The cruisin' is easy in the Caribbean, and so, one might think, is the packing. In such a paradisiacal setting, the checklist must be short, right? Toss in a teeny-weeny bikini or your loudest pair of board shorts, flip-flops or sandals, a cover-up or T-shirt, and a short stack of mushy-brain novels for those interludes between swims. Done.
But don't zip the luggage yet. The sunny, laid-back setting can be deceiving. If they're not careful, ill-prepared cruisers could end up stuck in their cabins or under shady palm trees watching the good times roll right by them. Some of the hazards include the blistering tropical sun, leaky rental snorkel masks, runaway bikini tops and unexpected rain showers that dampen both the experience and the spirit.
To be sure, cruise ships and Caribbean islands stock the basic necessities -- remember, you're not going to Gilligan's Isle but to one of the world's biggest tourist destinations. However, for a smooth vacation, you must anticipate your needs before boarding the vessel, preferably during the crucial packing phase. To assist with this step, we have selected the 10 most important items to throw into your luggage. Follow these suggestions, and the Caribbean cruisin' really will be easy -- and fully enjoyable.
--by Andrea Sachs, Cruise Critic Contributor