Things New Cruisers Don’t Realize You Can Get on the Ship

buy on board cruise ship things
See what you can leave at home before you break out that extra suitcase. - Photo by Rene Jansa / Shutterstock

Suitcase space is a valuable commodity, so why waste it on items you can get on the ship? Here a few things you can remove when your bags refuse to close:

1. Diapers (And Other Baby Supplies)

baby supplies cruise caribbean diapers

Who wants to lug all of this in their suitcase? - Photo by KPG Ivary / Shutterstock

For such tiny people, babies need a mind-blowing amount of stuff. Even though most lines will rent out cribs and high chairs to parents, parents could be on the hook for bringing diapers, formula, and strollers. Add all of this up, and your baby could require more than five times his or her body weight in luggage. Thankfully, the more baby-friendly cruise lines have most of these items available for preorder and will be waiting for you in your stateroom when you board. It can be a tad pricey, but it’s worth not spending your vacation with an injured rotator cuff.

Bonus Perk: Disney and Royal Caribbean have their own dedicated web pre-ordering services, Babies Travel Lite and Babies 2 Go.


2. Formal Wear

formal wear tux dress cruise

Leave your tux at home. - Photo by Zadorozhna Natalia / Shutterstock

Speaking of things that take up a lot of extra space, a single formal outfit that you may only use once can necessitate bringing an extra garment bag. Through a service appropriately called Cruiseline Formalwear, tuxedos and formal dresses can be rented on Carnival, Celebrity, Disney, Holland America, and Princess.

Bonus Perk: If you happen to be sailing with Cunard on the Queen Mary 2, they have their own formal wear shop that you can use for fittings, rentals, and purchases.


3. Wheelchairs

beach wheelchair cruise handicap disability

Modern cruise ships are extremely wheelchair accessible. - Photo by mangostock / Thinkstock

If you or someone in your group needs a wheelchair to traverse the ship or get around ports, you can rent one from Special Needs at Sea or CareVacations. While the ships themselves will sometimes provide wheelchairs for emergencies and embarkation/disembarkation, it’s not always reliable so you’re better off going through a third party. Also note that while modern cruise ships are very wheelchair accessible, tender boats and ports may not be.

Bonus Perk: Disney and Norwegian can provide beach wheelchairs specially designed for traversing sand on their private islands, Castaway Cay and Great Stirrup Cay.


4. Computer for Internet Access

virgin islands sapphire beach caribbean

Apple stores truly are everywhere. - Photo by Celebritiy Cruises

Sometimes a phone just isn’t enough for slogging through emails. But even if you plan on getting some work done during your cruise, think twice before packing your laptop. Virtually every ship has a 24-hour internet cafe where you can pay a small fee use a desktop computer with internet. The connection won’t be great, but it will be faster than anywhere else on the ship. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to use flash drives or memory cards.

Bonus Perk: Celebrity Cruises one ups every other internet cafe with their iLounge, an Apple store-at-sea where you can use (or purchase) a selection of Apple products, and even sign up for classes on how to use your new device.


5. Cigarettes

virgin islands sapphire beach caribbean

No need to stock up before you sail. - Photo by CristinaMuraca / Shutterstock

We’re not trying to ignite the smoker vs. anti-smoker debate you see on every cruise forum, but we couldn’t write this article without mentioning that you can buy cigarettes at the duty-free stores on board, and unlike alcohol bought in the duty-free shops, you won’t have to wait until the end of your cruise to get them.

Bonus Perk: While many products you can buy on board will be marked up by the cruise line, items in the duty-free shop are dramatically cheaper than anywhere else, meaning you can buy cartons of cigarettes for not too much more than you would pay for a single pack in a major city.


6. Toiletries, Make-Up, Etc.

virgin islands sapphire beach caribbean

Sometimes we forget the most obvious things. - Photo by PainterSaba / Thinkstock

While you shouldn’t plan on buying these items on the ship as they are heavily marked up, know that you don’t need to panic if you forget toothpaste.

Bonus Perk: “Etc.” includes condoms (even on Azamara).


Join the discussion

What do you leave home when you cruise?

Posted by MrChocoholic

Besides the obvious things like work, cares, driving and child-support checks, I always leave that other pair of shoes--you know, THOSE--when I wish I'd brought them. Also, I never should have carried all those spare batteries. A single 4-pack is usually enough. Now that I have a large-screen smartphone, out goes the travel alarm clock. I still care somewhat about how I smell, but I leave home a second bottle of cologne now. Sometimes I Ieave all of it home and buy more on the ship or in port. I leave home a lightweight bathrobe I used to pack. I leave home my good jewelry. I leave home my conservative shirts and all but one pair of long pants. I leave home my hip flask. Mostly I just leave home.

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