This cruise has been a long time coming and we’ve wanted to set sail for almost 14 years!! There was always a reason not to go, we had just moved, job changes, having a new baby, and then we had three more babies and 3 more moves. It was just never the *right* time or enough money for us to cruise. Thankfully with my growing Plexus business, we were able to afford to take our entire family of 6 on the cruise. I’m so grateful since this is something we could never have done before!
While we were getting ready for the cruise, I did gobs of research, (aka Google searches) to find out what we should bring with us. I compiled a ridiculously long list of “must haves” and we headed off to buy what we didn’t have on hand already. Our family always packs lightly for trips so this way of approaching our trip was very against our tendencies anyway. Truth be told, I was nervous and didn’t want to be caught off guard at sea, so we forged on and overpacked.
Through various websites, I saw the same things mentioned over and over again, things such as magnetic hooks for hanging wet swimming suits and towels to power strips, flashlights, mini fans, walkie talkies, sticky notes, snacks, etc.
I must admit, for our family, most of it was a waste of money and space. But instead, let me break down why so you can evaluate whether you should bring them on your next family cruise.
Disclaimer: This is our perspective having just cruised on Norweigan Cruise Lines, (specifically the Jade) with our 4 children in a suite. If you are on a different ship or cruise line you’ll likely have different needs.
What to NOT Pack for a Cruise
Towels – The ship is packed full of towels and has pool towels for you as well. If you need beach towels for your destination, (or you don’t want to rent them or buy them off ship) bring your own along.
Towel clips – it simply not worth the extra hassle of towel clips or chip clips to secure your towel to the poolside lounge chairs. If you’re not on the lounge chair (and you’re not hogging all the chairs) you can fold your towel up so it doesn’t fly away. I think it’s totally unnecessary to bring these, (I saw people with them…but it struck me as overkill if you’re trying to conserve on space).
Magnetic hooks – we read over and over again that there were limited options for hanging items in the cabin, however, we found that to not be the case. In fact, we had an overabundance and had to laugh about it.
Power strips – there was plenty of outlets for us to use for our family (we did not bring iPods or handheld devices on the trip either). Each room had several 110V outlets.
Snacks – Umm… There is an all you can eat buffet on the ship, no need for snacks. The only thing we really needed to have in our stateroom was yogurt for our children’s probiotic we give them every night. Our fix was to carry yogurt from the restaurant and store it in our mini fridge.
Flashlight – so we bought these because we didn’t know how dark the cabin would be but the reality is we have cell phones and we have flashlights on our phones so it’s really unnecessary to bring a flashlight. We also had a balcony suite so there was plenty of light during the day.
Mini fans – we didn’t actually bring these on our cruise but we really wanted to because we regularly use white noise to go to sleep at home. Instead, we downloaded an app called Sleep Pillow (free) for our children. We adjusted to the noise, (creaking from the ship’s movement) in our cabin…oh goodness…that was rough – lol!
Walkie talkies – this was one of the items we really thought would be useful so we brought our good quality walkie talkies. Our oldest is 11 years old and we knew she’d rather stay in the room and read instead of going into the kid’s program at times. However, that wasn’t possible because we had absolutely horrible reception. (I think it has to do with the amount of metal on the ship) We tested it out the range and after going up just one floor, we lost the signal with her. I do not recommend walkie talkies personally unless you want them for when you are offshore.
Sticky notes – obviously these were really not a huge space waster. However, we didn’t use them at all since we either all stayed together or had our kids in the kid’s program. If in doubt, bring them.
Bungee cord – everything we read said to bring a bungee cord to hold the balcony door open. There were plenty of doorstops in our cabin and our balcony door had a safety lock on it to keep it open.
Over-the-door shoe organizer – we didn’t use this as there was plenty of drawers and storage space in our cabin. Granted, we had a suite but from what I’ve heard from others, there’s plenty of places to stow your belongings.
So that’s it. Our list of 10 things that are completely unnecessary on a cruise. As I mentioned previously, we prefer to pack minimally. If you’re not a minimalist, I doubt you’ve read this far. Ha!! BUT you can always pack these items and know you may or may not need them.
Up next, Essentials to Pack for a Cruise.
But I’m curious…if any of you had read a recommendation for items to bring on a cruise and found it to be a waste of space…please share!