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What is your favorite cruise "hack"?

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1 hour ago, Crazy4Camping said:

I brought strong magnets on our cruise in February and unfortunately, the walls weren't metal.  I guess it depends what ship???

Yeah, I think we’ve been on seven Carnival ships and I swear none of them had magnetic walls. So I’m always baffled by that tip. I’m not saying it’s not the case for some ships, but it’s odd that none of the seven I’ve been on have had it...

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I save hangers and bags from my dry cleaning.  I pack everything on the hangers, inside the bag.  When I get on the ship, voila — I pull everything out and hang it.  I remove the bags, which gives me a bag for dirty laundry and large bags for garbage (I tend to shop a lot).  The bags also help keep the wrinkles out of my clothes.

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On 4/29/2019 at 12:56 PM, Crazy4Camping said:

I brought strong magnets on our cruise in February and unfortunately, the walls weren't metal.  I guess it depends what ship???

 

23 hours ago, amyj23 said:

Yeah, I think we’ve been on seven Carnival ships and I swear none of them had magnetic walls. So I’m always baffled by that tip. I’m not saying it’s not the case for some ships, but it’s odd that none of the seven I’ve been on have had it...

 

Sorry they didn't work for you.  We've taken on NCL, Princess, and Carnival and always worked.  There are certain spots that magnets won't stick (there's a video somewhere in CC where it was tested) as not all metals react with magnets - I'm pretty sure door/window frames were some.  I thought all ship walls were metal based for fire safety, but the laminate wall covering might be thicker on some ships causing interference too.

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loved my magnet hooks and medicine bag. you never know what you might need (cough/cold/etc)

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On 3/27/2019 at 3:29 PM, Linsuesue said:

We always bring extra hangers, because there aren’t always the same amount in every closet. It also makes unpacking super simple to just take clothes directly from the suitcase to the hanger rod. My hack is to make sure 2 of the hangers we bring are the plastic clothing store hangers that have the swiveling metal hook hanger on the top. After coming back to the cabin  after a day at the beach or pool, we put our swimsuits or towels on those 2 hangers. We bring 2 super cheap Harbor Freight spring clamps ( looks like a metal clothespin with rubberized tips) and attach the hangers to the BACK of the chairs on the balcony. The swiveling top on the hangers adjust easily to go north south instead of east west and hang nicely on the chairbacks. Things dry faster there than on the shower clothesline and are out of the way too. We learned the hard way that it can get windy on the balcony and things draped over the chair backs can get blown off or blown away.  We also use the spring clamps on the clamshell chairs near pools. I got some $2 “Sarong” scarfs from Amazon and 1 of those will stretch across the front top of the clamshell- clamped on each end. It gives you a nice sun shade and bit of privacy. The clamps will also weight down a shower curtain, if necessary. 

Do you happen to have a picture of the clamshell with the Sarong scarf? That sounds like a neat idea.  Thanks!

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On 11/8/2018 at 12:10 PM, bahacca said:

Over the door shoe organizer. I bought one that lives in my suitcase so I never forget it.

 

On 11/8/2018 at 2:30 PM, Number12 said:

I love my over the door organizer, but instead of hanging it on the door, I use some strong magnet hooks from Amazon and find a convenient place to put it on the wall.  This keeps it out of the way and eliminates the possibility of damaging the door.

 

Just getting started on this thread.

 

In the last few years, I've seen a lot of people on this forum recommend taking an over-the-door shoe organizer. We don't take a lot of shoes and I didn't think we took enough miscellaneous things to make one of these useful, but maybe I'm looking at it all wrong. Besides the obvious (shoes), what do y'all use them for?

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43 minutes ago, Organized Chaos said:

 

 

Just getting started on this thread.

 

In the last few years, I've seen a lot of people on this forum recommend taking an over-the-door shoe organizer. We don't take a lot of shoes and I didn't think we took enough miscellaneous things to make one of these useful, but maybe I'm looking at it all wrong. Besides the obvious (shoes), what do y'all use them for?

My mother used it for medicine, belts, lanyards ...

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The one I have is shorter than a shoe organizer.  The pockets are mesh so you can see what's in them.  We use it to keep receipts, spare change, meds, sunscreen, cameras, chargers, just keeps the clutter out of the way. There are lots of variations on Amazon. I picked mine up at Ross years ago and have used it a lot when we travel.

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After 20 CCL cruises, I have NEVER needed magnets, shoe organizers, fan, alarm clock, post it notes, boards...etc.  Only useful item is a couple hangars (but you can get them from your room steward) and a small power bar or a wall socket thing to plug a few things (camera, phone) at once.

 

Not a 'hack'...but a hammock for the balcony is nice, bungee cords to keep the door open, and insulated Bubbas to keep the beer I smuggle nice and cold when on deck.

 

Oh, I guess smuggling beer is a hack......buy some Coke......

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Bringing ziploc bags to fill with ice when I’m going to the beach.

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Posted (edited)

I bring anti-bacterial liquid soap from the $1 store for hand washing in the bathroom.  I usually just use regular liquid soap at home, but it doesn't hurt to take a little more care on a cruise.  I hate using bar soap to wash my hands. 

Edited by Butterbean1000

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15 minutes ago, IGGY63 said:

After 20 CCL cruises, I have NEVER needed magnets, shoe organizers, fan, alarm clock, post it notes, boards...etc.  Only useful item is a couple hangars (but you can get them from your room steward) and a small power bar or a wall socket thing to plug a few things (camera, phone) at once.

 

Not a 'hack'...but a hammock for the balcony is nice, bungee cords to keep the door open, and insulated Bubbas to keep the beer I smuggle nice and cold when on deck.

 

Oh, I guess smuggling beer is a hack......buy some Coke......

 

I'll say it again:

 

On 3/27/2019 at 1:50 PM, ShakyBeef said:

 

Please don't do this!!!   This cuts down on the cooling from the A/C system for other cabins all around you.  That is what causes those "warm nights" in the cabins.  Please, please, everyone stop doing this and ruining the comfort of so many others on the ship with you!

 

Although this first thread I'm including a link to is from the RCI forum, it contains very informative posts from Chengkp75, a very knowledgeable cruise ship chief engineer explaining just why it is bad to prop one's balcony door open:

 

 

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On 4/30/2019 at 12:30 PM, pacruise804 said:

 

 

Sorry they didn't work for you.  We've taken on NCL, Princess, and Carnival and always worked.  There are certain spots that magnets won't stick (there's a video somewhere in CC where it was tested) as not all metals react with magnets - I'm pretty sure door/window frames were some.  I thought all ship walls were metal based for fire safety, but the laminate wall covering might be thicker on some ships causing interference too.

Good to know! I will seek those videos out. It would be really nice to have more hanging spots. And I have lots of magnetic hooks I could bring along!

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I get a water glass & spoon  from the buffet and head directly to the ice cream soft serve machine.   Those stupid little cones don't deserve ice cream!  

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The pockets in the show organizer should be clear plastic. I have never put shoes in the pockets! Sunglasses, sunscreen, lanyards, hair brushes, shaving gel, razors, deodorant, medications, sea bands. I always cruise with my daughter's (12 and 13) and sometimes my husband. Having this on the outside of the bathroom door allows for people to get ready without needing to be in the tiny bathroom.

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I always take hair bands like these and tie them to the clothesline in the shower.  then I can hang hangers on them with wet bathing suit.  this way they don't all slide together and dry faster.

 

hair bands.png

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5 minutes ago, SmogMonster said:

I always take hair bands like these and tie them to the clothesline in the shower.  then I can hang hangers on them with wet bathing suit.  this way they don't all slide together and dry faster.

 

hair bands.png

Brilliant!!!!!!

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7 minutes ago, SmogMonster said:

I always take hair bands like these and tie them to the clothesline in the shower.  then I can hang hangers on them with wet bathing suit.  this way they don't all slide together and dry faster.

 

hair bands.png

Love this idea!

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Posted (edited)

Another thing we take with us are the inexpensive blow up pool floats.  You can buy a pack of three at walmart for about $4 and they lay flat in your suitcase.  We use them on our private island day and then find a family with kids and give the floats to them when we leave

 

float.jpg

Edited by SmogMonster
spelling

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36 minutes ago, SmogMonster said:

Another thing we take with us are the inexpensive blow up pool floats.  You can buy a pack of three at walmart for about $4 and they lay flat in your suitcase.  We use them on our private island day and then find a family with kids and give the floats to them when we leave

 

float.jpg

 

That is such a great idea and a huge money saver from renting floats.

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23 hours ago, cruiserll said:

Do you happen to have a picture of the clamshell with the Sarong scarf? That sounds like a neat idea.  Thanks!

 

We usually use our hammock for this now since it is bigger and has built in clips, but we used to use a microfiber towel or beach wrap. Depending on the size you may not even need a clip or clamp. The clam shells we have used have a wire-like form on the underside which you can tuck the end of a towel or wrap into very snug, wrapping it under a couple times if it is windy. Super simple and can be done by re-purposing one of several things you may already have with you. 

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2 hours ago, SmogMonster said:

Another thing we take with us are the inexpensive blow up pool floats.  You can buy a pack of three at walmart for about $4 and they lay flat in your suitcase.  We use them on our private island day and then find a family with kids and give the floats to them when we leave

 

float.jpg

 

We do this too, as well as with sand toys from the dollar store.  When my kids are done with them and we were ready to head back to the ship, my girls give them to local kids (if at Junkanoo Beach in Nassau for instance), or I ask one of the resort or bar staff if they know anyone with children who would be interested in taking them.  None of the items have ever been turned down.  It's a nice little win/win.:classic_smile:

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First thing's first, I've been holding onto this for several pages and just need to get it out of the way before I burst. LOL In regards to all the previous talk about touching the faucet and door handles of public bathrooms...I've used public bathrooms hundreds, maybe thousands, of times in my life and don't ever recall a time when that alone made me sick. I touch the handles, both faucet and door, without paper towels. The trick is, don't lick your fingers after visiting a public bathroom. 😉

 

One more thing, I hate the terms "hack" and "life hack" when referring to tips and advice. Just a pet peeve of mine. It's not you, it's me. Now on to my tips and/or advice! 😀

 

Along the lines of bathroom cleanliness, I trust the ship's housekeeping team far more than I trust those in most hotels, especially budget hotels. I know the stewards and their teams have a lot of cabins to service, so you might think they cut corners, but I've seen them in action enough to make me comfortable with their work. So we don't feel the need to wipe everything down ourselves.

 

I roll all of my T-shirts when packing. Believe it or not, rolling them takes up less space than folding. I actually took the time to test it. I needed to know...FOR SCIENCE! I'll even roll jean shorts and khaki shorts, but those are a little harder to do. Other things, like button up/collared shirts, jeans & khaki pants, can be difficult to roll, so I'll usually just fold those. I'm very careful when rolling my T-shirts, making sure to smooth out any wrinkles as I roll them. It's a bit tedious, but in doing this, I've been able to leave the shirts rolled up for an entire week and not have any wrinkles when they're unrolled.

 

I've seen several mentions of portable fans. I take one, too. Always do on our vacations, regardless of where we go. I get hot easy so I like to have some air, but also because I need the white noise. I can't sleep when it's silent. I take a long extension cord (9-10 ft.) and this lets me put the fan right by the bed or it can be stretched to the bathroom to air it out after a steamy shower. I guess most people go to Amazon for their fans, but you can also try the camping section at Walmart (or your big box store of choice). Mine is an O2COOL brand 10" camping fan from Walmart. It's at least 10-15 years old, but still going strong. It folds fairly flat, so it doesn't take up much space. I see many are rechargeable nowadays. Mine does work off of C batteries, but comes with an AC adapter, which is what I prefer. I'll use it until it gives out, then probably buy the same brand since it's worked so well for me. They're still out there, just a little updated.

 

We bought a portable clothesline last year and really liked it. One like this:

81DmGpLCs-L._SX425_.jpg

We stretch it across the shower, for one. It's made of bungee. Hanging wet clothes from the clamps seems to dry better than folding them over the string clothesline in the cabin showers. The clamps can be adjusted to the width you want using the little stoppers. I'm sure there are plenty of other uses for it. Maybe hanging decorations?

 

I don't think the shoe organizers will do us much good. We bought a hanging mesh shower caddy with, I think, six pockets for shampoos and such. We put most of our basic toiletries on the bathroom shelves. They're there, might as well use them. That way the counter isn't cluttered.

 

In case some people haven't read through this whole thread, one great piece of advice is to open the cabinet door to the refrigerator (not the fridge door), even just a little. Those cabinets aren't well ventilated and it gets very hot in there. Those fridges struggle to keep up in that hot cabinet. Opening the door a little should help cool the fridge much better.

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17 hours ago, Organized Chaos said:

 

 

I roll all of my T-shirts when packing. Believe it or not, rolling them takes up less space than folding. I actually took the time to test it. I needed to know...FOR SCIENCE! I'll even roll jean shorts and khaki shorts, but those are a little harder to do. Other things, like button up/collared shirts, jeans & khaki pants, can be difficult to roll, so I'll usually just fold those. I'm very careful when rolling my T-shirts, making sure to smooth out any wrinkles as I roll them. It's a bit tedious, but in doing this, I've been able to leave the shirts rolled up for an entire week and not have any wrinkles when they're unrolled.

 

 

Rolling isn't THE best or most efficient way.  I used to roll my things too, then I discovered this method --->  https://www.purewow.com/travel/how-to-pack-to-prevent-wrinkles

 

it changed everything.  I can pack twice as much in the same space.   rolling leaves dead spaces between things, so for science, I think you should try both methods and see which one wins.   :)

 

it's at least another option, but it really works. I don't do it to prevent wrinkles, that's just an added bonus.   It DOES take a bit of work to unpack it all and hang it up, but to me it's worth it.    

 

if you are the type of person who leaves stuff rolled up in the closet, this method wouldn't work for you, but if you are looking to put as much stuff in the suitcase as possible, this is the way to go.  

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2 hours ago, pyropoodle said:

Rolling isn't THE best or most efficient way.  I used to roll my things too, then I discovered this method --->  https://www.purewow.com/travel/how-to-pack-to-prevent-wrinkles

 

it changed everything.  I can pack twice as much in the same space.   rolling leaves dead spaces between things, so for science, I think you should try both methods and see which one wins.   🙂

 

it's at least another option, but it really works. I don't do it to prevent wrinkles, that's just an added bonus.   It DOES take a bit of work to unpack it all and hang it up, but to me it's worth it.    

 

if you are the type of person who leaves stuff rolled up in the closet, this method wouldn't work for you, but if you are looking to put as much stuff in the suitcase as possible, this is the way to go.  

 

In my defense, I never said rolling was the best or most efficient way. I just said it takes up less space than normal folding. I wouldn't say I leave much dead space. Not enough to make a difference, anyway. I combine rolling most clothes with folding others that are difficult to roll, plus miscellaneous things to fill in the gaps. I can get a pretty tight fit. All those years of playing Tetris as a teenager have really paid off in life. 🤣 Packing a suitcase, loading a car trunk, etc. The method you showed is definitely...unique. She only packed a dress, 3 shirts, and 2 pairs of pants, but I'll take your word for it that it works. Looks like it'll be a bit difficult trying to lay down everything in just the right places on all sides so they fold over the next layer just right. I never was very good at wrapping presents. It's not that I want or need to leave stuff rolled in the closet, but they're already packed that way, and they come out wrinkle free, so what the heck. It's easy to unpack. I'll hang my nicer shirts that I wear to the MDR, many of those usually aren't rolled anyway.

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