Since my last blog about our Royal Caribbean cruise experience was running a bit long, I promised to do another to share more information. I'm just doing a quick packing suggestions list today, and I will make a separate post with more details about theme nights, port days, and more!
Check out our original blog post about cruise preparation, embarkation, and the unique experiences available onboard Royal Caribbean!
Now let's dive into the proverbial meat and potatoes!
One of the questions that I, as a travel agent, get asked the most is: "What should I pack?"
This is an excellent question which I am more than happy to answer! For the most part, you know to pack changes of clothes, a bathing suit, etc... right? Essentials like toiletries, sunglasses, and your identification documentation (birth certificate, driver's license, passport and whatnot),... right? Well, if not, you know now!
I'm really just going to get into some items that often get overlooked when packing for a Caribbean cruise today. I'll cover Alaskan cruises another time.
For Royal Caribbean cruises, it is important to note that not all cruise ships have the same activities, features, and itineraries so this list is not the "Be All, End All". Don't come for me if it doesn't apply 100% to your specific cruise, ok?
1. Long pants and socks - I get it, you're taking a Caribbean cruise so why would you want to pack long pants? Well, if your cruise ship has a Studio B ice skating rink and you want to give skating a whirl, you will need long pants and socks in order to participate. This is a requirement from Royal Caribbean, not just me suggesting you keep your legs and feet warm!
2. Closed-Toed / Tennis Shoes - Some Royal Caribbean ships have an awesome feature called "Battle For Planet Z" which is a family friendly laser tag arena. When we showed up at our scheduled time (you schedule this in the app) we were both wearing sandals so we were, understandably, turned away (in hindsight, I'm not sure why we hadn't thought of it). I did have tennis shoes with me but they were up in our cabin and I didn't want to go back and get them. I know better for next time.
3. SeaPass Lanyards - Once you arrive on board, you will be given your SeaPass card which is the size of a driver's license. This card acts as your on board identification, payment method, and room key so it is important to have easy access to it. It makes it so you don't have to carry a wallet around if you don't want to, but it can be annoying to carry around especially if you don't have pockets on your outfit or don't carry a bag / purse. Having a lanyard around your neck that you can put the SeaPass in allows you to have easy access to it when you need it. I think these ones are cute, but of course there are tons of options online!
4. Outfits and Accessories for Theme Nights - For our 5 night cruise on Voyager of the Seas, we had a 70s Disco Party / Theme Night! It was a ton of fun to get dressed up in some groovy 70s inspired gear and dance to some funky tunes in the Promenade with many other guests who are also dressed the part! I found a cute flowery top and skirt at my local thrift store and I ordered these fun accessories to go along with them! It was an awesome party!
5. Rubber Duckies - This is obviously totally optional and in no way affiliated with the cruise line. Hiding and hunting for cruising ducks is a fun activity that has spread like wildfire over the last few years and of course I find it super cute (I have a rubber ducky nativity in my nativity collection so this should come as no major shock). Lot of people bring duckies to hide around the ship, and many people actively search for them! There are a ton of different variations but I liked these ones since Christmas is coming up!
6. Umbrella or Rain Ponchos - I've been on several cruises where it has rained during port days. I refuse to let a little agua ruin my experience so I usually pack a small umbrella or rain poncho to bring along just in case. Luckily we did not need to use it during our last cruise but I have needed an umbrella while in port in Costa Maya on another occasion and I felt bad for the people with crying kids who didn't have anything to keep them somewhat dry. I have bought these ponchos in the past because they have adult and child sizes in the pack and I can toss them in the garbage later on and not worry about it.
7. Electronics Charging Cables and Charging Bricks/ Blocks - About an hour after I boarded Voyager of the Seas I realized that I had left my phone charger in the hotel room. Ugh! I went into panic mode. Luckily, was able to buy one on board but it was super expensive! And even then I only bought the cable not the brick (thinking I could use the USB port on my laptop to charge it). Nope, that was a no-go. Although some newer ships have USB ports in the rooms for charging things, many do not have that feature. In fact, in our stateroom there was only one outlet in the living/ sleeping area and it was at the desk, not by the beds. Since my laptop-as-a-charger idea ended up being a bust, I was glad that Julie let me use her brick but we were annoyed that both plugs were being used just for phone charging. If you have multiple people and / or multiple devices that need to be charged I definitely recommend a few things... 1) a multi- USB charger brick, and 2) a portable phone charger / power bank.
8. Sunscreen and Bug Spray - Sunscreen should be fairly obvious, yet I have known tons of people (myself included) that have forgotten it at some point and had to pay big tourist dollars to buy it on board or in port at one of the small drug store shops or kiosks. DO NOT FORGET IT! And many people forget that there are mosquitos in the Caribbean and regret not packing something. I personally prefer the wipes I get from Avon but you can bring whatever brand/ type you prefer.
9. White Noise Machine, Small Fan, or Phone App - At home we typically have an air conditioner, box fan, and air purifier running in our bedroom at night. It's mostly because my husband can't stand to have any kind of peace and quiet in order to go to sleep and stay asleep. When he cruises with me I bring a little portable fan (be sure to check the requirements for the cruise line as some fans are prohibited). Julie had an app on her phone that made a fan noise all night so she could sleep so I didn't need the little portable fan this time. But if you like moving air obviously an app won't help. This is what I have:
10. Formal Wear - Another optional packing suggestion is to bring your fanciest formal wear! Each Royal Caribbean cruise will have at least one Elegant Night where you may choose to dress to the nines if you want! I find it to be very fun and it gives me an excuse to buy a new sparkly dress! I usually get mine from somewhere super affordable like a thrift store, Ross Dress For Less, or Burlington but you can spend as much as your little heart desires, honey! You can make it a family affair, hubby in a suit, kids in something nice yet not nice enough they can't spill ketchup on it without ruining your mood... Some of my kids like to dress up, some don't. My husband goes along with it to an extent but he doesn't even enjoy wearing sleeves on t-shirts so it's a sacrifice for him... One which I appreciate, haha! Word to the wise--- if you are the type of lady, like me, who loves high heels it ight be a good idea to keep the heels on the shorter side, especially if you are going to be up on deck taking photos or anything like that because it can be slippery and I do not think breaking an ankle on a cruise sounds like a good time.