Essential packing for a cruise

Another cruise ship comedian, Taffy Spencer, has been bemoaning lost his luggage …. well, as they say in the song, ‘the days of Taffy Spencer’ …. days with no clean pants! Manuel Martinez lost his flying back to do his ‘Live at the Apollo’ and quick back to the Britannia. Stuart St Paul lost his flying to Venice to join the Aurora. These guys are on planes a lot. None of this is the ship’s fault, and sadly the ship leaves at the time set, not when your bags might arrive.

So, pack a quick change in hand luggage when flying, but be aware most people including us regulars always pack too much. Having said that, mine with clothes for two weeks, camera, computer, editor etc is still only one bag, Jean’s with stage costumes, unless she is doing 5 shows is just one bag.

  • Great ideas from our chat sites –
  • Mandy – she takes a fold-up washing basket. Saves getting the cases out to pop the dirties in! 
  • Paul – Pegs. Blu Tac. Plastic zip lock bags. LED torch. Hat.
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The airline is where luggage is delayed and a delay for a leaving ship is a problem. The ship will not wait for luggage because they have itineraries for passengers to meet tours and port costs can be thousands per minute, even if they could stay because port staff finish work. So, if on a fly-cruise, there is a gadget, a tracker, you can tell the ship and the airport exactly where your case is. Stuart knew where his case was and knew every step of the way that BA was getting the delayed luggage to Dubrovnik.

A tracker is a bit like ‘track my phone.” Except for a case. The Trakdot is a tracker you put in your case. Marella Cruises to the Caribbeanclick here to view Marella Cruise’s own web site page for –  Caribbean Cruise deals page

What else to Pack

The old saying, he’s got long pockets and short arms, use to apply to people who could not find their wallets. It now applies to people who fly. Coats with huge pockets for heavy items! But, always remember, you can ship your bags separately from the airline. See here. And if you are picking up a world cruise by flight, you might be able to put your cases on in Southampton. Ask. Or, track your case on your phone and know where it is. So when you go to the desk and say my cases have not arrived, and the helpful person says they don’t know where they are, you can show them on your phone! click here. Yes, we have a few useful tips, but always like more. Especially good ones. Like with storms rocking the ocean, sea sickness bands might stay in the case.

A serial killer on ship in the Pacific days from land? – Millions of dollars smuggled on and off ship, then goes missing? – An agoraphobic woman who has never had a relationship decides to cruise before its too late? – Great books that happen on board cruise ships, that make excellent reading while cruising – click here for our cruise novels page.

Join your ships chat group, our great family of cruisers have loads of tips.

SAGA quoted a 2013 survey, saying the average British holidaymaker spends an average of £26.50 during their holiday buying items they have forgotten to take with them. That is why we have packing tips lists.

  • Save your pictures and take them off your mobile smartphone, before you go! Leaving you space to take new pictures when away.
  • A spare memory card for your camera will be cheap if bought before you go.
    You won’t buy memory cards this cheap when away, see below. Just saying.
  • In your hand luggage pack – passport, visas, esta (USA), credit cards, insurance policy, European Medical Card and photocopy them all to have a record. Any medication you may need, tablets for a handover and plasters just in case. Sun cream insect repellent.
  • It is a good idea to put a change of clothes in your hand luggage in case your bags take a while to be delivered. Especially if you are flying.
  • What else to pack?  Permanently in my suitcase are seasickness bands. They sell them on board, and I have only needed them once, but they are always packed.
    My bands were much more expensive than the ones featured below. Buy before you go. See below, that is the cheapest we have found them.
    Some people say take Ginger, it may be worth taking some ginger tablets and a root to make a hot drink, certainly can’t harm.
  • Packing can be a nightmare but relax! There is a laundry so even if you forget that extra item you can rotate your clothes and no one will be any the wiser. Bonus, there is less washing to do when you get home. There is also a laundry service and there will be a ship’s tailor on board, not a lot of people know that. So if you need that garment taking out, or in,  just ask at reception.
  • Battery charger for phone and camera. If you have lots of appliances you might like to pack a four-way extension block, I never travel without one. All your electronics must have a CE mark
  • Sandwich bags, often very useful.
  • Walking shoes! Even in the sunny places where you are leisurely, there will be hills to climb like up the castle in St Maarten. Hat, sunglasses and beach shoes. Fold up rain poncho/coat?
  • Water holder. A bag, maybe a backpack with water bottle holder. See below for a belt version. Do not get dehydrated.
  • Do you need to download any useful apps? Look at the Metro map? (see our guide on Barcelona) Like one to translate language or work out currency conversions. Travel and city maps or even a Doris Visits film from Youtube using ClipConvertor. Maybe go to and build your own walking route; to do that just add in the two locations and press the walker. When your way is up you can even drag the dots to change the route.
  • Inside cabin means you can sleep like a log, you don’t know when to wake up, they are darker and less noisy.
  • Balcony cabin means you can sunbathe in private.
  • Sometimes the restaurants offer a free bottle of wine if you visit on the first night. This happened to us in Atul Kochhar’s Sindhu restaurant on the Arcadia ….. And a very nice bottle it was too! Sometimes the last night of a cruise has such offers.
  • A good tip is that when the ship is in port there will often be discounts on spa treatments, so if you finish exploring early that is a good day to visit the spa.
  • Table tennis is always very popular and the first time we cruised I thought you probably had to go to the fitness reception to borrow the bats. Wrong. They are on the side of the table.
  • If you order a Costa coffee you can have a free pastry. It took me a few cruises and a conversation with Manuel Martinez comedy comedian to find this out. The pastries at Costa are even more delicious than the ones in the self-service restaurant and also free!
  • If you watch Doris Visits we will show you literally hundreds of excursions that we took on our own, and we made it back to the ship in time. Don’t be frightened to use local buses and trains but give yourself time to get back and always have a backup plan (taxi)
  • Carry the ship’s details or the daily newspaper.
  • The hop on hop off is often a good bet, but in some places just not worth it. Most times it is very easy and Doris Visits will give you lots of tips on how to do it, and you save a fortune. See our bus tour of Rome

Don’t forget your insurance, even though the prices seem to keep going up. Maybe you can save by getting a cruise deal, check by our Compare the Cruise deal page, it is worth book marking as we update the links to all the cruise deal pages.

Book your next cruise using these links below direct to the cruise operators site and look for last-minute deals there, that is where everyone else gets them from and resells them. Here is where to look. If you don’t want the late deal just search the site for the cruise you want and look for deals for booking. There are some further ideas on this page – click here

Do your research, cruise like a pro – save money – here’s the CARIBBEAN but we have the whole world listed.