Cruise Tips 16 Cruise Hacks & Tips That Everyone Should Know

16 Cruise Hacks & Tips That Everyone Should Know

Know before you go, 16 cruise hacks and tips that every cruiser should know about before they embark on their next cruise.

1. Use the ship’s WIFI while in port – Some cruise ships will connect to terrestrial broadband while in port. This will give you increased internet speeds compared to when the ship is at sea and connecting to satellites 20,000 miles away.

 

2. Free WIFI in Port – Looking for a place to connect to free WIFI while in port? Just ask a crew member.  They know all of the free WIFI spots in each port. You may also notice a group of crew members outside of an establishment with tablets/phones out, it is a sign that there likely is free WIFI there.

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3. Avoid Cruise Ship’s ATM Fees – The ATM machines on cruise ships will charge you a fee of around $5 to withdraw cash.  To bypass this, simply go to the casino, sit down at a slot machine, insert your cabin card and deposit the amount that you want to withdraw.  Once the money is loaded into the slot machine, simply hit the “cash out” button and take the ticket to the cashier to get your money.  Your onboard account will be charged and you will not have to pay any credit card or ATM fees.

Photo courtesy of cruisesavvy.com
Photo credit of cruisesavvy.com

4. Power Strip with USB Outlets – Available on Amazon.com for under $20. This power strip will not only take up little room in your luggage, but it is great for charging phones, tablets, and e-readers via the 2 USB outlets.  The power outlets rotate 360 degrees for flexibility with large plugs.

5. Ziploc Bags – Bringing a few Ziploc bags on a cruise can come in extremely handy.  Use them when going on shore excursions so you can keep water and sand away from your phone, camera, cash, passport etc.  Have you ever been stuck in a Caribbean downpour while waiting to re-board your cruise ship?  Ziploc bags can keep important things dry.

 

6. Rolling Clothes – Rolling clothes before putting them in your suitcase will help prevent wrinkles and it will also take up less space.  Don’t go to dinner the first night in wrinkled clothes because you did not have time to iron before the early seating.

 

7. Dryer Sheets – Put a dryer sheet in each suitcase to keep your clothes smelling fresh.

8. TV Charger – Need an extra plug to charge your phone? Use the USB outlet on your TV to charge your phone or tablet.

Photo Credit: Life Hacker
Photo Credit: Life Hacker

9. Portable USB Charger – Never run out of power while in port with this handy USB mini phone charger. It will give your phone 100% extra battery life and is available on Amazon.com
.

 

10. Delete Tourist From Your Photos – A nice little trick we found on Reddit that can get you great shots of ports and of the cruise ship without having to worry about other passengers/tourists getting in the way.

 

11. Place a Belt Inside a Collar – This will keep the collar crispy when packing a dress shirt in a suitcase.

beltpacking

 

12. Pill Container – Use a pill container to keep your jewelry organized and untangled.

 

13. Shoe Rack – A shoe rack is a great way to keep things organized in the tight confines of your cruise cabin.  It takes up little space in your suitcase and can be hung on your bathroom door. Photo credit: mom247.com

14. Travel Alarm Clock – There are no alarm clocks in the cabins on cruise ships so bringing a small, travel alarm clock can come in handy especially to those staying in inside staterooms.

 

15. Shopping Lectures – Want to get some free stuff at shopping lectures? Always sit near the front of the theater.  The staff will often throw things out (tshirts, bamboo necklaces etc) into the crowd and they normally do not throw very far.

 

16. Check the Bible – Passengers have been known to leave unused complimentary drink coupons/cards in the Gideon Bibles that are in the desk drawer.

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Ben Souza
Ben Souza
Ben has written thousands of articles on cruising and currently takes between 8-10 cruises a year. His writings have appeared and been cited in various media outlets such as Yahoo News, MSN, NPR, Drudge Report, CNN, and ABC News. Ben currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio. Visit Ben Souza on Linkedin. You may email Ben at [email protected]
Cruise Tips 16 Cruise Hacks & Tips That Everyone Should Know

238 COMMENTS

  1. If you don’t drink booze or soda i like to bring water flavor drops like Kool Aid or Hawaiian Punch water and ice are free so if you have kids this can save you tons even going on islands buy a cold water add the drops instant happiness . I also bring them to dinner and when the wait staff comes back they look confused and ask I have turned passangers and the crew onto this trust me you save money and calories remember it’s only water and Free .

    • Chico this is not always true. Just last June, 2014 we cruised on the Enchantment Of The Seas. Our waiter was very confused because he could not figure out just where the Wine had come from that was in our glass. We had to show him the little bottle of concentrated Kool-Aid that we used in our water. He told us this was the first time he had seen this. BTW, he was not a new hire but had been working with Royal Caribbean for several years…..

  2. Great tips!
    Disney Cruise Line does not allow over-the-door shoe holders to organize items, and people who use them will be charged for repairs.

    Another tip. Take a photo of your luggage before handing it over. That way, when your bag is lost, you can show cruise staff exactly what your bag looks like. (A big bow on the handle sure helps too).

    • I was able to use the over the door shoe hanger but just put wash clothes under each side. No problem and it is the best at keeping up with things in the room! Love it

    • I use extra strong wreath magnets with hooks to hang my “over the door” shoe holder anywhere in the cabin. Just put the magnet hooks into the holes that the hanger usually goes into. (The magnets are often on sale after the holidays, or you can usually find them anytime of year at home improvement stores like Home Depot.) Most cabin walls and doors are metal, so the magnets stick to the outside of the bathroom door without leaving marks on the door like the shoe holder hanger’s hooks usually do. Sometimes it is handier to hang it closer to the bed or balcony – no problem – the magnets hold to the walls! I’ve used them on Princess, Holland America, Royal Caribbean and Carnival ships. After the cruise, I just leave the magnets attached to the shoe holder, reload all of the cruise helpers and store it loaded and folded in a plastic garbage bag, ready to pack for the next cruise! No more searching for those rain ponchos, mini umbrellas, band aides, duct tape, etc.!

    • A shower puffy on suit case handle is an easy spot. especially if you fly. There are only just a few colors that they make suitcases, red, blue, and ever popular black.

    • I found bright teal ribbon 1 1/2″ wide with lime green dots on it. IT IS LOUD!!!! I tie (with a square knot) about a 10″ piece around all handles of my luggage that give me 2 pieces of 3″ each hanging. I keep a piece on my purse and anything that goes on the trip. Easy to spot in a group of luggage. Remember to tie it on top and side handles so no matter how the luggage sits you can see it. Now, you wonder why I tie it on my purse……….WELL my sweetheart and I flew to Paris and did a cruise. We were gone almost a month. Delta lost all our luggage BOTH going and coming!!!! As I stood in Paris (and then back in Richmond, VA) describing my dark blue hardshell luggage I also said ” And it has this ribbon tied to it on 2 sides.” Both of the agents helping me laughed and made notes. My French is not too good and having the ribbon handy helped, lol. Well maybe not all that fast as it took 7 days to get our luggage to us in Paris and then 4 days to get once we got home. I just laugh and say my luggage had it’s own vacation, lol.

    • If you have purchased luggage in the past few years, they come in many different colors now. You can get a hard shell case with a variety of wild designs. My luggage is lime green with some black trim. I have no problem finding my bag. Before I purchased the lime ones, we had red. I had a large luggage tag made with the first letter of our last name. It was very easy to spot when searching for luggage at the airport. Some people but a large bright elastic band around their luggage to help identify it. All great ideas.

  3. I use duct tape with funny designs on it and put it on the handles of luggage. Makes it easier to find in the luggage purgatory. Having your passport also makes getting on and off the boat faster and easier than using a birthday certificate.

    • Hopefully you will never need to fly home from a port in an emergency. If you’re going to cruise, get a passport!

    • This is a great idea. Scan the first page of your passport (if your printer has a scanner). Send an email to yourself and attach the scanned image.

      If you lose your passport, you can pull the image up at any place that has internet access.

    • I always carry passport, but found out little known fact if you passport is damaged or altered in any way you can be refused entry. This includes mistakenly putting past port in laundry or when the Custom agent checks your paper work and mistakenly puts highlighter ink on passport. Learned this at passport office

    • Betsy, we do the same thing. That way we have a copy with us and the real one is accessible in our cabin. If my purse were stolen, I would lose the copy and not the original.

    • Actually the only thing that a copy of the passport will do is make getting a new passport to travel easier. You would have to pay for a new passport but could do so more easily with the copy.

  4. Bring magnetic hooks
    Most cabin walls are metal. I use magnetic hooks to hang sunglasses, lanyards, attach a bulldog clips and hang the sunhats out of the way on a wall

  5. Foldable boxes.
    I have a plastic fold flat box for my makeup, I use in the bathroom. It takes up no room in my suitcase but stops things rolling around on a shelf and I don’t have to dig in a big wetpack for my eyeliner everytime.

  6. I always bring clothespins so that you can let swimming suits dry on balcony. Also a small piece of bright colored duck tape to put on balcony railing, so that you can pick out cabin from the dock.

    • agree…and it is kinda tacky…do you hang your bathing suits on your front porch?…hang’em in the bathroom, please

    • Lorraina using a small piece of bright colored duck tape to put on balcony railing will not ruin anyones picture. Besides, even a beginner can edit a picture and take the color tape out of a picture with a photo editing program. These can be found for free on the internet…..

    • I’ve used zip lock bags to store something I liked from and earlier meal. I bag it and squirrel it away in the cabin fridge so when I gcome in the cabin at 3am hungry I can have what I want and not have to settle for pizza or what ever they have for late night snacks.

    • In many ports, the agricultural laws of the country prohibit you from bringing food ashore. There are often signs at the gangplank reminding you of this. I have seen ports where dogs were used to check the bags of passengers on the pier.

    • In 2014 when entering Cozumel a police dog stopped me. My crime? I enjoy the banana bread on carnival Magic. A small piece was in a napkin in my pocket. I had forgotten it was there. As an early riser, i save a piece to keep my blood sugar stable. I had to sit my over fifty self on the ground and dump everything while other passengers stared at me probably thrilled they were skipped while they took full lunches into port. The Mexicano police was jubilant that he caught a banana bread smuggler. There was some humor but I almost missed my excursion. Cozumel uses dogs and they are serious.

  7. Every cabin, I have been in on a Disney cruise has an alarm clock and wake up call service. I would add travel size laundry soap with your dryer sheets for Disney cruises because they have washers and dryers available. Throwing in a quick load of underwear and tee shirts helps us pack less and is worth doing laundry on board.

    • self service laundry is great! but availability of detergent has been an issue. I bring a few tide pods with me as well as a pack of quarters. a few loads of laundry can save you big $$$ if you can use carry-ons on you flights to/from home

    • I noticed that Princess ships also have self service laundry. But, it seems to me I had used them a couple of years ago they were $1 each for washer/dryer/detergent. When we were cruising last month, I did a load which cost $3 each for washer/dryer and $1.50 for detergent. I think that is a bit expensive but still cheaper than using the ship’s laundry.

    • Carnival also has washer and dryers on every floor. So I carry about 3 Tide or Gain pods with a few dryer sheets in a Ziploc bag. I don’t have to pay for their detergents and they take very little space in your luggage. No dirty clothes when we get home! YAY!!

  8. We always take a photocopy of our passports and put them in a different place than we keep the actual passports. If you happen to lose the originals or they somehow get stolen, you have all of the important information at hand, plus your picture ID on the photocopy. Also, we take photocopies of credit card telephone contact numbers, travel insurance info, etc. so we always have a secondary source of contact info.

    • Even better, take photos of your documents (or scan them) and email them to yourself. If you use gmail, yahoo, hotmail etc, you’ll be able to access those copies anywhere there is internet access!

    • Not sure I would want that information on my phone in case my phone was lost or stolen. Scanning is a great idea, though!

  9. I make sure that I use suitcases that are not to tall when they are laid down. That way I can slide them under the bed when I am done unpacking…that way I don’t have to take up valuable space in the cabins.

    • I put my empty suitcase in the closet…leave the top part unzipped and it is perfect for sticking dirty clothes in when I am done with them.

    • Yes.. I never have plug space issuses. We use our phones to take pictures so we need them charged all the time. I even take my laptop and usb speaker. the wife and I have our favorite music and can pull our pictures from the phone and watch stuff we did .. we get a kick out of it cause we’re still on the cruise and viewing places and things just happened.

    • Yes bring a highlighter.. I thought I was the only one who did that.. we take it and the funtimes to breakfast and plan our day. If we have friends with us we sit down and pull out the second highlighter.. yea we got 2 of em….we keep 2 colors for his and her things to do..lol. I’ve that you said that…

  10. Buy a multiple USB charger for Phones and Tablets. The cruise ship will take your extension cords and power strips out of your luggage. They are a fire hazard.

    • I always put my surge protector and/or extension cord in my carry on. Never had one confiscated from the cabin.

    • Power strips are usually ok, as long as they do NOT have surge protectors on them. Have been told it is because in the event of an electrical surge the SPs bounce the surge back to the ship’s electrical supply, causing a potential fire hazard.

    • I take a surge protector every cruise. And I take a small fan also. …leave them both out visible in the room…never had them taken away.
      18 Carnival cruises, 3 Disney cruises, 2 Royal cruises, 1 Norwegian cruise

      Take a 12 pack of sodas or water per person on board….Saves in purchasing the drink card. Much cheaper !!

    • You said you have taken a 12 pack of soda on board. What cruise line did you take? I thought it said on website the took it away. We are going on Royal Caribbean

    • If you were able to board the ship with power strips or extension cords or similar devices, you didn’t go through my security line then. I work X-Ray and security on cruise ship and I’ve confiscated dozens. If you don’t mind losing it you can try it. If the crew find it while cleaning your cabin they can take them from you. It is a fire hazard whether you think so or not.

    • I hear you but I never hid my extention cord. It right out in the open the wires are all visible. No once have I ever been told anything about my cord. I always have it in my laptop bag not hidden. I’m surprised to hear that’s your experience.

    • We cruise on Carnival and we pack both. Never had a problem. Their customer service rep even suggested it since my husband needs to use a cpap machine at night.

    • Electrical devices such as fans, power strips, multi plug box outlets/adaptors, and extension cords are allowed on board. (copied from Carnival website).

    • So, if my hubby and i both require the use of Medical devices that require electricity, ( CPAP), then how do we power both these devices at night if we can’t bring a powerstrip ?

    • My girlfriend and I both have CPAP machines. During one cruise (Royal Caribbean) I was able to pickup two very long extension cords from the Customer Service desk for a $25 refundable deposit. During the last RC cruise (2013) I brought an extension cord with a permanent three prong plug on it. For our interior room, the extension cord was perfect, we hid the excess cord behind the bed. Also brought a wall plug that had one electrical outlet and two USB ports. The electrical/usb wall plug worked out great for charging cameras, phones and other electronics. On the next cruise, I will remember solarcane (ended up with a bad burn after snorkeling for a couple of hours).

    • When I book my cruise, I tell them that we have a CPAP machine and need an extension cord and distilled water. They always have a cord and a gallon of distilled water for us when we arrive in the room. I have not had to wait for one. My husband takes insulin but we just take the lancets and needles back home in our checked bag so we can dispose of them properly.

    • My husband and I both use CPAP’s and I ask for an extension cord and they always bring us one. They are usually the huge big ones. I am taking my own next time because they seem to have a hard time finding them for private use.

    • I need to request a handicap cabin as I use a mobility scooter. My hubby and I also use CPAPs and I use a lymphopress device for my leg edema. Never had any problem requesting extension cords when we made our reservations. Also no problem requesting a red box for our blood sugar lancets.with our reservations. Some cruise lines are better than others in having these in our cabin by the time we arrive.

    • I am an electrical engineer and I can tell all of you that the chances of a extension causing a fire is about the same as hitting the lottery. Cruise ships should put more concern in keeping viruses from spreading across their ships and from engine room fires.

    • What port do you work at? You are the first one to say that the extra cords are not allowed. In fact, the cords were even suggested by one cruise line.

    • I will tell you from experience. If Disney finds your power strip it WILL be confiscated and returned to you at the end of your cruise!!

    • we had a small clip fan taken away at security point but was not given a reason. Been doing this over 70 cruises and it was the first time.

    • I cruise and have never had mine taken. Not sure if this is a “power trip” by the security since they have a feeling of empowerment on the job.

    • if Disney cruise lines find it they will confiscate it an return it at the end of the cruise. Fire hazard!!

    • Carnival website rules and guidelines (don’t know about any other cruise line). Electrical devices such as fans, power strips, multi plug box outlets/adaptors, and extension cords are allowed on board.

    • To the person who said they never have a fridge for meds.. did you request it at the time of booking… when you book is the time to bring up special needs…

    • I’ve been on many many many carnival and royal caribe an cruise and not once has anyone said anything to me about having an extension cord. .. As a matter of fact I had maitence come and fix an outlet on a carnival ship, he saw the extension cord with all my gear in it and said nothing…

    • We have an extension cord for my husband’s C Pap machine that Carnival told us to bring when I told them he would have the machine. We never had it taken away.

    • I am diabetic and always ask for a refrigerator. I remove the items already in it to allow enough room for my insulin. Insulin has to be kept in the refrigerator, except for the opened pens that are in use.

    • I am a diabetic and always have a problem with where and how to store my insulin. I have asked for a extra ice bucket to store the insulin in. BUT, when they clean room it has been taken before! I have to hide it so this does not happen! I’ve ask for a refig. but they have never given me one in the 8 cruses I’ve taken over the years! What do you suggest?

  11. They are cracking down on surge protectors . they have taken mine on my last 3 cruises . I havent tried it in my carry on but i will try that next time . i have only cruised with Carnival by the way

    • When is the last time you or anyone you know have had damage from not having a surge protector. Key to eliminating that risk is monitor the device while charging like when you are in room a large enough time for the charge eliminating all day or all night charging. Been on a many of cruise and trips and never had a surge problem but this does not account for Europe where it might be needed.

  12. I’ve gotta hand it to ya … really great info in this article. I’ve been sailing twice a year since 2003 through 2011 and manage to find over 7 helpful tips in your “Hacks & Tips” that I’ll be using during my upcoming cruise. Well done.

    • The gallon size are good for packing your shampoo, conditioner, soap etc…It keeps it from getting all over your suitcase if they should pop open. Trick I learned in girl scouts.

    • I agree. I had a tube of toothpaste open in my checked luggage and what I mess I had. Since then, everything that could open goes into a zip lock bag.

    • I usually ask my room steward for a dozen hangers which they have always provided. The extra ones are wire hangars, but that’s okay… they work. Once I packed plastic hangars in my luggage so I didn’t have to ask for more. I had the room, so it worked out well.

    • We never cruise with anything but carry on’ unless its a formal cruise with possible Tux and Gowns use. We use light clothes like polo garments that are very thin and lay flat in stacks. I can carry 10 or more polo shirts and use no less than a towel folded space. wear one shoe or sneaker and jam all undergarments socks what ever in other shoes also any bags or containers with body maintenance uses should be filled to capacity with anything you can get in them. Pack with the trailer space mode. We can go two weeks with a carry on each. I too recommend just buying some products at ports to cut space. Copy passports is a super idea as well.

  13. We have cruised 6 times and it is good to carry a notebook with you and a pen when you are purchasing drinks or making other purchases. Jot it down and keep receipts. You dont think it will happen but you can get over charged. A friend of mine got charged for drinks when she was off the ship. It is because she does this that she was able to point out the extra charges and get it taken off her bill. Pay attention what you drink out of the fridge as well. That can be another area that you get overcharged.

    • Great tip. The spa lost my card on the Norwegian Spirit. They replaced it and assured no charges could be made with the only one. $500 later in beer and spa treatments, I was given my final receipt. (No way to check it on the TV at the time.) I waited in line almost an hour on the morning of disembarkation to resolve. Not a good experience. NCL did not respond well and has lost my business.

  14. I now travel with only a carry on. If you purchase quick dry polo and tee shirts, you can get by with much less clothing by washing and hanging over night. I roll everything. If I fly to a port, I will purchase the shaving cream and razors at the port before I go on the ship. Also, always book an afternoon flight if you are traveling home, sometimes the fog can keep the ship from arriving as early as you might like. I also carry a portable charger for my ipad and iphone..

  15. when it comes to the electrical strip some places will some wont. carnival cruises sometimes will and Royal Caribbean will depending on the ship. Also sometimes its better to purchase excursions off the ship then on the ship.

    • We had a group take advantage of us, because there were not enough people. We couldn’t get our money back. We will be setting up excursions on board from now on.

    • I will agree that you may save a few dollars but is it worth it as the cruise ship will guarantee that you get back on the ship. Just be careful.

  16. We have cruised from ports near us and we always buy a case of water bottles and take them with us. That way we have water for excursions and don’t have to pay the crazy price for the little bottles in the fridge. It has worked well, especially when cruising with a group.

    • On Carnival, don’t drink the over priced water in the room. CALL room service and ask for a case of water. It’s about $3.

    • I recently went on Carnival and you can longer bring water. However you can buy 12 ok for about $3 and have delivered to your room.

    • Carnival has now banned bottled water. Water, soda, other drinks need to be in cans, and in carry-on luggage.

    • Just be careful that you are not charged for anything in the fridge if you didnt drink it. A friend of mine found water charges on her bill and she always takes her own water on board.

  17. My non husband requires a CPAP machine.
    We have taken extension cords and they
    were never taken away. I doubt they would
    want a lawsuit on their hands if anything
    happened to him because he couldn’t use
    his machine.

  18. One important advice… NEVER check in nice luggage. Especially if they are expensive name brand kind. (If you do, make sure it’s carry on, same goes for flying) I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve seen missing luggage flyers with Tumi, LV, Burberry or even Samsonite luggage stolen by either the port workers or the crew!!

    • Sadly, if your bag gets stolen you don’t get much help from the cruise line unless you took out insurance. My grandson’s bag was taken at the port after leaving the ship- we spent almost an hour searching for it. Cruise line said they’d reimburse $50- never got it…

  19. I know that you can carry on water or soda on Carnival but I am not sure if you can on Royal Caribbean. Does anyone know? I have cruised many times but have learned some tips that I didn’t know. Thanks for sharing.

    • Carnival no longer allows water bottles but they will sell you cases of bottled water, in advance, at low normal prices. They do allow you to bring 12 can sodas along per person

    • You can now buy a case (12) of 16.9oz bottles of water for $2.99 pre cruise and on cruise on Carnival. The 16.9oz bottles are the cheapest way and don’t have to worry about the extra carried luggage. The bigger bottles (50oz) is nice but more expensive than the little bottles. Just bring a sport water bottle and fill it with ice before you leave the ship and a couple bottles to fill it later.

    • You can bring water on royal caribbean. I get a case of water and tape a cruise ship luggage tag on it. They deliver it to your cabin with the rest of your luggage. I have done it about 3 times.

    • Royal Caribbean now do not allow alcohol onboard from any port for guests or crew. If guests bring it on they will get it back the night before they debark the ship

    • Royal allows 1 bottle per person for consumption at terminal and on board day of embarkation and 2 bottles of wine per stateroom to be brought on this is easier if carried on not packed no other beverages are allowed on except certain things like formula and nutritional supplement type of drinks

    • When you or your travel partner make your reservation you can place a note in the res for special req thats marks your res with the need of cpap my line then gives you not only an extension cord but also distilled water in your stateroom same for the diabetic req above that supplies a fridge if you do it before you board it goes out to the depr that are affected pre boarding so that they have the supplies avail once your there we have a special place in rea for all of these req disabilities allergies special req just ask the res agents or travel agents to mark your booking

    • You are also allowed a bottle of wine or case of beer for each person over 21 on Carnival. Going on our 8th cruise in a couple months.

    • A few months ago I met a guy in the cigar lounge on a carnival ship… he was drinking crown royal that he purchased off ship and had delivered to his room. I know you can bring wine and soda but hard liquor I didn’t know. He did some other things but I won’t say here… all I’ll say is we drank a few shots tequila after we left port. Oh and to my surprise the ship had reasonably priced cigars too… THAT SURPRISED ME! Can’t wait cruise agIn… the cigar bar was cool we met some nice people just sitting talking and joking.

    • You cannot take beer on Carnival. One bottle wine or champagne per person over 21. 750ml Max and in carry on. You are allowed 12 pack anything non alcoholic also in carry on. You can pre order beer or alcohol and they will send to your stateroom.

    • Is this something new? I have never heard of taking beer onboard, much less a case. We have been on several Carnival cruises. We usually take a bottle of wine each and some soda. I’ll have to check on this one as it would really save some money.

    • I love Royal Caribbean, although we have done lots of other cruises. I always take water or soda on Royal and they have never taken it. Last time they kept my luggage longer and asked me to come open it. I guess they wanted to see what was in there. They saw my water bottles and gave me my luggage.

    • You can not carry drinks on board royal Caribbean. One water bottle per person, but that is it. And now they allow you to take wine but very specific on how much based on length of cruise. Don’t be offended if they ask to smell your water either.

  20. Just off Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas last weekend; saw MANY confiscated power strips and extension cords in the “NO NO” bin, along with travel irons, etc. If you use a CPAP, simply email special request/guest services about 45 days in advance and they will have a gallon of water, power strip and extension cord waiting in your cabin upon checkin at no charge.

    • I am on C-Pap and must have power at bed. I’ve cruised 24 times with extension cords. Twice on HAL, steward set up heavy duty cord around room for me, but other times I’ve used my own. Ships need more plugs. If I rely on cruise line to furnish, what happens when they forget. HAL ran out of surge protectors on one cruise.

  21. i am fairly new to cruising. We have been on three this past year. The first one we took a bottle of wine each and a twelve pack of water. After the first cruise we decided it would be alot easier to bring a water bottle and go to the lido deck and fill it up every day. The water is free and so is ice if you want that. I think you can get juice, tea and coffee also for free. We also have taken a power strip each cruise with no problems yet. All cruises have been on Carnival.

    • I agree. irons are a fire hazard so don’t take one. The ship lines that have self service laundry have an iron and ironing board for your use. On the lines that do not have them, the only thing you can do is try to steam the wrinkles out in the shower or pay the price for the ship’s laundry to clean or press your things.

    • Yes! I was wondering where my luggage was. Finally I was told to come to security. They had held my luggage because of the iron. I had topics it up after we left the ship. We were in Royal Caribbean.

  22. something I saw was that you can bring Vodka onto the ship by simply purchasing a bottle of Listerine, emptying the contents and replacing with the vodka. Then add one or two drops of blue food coloring and you have way cheaper drinks

    • Thanks for that great idea KK. Seriously?? Do you not think that the cruises line do not read these threads. All you have to do is shake a bottle of liquid. Liquor bubbles, water does not. There is a small amount of etoh in mouth wash but that is tangible.

    • Dont do this luggage is checked and they will open the bottle and take it if discovered to have alcohol in the bottle the screeners are wise to these tricks its risky because when you check in the lines have you sign a cruise contract at pier or online pre cruise and if you read it you will see the alcohol policy is part of it and the policy about the lines rights to remove you from the ship for non compliance of the lines rules and regulations is saving a few bucks on booze worth the risk of not being allowed to take a trip you paid hard earned money for.

    • I have been on 4 cruises with carnival and I take several mouth wash bottles the white ones and replace the clear plastic. I have never had any alcohol confiscated. I know someone who did but all they did was take it and leave her a note it is gone. Be sure to spread it out in multiple suit cases in case one gets taken you have more. 🙂

  23. I’d like to know more about exactly how to take water onboard, Do you literally carry it onboard when you embark and if so what do you do with it if your cabin isn’t ready yet? Sightsee all over the ship and take it to the dining room or buffet with you? Also, do you simply leave it in the original pack it comes in and I was wondering if that flimsy handle should break then what? So, do you have your carry on luggage and are you carrying your big purse as well? I really don’t know how it’s possible or worth it to bring a 12 pack of bottled water onboard comfortably.

    • Prior to going on the cruise I always order (it can be done online) a case of water for each of our cabins. It is in our state room when we get there. It is less that $5 or $6 and well worth it! This way it will be there and you don’t have to go through the hassle of bringing it and lugging it around!

      Also, on carnival they have an app for your phone with all activities, map of ship, and a messaging screen where you can keep in contact with everyone in you party, especially the teenagers!

    • My hubby and I have cruised twice on Carnival and both times we took 12 non alcoholic beverages (20 oz or less, each). We had to carry them with us, yes, along with any other carry-ons. I always take 2 bottles of water for each port, so I don’t have to worry about my refillable water bottle. That way, we could throw the empties away and not have anything extra to carry back onto the ship after the port visits. The other 8 were my 1 a day sodas, because I do not drink Coke products. And, yes, the water bottles were shaken individually and left for us to put back in the plastic or what-ever we carried them in, but it worked out perfectly for us!

    • Well I would always suggest a case and yes you can just bring it on with you try duck tape to tape it to you carry on and wheel it on with ease. Or simply buy a case in first port. what you don’t use no problem its too cheap to worry about it.

    • Carnival will let you take a case of water and pop on I have done 12 trips on carnival and lots of guest bring water and pop on

    • Make life easy the water on board is free from the drink stations it is filtered just like when you get water from a soda fountain in a restaurant if you want further filtration bring a brita style water bottle that filters each time you use it and just drink from that and walk around ship and shore with that some lines are going away from allowing cases as carry on items

  24. Here is another tip especially when traveling with teens that rely on their phones for everything Buy them a cheap watch for port days their phones will auto change to local time and will not match ship time if theres a time difference and phones show local time people can miss the ships departure since the times in port are always ship time not local times when they complain tell them wear it on a belt loop or purse strap or find a joggers watch that can be strapped to shoe laces it will save you the hassle of being stranded in a foreign port

  25. Disney Cruise Line cabins have alarm clocks and DO NOT allow the over the door shoe organizers. Guests who use them will be charged a maintenance fee for painting repairs to the doors. (Guests who travel Disney don’t need that space anyway).

    Thanks for the tip on using the TV to charge phones!

    • I have not been on Disney, but I have been on twelve cruises between Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, and Princess. None of them had a clock but did have a self service wake up call on the phone. As far as using the over the door organizers, usually you can turn the hook and hang it on the bathroom door clothes hook.

  26. We always bring water and soda and a soft side cooler. I bring small bathroom size trash bags to line the cooler and ask the steward to keep it filled with ice. Works great and you can also use the cooler to bring when in port with drinks and snacks.

  27. A safety tip in port. Be aware of your backpacks and other totes you take in port. I saw a local car pulled over on a street that wasn’t busy. Cruisers in back seat backpacks in the trunk. He was going thru them looking for valuables or what ever he could find. They did not see what the driver was doing..

  28. Disney no longer has free wifi at thir port canaveral terminal, how ever once adored u can take advantage of the free 50mb of wifi catch is must be used by midnight. 🙂
    U can get a free wake up call from mickey on the state room phones 🙂
    There’s always Starbucks at every port. it’s good for wifi .

    • I don’t know what ports you have been to, but we seldom find a Starbucks at a port. We have cruised quite a lot, and only remember two ports that had a Starbucks. Some ports have free wifi, most don’t.

    • Wow… .many ports have wifi… I’d say most I’ve ever been to. I always know because you see people on their devices. I always have my phone because I use it to take pictures. So when I see wifi areas I get on so my emails come in, that way I can read and reply when I get back on ship, and they sit in queue till the next port and I find wifi or I buy a few mins on board and let them get sent out. Then get off ship wifi… Dont worry you texts and emails sit in queue until they can go out….i dont care which ship, I’ve been on many of em….. Wifi SUCKs BADLY ON CARNIVAL SHIPS. I always have to complain and have to be credited back mins…it’s awful… better do wifi in ports. Besides everyone knows I’m on a cruise and don’t expect to hear from me everyday… my daughter’s for INSTANCE. . is a worry wort and she understands when she can’t reach me.

  29. So, all this talk on to carry water bottles or not, since the water is filtered, wouldn’t it be just as easy to just pack a large Tervis tumbler with a lid for coffee or tea or water fill-ups on the lido deck since the water is filtered anyway. We are taking our 2nd cruise in March and was wandering, can we take our own snacks?

    • That’s exactly what I did on my last cruise. I drink lots of water and it really came in handy. Brining it is a good idea. I even put orange juice in mine a put it in the fridge so when we came back on board I had a nice cold glass of OJ

    • Of course, you can take your own snacks. Purchasing snacks in the ship’s gift shop can be very costly. I think one candy bar was $1.75 to $2.00. As a chocoholic, I refused to pay those prices. The Princess ships have a candy store which carries better chocolates, although not cheap, but yummy.

  30. I take Tervis Tumblers. One large for my cold drinks and small for hot drinks. The cups you find at the drink stations are very very small. With the Tumblers you don’t have to refill and your beverage stays hot or cold longer! Happy Cruising:)

  31. Check the safe in your room carefully. When we did, we found over $7,000 in cash and traveler’s checks ($1200) in it. The ship’s security officer knew the name of the woman who lost it, which we could not make out from the signature on the traveler’s checks. Hopefully she got all the $$$ back as we turned it in immediately!

  32. We always pack two way radios (walkie talkies) makes it easier to find your family if you all don’t go up at the same time or venture into different parts of the ship. Saves you tons of time and a lot of walking and searching for them since you don’t want to use your cell phones on the ship.

    • I keep my green card with me at all times. I have a photocopy of it kept in a safe place at home and will give a copy to my emergency contact as well. It states either on your green card or documents you got with it, that you are to have it with you at all times.
      Also, I would suggest you make 2 copies of all your documents. Keep one with you and leave one with your emergency contact person or family/friend you trust to keep it for you while you’re gone. I also made copies of drivers license, debit/credit cards…both sides…in color.

  33. Cruising seems like such a hassle with trying to smuggle booze on board and extension cord & iron issues. It feels like the cruise lines are always trying to nickel & dime you for everything. Leaving in a few weeks for a cruise on RC. Enjoyed several cruises over 15 years ago and it seems like the industry has changed and not for the better

    • I don’t think cruising is a hassle at all. We do not drink liquor and have never worried about truing to hide it down my pants. We just follow the rules and enjoy ourselves. Five years cruising now loving every minute of it and as far as nickel and diming that happens everywhere. Ever rented a movie in a hotel room or paid 7.00 for a bottle of water on a plane. sit back relax and enjoy the lido deck.

    • We don’t drink very much liquor and never attempted to smuggle it on board. I know that irons are not permitted. I ask for an extension cord when I book my room and it has always been provided. I also request distilled water for a CPap machine. It has been in our room when we check in. Yes, things on the ship are extensive. But, be aware of that ahead of time and you won’t find surprises. We usually purchase one professional photo from each cruise. The prices keep going up. Which is exactly why we only get one. Don’t purchase souveniers in the gift ship until later in your cruise. The ship runs sales on things like shirts and hats and jewelry during the cruise. Wait for the sale prices !

  34. Goodnight! Quit trying to smuggle everything and
    keep the ship safe for all of us…and be happy instead of so
    complaining. Cruising is the best value for a great
    vacation.

  35. RESTRICTED ITEMS – SAFETY AND SECURITY POLICY (Carnival web site)
    In order to maintain a safe and secure environment, Carnival prohibits bringing certain items onboard. Additionally, we reserve the right to confiscate (and destroy) any articles that in our discretion are considered dangerous or pose a risk or inconvenience to the safety and security of the ship, or our guests, and no compensation will be provided.
    Confiscated Items
    • Alcohol (hard liquor)/sealed, unopened bottles
    • Beer/sealed, unopened bottles/cans
    • Wine or champagne/sealed, unopened bottles – beyond the allowable limit of one bottle (750 ml. size) per adult 21 years of age (brought on at embarkation time only in their carry-on luggage)
    • Clothing irons and steamers (all Carnival ships offer laundry facilities with irons and ironing boards. Fleet-wide valet laundry service is also available for a nominal fee.)
    • Electrical and household appliances, i.e. coffee makers, hot plates, toasters, etc. (See Exceptions)
    • Heating Pads
    • Hookah
    Exceptions:
    • Personal grooming devices such as hair dryers, flat irons, curling irons, and shavers, are allowed on board when used with proper caution. However, if such devices are determined to pose a hazard, they will be removed and returned the last day of the cruise prior to debark.
    • Electronics such as laptops, cameras, cellular phones, etc. are allowed on board when used with proper caution.
    • Electrical devices such as fans, power strips, multi plug box outlets/adaptors, and extension cords are allowed on board when used with proper caution. However, if such devises are determined to pose a hazard, they will be removed and returned the last day of the cruise prior to debark.

    • People should read the list of items not allowed on board and just stick to it…why do people think they have to be so sneaky…if you can take multiple cruises per year (as I do, and I am a hardworking single parent) then why do they feel the need to smuggle alcohol on board…you might get away with it, but if you get caught even once you will be flagged .. some things are just not worth it ..in my opinion. I am not a huge drinker, but when I am cruising I tend to drink alot more and don’t mind paying the price. This is how the cruise lines make alot of their revenue, and allow them to provide us with affordable vacations…

    • From what people have said It sounds like they are taking the power strips and extension cords, Carnival needs to change their web site.

  36. I have a c-pap machine so I always carry an extension cord for that. I also need to use a scooter onboard because of mobility issues. That needs to be charged every night. I always carry a power strip to accommodate all of this equipment. I put my power strip inside my case with the c-pap machine so they realize I have it for my medical needs. In 30 years of cruising never have I had any of it taken from me.

  37. Take a highlighter pen so you can highlight the shows and daily activities you want to participate in from the Funtimes that is delivered to your cabin (Carnival).

    • Yes bring a highlighter.. I thought I was the only one who did that.. we take it and the funtimes to breakfast and plan our day. If we have friends with us we sit down and pull out the second highlighter.. yea we got 2 of em….we keep 2 colors for his and her things to do..lol. I’ve that you said that…

  38. When booking your cruise, use a travel agent!! It is our job to know all of the above. We take extensive courses through each of the cruise lines & have all of the above information readily available. The online agencies aren’t going to help you with any of this and they really don’t give a hoot if you had a good time, made it to your destination safely and back home safely. Travel agents can also save you a ton of money. Some agencies don’t charge anything except for a “Plan To Go” deposit which is applied to your final payment. If you do use an agent to book your vacations/cruises, etc….then good for you!!

    God Bless & Safe Travels,

    Wendy

    • Karen.. I can’t believe that a TA could not have gotten you the same $1000 savings you say you got from booking with Princess. If anything, the TA could have given you free OBC, making it an even better deal.

      Of course, I would never pay extra for using a TA. Nor do I like using one who charges for changes or cancellations.

    • I have saved 1,000 dollars ordering my cruise with princess they got everything done air transport hotel and did not charge me like a travel agent did they cost me 700. 00 plus

    • Same for me, I also call Royal Carribeen direct, no extra chrages at all. Havent booked woth a travel agent in 15 plus cruises.

  39. If you are in an inside cabin turn on the tv set last thing at night and go to the ship cam channel.
    It is black all thru the night but you will wake up to daylight in the morning. If there are lights on the tv that bother you just place a card on front of them.

  40. We like to bring a stack of sticky notes & a pen. We ask our teenagers to stick notes on the desk mirror to let us know where they are or for us to let them know what we’re doing. It’s an easy way for us just to keep tabs, leave reminders, and make tentative meeting times/places.

  41. Because the hallways are long and all look the same- I take ribbon to tie to my door handle.
    That way I can go straight to my door every time. Also, I use a magnetic dry erase board on the
    outside of my cabin door to leave notes for the other members of my party.

  42. We always take a power strip and pack it in the carry on with the C-pap machine and meds, If questioned, you show them the machine and say “medical” and have never had a problem. Another suggestion, I like to do is to leave your suitcase opened and slide it under the bed. When you need something, just pull it our like a drawer. Now that I know you can ask for distilled water, I will do that. Thanks for the tip

  43. ZipLock Bag Tip: Put the remote control to the TV in it as soon as you get into your cabin – that is the most germ ridden item in the cabin besides the phones (which can be wiped down with disinfectant wipes). Pick it up using a tissue or something similar.

  44. I always bring the following:
    1. Clips to keep my towel from blowing off my deck chair,
    2. Lanyards for my room key
    3. Magnetic clips for hanging the itinerary up in the room each day and a magnetic highlighter pen to highlight what we plan to do
    4. Magnetic post it notes and a pen with a magnet attached for writing and leaving notes for your your travel companions.
    (you can buy magnets at a craft store and attach them to post it notes, highlighters and pens with a glue gun),
    5. Insulated cup with straw to fill with water or juice.
    6. Downey wrinkle release spray.
    7. Woolite to hand wash clothes in the sink.
    8. Small flashlight and alarm clock. Cabins are very dark at night.. Make sure you don’t get an alarm clock that ticks. Drove us crazy our last cruise, ended up putting it in a drawer!
    9. Always wrap the handles of our luggage with fluorescent duck tape so they are easy to find.

    • Excellent tips I agree! We didn’t know about the big clips for towels so we are definitely getting them for our next cruise! We like balcony cabins so it isn’t too dark.
      I would also add ear plugs!

  45. I wouldn’t log into the free wifi at port. You can spoof them and have access to your phone. We added Verizon’s international plan and it does cost more, however what would be the price of your identity if it was stolen.

  46. Tip 6 about rolling clothes is a good one, but it leaves cruise newbies with the impression that it’s okay to bring their travel iron with them on a cruise. It isn’t. In fact, most cruise lines forbid it, and for good reason. If you want to knock the wrinkles out of your clothes on a cruise, either look for cruise ships with passenger laundry facilities or use no-iron tricks to smooth out wrinkles (a little Google search will turn up several).

  47. One thing we learned was that sometimes there are extra outlets behind the TV that you can use to plug in power strips or chargers. Helps when you have a CPAP, phones, laptops and more that need to be charged! we also have found an occasional one behind a bed.

  48. I use my flat iron to iron my clothes. Just be sure to wipe the oil/hair product residue from the plates before ironing your clothing. I try to bring as much wrinkle resistant clothing as possible and I roll my clothing when packing my suitcase. I went on a princess cruise years ago and they had a laundry room with an iron available. I don’t know if they still have them. Royal Caribbean does not.

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