Regardless of whether this is your first or tenth cruise vacation, there are a number of accessories that you just need to bring along to ensure a more relaxed and enjoyable time at sea – especially since you’re hundreds of miles away from land. So check out our list of five must-have accessories to pack to guarantee your perfectly planned cruise vacation will go as smooth as clockwork.
At this day and age, we no longer have the luxury of being completely sequestered from friends, family and colleagues during holidays – neither do we want to. The presence of a mobile phone or tablet has become an essential part of modern life, and revolutionised how we live our lives. Beyond making phone calls, smartphones and other electronic devices also keep us connected to the outside world and help stay abreast of work and current affairs.
However, an extremely high number of vacationers actually forget to bring along travel or portable chargers during their holidays. Even among those that do remember to do so, many fail to take into account plug and socket types.
Here are the key things to remember. UK uses type G plugs, which is one of the 15 types of plugs used around the world. Most cruise ships are built outside of the UK (frequently Europe and the U.S.), so plug compatibility is an issue. Thankfully, universal adaptors offer a simple fix to the problem – and they are cheap. Remember to get one so you can keep your phone, tablet or laptop fully powered. Further, while you may be used to using USB-C, Micro USB and Lightning connectors to charge your phones, keep in mind that they take a much longer time compared to wall outlet adaptors.
In addition, external battery chargers (or power banks) are also handy to have when you’re out on extended shore excursions. These devices can store up power and charge your phone while you’re busy sunbathing on the Caribbean beach or wandering along the cobbled streets of the Mediterranean. Some power banks have capacities as high 25,600 mAh, which could charge iPhones 15 times over (and iPads twice over)!
A good pair of shoes is always important to have, but nothing can beat the convenience and comfort of sandals during a cruise – and we’re not even talking about shore excursions yet. On board cruise ships, you will be doing a fair amount of walking from your stateroom to the pool, restaurants, spa, pool, recreation area, pool, bars and, again, pool. For those who have developed roots to their car seats or office chairs, all that walking using sports shoes will frequently lead to blisters, which will get even worse during excursions to sandy beaches. On top of that, damp sandals can dry out in minutes under the sun – and that’s an important factor for your choice of footwear on the high seas.
First off, it is important to understand the difference between a sunblock and sunscreen. Sunscreen absorbs longwave ultraviolet A (UVA) and shortwave ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. This is useful for sunbathing and short to medium length exposure to the sun. But it’s not a recommended solution for prolonged exposures as active ingredients like salicylates and benzophenones tend to break down after a few hours of exposure to the sun.
The active ingredients on sunblock such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, on the other hand, blocks both UVA and UVB rays from reaching your skin. As such, you want to use sunblock during cruise vacations as they prevent you from being mildly roasted during long days under the sun. Sunblock also offers a better level of protection against skin cancer.
When buying sunblock, make sure you are getting one that is waterproof as they last longer on wet skin (up to 90 minutes for some brands). Water resistant sunblock rarely last beyond half an hour (40 minutes top).
So, to summarise: get sunblock, not sunscreen, and get waterproof, not water resistant, ones.
While dignity demands that you should never be caught wearing a bum bag on land, it’s a different story altogether while you’re on a cruise. Bum bags provide you with an easy way to store essential items such as passports, wallets, stateroom keys, mobile phones, medicines and sunglasses. It could mean the different between being comfortable enough to sleep by the pool and hiding your stateroom keys under your sandals or shoes tucked beside the lounge chair (because no one else would think about that secret hiding place, right?).
Cruise ships typically only provide body wash, shampoo and soap bars in bathrooms. While you can buy toothpaste, toothbrush, conditioners, razors and other amenities at the ship’s store, they are expensive and the range is limited. So make sure to bring a well-stocked toiletry bag that will last the duration of your trip. Even if you don’t usually use conditioners, bring a bottle along anyway as the constant exposure to the sun and water will turn obedient hair into unruly steel wires.
The five items above may seem inconsequential, but trust us, their absence will put a dent on your holiday.