Use these cruise cabin hacks and must have cruise accessories to instantly upgrade your stateroom!
The first time we cruised was almost our last. Our cruise cabin felt like a prison…
As soon as we started unpacking, we knew that we were in for a rough week. We felt completely unprepared for the tiny space we’d be sharing.
There simply wasn’t nearly enough space for our stuff. We ended up living out of our suitcases. Every time we needed underwear or socks, we’d have to crawl under the bed to pull out our luggage.
Our laptops, cameras, iPads, chargers, and other electronic accessories were piled on top of the one shelf. Each was waiting its turn to get a charge.
“Eventually, the room was just covered in stuff. Throughout the cruise, we’d be digging through piles to find sail cards, money, passports, cameras, and whatever else we needed.”
Fighting for shelf space with out electronics were our bathroom accessories (deodorants, scrubs, makeup, etc). There was no place in the bathroom to put anything. Our only option was to dump bathroom items into the sink.
Eventually, the room was just covered in stuff. Throughout the cruise, we’d be digging through piles to find sail cards, money, passports , cameras, and whatever else we needed.
Adding to our frustration… we couldn’t sleep! We got a room in a heavily trafficked hallway (like a rookie) and people kept waking us up as they paraded back and forth. Our cruise cabin was also really hot throughout the vacation.
All in all, we had no idea what we were doing.
We slowly learned the “cruise cabin hacks” to avoid similar issues. Dozens of cruises later, we now know what we’re doing. The issues we encountered on our first cruise are so easily avoided with a few simple tips and some inexpensive cruise accessories.
Don’t make rookie cruising mistakes! Check out the tips and cruise accessories below to make the most of the limited cruise cabin space you’re provided.
Cruise Cabin Hacks & Must Have Cruise Accessories
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Listed below are the nine essential cruise accessories for your cabin. They’ll help you transform a small, messy stateroom into a comfortable and organized living situation.
We’ve collected these suggested items from hundreds of the most veteran cruises we know.
#1 | Over the Door Hanging Organizer
If you’ve cruised, you know that cruise cabins are crazy small. If you haven’t cruised then just know… cruise cabins are crazy small!
Not only are they tiny, there’s nowhere to put your stuff. Sure there are a few drawers for clothes and a closet to hang stuff. But, what about your wallet, speaker, phone, camera, lotions, sandals, books, etc.
It’s all of those little things that don’t have a home. Rather than stacking them on top of each other, this cruise cabin hack will have all of those items neatly organized.
The 15 pocket over the door hanging organizer is like an extra closet. In fact, we may rebrand this item and just call it “Extra Closet.”
It assembles in 20 seconds. Simply place the included hooks over one of your cruise cabin doors, shut it, and hang the organizer. That’s it! You just created 15 new places to put your stuff.
It’s not just useful in cruise cabins. It’ll fit any door at home. Once you get back (sad face), you can use it to store all of your souvenirs.
IMPORTANT: make sure that your hanging organizer is FIRE RETARDANT like the one linked to here. Otherwise, it’s likely your cruise cop will bring you below decks. We’ve been down there. You don’t want to go there.
#2 | Cruise Cabin Wall Magnets
These magnetic hooks are the our favorite cruise cabin hacks for organizing your stuff and creating some space in your small quarters.
Did you know that all cruise ship walls are metal? Don’t worry, most people don’t. It’s true. That’s why these powerful hooks will stick just about anywhere you put them throughout your cruise cabin.
We’ve typically used these magnets for the following.
- bathing suits
- cruise card lanyard
- tank tops
Make sure to get extra strong magnetic hooks, as some cruise cabin walls have a thicker outer layer than others. We’ve tested a few and these linked to below are almost dangerously powerful!
They’re great for keeping your most used items ready and waiting by the door. And to keep them from getting lost amongst your other stuff. When combining this with our Cruise Card Holder with Lanyard, the two make a perfect pair!
#3 | Travel Laundry Bag
This is a Cruise Cabin Hack we got from our followers. Keeping a laundry bag in your cruise cabin closet is a must!
Throughout the day, you’ll be excitedly bouncing from one activity to the next. Maybe that includes a gym session in the morning, pool day after breakfast, basketball or shuffleboard in the afternoon, and some intense dance-floor action late night.
During your many onboard activities on and off ship, you’ll go through a lot of clothes! Don’t let that pile of dirty laundry build up in the corner of your closet. Or, even worse, don’t let it commingle with your fresh stuff!
You’ll want that nasty stuff out of sight and out of mind (oh, and smell). This convenient laundry bag serves just that purpose. It takes up next to no space when empty. When filled, it condenses all of your dirty laundry, and smells, into a compact container.
At the end of the week, simply toss the sack in with the rest of your stuff and don’t worry about it until you get home. Or, if you plan to do laundry on the ship, this is great for that too! It has a sturdy strap so you can take that to the laundromat or hand it over to your steward.
#4 | Cruise Crew “Thank You” Cards
You might be asking, “how can these ‘thank you’ cards make me more comfortable in my cruise cabin?” If so, you’re thinking about this incorrectly. It’s not how the cards can improve your comfort, but rather the recipient!
Crew members on your ship will provide you with great service regardless. But, you’ll see truly exceptional service by showing a little extra love. Whether you slip a few bills into your card or just a kind note, you’re sure to get a heartfelt response. And some extra love in return.
There’s no doubt that we get even better service after handing these out. But, that’s not why we do it. We love our cruise crew. They work incredibly hard and it’s the least we can do to show our appreciation. You’ll be amazed at how thankful they are to receive such a small gesture of gratitude.
#5 | Packing Cubes
Chances are, that you’re rooming with at least one other person in your cruise cabin. Staterooms are significantly smaller than hotel rooms and can get tight. Fortunately, there are Cruise Accessories to make the most of this space.
You’ll need to make the most of every inch of your of your closet and drawer space. The perfect solution is packing cubes. They’re like mini-closets that can be easily picked up and moved around. When you finally get to your stateroom, you’ll be too excited to unpack. No problem. Just grab your cubes, toss them in a drawer, and you’re ready for the buffet.
Your cubes also make the packing process much more fun and efficient. Each item, from socks to gowns, will have its own little home with all of its buddies. Need a bra? You’ll know exactly where to look. Ready to hit the jacuzzi? Your swim trunks are one zip away.
As an added bonus, you’ll also get the cruise cabin laundry bag. As seen above in #3, this can be an absolute essential!
#6 | Bed-side Fan
Cruise cabins aren’t like a hotel, where you’re able to adjust your personal thermostat. You’ll likely be at the mercy of a central cooling unit, which you can’t control.
As such, chances are you’ll either be too hot or too cold. For those that are too cold, you can add layers. For those too warm, well, you can only shed so many until you’re naked on top of your covers.
With this personal fan, you’ll have a nice breeze on you throughout the night.
Your new fan will also solve the potential problem of your cruise cabin being too noisy!
You’re packed like sardines. Just think, your neighbors are probably less than 10 feet away from you throughout the night. Ok, maybe don’t think about that… it’s a little creepy. But, point being, you’ll likely hear others rummaging around (or whatever) at night.
This must have cruise accessory will provide a lulling source of white-noise to soothe you into your slumber.
But wait… there’s more! Not only does this provide cooling and white-noise, but a night light as well! The LED light included with the fan is illuminated with the push of a button to guide you through your dark cruise cabin at night.
#7 | Portable Night light
This must have cruise product is your “cure for stubbed toes and angry spouses.”
Cruise cabins get really dark. And, when you need to get up to use the bathroom, you’re in uncharted waters. You won’t be familiar with the path to the restroom. Rather than breaking your toe off on the tv stand, use this little friend.
It has a magnetic base so you can stick it directly to your cruise cabin wall! And, the night light swivels to face any direction.
It’s also motion sensor activated so there’s no fumbling around for switches.
#8 | Extra Outlets Power Cube (Non Surge)
We all need the “essentials” when we cruise. Like our iPhones, iPads, laptops, mp3 players, cameras, gaming devices, hair dryers, speakers, and many other “must have” accessories. Unfortunately, cruise cabins aren’t set up to accommodate our growing electrical needs.
Typically, your stateroom will have only two outlets positioned in the most convenient place. If you’re like us, this is not nearly enough to keep you juiced. This power cube is your ideal solution.
Plug this device in and you’ll be able to keep all of your electronic goodies ready to go.
In addition to the three outlets for typical plugs, you also have three USB ports to charge phones, tablets, and more.
Your mini Power Strip will be crucial on your next sailing. There’s too much to do at sea and at port. Don’t be sitting around waiting for stuff to charge to get back out there to the fun.
IMPORTANT: make sure that the power strip you bring is NON SURGE PROTECTED like the one linked to here. Otherwise, it’s likely your cruise cop will bring you below decks. And trust you-me, you don’t want to go below decks.
On Amazon, there are a few Cruise Power Strip and Cube options, but this is the only brand that we trust!
#9 | Bathroom Accessory Organizer
Cruise Cabin Bathrooms are TINY! Typically, there are NO shelves. Like, none.
You likely won’t even have somewhere to set down your toothbrush once done scrubbing. That’s how little we’re talking here.
Now, consider your razors, lotions, toothpaste, deodorants, makeup, blah, blah. Let’s face it, we don’t look this good when waking up. It takes a little bit of time, effort, and… well, products.
Rather than strewing these products throughout the cabin, this is your solution. You can organize your every bathroom belonging in this attractive toiletry travel kit and organizer.
The back of your cruise cabin bathroom door will have a hook. It’s the perfect place to hang this product. You’ll then have immediate access to all of your bathroom needs at your fingertips.
BONUS #1 | Cruise Porthole Sticker
Upgrade to Ocean View for UNDER $10! Ok, so it doesn’t include the salt spray or seagulls, but it comes with extra laughs.
Use this bonus cruise accessory on your cabin door or your stateroom wall. It turns any surface into a ocean porthole.
Do you get seasick, but can’t afford that oceanview cabin? No prob! This is your solution. Also a great gag gift for the cruising fan in your life. Or, a wonderful way to build anticipation for your sailing. Stick it on your office cubicle for an endless reminder of your pending vacation!
BONUS #2 | Poo Pourri
We’re usually anti-toilet-humor… but, this is too good to pass up. Honestly, the tagline is “because ship happens.” Could there be a more relevant product for a cruise?
Whether your cruise cabin mate is a partner, buddy, family member or other, they’ll appreciate this must-have cabin accessory. Part of the joy of cruising is the food. And if we’re being honest, we tend to over-indulge a bit. Without getting too graphic, the buffet provides an bounty of options and many of which are foreign to our innards. This product is like an insurance policy on what that bounty will produce.
We’ve had numerous cruisers recommend we add this product According to the company’s site, you simply “spritz the bowl before-you-go and no one else will ever know. The original non-toxic before-you-go toilet spray that stops bathroom odors before they ever begin – seriously!”
BONUS #3 | Travel Shampoo Bottles
You’re going on vacation. Your hygiene doesn’t have to. This cruise cabin hack lets you maintain the level of self-care that you deserve. We like to bring specialized shampoo, conditioner and moisturizers. We also have little babies. These are perfect for their items as well.
The standard toiletries in your cruise cabin bathroom won’t cut it. They’re comparable to those found in a turnpike rest-stop. We want to look our best for our fellow cruise passengers. These travel bottles let us do exactly that.
They’re also TSA compliant. You won’t have to worry about surly airport guards. Your new travel bottles won’t get a second glance.
Above, you’ll find our “must have” cruise cabin accessories. If you found these helpful, make sure to check out our piece, Top 10 Most Purchased Cruise Accessories on Amazon.
We hope that you get good use from these essential cruise accessories! They’ve made our cruising lives a lot more comfortable and definitely worth the relatively little cost.
If you have any other “must-have’ cruise accessories, please leave them in the comment section below.
If you found this helpful, please use the share buttons to spread these tips with others in the cruise community!
261 thoughts on “Cruise Cabin Hacks – 9 Must Have Cruise Accessories for a VIP Stateroom”
Earplugs are useful too – especially if you have a cabin anywhere near where there is music or dancing or by the kitchens!
Very helpful tip, Dot – we’ll add these to the list. Thanks for your contribution and happy cruising!
I agree with the earplugs!
I bring a noise machine or some ships have an ocean noise on tv to block out noise.
I pack my clothes right on hangers. Easy to take out gold with hanger and than just open suitcase and hang up on ship
Me too. Makes packing and unpacking so much easier.
If sharing room with friends, get together to set up Cabin Courtey rules, it really helps. Example, One rule we felt was helpful was no one leaves their stuff on bathroom counter.
Also alarm clock. Cruising has such an emphasis on time (e..g arrival in port, various onboard activities, dinner time, etc…), it’s great to look at the time instead of always reaching for my cell phone. Also doubles as an alarm clock for those early debark for shore excursions.
Thanks for the great addition, Jeannie – we’ll add that to the cruise packing list!
I always bring a battery operated alarm clock.
I ask the cabin steward for extra hangers so no need to bring them.
It took several cruises before it dawned on me to hang more than one thing on a hanger. My rule now is every hanger has to have at least 2 things on it, and where possible 3 things. So easy & closet isn’t so jammed full. And your cabin attendant will bring you more of needed.
The cabin steward will supply you with extra hangers! You just have to ask! Also will give you some glasses if requested. Ask for fresh ice in your ice bucket every day! Your cabin steward can be your best friend! I’m all our cruises we have only had 1 scrappy steward that was unfriendly and I never even saw him! He avoided us the entire 1st day! After that we would leave him notes on what we needed.
You have a phone that gives you a wake up call…..just use it
I never been on a cruise, would love to go. If I can save up enough money, hopefully I can take myself for my 60th birthday this coming January. Read all the comments, lot of great suggestions, so if I go, I will be prepared. Thanks,
Plan very early and pay it out… layaway vacation
I use a small projection alarm clock. Plugs into my Cruise On USB port. Runs on batteries but must be plugged in for the projection feature to work. It’s the best thing since sliced bread.
We bring along a section cup soap dish, and section cup hooks for in the shower, for our shower loofahs.
Great addition, Dona – thanks!
Be careful about the charging strip. Surge protected power strips are not allowed, because of their potential as a fire hazard 🙁
We’ve brought one every cruise we’ve taken. Never had an issue, it’s not like we hide it!
True. Carnival was going to confiscate ours because “it has a switch.” (We took it back to the car)
These plugs are allowed in your checked luggage. We have been taking this same plug for many years.
Make sure to check whether or not your cruise line will allow power strips/extension cables. Some cruise lines don’t.
Also, your steward will be happy to bring you more hangers if you ask or leave a note, so I never bring hangers to clog up my precious suitcase space.
Makeup cases are good to keep the various powders and brushes together and not take up too much counter space. I have a 3-tiered makeup case to keep everything together and only pull it out when it’s time to do my makeup to save room. (applicable to males too. EVERYONE needs space for toiletries.)
Also, a heat mat to keep flat irons, curling irons, etc on can be useful because not all of the surfaces in staterooms will be safe for high levels of heat.
Make sure to bring cash for its many uses onboard: You may want to tip the bartenders, both behind a literal bar and mobile on the pool decks. Tip the steward and the cleaning team (two separate parties, not always the same people). Pay in cash for souvenirs in ports. If you plan to take a taxi at any point during a trip or excursion, some drivers will only accept cash. Although in most cases on the ship, you can add a tip onto a check, there are also many cases when you can’t, or don’t even have a check to add a tip onto. In these cases, cash would be the only option.
Bring sneakers or running shoes for the various sports activities on the ship or excursions on land. There are many things that you can’t do with flip-flops.
Get a lanyard to keep your cruise card in. Usually, the card is how you pay, get off/on the ship, identify your muster station, etc. etc.! A convenient place to keep your card is crucial so you always know where it is and can access it easily. Losing your card would be a disaster, after all.
Sorry my comment was so long, but hopefully a couple of these points can help.
Good point – thanks, Amanda! This power strip is so small that we usually bring it and ask our cruise cabin manager. So far, we’ve never had them tell us we can’t use it.
Yes we just cruised on royal Caribbean and our power strip was confiscated. It was just two of us so no problem charging, didn’t really miss it.
Royal Caribbean confiscated my very small portable clothes steamer. I’ve taken it on at least 12 previous cruises without a problem.
I just spoke with a Carnival operator, they do not allow garment steamers but the laundry rooms/service have irons and ironing boards available. She also told me they will allow a small 4.5″ fan and a tiny 3-plug socket extension with two USB ports. Downey wrinkle-release non-aerosol spray is a handy product I use at home, and is available in 3 oz travel size bottles so I’ll bring one of these too (just be careful using on any dry-clean only garments).
There’s ways of getting steamers on board, they want you to think they are a fire hazard yet they allow electric curlers and curling irons they would rather you paid to have your clothes steamed. I have been on six Carnival cruises and have taken a steamer every time just use your imagination and you will probably get it on board.
I have been on 11 cruises. Only one of them was my iron confiscated and that was Royal Caribbean. Carnival never has. We also take a garment steamer, candle, and a large power strip……have never had a problem.
Also, I have definitely never needed a fan. I actually have to take winter clothes and pajamas because the ship and the cabin are both frigid.
You can also use a flat iron on clothes.
After reading some of these comments and suggestions I’m a little concerned. I can’t sleep without a fan and I realize I’ll have to call Carnival to make sure it’s okay to bring one. But my biggest concern is my CPAP machine which I have to have to sleep. I’m going to call Carnival but I wonder if anyone else has brought one of those on a cruise?
I bring my CPAP machine all the time. Never a problem. It’s a medical device. Usually need an extension cord provided by the ship. We request this and distilled water ahead of time.
My husband has never had a problem bringing his onboard. He carries it right they security.
Yes you can take chacon carnival
I have brought my CPAP Machine on all my cruises with no problem.
Both my husband and I use CPAP machines and have never had a problem. My parents also have them. We have extension cords packed in our checked luggage and have never had a problem. My mom and I also have scooters we use on the ships. We really need the extension cords to use with the CPAPs and scooters. We have never had a problem with having them.
How do you get scooters on the ship? Do they have them? I have a wheel chair…
We did taKE a cpap machine with no problem. On NCL and Royal Carribean.
Good thing because my hubby can’t sleep without it.
My husband uses a cpap machine and takes it on every cruise! No problem!
CPAP is allowed & Norwegian will supply distilled water.
Yes, you can bring your C-pap machine. Ask you steward for distilled water.
My sister uses a cpap and we have been on 23 cruises with no problem! Take a power strip so you can plug in your cpap and charge your phone at the same time!
Bath n body works has body wash/ skin softener in tubes that smell really nice.
Instead of bringing a btl of perfume, I go into the fancy gift shops and try th the various tester perfumes.
Our friend brought a fan and it was taken away so some ships dont allow them..Check before you go..
That’s surprising, Johnette. Do you know which cruise line? We’ve been on about 15 cruises with a fan and never had this issue.
Yes I also had my fan taken away after boarding the ship. Carnival freedom in May 2016. I sailed Carnival Magic in May 2015 and they let me use it with no problems. I wondered if it was because I was in a smaller cabin and ship the 2nd time around?
That is strange. We sailed on Carnival Freedom in January 2016 and had no problem with our fan. Wonder if it was the attendant’s concern and not the cruise line.
We put out power strip and curling iron in the drawer so it is not left out! We have brought hangers and got some from cabin steward. We also leave them most of the time. You can also leave things in your cabin you do not want to carry home or can’t and tell the steward. They are usually super excited. We left a bottle of wine and drinks for ours last time! Great ideas! Thanks!!
Thanks for the helpful info and great idea, Gena!
We were told that if you leave anything behind intended for your steward, there has to be a letter/note from you that specifically states your intentions. Otherwise all items are sent to Miami.
Always had more than enough hangers and the air-con keeps the stateroom at a comfortable temperature. On a fly cruise I would not use up my allowance with white boards etc.
Appreciate the helpful feedback, Derek!
Buy a few of the very inexpensive folding fabric boxes, think dollar store. These pack flat and are cheap enough to leave behind…along with magnetic hooks, bring magnetic clips and also, extra large safety pins which can even be used to fix torn luggage. We have cruised many times and always make the area work. Those large clips that are sold to hold your towels on your beach chair also work to secure a damp bathing suit to the back of your balcony chair…just remember this is temporary housing and make the best of it and enjoy yourself.
Great feedback. It sounds like you have some cruise experience. Thank you for sharing!
Another great tip I learned was to bring some “travel duct tape or gorilla tape”. Takes care of any luggage mishaps during your travel. Got mine at Amazon and it’s actually called “travel size duct tape”. Small and convenient to throw in your luggage.
We are currently booked for our tenth cruise. We have never found a use for any of those things. Most people who go out and buy those over the door things find that they don’t ever use them. Now Carnival says that if you do bring one of them, it has to be fireproof. I’m surprised that the author didn’t mention decorating your cabin door so that you can find it easier.
Thanks, Dick! I’ll add cruise cabin door decorations to the list!
Have used the Over The Door (shoe) Hanger on every cruise and it it perfect for all the little toiletries, shoes, sun screen etc. You nam it, it goes there. Keep the small bath clutter free. Room steward loves it.
When you cruise with a group, those door organizers are great for toiletries, sun screen, aloe, flat iron, anything that can clutter a bathroom sink.
We agree, Melanie!!
“Poo pouri” or a similar bathroom toilet spray works wonders!
Thanks, Dona – will add to our list of cabin accessories!
Dona: just want to tell you about a friend who always used to use the “Poo pouri” until it splashed up onto her privates and suffered an extreme amount of pain…….(burned her)
You are supposed to spray it in the toilet BEFORE taking your seat. I am sorry your friend had that experience.
I have been told that we can’t use over the door organizers since they damage the doors ( Carnival)
We’ve used them on all of our sailings (Carnival included) without issue. The hooks on these in particular do not damage the door. We keep them on our doors at home as well and have no issues at all.
hang it with magnetic hooks instead of over the door hooks. its just 2 holes with grommets
I always bring the organizers!! I normally hang it in the closet. They make them with Velcro. They hold shoes and extra articles. I also bring make up bags (one for myself and hubby) and hang them on the bathroom hooks on the back of the door. There are usually some shelves in the bathroom and the rest stay in the bags.
I Love the information you gave Captain Cruise. I have been on about 2 dozen cruises and have used most of the hints you have given. Thanks for the information!!!
We’re very glad you found these helpful, Deborah! Happy cruising to you.
I am thinking of hanging the over the door thing using hook magnets?!
I zip tie our over the door hanger onto an actual hanger before leaving home. Then I hang it on a hook in the room. We usually have 2 adults and 2 teens in our room, so every pocket is at a premium.
The bathroom doors have towel hooks and the organizer hooks nicely onto them giving you 24 pockets of storage
I bought some of the felt strips and dots to put on the metal part of the hanger so that they won’t scratch the doors.
We use a face cloth to put over the top of the door to protect it from the organizer damaging the door…. The cabin steward thought it was clever.
In addition to items mentioned above, We bring a shoe organizer that hangs in the closet. Not only great for shoes but many other small items can go in there as well. Dress shoes, running shoes, flip flops, slippers, etc… can take up a lot of room on the floor which makes the room feel messy!
Great – idea, Johanne. Thank you for sharing!
Bring some clothes pins or some sort of clips. Great for hanging wet bathing suits in the shower or keeping bathing suits safe on the balcony. Also good for chip or snack bags.
Great ideas. Never thought of that. My husband had a shaving kit and I have a make–up bag. We keep everything in those two items and they sit nicely on the counter or one of the shelves. I hand his things and mine fit in the drawers. His t-shirts, shorts and anything else gets put on the shelves inside the closet. Never had a problem for space and I always over pack. We have a suitcase for our laundry. Rooms are always comfortable. Last cruise we had a message board. The group leader requested them for the party. It was nice. My husband and I used it when we weren’t together. He likes to play Texas Hold’em.
Really good ideas. I am certainly going to do these things on my next cruise! Thanks.
Glad you found these cruise cabin product ideas helpful, Mary! Have an amazing cruise!
I don’t think the person writing this has ever been on a cruise. While some of these ideas are good some are just silly. After sailing over 30 times I have never brought extra hangers. Just ask for more hangers. And almost all cabin bathrooms while small have some shelves or storage. The nightlight and fan may be useful in an inside cabin. Newer ships to have climate control in each cabin.
Thanks for the feedback, Jen. I have a few dozen cruises under my belt and still use all of these products. Yes, the bathrooms typically have a tiny shelf that certainly can’t hold hair dryers, curlers, lotions, toiletries, etc. That’s why the hanging door item and bathroom organizer are so helpful. You mention that newer ships have climate control in each cabin. That’s true… unfortunately, 95% of ships aren’t new, so I’m not sure that point is relevant to the majority. Again, thanks for the feedback and happy cruising to you!
Hair dryers are provided by the ship; usually you use them in the main area in front of the mirror (safety concern electricity and water in bathroom I assume); as far as laundry bag is concerned, just use the dry cleaning bag provided.
I’ve cruised 8 times so far and have never had an issue with space for my stuff. There are always little cubbies for sunscreen, cameras in the room so we have never had to leave everything out. We sail mainly with Royal Caribbean.
I’m booked for my 22nd cruise! I don’t use the drink glasses in the room. One glass is great storage for my toothbrush, toothpaste and floss. I put my dirty clothes right in my under the bed suitcase. Out of sight!
Thanks for the tips, Jan. Have a great 22nd cruise!
I just got back last week and I sure wish I had had my tiny fan. We were on the Allure which is one of the newer ships and we were in an ocean view room but it was very warm in our room. We mentioned it but it was set as cool as it could be.
I bought hangers on our last carnival cruise ????. I’m so glad I did because there wasn’t enough provided.
Jen, I already use some of these tips & appreciate a lot more of them. We all have different needs & appreciate someone taking the time to list them. They’re like a cafeteria–choose what you want & with the rest you just walk on by.
You are exactly right Mom B! Use night lights every time but I love the one shown here and am going to buy a couple!!!
Water bottle and travel coffee mug. The ones at the buffet and restaurants are tiny and not portable. Plus wash and toss disposable dish cloths/pads to wash them with.
I always take a water bottle and my travel coffee mug. Some of these other ideas are good ones. We were on the Carnival Pride and there was only one outlet to charge phones send tablets. Not enough outlets in cabins. Our next cruise is on Royal Princess. Will see if anything is different.
Thanks for the feedback, Craig! Yeah, the outlet issue seems to be pretty common on ships.
Heading to our first cruise with 4 people in our room. I will be using most of these ideas. Thank you for them!
Glad to hear we were able to help, Mary. Have an amazing cruise and we hope these cruise accessories will help you make the most of it!
If your room will have a bunk bed setup, you might consider taking a bedside caddy for the top bunk (purchased one for my son when he went to college at Bed Bath and Beyond). It had a velcro closure to hang it over the top bunk rail. This will allow the top bunk person a place to put their book, music, etc. without having to get down from the bed.
Thanks for the suggestion, Sandy – very helpful!
for folks traveling 4 to a cabin, that’s when the over the door organizer helps, with all of today’s cell phones, chargers,
all the the cameras, batteries, chargers, sun lotions, bug spray , and who knows what all ,
for 4 people sharing a cabin. My suggestion : a Jr. suite really helps so you aren’t bumping into each other.
Appreciate the contribution, Mary!
Cruise ships that we have sailed with, have hair driers already plugged,, no need to take your own, adequate hangers, lots of light, even if you have the need to get up at night, air conditioning can adjust to your liking, we have done, week, 2 weeks, 21 days, several times and and about to take. 33day trip to East Asia. Always a safety deposit box in your cabin, granted rooms are not huge, but adequate, a place to lay ones head after a busy day doing whatever, clean bed and quite comfy, sea air,sunshine, great food. Good idea with the shoe bag to hang in the closet,
Our rooms are always big enough never had a problem with space there are some good ideas here but hangers no they will give u extra ones if u ask well atleast Carnival does.i brought an over the door thing and never used it I found on our cruises there was plenty of drawers for everything. Good Crusing everyone.
28 cruises later I’m still using the shoe hanger inside the bathroom door. All our products go in there, hubbie has his sections and I have mine. Another small thing I use, wouldn’t know where to get another one, is a foldable basket, I hate rummaging in my makeup case to find the mascara which invariably is at the bottom. So I assemble my little fold able basket and dump my makeup into it, when I’m rushing in the evening I’m so happy to have it. I know small things but they make life simpler. p.s. love the idea of magnetic hooks, have only eer used magnetic giant paper clips for the tickets and invitations.
Great feedback – thanks so much. It’s great to hear form a truly veteran cruiser. Happy wave season to you, Filomene!
No, no, most of this isn’t necessary at all:
– Cruise ships have a pretty good amount of storage behind the mirrors near the dresser/desk … don’t neglect two nightstands (we always keep our shoes in the lower half and our reading materials in the drawer). If you can’t fit your stuff in, you’re probably over-packing.
– Magnetic hooks are a good idea! Use them to hang hats, wet bathing suits, whatever on the walls or the stateroom door. Similarly, suction cup hooks would work too.
– Don’t bring an extra bag for dirty clothes; it’ll just take up space. Instead, open one suitcase and put it in the bottom of the closet … toss in your dirty clothes, and when that suitcase is full, zip it up and store it under the bed … now a portion of your going-home packing is done.
– Likewise, no need for a dry erase board. Your Expo marker will write directly on the metal stateroom door (or the bathroom mirror) just as well as it’ll write on a board that’s taken up space in your bag. These items’ll clean up quickly just like a white board.
– Your stateroom attendant will bring you extra hangers. All you need to do is ask.
– A little battery-operated fan is a good idea, but do bring several sets of batteries. We take one of these camping (works GREAT when set between two adults in a small tent), and the batteries tend to last two days.
– If you really want a nightlight, consider picking up glow sticks at the dollar store. To mention camping again, we used to give them to the kids in their sleeping bags … they make just enough light for you to go to the restroom, and they take up so little space … and you don’t have to bring them home. If you want more light, drop one into a glass of water, and the light’ll be magnified. Alternately, instead of glow sticks, get the glow bracelets; you can hang one over the bathroom doorknob, making it easy to find.
– Think twice about bringing thing-a-ma-jigs to strain the ship’s electrical generator. You’ll have outlets by the desk/dresser and an outlet in the bathroom. You don’t need an outlet for the hair dryer; it has a designated plug from which it cannot be unplugged. Just leave an item to charge while you go eat dinner, and it’ll be ready when you come back … charge another item while you sleep. Even with multiple people in the cabin, this really shouldn’t be an issue.
– I don’t get the need for more storage in the bathroom. You’ll have shelves behind the mirrors (the side mirrors) and a shelf beneath the sink. I always take one glass from the room and make it the “toothbrush glass” for the family. You may find that travel-sized shampoos, etc. fall through the metal grate shelf in the shower; however, you can fold up a washcloth and fix it so nothing’ll fall through.
Tips that will make a cruise easier:
– Sharing a cabin with children and need more space? The cheapest way to get that extra space is in a balcony cabin. It also allows Dad a place to “disappear” while the girls are getting dressed.
– With small children, bring a very small pop-up tent; it’ll give the kids (and you) a bit of private space. Alternately, bring a sheet and “tent off” a corner using those magnetic hooks.
– If you’re sharing a room with more than a single person, study the deck plans carefully and choose a cabin near a public bathroom. Alternately, you can book a cabin near the spa/gym, and one person can go shower in those locations; the showers are larger and nicer than the ones in the cabins. If you make this choice, be sure you have a separate set of toiletries for that person to carry.
– If your kids are young enough that they’re likely to roll out of bed, bring a long a pool noodle … put it under the sheets, and it’ll provide a little hump that’ll keep them from falling out.
– Bring your old, ready-to-toss make-up and partially-empty shampoo and deodorant … at the end of the cruise, just throw them in the trash can instead of bringing them home. Less to pack on the way home.
– Need a place to store your suitcase? Under the bed’s perfect.
– Enjoy reading? You can pick up a paperback for free from the ship’s library. Finished several books during your cruise and don’t want to take them home? Leave them in your room; your steward will place them in the library for future cruisers.
– If you’re bringing a large travel mug (which isn’t really necessary), bring a bit of dish soap too. You want to get it good and clean. If this is something you think you really need, consider a package of large disposable to-go cups that won’t need washing.
– Talk to the kids about NOT taking food from the mini-fridge … unless you’re willing to pay $5 for a candy bar. Instead, let them order cookies and milk from room service before bed (do bring some small bills for delivery tip).
– Want a robe but don’t have the space in your luggage? Just ask your cabin steward; he or she will bring you one.
– Traveling with family /friends in side-by-side balcony cabins? Ask the cabin steward to open the balcony dividers between your cabins … this’ll allow you to pop in and out of one another’s cabins without going out into the hallway.
– Is that dinky little coffee table in the way? Store it under the bed.
Wow – very thorough and well thought out response. We appreciate the contribution!
I’m amazed at how many people think they are experts for all of the rest of us. Like the one that says, “The newer ships have climate control so I don’t need to bring a fan. Well I have sailed on one of the newest ships and the wonderful climate control did not keep the climate to my liking, so thank you very much, but a fan will be going with me. Or the one that says, You don’t need to pack a laundry bag just use the dry cleaning bag or use a suitcase tucked under the bed. Thanks again for being an expert on my needs or desires, but I have used those small flimsy dry cleaning bags and don’t like them and thank you, Captain Cruise for a suggestion I should have thought of myself but didnt.
Come on people, these are suggestions and I don’t care how many times you have cruised you are not an expert of me. Just let some make suggestions and if you have others great share them, but for heavens sake don’t think your ideas are the only ones out there and you know what others need or may want. Maybe I’d rather write on a whiteboard rather than on the walls. You have opinions but that’s all they are and you know what they say about opinions.
Climate control, 4 shelves in bathroom, place luggage bags under beds, apparently you can ask for a fan if room too hot, extra hangers supplied when asked, 2 robes supplied , a beach towel per person supplied and always changed when found wet , hair dryer supplied, charge your equipment when you aren’t using it, use a bag for dirty clothes and most important…. ask your Steward.. they are there to help.
Instead of white board bring part of a pack of Sticky Notes from home to leave notes for cabin mate or the room steward.
Good idea, Randy! Thanks for the suggestion.
We have been on a couple of ocean and several river cruises. All cabins are compact so after the first cruise I made a cruise package. I laid out all of our toiletries on a full single sheet of newspaper so that they all fit, marked the paper and then made a hanging organizer. Each spot is labeled with what goes in it so we never forget things. I made it with Velcro closed straps that can go over a pants hanger so it can hang from the robe hook on the door or over the shower door. It keeps everything off the counters too. I have a couple of the Dollar Store mini flashlights that we keep on our bedside table for nighttime trips to the head (sorry, I was in the Navy). I also make a trip passport/diary with a page for every day of the cruise showing where we will be and what we will see. It took a bit of fiddling to print out 4 pages per sheet of paper – but after the first one I just change the dates and pictures of what we will be seeing and print it out with a cardstock cover. I make one for each couple/single who is traveling with us as well. I write in it every day after we have returned to the ship along with the picture numbers taken that day and it makes remembering what we saw when we get home. I also bring a 12 x 12″ scrapbook paper organizer with us for all the paper souvenirs. I then have everything corralled until I can make my scrapbook pages. I print out calling cards with our names, address, telephone number and email address to give out to friends that we meet on the cruise. Another useful item is a jewelry caddy. I made one from a scrap of pre-quilted material by finishing the edges with bias tape and a Velcro dot in each corner so it can be flat for packing and put together on board. If we are traveling with a new couple/single I make one for each lady as a bon voyage gift along with the passport. We both take a lot of medications so I got small zip-lock bags and make daily pill bags and put each of ours in a larger zip-lock bag. I always make up 3 or 4 extra days’ worth just in case of a trip delay. I take a picture of each prescription bottle with one of the pills on the top just in case someone questions them. After having my things pawed through by customs officials I went to the Dollar Store and got a bunch of the extra large zip-lock storage bags that they sell – 2 large for $1. I learned not to get the largest ones because they have a gusset at the bottom that tends to tear so they can’t be made air tight. I pack everything in these bags, zip them leaving a couple of inches open, sit on them to remove all the air while zipping the last couple of inches closed. Space bags are I can get my bed pillow into one and make it only an inch thick! You can get so much more in your smaller suitcase and, if the customs people open your bag they can flip through the zip-locks in no time and you are on your way. Oh, and the bags have handles on them so they are really easy to handle. We also pack 2 suitcases with half of each of our stuff in each one so if one suitcase is lost or delayed we at least have clothes. We always ask for robes and slippers so we don’t have to pack them. We do bring travel mugs because you can ask the flight attendant to fill them and not have to hope for another beverage service. We bring water bottle carry straps so we can have water without having to carry a bag. After getting soaked with rain on one cruise, we invested in a couple of those tiny folding umbrellas that are only 6″ long and a couple of Dollar Store ponchos. They fit nicely in a cargo pocket. We may look funny, but we are dry. We pack several pairs each of cargo pants so we don’t have to carry a bag when out and about – it is harder for the pickpockets to get into them to rob you.
Wow, thanks Travel Queen! This is a ton of great info. We’re going to have to borrow some of these strategies!
We just signed up for a 30 day cruise and will be thinking hard about what clothes we will take! We will also get the chance to meet up with one of our foreign exchange students. I hope the ship has a coin operated laundry. This will be our longest trip so far and we are really looking forward to it.
You are very organized. Going on 17th cruise in Dec/M y favorite tip is bring your old underwear,slippers,nightwear etc. Throw away as you go. More room for souvenirs on the way home.The magnets I got on Amazon are fantastic but you need to have the hooks on the front. Really help us keep things in view like hats etc. I use the space bags too so I can bring what I want. I bought the water proof phone cover case so phones, $ ,license wont get damaged by water or sand. I really like the new sunscreen that is in the form of solid deodorant . Doesn’t spill and is so easy to reapply quickly without getting it all over everything.
Great feedback – thank you, Linda!
My MIL does the same thing with her clothes. She always packs what needs to be replaced and just leaves it behind. I also learned from her to pack a pretty extensive first aid kit. She typically does 30-60 day cruises and packs a little of anything she might need along with her Rx meds. Oh and she prints a sheet of family address on address labels and brings some stamps. That way she can write little post cards and just slap an address label and stamp on the postcard. It takes no extra room and the post office can read where to send it.
We are doing a Germany river cruise December 2017. What kind of electrical outlets do the boats have? Were you able to use a portable fan? I use one at night at home. This would be critical for me. Thx!!
They have a us plugs along with European ones. So you won’t have buy a conversation one. But they have only 2 of each so I would bring a plain power strip. We did a Budapest to Amsterdam last October.
It depends on your cruise line, ours only had Europeon plugs. Since I travel to Eur. often, I purchased from Amazon Eur. plug curling iron etc. Remember extra converters/short extension cord for things like CPAP breathing machine
Getting ready for my fourth cruise next month. I read somewhere that you can tune your cabin TV to the channel that shows where the ship is going, turn off the sound, and have a great night light for those middle of the night bathroom stops. Even though it may be dark outside, the TV itself will give off enough light to see by. And please remember to be extremely careful when getting out of the pool. On our last cruise, we saw a lady go down hard because she slipped on the stairs while exiting the pool. And the ship hadn’t left the dock yet! I know she had a miserable time dealing with a bruised backside. Those decks get wicked slippery when they are wet. Perfect your “penguin” walk, and you should be okay. Prone to motion sickness? Forget Sea Bands. They are more of a placebo than anything else. Get a prescription for TransDerm Scop patches. It’s a small patch worn behind the ear and each patch lasts for three days. Beats swallowing Dramamine every four hours! Believe me, the expense is well worth it (about $40 for a box of four at Walmart.) Slip your cabin steward a tip at the very beginning of the cruise. The service you get will be astounding! These folks sign up for a six month hitch, where they don’t see their families at all. And if the management gets a bad report about them, they can be put off the ship at the next port. Their pay is minimal, so they depend on tips. Be generous. Think of how much you would need to tip eating every meal at a restaurant for a week! Just my two cents worth. Happy cruising, everyone, and may your seas always be smooth.
These are all great tips. Thanks so much for taking the time to add these. I really like the t.v. one. Inside cabins get so dark, that I’ve slept until 10am. With the t.v. on, I’d also be able to tell when the sun was up!
A product called Bonine which we picked up at Walgreens or CVS (not available in Canada) is great for motion sickness. One pill a day, worked for my daughter; not a prescription and not expensive.
I personally like Ginger candy and or if you get Ginger pills you take 1 after each meal and I have never been sea sick even though I have very bad motion sickness
That’s a good track record, Deborah!
The generic version of this (meclazine) is just as effective but TONS cheaper! You can get a bottle of 100 for around $4.00. Bonnie is A LOT more expensive for a lot less! We get ours at Walmart (usually you have to ask the pharmacist b/c they keep them behind the counter, but no script needed).
Just a little comment about the seasickness patches , the ships doctor told me that the patches can cause vision problems in older people , he recommends the pills, many of the cruisers that came to see him with headaches and blurred vision were perfectly fine once the patches were removed.
Great to know, Marion. I’m sure our followers will appreciate the info!
I ordered a product called Motion Ease. Royal Caribbean tends to have it on ship too. It is a mixture of essential oils that you put behind your ears and it doesn’t have to be used until you feel you are having symptoms.
I use WINOMO Wonder Magic Clothes Hangers. I pre hang all my outfits at home, pop them into long zippered clothes bag, fold the lot straight into my suitcase. Unpacking and then repacking at the end of the cruise takes two or three minutes only.
I take a fold up net laundry hamper which sits in the closet, very light and easy to pack up or use for taking to the laundry.
I take over the door plastic hooks, which do not damage the doors. They always come in handy.
I have a clear plastic shoe hanger which goes on the back of the bathroom door and is used for everything from brushes to sunscreen.
I have used small cosmetic pouches to hold my make up. Because of limited eyesight-Legally Blind-I don’t use mascara. I have seen a Cosmetic Organiser that can be slipped inside a handbag or grocery tote bag-got mine from my Avon Representative but haven’t seen them again. 🙁 It was a great help! Use travel size skin care sets or buy travel sized bottles and jars and decant your own-using stick on labels so you don’t mix the Day Cream with the Night Cream or the Eye Cream.
Thank you for the helpful tip, Elizabeth!
IF you use a CPAP machine, you may want to bring along an extension cord. Some cruiselines will provide it asked, but the plug may not reach other wise.
Do you know if we have to ask to use our own extension cord for a CPAP?
I always take the magnetic hooks. I advise getting heavy duty ones because you can hang your jacket, hats etc. I also use them to post the daily newsletter, ecxursion tickets, and a small calendar that I make showing where we are each day, including times in ports and excursions.
One thing I do was my husbands idea. Now days sheets, blankets etc come in zip plastic bags. They stay flat and are great for putting undergarments separate per person when packing. Or bring sandy wet things from the beach inside your beach bag etc. you don’t have to worry about shampoo etc leaking. Also I pack Christmas stuff like elf on a shelf lol
I always take post-it-notes to leave messages on (usually on the mirror), take up much less space than a whiteboard and I can usually use the same post-it-note for some messages (meet me on Lido deck at 3pm!).
We have a rechargeable USB fan we use with a charging stick that we recharge during the day using a ‘spider’ charging station (no surge suppressor, ok on Princess). I have a pop-up hamper since I do laundry on a sea day, less clothes to pack if I wash them. Magnetic hooks & clips for the walls and a hanging organizer designed for stuffed animals (from Aldi) with compartments for undies, socks, bathing suits, etc. hangs from the closet rod.
We just came back from our 10th cruise. One tip I can add to your list is a small amount of laundry soap. We always wash underwear and the occasional shirt in the bathroom sink. Helps to keep the amount of packing down and it’s easy to wash and hang up a few items every few days.
To reinforce what was said about side effects of the seasickness patches. Our Doctor said they are called the zombie drug in Europe and some countries have outlawed them due to misuse. Although we have worn them a time or two, the side effects, especially for older people can be serious and we would only use them if the seas were expected to be extremely rough. Meclizine 25mg, the sole ingredient in Bonine, is available in 100 tablets for $10 at Walmart and Walgreens, probably other pharmacies also. It is non prescription but you do have to ask your pharmacist for them.
We have cruised multiple times. My suggestions include insect repellent that comes in disposable wipes. They are great for trips on shore. I also bring antibacterial wipes that I use when we first arrive. I wipe down the counters, night stands, door handles in my cabin. Lastly, we bring a couple of magnetic clips that I put on the cabin door. I use it them to display the daily schedule, itinerary, special notices as well as vouchers for excursions. Hope these tips help.