The cruising industry has bounced back from the pandemic stronger than ever. The cruising industry has definitely improved in a variety of ways. From the check-in process being made more guest-friendly, to the e-muster drill making an instant splash, to significant upgrades in the on board dining experience, there is no better direction than ‘up’. Yet, there is still one area of cruising which guests must make habitual changes. Often times, guests continue to pack items that aren’t allowed on-board. That being said, it’s safe to say that cruising is back to its official level of normalcy. To avoid the worst of matters from happening, it’s up to the guests to follow the rules to the ‘t’ . With school out for summer vacation and youngsters showing a strong presence on ships, now is the time for all guests to sharpen their focus on the question “To pack or NOT to pack?”.

What items are guests encouraged to pack for their cruise? Beach gear? Of course, that’s a huge YES. At ports of call, visiting the beach is always on the agenda. So, yes, whatever items that would be appropriate for the beach are encouraged. Cameras? Oh yes! All guests are encouraged to pack their cameras. Guests should make sure they pack rechargeable batteries-not the Duracell and Energizer brands. For environmental reasons, rechargeable batteries are preferred. With so many electronic devices out there operating on rechargeable batteries, having rechargeable batteries packed in the suitcase is a must. Rechargeable batteries should be at the top of all cruisers’ packing lists. What about footwear? Aqua shoes are strongly encouraged. Sandals are also strongly encouraged. As long as they fit firmly on the feet, they should be packed in the suitcase. What about toiletries? It depends on where guests are sailing from. Cruisers who are sailing from local ports such as New York City and Cape Liberty in Bayonne, NJ, it’s perfectly fine to pack full-size canisters of shaving gel, full-size tubes of toothpaste, and full-size containers of aftershave. Cruisers who have to fly to their port city will need to adhere to the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule. Just in case anyone cannot recall the rule, 3-1-1 means “3 ounces, stored in a 1 quart size plastic bag, and 1 plastic bag per passenger.

Now that the question “What should I pack?” has been answered, it’s time to revisit the question “What should I NOT pack?”. This question is far easier to answer. Any items that can and will endanger the safety of crew members and fellow guests are strictly prohibited. The list is straight forward. First, corkscrews are a no-go. Guests who choose to bring along a bottle of champagne or wine are allowed only two bottles (one of each or two of either). Most important, guests must make sure that whatever bottles they take along don’t require corkscrews. Corkscrews must be kept out of luggage. Corkscrews are sharp and are considered as weapons. Guests must look for bottles of wine or champagne with screw caps. Plus, cruise lines charge a corkage fee per bottle. Fees vary by cruise line.

Adding to the list of no-no’s are clothing irons, curling irons, hair dryers, and plug strips. They are definitely not allowed. They are fire hazards. Cruise ships have different voltage levels than on land. That being said, fire hazards must be avoided. Fire hazards pose the worst threat to cruise ships. Guests who need hair dryers, curling irons, or clothing irons should ask their stateroom attendants. The stateroom attendants will provide such models that are ship compatible. As long as guests do their due diligence to refrain from packing items deemed as fire hazards, the voyage will be “smooth sailing”. Topping off the list are guns, hammers, bows and arrows, scissors (greater than 4 inches in length), and martial arts gear (including nunchucks). They are to be left home. Just in case they try to sneak them in their luggage-no toasters and no blenders! If any of the following items should be confiscated, guests are issued a receipt to present to ship security or port security. Once they do, the items can be retrieved after during disembarkation. Any alcoholic beverages found in luggage will be confiscated and will not be returned.

The year 2023 is half over. That is true. The one thing for sure is that the summer cruising season is nowhere near done. The season is only heating up. The kids are out of school. That being said, it’s time for cruisers to exercise extreme caution. Every cruise goes well when all guests follow the rules to the ‘t’. At best, a cruise goes well when everyone has a great time on board safely. Before heading for the cruise terminal, all guests must check to make sure they have all the necessities to take on board. Whether the items are for their personal hygiene, their electronic devices, or for port adventures, guests must do a quick run-through their luggage and carry-on bags to make sure all is a go. However, guests must refrain from packing items that are known to be a threat to the safety of fellow guests. The list is straight forward. Remember-corkscrews, hair dryers, curling irons, clothing irons, and plug strips are no-no’s. Above all, guests must avoid fire hazards at all times. Cruising is the most exciting way to see the world, learn new things, and try new experiences. Let it be known, that no matter where the cruise is going, guests must be smart when packing. The three main keys to a fun and memorable cruise vacation are safety, safety, and safety. Believe it or not-there is no substitution.

About Author

David Kriso has been a travel writer since August 2011. He is a contributing writer for both of his hometown's newspapers, The Gazette, and The Observer. His articles focus on cruise and railroad travel. David is also published online at, a cruise magazine based in Vancouver, Canada and at Amtrak's story site, David also writes for the publication On, he writes about cruise and rail travel. David is a long-time train traveler, avid cruiser, and a Disney traveler since age 4.

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