freestyle dailiesI’ve never done this!
Post-it notesthese also make great bookmarks for windy decks. Just stick a couple in the front of each book and they’re there for the duration.
One dollar bills for tipping
Medicationsalways take a few extra days worth, like for when the hurricane delays your return to port.

Toothpaste: Throughout the year, when you get down to the last inch or so of paste, squeegee it all to the cap end, cut all but another inch of the flattened end, fold over the leftover flat and and staple. Toss in a drawer and when you go away for a week, you’ve got just enough. Toss at the end of the week.
Sunblockuse the appropriate # for your destination locale. Three degrees off the equator requires more than does one degree off of Miami!
After sun lotion…it’s a moisturizer. If you burn, the only good remedy is Aloe. Not the cream crap, but the 100% stuff. Take it on every cruise!
BlenderI’ve not done this, but I’ve read reviews where cruisers do quite well with a travel version. To each their own!

Travel first aid…at least the basics: 100% Aloe, Band-Aids, antibiotic cream (Neosporin), aspirin (for sunburn), and hydrocortisone for bug bites and itches.
Sewing kityou know, the kind you swipe from hotels.
Cruise ticketsanother DUH item.
Passporteven if you don’t need it for your itinerary, it’s a foolproof ID. Make a photocopy and put in your luggage and with fellow travelers as back up & emergency.
Some have suggested scanning your passports, tickets etc. and emailing them to your web-based email before you leave home. Then, if the WORST happens and your documents are lost or stolen, you can log on at any internet cafe or on board the ship and print off high-quality copies in a few seconds.Someone’s thinking ahead!
Other ID's...drivers license is needed if you plan to rent a car but it is not an ID: see Passport above.
Alcohol for smuggling on board…well, my method is to pour my favorite libation into a plastic flask, available at most respected liquor stores. Now I only schlep the best stuff: cognac, Scotch or vodka. Otherwise, I’ll let them do the mixing. Others have many creative ways: in the cleavage, in the cargo pant pockets, wrapped in dirty underwear (no, really) or those small hotel shampoo bottles refilled. Clear libations can easily be stowed away in a water bottle-hic! Whatever you need to do! To chill the wine or beer in the Cabin, bring a plastic bag and line the trash cans with it.
Book…to read by the pool, on the balcony, on the beach or plane.
Lanyard…for attaching room card…many people love this so they won’t loose their room entry key on the late night pub crawl. Otherwise, you can pop it in your swim trunk zipper pocket or give it to someone else to guard. Some people even plan ahead to bring a hole punch to deface their charge/room card. Lanyards just scream TOURIST, don’t they?! In the sprit of international love and cooperation, many cruisers have said to just LOOSE IT!!
Comfy shoes and sandalswell, duh again.
Snorkel equipmentthis is of course only if you plan to snorkel. Most excursions have this equipment available for free but if you plan to excurse on your own, by all means bring them. If you plan to use ship excursions, I’d recommend the mask and snorkel portion anyway as they don’t take up much space in the luggage. Fins are always available. I always enjoy using my own mask with my own germs and comfy bite marks on the snorkel.
Night light… Now this is a tricky one because the AC plus in the bathroom usually disconnects when you shut off the light.However, stringing an extension cord from the sleeping portion of your cabin into the bathroom (plug in the 7watt night light) helps in night potty-call navigation, and also eliminates the possibility of switching on the cabin light by mistake! Also, one could bring along a battery touch light: it usually takes just one or two batteries. Lay it on the bathroom counter, touch it, and it lights up when you need it without blinding you at night.
Travel alarm clockcan’t always trust the automatic wake-up call.
Extra swim wearjust in case someone swipes your duds while skinny dipping in one of the local water holes…or dancing on the…well never mind. I’ve found two suits allows one to dry while the other gets a workout in aqua or sol.
Clothes pins for hanging items in the shower. Also, the small heavy duty plastic clips from the hardware store are getting popular because they are so practical. Stronger than cloths pins and non-corrosive…and you will either wash something or want to drape your wet things on the ubiquitous universal tub clothesline sooner or later.
Over-the-door shoe holder for small items…this is a marvelous suggestion that many have tried to various degrees of success. The engineering part can be tricky. On the back of most bath doors one can find a hook, creating either an obstacle or an opportunity. Some of the over-the-door hooks that come with the shoe holder are too narrow for some thick bath doors. It’s worth an $8 investment and if you can engineer it properly, you’ll find it a nifty idea. Some even pre-load it before they leave and roll it out…voila!
Extra hangers…bring along the wire ones and when you leave, just let them hang there: a random act of kindness.
Ziploc bags of all sizes…oh God, the uses are mind boggling: waterproof carrier for all kinds of things like cameras, cookies from the buffet, wet t-shirts (I know what you’re thinking), anything you want to keep dry, etc…
Cheap plastic watch for the beachtoo many nice ones are lost. Don’t chance it.
Bubble wrap for packing souvenirs…though a bit anal retentive, you gotta admire the planning!
Cardboard to put photos between for packing on the way home…see previous comment!
Extra contact lenses…unless if you don’t wear any.

Extra pair of prescription glasses and for longer trips, a copy of your prescription.
Bungee cord, to keep balcony curtains/door open (certain ships)…haven’t tried it yet but have already purchased the equipment.
Power stripfigure it out: MP3 player, digital cameras, palm pilot, cell phone, drill, flashlight, GPS device and that blasted hair dryer (the one that comes with the ship is actually a fingernail polish dryer). With only one outlet in the cabin, this item is a must. You might also consider a 10 foot extension cord to get the power strip where you want it. With all of that electronic gear attached, it lights up like a Christmas tree in the dark. A new addition is the iGo Everywhere 15 AC/DC Adapter which can accommodate many recharging needs in one device. Google it and you’ll learn more. Available at Radio Shack, I’m told.

Water bottlewhile there are many opportunities to purchase bottles, it’s nice to have one of those 12-14 ounce plastic throwaway bottles for the short trips. Not too heavy.
Business cards to give out to new friends…they’ll be sure to ask you to review their insurance policies when they get back home. Actually, some of those free address labels you get in the mail are also handy. Keep giving to World Wildlife Federation and you’ll get them forever…or until you stop giving.
Insect repellent/ after bite stick…especially good where insects live; now where in the world would that not be?
Tums/Rolaidsthese can save a vacation. Great flavors these days!
Seasickness medications/ ginger candythe medications are up to you and your doctor, but ginger candies are awesome to keep your stomach calm. Many cruisers have reported this as a universal remedy. You can get candied ginger, chocolate covered and tablets at most grocery stores. They’re very tasty besides.
Windsock to hang out/decorate balcony...especially nice with Christmas lights…if you must.
Inflatable rafts for the beach…this is a lot of work. By the time I get 2 beers to a beach there aint much wind left. Let the kids do it, I suppose.
Beach shoes…there are some nice water shoes out by LL Bean made with a mesh that allows exploring on reefs and they dry out pretty quickly. Personally, I don’t wear shoes on the beach. I let my web feet do the walking.
Beach Tote Bag or BackpackI found a collapsible backpack at one of those stores in the airport. It was too much at $25 but I plunged and now use it all the time. It’s nylon and folds up over itself and zips into a tiny capsule for packing.
Bar soap…while there is usually soap in the cabins, one may be comfortable with ones own personal body cleanser. Please use often!
Stain remover…there are several on the market but the Tide stick is miraculous! It can save the evening to eliminate that tomato stain one caught at the buffet trough.

Laundry detergenteven though you said you would not, trust me and bring some along. Something will get dirty!
Eye Glass Repair Kit…these are small, useful and if you don’t have one, it’s likely that one cruise you’ll be asking your neighbors in the next cabin if they have one! Also, bring a glass cleaning cloth or use the pre-moistened lens cloths made by Zeiss (and others). They’re in small individual packets like the handi-wipes but made for glasses without lanolin or other sanitation chemicals.
Handiwipes…these come in handy (ha ha)in many ways but several cruisers reported using them to wipe down parts of their cabin before doing anything. They wipe the phone, all door knobs, lamp switches and just about anything that the previous alleged disease laden occupants might have touched. Seems like a bit much, however if one has ever had the ship-crud, precautions like this only take a few minutes and might save your health. Any alcohol based antibacterial wipes in individual packets will work.
Flashlightsyou know, like the ones you use in teepee shenanigans at home. Same shenanigans are fair game at sea! Whoo, whoo!
Cool idea: bring along a small, cheap soft-sided cooler and have the room steward keep it full of ice. Then one doesn’t have to do a steward-stealth-search in the siesta-afternoon-break. Leave it when you depart!
Telescope walking stick: A handy device for excursions that require some challenging or long hiking. They are light and easy to pack.
Disposable cups… for mixing drinks in rooms and leaving on-deck when you are done. Clear ones work best since they are not so obvious....
Toilet Paper for those adventurous excursions… When you’re getting to the end of the roll, take the roll off, flatten it and put it in a zip locked bag.
Febreeze.. after going through smoking areas one can de-smoke and freshen outfits. Also great for wrinkle removal.

All Toiletries: While you may save a lot buying the big 24 oz. size of mouthwash, don’t bring the whole bottle. All the drug stores have these little 4 oz bottles that you can transfer your toiletries into. Some are spray, single squirt hole or just a tight lid. This will save lots of space. At the end of the week, jettison whatever is left. Don’t even bother scraping out that last oz of hair gel. You working for about 10 cents to get it out. Don’t be wasteful but consider practicality.

Cruise Tips
Some of these are repeats but are so eloquent that I just had to repeat them in the original tongue.

We take two large mesh bags…we put dark dirties in one and white dirties in the other and use the "dirties" to protect fragile items on the way home. Separate out the candy and rum cake, will ya?

I use one of those large tacky plastic waterproof things $$ and use a safety pin to pin it inside my handbag/travel bag…

Colorful post-it-notes to leave messages on the doors of cruise mates or even in your own cabin for other members of your group. Like honey, don’t forget to put the cat out.

One cruiser said that instead of using post-its to leave messages for each other, they write with glass-safe markers on the mirror. They do a mini itinerary/to do list and create a convenient reminder right there in front of them on the mirror; the "ink" comes off very easily. I'm sure the stewards appreciate this!

Plastic clothes pins from a dollar store. I used these to clip wet bathing suits and other clothing to our balcony chairs in the daytime so they would not blow off. All of my group used them and were impressed I came up with this idea on my own. Americans are so inventive.

The number 1 item you should bring with you (and I know this is a repeat); the cheap, over the door SHOE RACK!!!! Trust me. Once you use it you will know why.

I know a couple of people said they like to mix Crystal Light in pitchers but now Crystal Light makes packets with individual servings. I will be bringing these on our next cruise. I drink Crystal Light every day! It’s also good to dump into the over-diluted iced tea for a bit more flavor.

I love the idea of tipping the room steward and the waiter the first day. They have the ability to make our cruise extra special. Plus, we feel that they work so hard for such low pay that we always tip nicely anyhow. I also love the idea of ordering sandwiches and cookies from room service to take to the beach with you.

I use yellow (for me) and blue (for him) markers to mark our dailies. If we both want to do something, voila: green! (and I can also keep track of where he is!) Please see the anal retentive comment made earlier.

While I like the "hang around your neck" lanyards to hold my sea pass card and a couple of $$ for extra tips, my DH (that’s Dear Husband in cruise language) doesn’t feel comfortable with the necklace feeling. I went to the office supply and got a couple of the retractable clip-ons and put them on the clear holder. Now he can clip it onto his belt, waistband, etc. and pull it out when needed. When onshore, we just tucked it inside the waistband to avoid that sticky fingers temptation - worked like a charm! We also found some small leather "license holders" near the lanyards at Wal-Mart that we now use as they not only have a clear area for ID but a small zippered area and an area where you can tuck in a couple of $$ or credit card. OK, but again see the anal retentive comment made earlier?

Shaving your legs in the tiny showers is next to impossible. Head up to the spa area - enjoy a steam or sauna and use the much bigger showers up there. When our daughter cruises with us, I often shower and shave at the spa - especially on formal night when DD & DW are "hogging" the cabin bathroom getting ready. Now wait a minute, whose legs are getting shaved here anyway?

Pack a foldable cooler to take to the beach and when you return pick up some soda and beer to take back onboard. I’ve read that some ships now confiscate beer, which shows up pretty well on the metal detectors.

Ask for the drink-of-the-day in a plain cup. It is cheaper, and many times it is made fresh for you so it is usually colder and less watered down than the ready-made versions.

Call room service the night before and place an order for coffee to be delivered for your morning wake up call. They always call before they arrive which gives you just enough time to get decent…or to surprise the bus boy.

Some nice people leave their extra books, sunglasses, hats, etc on the chairs by the pool for your enjoyment. Please feel free to help yourself! That’ll teach them to save a spot. READ THE LOUNGE CHAIR RULES!!

Alarm clock you can see at night. I hate waking up and not knowing what time it is. Now while this is practical, I propose a few stiff nightcaps to be sure you don’t wake up at night.

Febreze, you can purchase a travel size at most grocery stores. It gets the stink out of the room.

Have your dry cleaner box the tux shirts as they pack better and look good for formal night.

For your dirty clothes bring a foldable hamper. I purchased a couple at the dollar store. They fold flat in your suitcase and if you don't want to bring them home leave them. They only cost a dollar. Like what everything else doesn’t cost at the $ store. You can also use a plastic bag from the grocery store; it doesn’t cost a $!

Here's a possible alternative to taking a hamper for dirty clothes. We took along a couple of kitchen size plastic trash bags (the kind with the built-in drawstring). There was a metal bar inside the closet on which I hung the trash bag, and we tossed our dirty clothes in it each day. We filled up both bags (due to having a teenager along). On the last night, we squished the air out of the bags and put them into the suitcases first, which kept the dirty stuff separate from everything else. At home, I tossed the bags into the laundry room…bet they’re still sitting there.

I bring a paper puncher and put a hole in my sea pass card. Instead of using a lanyard I have a coil key chain that goes around your wrist. I never lose my card even when in the pool. OK,OK, so it works; but I still want to direct the reader to the anal retentive comment made earlier.

Instead of tote bag to carry into town, we always bring our backpack and stuff another large tote bag in there, just in case we end up with some big purchase. Some people toss a small zip up duffle bag in their luggage and stuff with dirty clothes upon return. Throws the drug dogs off big time at the airport!

When we check in and get our sign and sail card, we always ask them to punch a hole in it and then we attach it to our lanyards. I had never heard of a lanyard, and I felt really stupid, but my husband didn't know what it was either-we do now! Webster’s says that a lanyard is one of those things you wear around your neck that looks sort of like a shoe string. It has a hook on the end for whatever you want to attach. A lanyard is what my wife hooks my leash to. Cute, but still no prize!

We use large duffle bags on wheels for our suitcases, one for each person. These fit under the bed so easy, plus they have outside pockets. The best part is we buy them in a lighter color and literally write our name and phone number on the outside in large letters with a sharpie. That way thieves can stalk you all the way home, even weeks after you arrive. Your address should not be exposed for casual reading by your fellow passengers.

Fold your clothes with the hangers on them (the freebie ones from the dry cleaners). That way we can just take them out and hang them in the closet and toss the hangers later.

We have a very, very good steamer for the clothes that we always bring. Works great. We rarely use pressing service on cruise, since one time husband's formal clothes came back late for formal night! Luckily he had his other outfit and I had my steamer. See lanyard comment. These people probably travel with two truncks each. They’re also the ones with the blender!

Sun dresses with pockets and always with sleeves for the Caribbean sun. But what do the girls wear?

Bathing suit shirts with sleeves for our kids. Our last cruise in July to the Caribbean and no sunburns because of this. The kids are still not talking to the parents.

We brought our own bottled water once and never really used it as the water filtration on the ships has never been a problem. We did bring a couple of big sippy water bottles to take to the gym.

Wait until after ship leaves port to buy any drink cards - no tax added on. The way we cruisers save money is amazing! Is this really true?

Bring plastic or metal "j" hook to hang on door as a sort of a valet hook for steaming your clothes. Some doors are too thick, so you’ll need a stick-on hook. And leave it when you depart.

For those unpleasant bathroom moments, my mother always taught me to use open flames. So we periodically collect matchboxes from fancy restaurants and leave them in the bathroom for them. The unpleasant odor is a gas that is consumed very quickly by flame. For the cruise, stop by the local convenience store or Walgreens or whatever at the dock and pick up a cheap butane lighter which is safer on-board the ship. Leave it in the bathroom and if you have this problem, flick the bic and wave around for a second or two and the problem should be solved. I find that a lighter doesn't work as well as a good old box of wooden matches. Even paper matches aren't bad. It's the sulfur that takes away the smell. Kaboom!

Be careful putting your clothes on balcony to dry - they could blow away. See handy cloth pins item above.

Instead of bulky jacket, bring pashmina or large scarf to throw around your shoulders for Caribbean evenings on ship and dining rooms. So what will the women wear?

Bring disposable water camerasbut don’t dispose of them until after you develop the contents!

Extra pens…guess what for?No not BINGO; for autograph seeking young virile officers, you fool!

Take Downey Wrinkle Releaser! It is a Godsend! Hey, this stuff works. You wont need the botox injection this month!

Don't pack your valuables (jewelry, cameras) in your luggage. Keep them in your carry-on or on you when you leave your luggage at the port or outside your room on your last night.

Be prepared for the Muster Drill. Get your lifejackets out about 30 minutes before the drill and beat the crowds. Personally, I’m the last to abandon my martini and always make a grand entrance!

Try to be friendly with your dinner table mates! I have never had a bad one and have had some interesting conversations! While the first night may seem like a disaster coming, give it a chance. People end up being just as goofy as I had hoped they would be less than mid-way through the cruise. Personally, I aim to never disappoint.

If you have children, ask your room steward remove the sodas from your room. My daughter "forgets" they cost almost $3.00 a bottle! We also tip a little extra because our children tend to make a bigger mess in smaller confined areas. We also tip extra in the dining room for this reason. They lavish your children with such attention and make a meal a special event for them. Just like home.

Don't hog pool chairs! On our last cruise, I was lucky enough to find one next to the pool. My two daughters and I shared it. However, I got up to give my daughter her goggles and someone took my things off and was sitting in it. I was gone no longer than 1 minute. Being the nice person I am , I took my things...and put a voodoo hex on her. It’s worth repeating and remember, it works both ways: Some nice people leave their extra books, sunglasses, hats, etc on the chairs by the pool for your enjoyment. Please feel free to help yourself!

If you are traveling with a least four people, try to get an adjoining room. This was such a lifesaver because of the two bathrooms alone! And bring a BOYS and GIRLS sign for the doors.

PLEASE TIP!!! It always amazed me when we cruise, the amount of people who are at the pursers desk the night before complaining about having to tip. If you don't want to tip, STAY AT HOME! Amen!

Oh....have a great time and realize how lucky you are that you are able to afford such a great vacation! But what if mom paid for it?

I used a 5-pocket check holder/organizer for all of my documents while traveling. This was my "baby" while traveling and I held on to it like it was gold. I labeled the pockets as such: airline docs, cruise docs, cards (phone cards, insurance cards, etc) mail, stamps (which I bought in advance), addresses and the last pocket was $$ (where I kept all of my singles for tipping along with my travelers cheques).

Some may think it is tacky, but I did print out addresses on labels in advance for postcards to family and friends back home; it just made the process much quicker and easier.

Save your sunglasses from being crushed. Buy a glasses cord to chain to your sunglasses. When you go shopping and enter a store or if it gets dark outside, simply let the sunglasses dangle there. Careful not to get tangled with you room key lanyard.

If you are a person who has trouble finding clothes in normal stores, it is key to bring along extra essential clothes. I know everyone talks about not over packing but when you run out of clothes and are looking around for a 3XL or 4XL t-shirt or shorts, you're not going to find it in the ports or the gift shop! You can never have too many t-shirts when you are a big guy!! They get so soiled at the buffet…

Instead of relying on a glorified rubber band or string to hold your luggage tag, get some mini zip ties and use them instead; they are tough as nails. I’ve have had the luggage tag break off before the zip tie let go (I swear that the luggage gets tossed around like Frisbees where we can't see!)

Baby wipes. These serve several purposes.
a. - Get a stain on clothing? rub it with a baby wipe. It will either remove the stain or pre-treat it for the wash.
b. - toilet paper in restrooms in ports of call may be lacking the paper - baby wipes!!
c. - great for cleaning up sticky hands and faces after eating
d. - as more food is consumed, more food naturally departs - great clean-up device for these instances and to prevent chaffing that can occur with multiple uses of paper!

Do people really have to spell out what they’re for?

If the casino table games are your thing, make a side bet for the dealer. They want you to win. If you are not as skilled at Blackjack, they will be more inclined to tell you when to hit or stand if you have attempted to place a side bet. Yes sometimes you both will lose, but that is why they call it gambling.

Do not expect gourmet fare at a buffet or at a banquet type of setting. If you get it, celebrate and have a little more.

If you like Margaritas and want something for in your cabin at sail away, buy the large mix bottles, tequila and triple sec, mix them up at home and then pour the whole mixture back into the larger mix bottle. Double bag in Ziploc bags and pack in your carry-on. You are less likely to have a mix confiscated.

I bought a water-tight container that goes around your neck. They work wonders while in port for carrying IDs and ship passes as well as putting cash in there to avoid being the victim of a pick-pocket. You can swim with them and not worry about anything getting wet. Again cruisers, DO NOT attempt to wear with a lanyard AND those glasses holders! Do it either separately or in combination. If they get tangled while swimming…
I am a freak about water taste (would rather die of thirst than drink Aquafina) and brought a Brita water bottle. It has a filter in the cap and we filled it with ship tap water and ALWAYS had great tasting water. Worked well on excursions too.

I took my digital camera and laptop. Each day I would take tons of pictures then download them into the laptop (so I wasn't limited to the memory available in the camera). I took about 600 pictures. The alternative is to take along some of those little memory chips at 1/10,000 the weight.

Mark your luggage with colorful ribbon (virtually every suitcase on the ship is black) for easy ID at the end of the cruise. Now, don’t everyone do red. Take a poll on the ship to see who is using what colors.

Bring air fresheners.....even the dangly ones you hang from your rear view mirror can make a difference. See previous warning about matches in the bathroom!

The spray on Band-Aids are perfect for cruise since it is water resistant and lasts for a few days (can be removed with isopropyl alcohol if needed), but perfect to allow you to go back to the pool or the sea without worrying about chlorinated water or salt water getting into the wound.

Charmin ToGo minirolls of toilet paper (55 single-ply sheets in a compact roll) for those shore excursions when the bathrooms/outhouses/port-a-potties don't have TP. And you never know when that will be!

Also Charmin ToGo toilet seat covers for less-than-sanitary conditions are very handy. Man, that day-backpack is getting full and there’s still shopping to do.

I have a cheap digital camera for when I don't want to take my expensive one and possibly lose it. For $17.50, it is palm size and can still take 64-M of pictures. Not bad...and it fits in the fanny pack which my expensive one doesn’t. Oh, are we still using fanny packs? I thought it was the un-fashion statement of the New Year?

Get a costume jewelry wedding set to wear when you're off the ship. I've learned that it is best to wear NO JEWELRY when I'm off the ship. I may wear a plain watch, but never anything else. I have two reasons for that. First of all, not all of the islands are as safe as we would like. You don't want to be an easy mark for a thief. Secondly, if you walk into any store and want to bargain, they check your jewelry to "size you up". I don't need them to think I'm a wealthy American with lots of bucks I'm willing to spend at their store. It puts you into a much better bargaining position.

Not that I'm paranoid or anything but I definitely use the room safe for things that I'm afraid that I'll lose when going ashore and for small valuables. But this tip is something I've used a LOT in hotels. Treat your locked, empty suitcase as a larger room safe for bigger valuables, such as a laptop. This is really more of an issue in hotels, particularly given how many times I've walked down the hallway of a hotel floor with numerous doors propped open for cleaning, but no housekeeping folks in sight. How easy it is for people to check out your room and take anything visible and portable without detection? Since I generally travel alone, there's plenty of room in the closet to put my empty luggage. With it out of the way and locked, no one will bother what's inside. Also, either positioning the lock or the suitcase so that the bag is locked, draws less attention to the fact that there might be goodies inside. Some hotels have gotten smart and have room safes large enough for lap tops, but many don't. Given how many times I've heard about laptops disappearing in hotels, do yourself a favor; don't leave them out and visible when you leave the room.

If you plan to snorkel you might want to pack a small zip-lock bag with corn flakes. Drop a few and watch the fish come to you. Careful, though... it can REALLY draw a crowd... Tip for snorkelers out there... pack a few large milk-bone dog biscuits. Take one along with you snorkeling (easier for guys - put one in swim trunks pocket). When the biscuit softens up a bit, you can rub off pieces and the fish will swarm. Easier and cheaper than the 'fish food' tablets you can purchase. OK, here’s the serious side of the fish feeding issue. We should NOT feed the fish for the same reason we don’t feed the animals at the zoo. The fish will get used to the crap human food and not attend to maintaining the food chain gobbling they are supposed to do. The little fishys are supposed to get eaten by the bigger ones and so on up the line. Putting dog biscuits in the food chain changes natural habits we want to leave alone.

Board with 2 bottles of water and refill during trip.

Decorate your cabin door and it will be easier to find along the corridor. During that long trek back to the cabin after that one last drink at the loosing Blackjack table.

Pack ear plugs and sleep mask. If creaking bothers you (and there are lots on a ship), these little plugs work wonders; and if you prefer to sleep in, the mask can extend the dark a bit. The sun comes up early on the high seas. Or you could just go for an inside cabin where it’s dark all day!

Walkie Talkies. We love them because we can keep track of the kids and my DH. But the kids and DH can just leave them turned off, too. Do they work under water?

Leave a copy of passport & significant ID with someone at home and be sure they have your ship fax # just in case.

Whomever you travel with, pack clothes in each others’ suitcases. That way, if one case gets lost - no one is completely out of everything. Or you can just keep turning those two pair of undies inside out all week!

A couple of cruises ago, as a defensive lost-and-found move, I bought a box of bright green tags with strings attached (you can actually use other colors) from an office supply store, wrote our cabin number, ship and sail date on them and attached to camera bags, purses, kid’s toys, etc. Lost items were probably never seen but it was a successful insecurity blocker…

Another lost-and-found move: Last year we took a train/cruise/multi hotel trip and I used the computer to arrange the info and printed out on label stock. I then put the labels onto 3 inch red tags (can’t we use other colors?) I did a set for the pre-cruise data and a set for post-cruise data to make it easier if anyone read them. On each tag I had our contact phone numbers; fortunately, didn't lose anything. Do you think it was because they went to all the trouble?

Packing Tips: wrapping tissue paper or plastic from the cleaners’ layed between shirts, blouses, slacks, jackets, etc. will keep them relatively wrinkle-free. When folding the clothes, just lay a piece or two of paper/plastic on the flat garment and fold it right in with the clothing. Everything came out wrinkle free and ready to wear. Of course, folding neatly is a must, and unpacking as soon after arrival as possible. Don’t forget to bring you own wire hangers and then leave them just incase the gopher-steward has no extra hangars!

Remember that "please", "thank you" and "excuse me" go a long way; there are so many other people on the cruise who never once use those phrases.

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Las Cruces, NM
2,409 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
I do most of these already. The shaver outlet in the bathroom will take a curling iron, so I never pack a power strip! And one thing I will never do: pre-tip! This is just like a bribe. We always call the Maitre'D over the first night and give him our special requests and have never had any problems.
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Number 60!

210 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
9) Bring 3 or 4 International Calling Cards to give to your favorite Bartender or other staff that made the trip memorable.

202) Don't use $2. Many times crew have said that they cannot use them in other countries, as they are assumed to be fake. Also, calling cards aren't a good idea. Crew cannot use them in convenient phones. Crews know where the best deals are for calling cards. If you really want to provide what they want, give cash. They can use it for whatever they want. Other things are not really appreciated.
Aren't these two tips contradicting?
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Past Cruises

'97 Grandeur of the Seas (RCCL)
Eastern Carribbean
'00 SeaBreeze(Premier)
Canada/New England (It sunk 2 months later)
'02 Disney Magic (DCL)
Eastern Carribean
'07 Norwegian Majesty (NCL)
Central Coast, California
12 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
One more contradiction... don't expect a bartender to "hook you up" in the future if you tell them they didn't put enough alcohol in your first drink... that is an insult...

I loved a lot of the stuff that was written in there, but the stuff regarding servers and bartenders, trust me. Cash and friendliness is king. Treat them with respect, don't insult them or their position, and tip them well, in cash.

I should know, even though this will be my first cruise, I am a server and a bartender (for too many years).
106 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
Originally posted by anilos81
Found On And Downloadable From:
did you take the site down? It's such a great list and I just wanted to go over it before we leave next week?
let me know where it got moved to!
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<a href=""><img src="" alt="Cruise Ship - Ticker" border="0"/></a>

<a href=""><img src="" alt="Cruise Ship - Ticker" border="0"/></a>

<a href=""><img src="" alt="Cruise Ship - Ticker" border="0"/></a>

Past curises
<TABLE class=smText border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=543><TBODY><TR height=27><TD class=Pad31Sm vAlign=top>

<TABLE class=smText border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=543><TBODY><TR class=Color56Bg height=27><TD class=Pad31Sm vAlign=top>15-March-2009


</TD><TD class=Color57Bg></TD><TD class=Pad31Sm vAlign=top>Indpendenc of the Seas
Voyager of the Seas

Enchantment Of The Seas
Rhapsody Of The Seas
Celebrity Century
Celebrity Century

</TD><TD class=Color57Bg></TD><TD class=Pad31Sm vAlign=top></U></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></U>
502 Posts
Joined Sep 2002
I got

"the site is locked"

and I can't open it or see it.
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<a href="">
<img border="0" src=";10728;128/st/20090301/e/Mariner+of+the+Seas+%7EWEST/dt/-3/k/76c3/event.png"></a>

Friend of Henry
806 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
Just keep scrolling down--it was copied into this thread. Lots of great info, although now I can't lift my suitcase.
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Royal Symphony of the Seas (Med) with Scentsy for our 30th anniversary 6/3/18 (working to earn it for FREE!)
Carnival Miracle (Western) with friends 3/10/18
Carnival Elation (Bahamas) with our college-age kids 1/13/18
Carnival Vista (Southern) just couples 10/7/17
Carnival Glory (Western) with families 3/26/16
Carnival Dream (Eastern) couples only 4/5/15
Carnival Dream (Western) with kids 5/25/14
Carnival Elation (Western) with church group couples 1/19/13

Carnival Freedom (Eastern) with kids 9/11/10
Royal Majesty of the Seas (again, but no kids) 10/5/09
Royal Vision of the Seas 5/18/08 (Mexican Riviera) with family (no kids this time)
Royal Voyager of the Seas 3/23/08 (Western) with 2 kids and friends
Royal Majesty of the Seas 9/24/07 (Eastern) with 2 kids
Norwegian Dream 3/24/07 (Western) with 2 kids
Norwegian Spirit 3/5/06 (Eastern) with 2 kids
Carnival Holiday 4/2/05 (Western) with 2 kids and friends
Royal Grandeur of the Seas 3/04 (Western)
Carnival Triumph 6/03 (Eastern) with 1 kid and family
Carnival Inspiration 6/02 (Western) with friends
Carnival Tropicale 5/98 (Western)
Carnival Celebration 12/89 (Eastern) with friends