16 Things Pro Cruisers Pack That You Won’t Have Thought Of

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You probably won’t know it, but there are some unusual things that regular cruisers never travel without.

A man in a hat, carrying a suitcase and bag, walks towards a docked cruise ship. The scene is vibrant with palm trees, people strolling, and a bustling seaside town atmosphere, with clear skies and a jet flying overhead.

I asked my Facebook fans what they thought were essentials that other cruise guests wouldn’t think to pack.

Here’s that list – maybe some of these will find their way into your suitcase for your next cruise?

1.  Bleach wipes

Cabin attendants on a cruise ship are extremely hardworking, and generally do a great job of keeping cabins clean and tidy for all guests.

But I know that some guests prefer to take bleach wipes with them for the start of their cruise, to give certain areas a deeper clean that might’ve been missed.

Some people like to make sure the toilet, in particular, gets a thorough clean, especially underneath the rim. Whether you need bleach wipes or not splits opinion – you could just ask the cabin attendant to clean the toilet for you if you think it needs it.

Just be sure to never flush wipes on a cruise ship.

2.  Bathroom air freshener

Another bathroom one, but it could be very useful. A lot of pro cruisers like to pack an air-freshening spray for their cabin bathroom. Cabins are often small and so the windowless bathroom, and any odours left in there, can easily impose on the rest of the room.

Having a spray just to freshen things up can make your cabin a much more pleasant space to unwind.

3.  Crease release spray

There’s another spray that you might want to pack in your suitcase for a cruise – one that helps to get the creases and wrinkles out of your clothes.

There are always ironing services available if you want your clothes to be pressed, but often it’s easier just to hang your outfits in the bathroom, spray on a little bit of this loosening spray, and let the steam from the shower do the job for you.

4.  Post-it notes

This is a great little tip for anyone cruising – it takes up barely any space in your suitcase but could be really handy. A set of post-it notes can make it much easier to communicate with your cabin attendant.

It might seem a little impersonal, but you don’t know when they’re going to be tackling your room and you don’t always want to wait around for them. You have cruise things to go and enjoy! So a set of post-it notes can make it much easier to leave requests.

It’s also handy if your party is likely to split up – leaving notes in the cabin for each other can be a simple way of communicating without using expensive phone data or WiFi.

5.  Ear plugs

Even if you’ve done all your research on choosing your cabin, making sure to avoid one directly under the pool deck or above the ship’s theatre, sometimes there’s noise that can’t be avoided.

Packing a set of ear plugs is always a good idea, just to help you get that good night’s sleep you need, especially if you’ve got a walking tour booked for the next day and you need your energy.

6.  White noise machine

You can buy small white noise machines that produce a gentle, soothing noise for your cabin, and a lot of pro cruisers swear by them.

It’s not necessarily to cover the noise of the ship, but just to provide some kind of background noise. If you get a quiet cabin, then you might be surprised by just how quiet it is – and white noise can just take the edge off the silence.

They definitely aren’t right for everyone – I know plenty of people who prefer no noise at all – but one to consider.

7.  Sensor lights for bathrooms

If you wake up in the middle of the night on your cruise, needing a visit to the bathroom, the last thing you want to do is put on the main bathroom light. It’ll not just wake you up, but it’ll often fill a lot of the bedroom space with light too, waking up your other guests.

Instead, take a small sensor light with you – one that emits a gentle glow and is activated by motion. This will give you a much dimmer light that still does everything you need for your bathroom visit, without blinding you or causing your partner to wake up grumpy.

8.  Magnetic hooks

A staple of many pro cruisers’ luggage is magnetic hooks. Cruise ship cabin walls are made of metal, and so magnetic hooks will stick to the walls and massively improve your storage space.

You could use them to hang anything – decorations, lanyards, coats and jackets. Just make sure you read the weight limit for them, especially if hanging clothing on them, or they might not work.

9.  Extension leads

If you’re someone who likes to pack a lot of electrical items for your cruise, then you might want to consider packing an extension lead or power strip to give you more outlets.

As a rule, the older the ship, the fewer plug sockets you’ll find in your cabin. While new ships often have USB sockets by the bed, older ones definitely don’t, so an extension cord can help with that.

Check your cruise line’s luggage policy though as some don’t allow them. And also, you’re more likely to have a surge-protected extension lead confiscated than a regular one. While that might sound counterintuitive, it’s because surge-protected ones can mess with the ship’s electrical systems.

10. Fairy lights

If you want to decorate your cruise cabin and make it feel more homely, there are a lot of options, and as long as you don’t leave any permanent damage or use anything that’s a fire hazard, such as a candle, then you should be fine.

Battery-powered fairy lights are a regular go-to option for pro cruisers who want a nicer ambience in their room. They’re cheap, can be hung with magnetic hooks and just give a nicer glow for your room than the main light would.

11. Workout clothes

It’s very easy to overlook workout clothes when packing your luggage, either accidentally or ‘accidentally’. But it definitely makes sense to pack them, because you never know when the mood will take you.

Pretty much every cruise ship has a gym that’s free to use, along with a running track. I quite enjoy a run around the ship – the view is great, and my Strava tracker tells me I’ve run twice as far as I actually have while the ship is moving, haha!

But seriously, it’s worth having them with you, because by the second half of your cruise, you might feel the need to start working off that buffet and those cocktails.

12. Clock

It’s often tricky to tell what time it is when you’re in a cruise ship cabin, especially if it’s an inside cabin without any windows.

Obviously you could check your phone, but that so easily leads to checking other things on your phone and suddenly it’s 4 am, you’re doom-scrolling Instagram and you’re exhausted for the rest of the day.

Consider taking a cheap clock with you. It’ll make it easy to roll over, see the time without blasting your eyes with light, so that you know whether it’s time to get up and get to breakfast or you’ve a few hours still to rest.

13. Pop-up laundry basket

It’s handy to have somewhere in your cabin to store your dirty clothes during the cruise, so that there’s no mess and you’re not risking mixing your clean stuff with things you’ve worn. A lot of people use their suitcase – unpack, and then throw dirty stuff in there.

But if you’d rather leave your suitcase tucked away for the cruise, you could try a pop-up laundry basket.

They are super cheap, and are especially useful if you plan on doing laundry on the ship, since you can just carry the basket to the laundry room when it’s full.

14. Basic medicine

While most people will remember their important prescription medication for their cruise, a lot of people forget to pack the basics that you might need – things like paracetamol, Sudocrem, Lemsip, or Calpol for the kids.

It can be much more expensive to buy these on the ship so it’s always worth remembering them, and hopefully, you don’t need to use them.

But if you catch a bug or get a bit of sunstroke, they might be just what you need to keep you powering through.

15. Portable fans

A small, portable fan should be allowed on most cruise ships and can be very handy for staying cool by the poolside or when you’re off visiting ports of call.

Your cabin should be fine – you’ll have air-con, though don’t be afraid to ask for a fan from your attendant if it’s still hot or you like the moving air.

Take a portable one though, so you’ve got something with you, especially on cruises to hot places like the Caribbean.

16. Pineapple door magnets

Is this essential? Definitely not, but when I asked my Facebook fans for suggestions, this came up!

Likely a joke, but if you did want to enjoy a certain type of cruise, with intimate liaisons with other guests, then magnets could help signal your intent!

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Final word

It’s good to see that there’s some crossover between the recommendations of my Facebook fans and my own list of must-have cruise essentials.

Between these guides, you shouldn’t forget anything that’ll make your cruise go smoothly – but if you have any other recommendations then please do add them below!

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Cruise Mummy

Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.

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