Cruise Card (or Band or Medallion)
The one thing you will always need getting off the ship whether in a port-of-call or at final disembarkation is your cruise card, or alternate band or medallion as new technology emerges. This essential is what let’s the ship know when you are onboard and when you are off, among plenty of other functions, and it should never leave your person when out and about.
There are some destinations that will let your cruise card alone suffice as identification when passing through port security, but it can never hurt to have a driver’s license or passport on hand in case. Getting in the habit ensures you have it when it is absolutely required.
While it’s a cashless society onboard wherein your cruise card acts as a credit card for charging to your account, it will not work ashore in regional shops and restaurants. You’ll still need the local currency in bills or a credit card authorized for international purchases.
Seemingly everyone has a smartphone attached at the hip these days, so this one is probably pretty obvious. Still, remembering even a basic cell phone is a good idea for emergencies. Be sure to keep in mind your talk and data roaming privileges when using it regularly, however. You can rack up some hefty charges very quickly if you’re not internationally prepared.
This one may very well be redundant to a smartphone since the built-in cameras are so good nowadays, but in either case don’t forget some form of camera to capture memories of your time ashore. On the same token, don’t be so engulfed in capturing everything digitally that you neglect to take it in with your own eyes as well.
Even when it is overcast, it’s never a bad idea to have already applied sunblock onboard or to have it with you should the sun peek out or the deceptive UV index begin affecting your skin tone. A lot of excursion time may be spent outside, and a hat at the very least is a good item to have with you.
Just as it’s important to stay protected against the sun, it’s wise to stay hydrated as well. Especially in tropical climates, it can be very easy to deplete your body’s water levels. The best thing to do is have a bottled water with you to top off on occasion.
While fears of zika or other such diseases can be out of proportion to the actual danger, mosquito repellent will help prevent bug bites and contracting any nastiness. In risk prone areas, cruise ships may provide aerosol cans at the gangway, but it’s always best to be self-reliant and plan ahead of time.
Jason Leppert is the Editor-in-Chief of Popular Cruising, the leader in video cruise reviews.