Packing is probably the hardest part of getting ready for vacation. What do you take or not take and it seems you always have too much or not enough. Well there are a few things that you need to make sure you have for your next cruise.
Passport or documentation
When you cruise you will need to show proof of citizenship either with a passport or State issued ID and Birth Certificate. Depending on the cruise and your destination, these will be required to board.
For most cruises from the US, you can use a State Issued ID and Birth Certificate But if the cruise begins or ends in a different location, a passport might be required.
For the passport, be sure the expiration date is at least 6 months after your return date. If you need to get a passport or renew, give yourself a couple months, especially now, to go through the process.
If you are using a birth certificate and ID, the birth certificate needs to be official and issued by the state. For the most part, you can get copies from the Office of Vital Statistics or visit Vital Check to order a copy. For the ID, it needs to be valid up through the date of your return so an expired Drivers License will not work.
Non Surge Power Strip
With the amount of electronics we often travel with, we need to have a place to charge them. Cruise ships in the last few years have done a better job about providing outlets and USB Ports charge your devices but older ships tend to not be suitable.
I always bring power strip that will allow me to plug in up to three plugs and two USB Ports. The important feature is it cannot have surge protection per cruise line policies. I used to take one with surge protection and it was never confiscated but I would hate to lose it so I just don't chance it.
Luggage Tag Holders
Not only do you want to make sure you get on the ship, but make sure your luggage does too. For each cruise you take, you will be issued luggage tags that will indicate your stateroom number and location on the ship.
But gone are the days, at least with most cruise lines, are the cardboard or more solid luggage tags. Now, you print them on paper which can tear and fall off easily. Luggage tag holders have a plastic insert and sturdy connection to the luggage. This will protect it from water and from getting torn off.
A tip with these, if you are flying, do not add these on until you pick up your luggage at the carosel at the airport. Just have them ready in your carry on and when you pick up the luggage,, slap them on there.
First Aid Kit, medication and more
You never know when you might get a cut or have a headache and the last thing you want to do is spend a fortune in the gift shop or at the ship doctor. So take a mini first aide kit you can usually find at one of the big box stores in the band aid aisle or in the travel section. These usually have band aides, alkanol swabs and more.
Over the counter medications are important to have especially if you have any chronic ailments. I usually take, something for headaches and pain, a cold and allergy medication and although I have never needed it, sea sickness pills. You find the travel size of these in your big box store like Target and Walmart.
Cruise Line App
All of the cruise lines now have their own phone app used on for pre cruise check in, pre cruise purchases and for on board. Now more than ever, you need the app. When you are on board, you will use it for menus, list of activities, opening times and even for your muster drill. If you want to disconnect completely and leave your phone in the cabin, don't worry, you can get the printed menus at the restaurants and a copy of the daily planner at guest services.
Of course some of the items I did not mention are surrounding COVID 19 Protocols. Mask, your vaccine card and proof of a negative test result. These can vary by cruise line and can change.
What are your must haves when you cruise?
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I have a passion for travel and believe travel is about experiences. Experiences create memories and are the stories we tell to friends and family - even with a little fudging on the facts.