From gadgets and gear ideas to pack, to avoiding the top mistakes even experienced cruisers make, husband and wife cruising experts Rob and Kerri Stuart, who live in Tampa and are authors of Just Add Water: Your Guide to The Ultimate Cruise Vacation, and hosts of All Aboard TV, have all kinds of secrets to help us have the best summer cruise vacation ever.
Bring a power strip. Your stateroom will most likely have one or two outlets. If you want to charge up more than one or two devices at night, you will need a power strip and they don’t offer them on board.
Use a packing cube: Gone are the days of just throwing things into luggage without a system. With packing cubes, every item (underwear, socks, t-shirts, etc.) have their own cube that goes into the luggage. Once you get on the ship, you simply put the cube into the drawer. Quick and easy.
Duty free shopping is great, but it won’t always save you money: Sometimes duty free shopping can save you a lot of money on jewelry, perfumes, liquor and more. Sometimes it won’t. Make sure and check the prices of specific items you want at retailers back home before you cruise to know if you are getting a good deal.
Don’t forget the walkie talkies: Cruise ships keep getting bigger and bigger in size. Mini walkie talkies, although old technology, are a great way to stay connected with your party while on the ship. Some of the newer ships have apps you can use to text others in your party through your smartphone. Be sure to check what your ship does or doesn’t offer before you go.
“Over the door” shoe organizer: Since cruise ship cabins are small and tight on space, this is a clever item to pack and use for something other than shoes. You can put a variety of items in the pockets from bathroom products to a place to keep your carry around items like travel mugs, lanyard, medicine and poker chips. Don’t forget a few of those magnetic hooks to stick to your cabin door for extra hanging space.
Travel insurance is a must: If you don’t opt for travel insurance, and the airline loses your luggage, too bad. What if the boss tells you the week before that you have to move your vacation? Sorry. Get sick while in one of the ports? Your health insurance more than likely won’t cover you. Trip insurance is usually 5%-6% of the total cost of the cruise, and is a must for everyone in your party. Use a third party company as opposed to the cruise line because it’s more inclusive.