HOW TO PACK FOR
A CRUIS
E

This may seem obvious – but packing for a cruise is genuinely different to packing for other styles of holidays.


Keep the luggage simple

On a cruise you're literally using your suitcase twice – when boarding your ship and when disembarking at the end – and only unpacking once, regardless of how many destinations you visit. This means the suitcase doesn’t need to be high-tech, as it won’t really be used and the more compact it is, the easier it is to store it out of the way for your trip.


If you're going luxe, remember the butler

Keep in mind that even your daggiest underwear may be handled by your experienced and professional butler when you cruise with some luxury cruise lines, as it’s their role to help you unpack. Perhaps just pack your underwear in a delicates laundry bag if you haven’t had a chance to upgrade your intimates in a while.


Don't forget your day bag

Handbag, man bag, beach bag, call it what you will, just remember this is the bag you will mostly be using day in and day out on your cruise – both onboard and onshore for day tours. Number one, it needs to be secure and preferably waterproof, especially if you’re sitting by the pool. It needs to be big enough to fit your hat, reading material, sunblock, (towels are supplied by the pool) and camera. If it’s for shore excursions, make sure it’s comfortable to carry for long days of exploration, and it’s hard for pickpockets to get into.


Be prepared for embarkation day

Most first-time cruisers get stuck boarding and realising it could be hours before they can access their bags… which means watching seasoned cruisers splish and splash around in the pool or hit the waterslides with glee while you’re still in your cardigan in the sun. Avoid this trap and make sure you have a separate bag with you for embarkation day that includes all your wet / warm weather gear and anything specific the kids may need.


Dress to impress

Depending on the cruise line you’re sailing with, it’s not unusual for there to be a dining option that requires a more formal dinner attire. For men, it can be as simple as bringing a nice suit jacket to pair with some relaxed pants, along with smart, closed-toed shoes, and for ladies, a nice cocktail dress. Check your specific line’s dress code – some (cough, Cunard) are fussy.


Amen to amenities

Larger ships do have onboard shopping and convenience items, but you may balk at the price tag on simple things like sunscreen or mouthwash if you leave them behind and need to purchase them during sailing. Luxury lines do provide some amenities (shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion) in cabins, however it’s usually a good idea to bring your own personal items like moisturiser, sunscreen, shaving gel, toothbrush, floss, razor, ear plugs, deodorant, hair products, antiseptic cream, panadol, sea sickness tablets and any specific medications. While you may feel like this is excessive, and just precautionary, remember you only have to unpack once and there’s no 100ml liquid restrictions on cruises like on international flights, so it’s easy to be safe rather than sorry. Don’t forget to bring them in zip lock bags to prevent leakage.


Cheers to that!

Double check with your specific cruise line, but most allow each guest 21 years and older to bring one bottle of wine or champagne (no larger than 750ml) onboard in carry-on luggage on embarkation day. No corkage fee is charged if the bottle is consumed in your cabin but you will be charged if you choose to take it with you to a restaurant for dinner. Just be aware, you’re not allowed to bring beer, boxed wine, or other liquors and spirits onboard, and it will be confiscated at embarkation.


Family packing

If you’ve got very little ones joining you on your trip, it’s worth packing more than your usual number of nappies (and pop a few in your embarkation day bag in case your suitcase takes a while to be processed). Bring loads of waterproof sunblock, and also swim nappies for those still in training. Don’t forget your children’s medications, including baby paracetamol. Also, label everything that is “life or death” for your little one, such as their favourite cuddly toy or blankie, with your name and phone number in case it gets replaced. And lastly, kids’ shoes need to be easy to pop on and off (like Velcro), closed toe and also non-slip.


Don't be plain

This can apply to almost all your luggage. A cruise ship can carry many thousands of passengers. Imagine if everyone boarded with a black suitcase, black handbag, black camera bag and black hat… If that sounds like you, tie some kind of stand-out coloured ribbon to your belongings so you can be sure they won’t be mistaken for someone else’s.


BYO drink containers

Cruise lines are very sustainably minded these days and you’ll notice you won’t be offered a straw with your drinks (unless you request). You can also do your bit by bringing your own refillable water bottle and reusable coffee cup onboard to prevent plastic waste. Try to re-use your bath and pool towels as much as possible also, to reduce on the laundry grey waste that all makes a difference to our oceans.

Nothing is worse than getting sick on your cruise. You don’t want to spend precious holiday days confined to your cabin. As there are so many people onboard in confined spaces, the probability of catching a bug or virus is much higher than usual. Plus you’re exposed to foreign foods and environments which can cause upsets. Here are some useful tips to help you stay ship shape while onboard.


Wash your hands

Regularly washing your hands onboard will minimise your chances of catching anything, whether it’s a flu, a stomach bug or the dreaded norovirus, and make sure you pack hand sanitiser and use it liberally. Avoid the buffet as this is one of the places where norovirus can easily spread but if you must go, try to be first in line. Don’t touch things in common areas such as balcony railings, door handles, surfaces and especially the bathroom doors. Lots of cruise lines now leave the doors open or have attendants cleaning the surfaces. Otherwise, use a piece of tissue paper to open the door.


Be prepared for seasickness

Anyone is susceptible to seasickness, and it’s always better to be prepared. Consult a doctor about how to avoid seasickness symptoms like nausea; they can prescribe medications such as Dramamine but be warned, some drugs can cause intense drowsiness if you mix them with alcohol. There are other remedies too; the patch, which consists of transdermal cinnarizine or scopolamine, is placed behind your ear eight to 12 hours before a rough journey to help alleviate seasickness and can be effective for three days per application. You can also get acupressure wristbands and natural remedies like ginger lollies, tea and pills that might help with the nausea. Eating dry crackers and green apples will help abate symptoms.


Pack medicines

Depending on your cruise itinerary, stock up on extra medication – if there are specific medications you need and you’re sailing in a country you’re unfamiliar with, you might run into some trouble at an international pharmacist. Plus, your travel insurance probably doesn’t cover the cost of existing medications.


Slip, slop, slap

The sun’s reflection off the water can exacerbate the damaging rays and increase your risk of sunburn, especially if you’re cruising the polar regions or New Zealand. You’re also likely to be spending more time than usual outside so you’re more exposed to the sun and at risk of sunburn and heatstroke. Avoid the red-raw look and the pain that comes with it by covering up as much as possible and wearing plenty of high-SPF sunscreen.


Buy travel insurance

Get an insurance policy from the date you leave home till your return, which should cover any medical dramas during overseas and domestic travel and will help in case of delays. More than a third of Australians believe that travel insurance is less important on a cruise, but that is absolutely not the case – doctors onboard a cruise ship can charge huge amounts. To avoid any stress, get a comprehensive travel insurance policy that covers all your ports of call and the ship’s route.

HOW TO STAY
HEALTHY ONBOARD

HOW TO BUDGET
FOR YOUR CRUISE

There is plenty included in your cruise fare but there are other costs that might come with a cruise holiday. Here are some extras you might want to consider allocating additional budget to.


Pre and post-cruise hotel stays

Arranging a pre-cruise hotel stay for at least a day in the city that your cruise departs is helpful to ensure that you have enough time to get to your cruise in case of cancelled flights or missed connections. The first and last city of most cruise itineraries are often popular holiday destinations as well. If your budget allows, make the most of your visit and explore these places.


Transit

If you are departing and arriving from the port in your city, you’ll need to arrange ground transport to get you there and back. Otherwise you might be looking at additional airfares to make your cruise holiday happen. For cruises that require you to fly to get on board, don’t forget to check airfares along with the cruise fare to make sure you are getting the deal you want. You would also need to factor in transfers between the airport and the port.


Onboard extras

There are plenty of extras you can enjoy on a cruise that come with additional charge, the most common being food and beverages. From specialty restaurants that are not included in your fare to barista-made coffee in the mornings and drinks while you lounge on the deck, think about how many of these you’d like to enjoy while you cruise so you can estimate additional costs beforehand. You will find that many cruise lines offer packages for these extras you can find on board. It can be helpful to see what they offer and decide if any of them would make sense for you. Another one is spa and entertainment. Some cruises have free access to certain spa facilities, but spa treatment always comes at additional cost. Entertainment features on board like the casino, thrill rides, arcade and even the evening shows on some ships will attract additional costs. Find out what your ship offers before you sail so you can allocate necessary budget for the things you’d like to try.


Internet access

Cruise ship internet has come a long way in terms of speed and reliability, but pricing and packages vary quite a lot across different lines. Some lines require you to purchase it for the entire sailing while others allow you to purchase it by the day or by another measure. The prices range between $10 and $50 a day. If you need to stay connected while you cruise, this one is worth looking up for your cruise line as it can easily add hundreds to your bill.


Excursions

Arranging excursions for while you’re in port is another one that can add up on your bill quickly. Most cruises visit multiple ports and if you’d like to arrange something for each port, you would need to budget ahead. In general, the excursions offered by cruise lines are often more expensive than if you arranged something similar on your own. But if you go solo, you have to take care of all the logistics and be responsible for getting yourself back to the ship on time so do the maths on that. While you’re in port, you’ll also likely do some souvenir shopping. Make a budget for this beforehand so you don’t run the risk of spending more than you should. Another smart shopper tip is to avoid the tourist shops right by the port, explore further to find better deals.

HOW TO PACK FOR A CRUISE

This may seem obvious – but packing for a cruise is genuinely different to packing for other styles of holidays.


Keep the luggage simple

On a cruise you're literally using your suitcase twice – when boarding your ship and when disembarking at the end – and only unpacking once, regardless of how many destinations you visit. This means the suitcase doesn’t need to be high-tech, as it won’t really be used and the more compact it is, the easier it is to store it out of the way for your trip.


If you're going luxe, remember the butler

Keep in mind that even your daggiest underwear may be handled by your experienced and professional butler when you cruise with some luxury cruise lines, as it’s their role to help you unpack. Perhaps just pack your underwear in a delicates laundry bag if you haven’t had a chance to upgrade your intimates in a while.


Don't forget your day bag

Handbag, man- bag, beach bag, call it what you will, just remember this is the bag you will mostly be using day in and day out on your cruise – both onboard and onshore for day tours. Number one, it needs to be secure and preferably waterproof, especially if you’re sitting by the pool. It needs to be big enough to fit your hat, reading material, sunblock, (towels are supplied by the pool) and camera. If it’s for shore excursions, make sure it’s comfortable to carry for long days of exploration, and it’s hard for pickpockets to get into.


Be prepared for embarkation day

Most first-time cruisers get stuck boarding and realising it could be hours before they can access their bags… which means watching seasoned cruisers splish and splash around in the pool or hit the waterslides with glee while you’re still in your cardigan in the sun. Avoid this trap and make sure you have a separate bag with you for embarkation day that includes all your wet / warm weather gear and anything specific the kids may need.


Dress to impress

Depending on the cruise line you’re sailing with, it’s not unusual for there to be a dining option that requires a more formal dinner attire. For men, it can be as simple as bringing a nice suit jacket to pair with some relaxed pants, along with smart, closed-toed shoes, and for ladies, a nice cocktail dress. Check your specific line’s dress code – some (cough, Cunard) are fussy.


Amen to amenities

Larger ships do have onboard shopping and convenience items, but you may balk at the price tag on simple things like sunscreen or mouthwash if you leave them behind and need to purchase them during sailing. Luxury lines do provide some amenities (shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion) in cabins, however it’s usually a good idea to bring your own personal items like moisturiser, sunscreen, shaving gel, toothbrush, floss, razor, ear plugs, deodorant, hair products, antiseptic cream, panadol, sea sickness tablets and any specific medications. While you may feel like this is excessive, and just precautionary, remember you only have to unpack once and there’s no 100ml liquid restrictions on cruises like on international flights, so it’s easy to be safe rather than sorry. Don’t forget to bring them in zip lock bags to prevent leakage.


Cheers to that!

Double check with your specific cruise line, but most allow each guest 21 years and older to bring one bottle of wine or champagne (no larger than 750ml) onboard in carry-on luggage on embarkation day. No corkage fee is charged if the bottle is consumed in your cabin but you will be charged if you choose to take it with you to a restaurant for dinner. Just be aware, you’re not allowed to bring beer, boxed wine, or other liquors and spirits onboard, and it will be confiscated at embarkation.


Family packing

If you’ve got very little ones joining you on your trip, it’s worth packing more than your usual number of nappies (and pop a few in you embarkation day bag in case your suitcase takes a while to be processed). Bring loads of waterproof sunblock, and also swim nappies for those still in training. Don’t forget your children’s medications, including baby paracetamol. Also, label everything that is “life or death” for your little one, such as their favourite cuddly toy or blankie, with your name and phone number in case it gets replaced. And lastly, kids’ shoes need to be easy to pop on and off (like Velcro), closed toe and also non-slip.


Don't be plain

This can apply to almost all your luggage. A cruise ship can carry many thousands of passengers. Imagine if everyone boarded with a black suitcase, black handbag, black camera bag and black hat… If that sounds like you, tie some kind of stand-out coloured ribbon to your belongings so you can be sure they won’t be mistaken for someone else’s.


BYO drink containers

Cruise lines are very sustainably minded these days and you’ll notice you won’t be offered a straw with your drinks (unless you request). You can also do your bit by bringing your own refillable water bottle and reusable coffee cup onboard to prevent plastic waste. Try to re-use your bath and pool towels as much as possible also to reduce on the laundry grey waste that all makes a difference to our oceans.

HOW TO STAY HEALTHY ONBOARD

Nothing is worse than getting sick on your cruise. You don’t want to spend precious holiday days confined to your cabin. As there are so many people onboard in confined spaces, the probability of catching a bug or virus is much higher than usual. Plus you’re exposed to foreign foods and environments which can cause upsets. Here are some useful tips to help you stay ship shape while onboard.


Wash your hands

Regularly washing your hands onboard will minimise your chances of catching anything, whether it’s a flu, a stomach bug or the dreaded norovirus, and make sure you pack hand sanitiser and use it liberally. Avoid the buffet as this is one of the places where norovirus can easily spread but if you must go, try to be first in line. Don’t touch things in common areas such as balcony railings, door handles, surfaces and especially the bathroom doors. Lots of cruise lines now leave the doors open or have attendants cleaning the surfaces. Otherwise, use a piece of tissue paper to open the door.


Be prepared for seasickness

Anyone is susceptible to seasickness, and it’s always better to be prepared. Consult a doctor about how to avoid seasickness symptoms like nausea; they can prescribe medications such as Dramamine but be warned, some drugs can cause intense drowsiness if you mix them with alcohol. There are other remedies too; the patch, which consists of transdermal cinnarizine or scopolamine, is placed behind your ear eight to 12 hours before a rough journey to will help alleviate seasickness and can be effective for three days per application. You can also get acupressure wristbands and natural remedies like ginger lollies, tea and pills that might help with the nausea. Eating dry crackers and green apples will help abate symptoms.


Pack medicines

Depending on your cruise itinerary, stock up on extra medication – if there are specific medications you need and you’re sailing in a country you’re unfamiliar with, you might run into some trouble at an international pharmacist. Plus, your travel insurance probably doesn’t cover the cost of existing medications.


Slip, slop, slap

The sun’s reflection off the water can exacerbate the damaging rays and increase your risk of sunburn, especially if you’re cruising the polar regions or New Zealand. You’re also likely to be spending more time than usual outside so you’re more exposed to the sun and at risk of sunburn and heatstroke. Avoid the red-raw look and the pain that comes with it by covering up as much as possible and wearing plenty of high-SPF sunscreen.


Buy travel insurance

Get an insurance policy from the date you leave home till your return, which should cover any medical dramas during overseas and domestic travel and will help in case of delays. More than a third of Australians believe that travel insurance is less important on a cruise, but that is absolutely not the case – doctors onboard a cruise ship can charge huge amounts. To avoid any stress, get a comprehensive travel insurance policy that covers all your ports of call and the ship’s route.

HOW TO
BUDGET FOR YOUR CRUISE

There is plenty included in your cruise fare but there are other costs that might come with a cruise holiday. Here are some extras you might want to consider allocating additional budget to.


Pre and post-cruise hotel stays

Arranging a pre-hotel stay for at least a day in the city that your cruise departs is helpful to ensure that you have enough time to get to your cruise despite cancelled flights or missed connections. The first and last city of most cruise itineraries are often popular holiday destinations as well. If your budget allows, make the most of your visit and explore these places.


Transit

If you are departing and arriving from the port in your city, you’ll need to arrange ground transport to get you there and back. Otherwise you might be looking at additional airfares to make your cruise holiday happen. For cruises that require you to fly to get on board, don’t forget to check airfares along with the cruise fare to make sure you are getting the deal you want. You also need to factor in transfers between the airport and the port.


Onboard extras

There are plenty of extras you can enjoy on a cruise that come with additional charge, the most common being food and beverages. From specialty restaurants that are not included in your fare to barista-made coffee in the mornings and drinks while you lounge on the deck, think about how many of these you’d like to enjoy while you cruise so you can estimate additional costs beforehand. You will find that many cruise lines offer packages for these extras you can find on board. It can be helpful to see what they offer and decide if any of them would make sense for you. Another one is spa and entertainment. Some cruises have free access to certain spa facilities, but spa treatment always comes at additional cost. Entertainment features on board like the casino, thrill rides, arcade and even the evening shows on some ships will attract additional costs. Find out what your ship offers before you sail so you can allocate necessary budget for the things you’d like to try.


Internet access

Cruise ship internet has come a long way in terms of speed and reliability, but pricing and packages vary quite a lot across different lines. Some lines require you to purchase it for the entire sailing while others allow you to purchase it by the day or by another measure. The prices range between $10 and $50 a day. If you need to stay connected while you cruise, this one is worth looking up for your cruise line as it can easily add hundreds to your bill.


Excursions

Arranging excursions for while you’re in port is another one that can add up on your bill quickly. Most cruises visit multiple ports and if you’d like to arrange something for each port, you would need to budget ahead. In general, the excursions offered by cruise lines are often more expensive than if you arranged something similar on your own. But if you go solo, you have to take care of all the logistics and be responsible for getting yourself back to the ship on time so do the maths on that. While you’re in port, you’ll also likely do some souvenir shopping. Make a budget for this beforehand so you don’t run the risk of spending more than you should. Another smart shopper tip is to avoid the tourist shops right by the port, explore further to find better deals.so you don’t run the risk of spending more than you should. Another smart shopper tip would also be to avoid the tourist shops right by the port, explore further to find better deals.