What Not to Pack: 5 Things You Want to Bring on a Cruise — But Shouldn’t

June 12, 2012 | By | 118 Comments

After the hair dryer-banning debacle of 2010, you knew no cruise line would be so naive as to attempt that again — the specter of thousands of frizzy-haired women descending on humid Caribbean ports is just too scary. But enormous hair dryers aren’t the only contraband that cruisers wanting to save money or look their best on formal night really, really want to pack. When it comes to breaking cruise-line rules or breaking your back with overstuffed suitcases, we’re here to remind you: don’t.
Don’t Pack: Clothes Iron
The clothes iron, that keystone to a frump-free formal night, is, as far as we can tell, banned industry-wide; after all, fire poses one of the greatest risks to safety at sea. While a few lines like Holland America (some ships) and Carnival (fleetwide) have self-service launderettes with ironing boards, not all do. Royal Caribbean and Norwegian, for instance, lack such facilities. Your options are limited to paying the ship’s exorbitant pressing fees, hanging suit jackets in a bathroom for an hour with the shower on “scald” (not recommended) or wearing something that looks like a bull dog’s face.
Do Pack: Wrinkle-Releasing Spray
A garment bag certainly works for some, but Downy Wrinkle Releaser is a product our sister site IndependentTraveler.com recommends in its ingenious 10 Travel Essentials You Can Find in a Drug Store. DWR, which we’ve also used, “works by relaxing fabric fibers so that wrinkles can be smoothed out with your hand, and it’s safe on most fabrics,” says IT. “Just spray on your rumpled shirt, tug, smooth and wear.” It’s available in large sizes (checked bag) and three-ounce, travel-friendly containers.
Don’t Pack: Swiss Army Knife
It’s not technically a banned item on cruises — most lines allow passengers to bring knives onboard, as long as the blades are less than 4 inches. But in this age of heightened security awareness, we’ve heard plenty of stories from passengers saying airport or ship security gave them the stink eye and confiscated the item, however freakishly essential they argued it was. Remember, the bartender will be there to open your beer, and you probably won’t have need of a mini-wood saw. Caveat: Still, for every person who’s had a problem with a Leatherman, there seem to be dozens who’ve taken their trusty utility tools on cruises without issue — especially if they packed it in their checked luggage. In fact, the TSA, which has its own set of rules, says utility tools must go in checked luggage.
Do Pack: Your Toiletry Kit
We love the utility, but the most useful components for a cruise — a nail file, tweezers and small scissors — are already in your toiletry kit, a more TSA-friendly package. Need a corkscrew? Your cabin steward should have one. And the only screwdriver you need on a cruise is the kind made with vodka and orange juice.
Don’t Pack: Liquor or Beer
As a captive audience, passengers are beholden to a cruise line’s bar prices, which range from modest to sweat-inducing. And don’t think you can get around over-priced drinks with a BYO mentality. With their maritime versions of Prohibition, most big-ship, mainstream lines will confiscate liquor and beer brought onboard during embarkation. We won’t wade into the ethical miasma of flouting these rules or mention the exhaustive number of readers who lead double lives as booze smugglers. We will say that, if you’re discovered sneaking alcohol onboard, you may be shamed in front of fellow passengers and made to report to the “naughty room.” The contraband will typically be held for the duration of the cruise and returned on the last day. Royal Caribbean is less magnanimous. Its policy is to confiscate and destroy, explains spokesman Harrison Liu (though unopened duty-free booze with the original label brought on from a port will be held).
There are some exceptions. Wine is almost always an allowable substance (exception: Royal Caribbean), though lines will limit how much passengers bring and may charge a corkage fee for consuming it. Check out our piece, 5 Cruise Lines That Let You BYOB, to learn about the handful of players who are comfortable with passengers bringing their own.
Do Pack: Water and Soda
We can’t really help you here. But if it’s nonalcoholic beverages you’re after, many lines let you bring on a “reasonable” amount of bottled water and soda — and even a cooler to contain said items (if there’s no mini-fridge in the cabin).
Don’t Pack: Coffeemakers
While those inclined to pack coffeemakers are certainly in the minority, believe us, they exist. French roast partisans argue that the surcharge-free swill masquerading as coffee is a crime against cruisers. You can grab a halfway decent cup, but you typically have to pay extra for it at the now-industry-standard specialty cafe. But if you want quality java for free, know that bringing your own plug-and-play version of a coffee shop onboard is almost always against the rules.
Do Pack: A French Press
Passengers who enjoy their coffee minus the tar-like residue and wrinkled face that follows each swallow have some options. Makahiki Farms’ “Cruiser Paks,” for instance, include two four-ounce packages of Kona coffee and a 12-ounce Bodum French press, enough for two passengers to enjoy a cup every day for a weeklong cruise.
Don’t Pack: Books
Yes, passengers are even allowed to bring “Fifty Shades of Grey” onboard. Literary cheap shot aside, book nerds can easily spoil their perfect packing job with multiple tomes or make themselves crazy whittling their selections down to two titles. Our advice: bring one at most. Ships have libraries, and passengers are often surprised by the quality of the selections. Celebrity‘s Solstice-class ships and Cunard‘s Queens come to mind as ships with half-way decent book repositories.
Do Pack: E-Reader
As sentimentalists, we prefer the feel, smell, taste and heft of real books, but we also like having options, which e-readers provide. Even luddites begrudgingly admit how easily they acclimate to a Kindle or Nook. Plus, you have to give into peer pressure — everyone else on the sun deck is cradling an e-reader, so why shouldn’t you?
Need some help packing for your next cruise? See our series of slideshows on must-pack items for a variety of cruises.
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    118 Responses to “What Not to Pack: 5 Things You Want to Bring on a Cruise — But Shouldn’t”

    1. dirtyoldmancat
      June 12th, 2012 @ 3:51 pm

      Good article. I’ve used the Downy wrinkle spray many times and it does the trick.

      If you want to bring your own coffee, try those new Starbucks VIA ReadyBrew packs. It’s instant, of course, but it still might beat the crap in the cafeteria.

    2. mh
      June 12th, 2012 @ 4:08 pm

      I went the travel iron route once on a European river cruise. I plugged it in and prepared to iron my wrinkled blouses. Within minutes a steward was at my door to see what was going on! (How did they know???)From then on it was either wear the wrinkled clothing, use wrinkle-release spray or avail myself of the ship’s laundry!

    3. Janet H
      June 12th, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

      I had my travel iron confiscated on our Holland America cruise in April. Have taken it on two other cruise lines before with no problem.I never knew!!!! Wasn’t a problem, just had to line up for them to take it and then to get it back. Wont take it again

    4. Marty
      June 12th, 2012 @ 4:34 pm

      For your own security, remember to etch your name onto your reading device should you and it become separated.

    5. Kaye C
      June 12th, 2012 @ 4:56 pm

      I’ve never had my iron confiscated, never even had one of the naughty notes that say “we saw something that looked naughty so we opened your luggage” in a bag with the iron. They almost always, however, open and inspect my stash of Diet Dr Pepper. Safety concerns or fear of losing the alcohol dollar? You decide.

    6. Cruiser from Maryland
      June 12th, 2012 @ 6:29 pm

      I’ve used Downy Wrinkle Releaser on cruises for years. Although it may not work as good as a hot iron, it actually does pull most of the wrinkles out.

      Could be a revenue generator for the cruise lines to sell a wrinkle releaser onboard.

    7. Jeffrey C
      June 12th, 2012 @ 6:53 pm

      Honestly, I’ve always been disappointed by ship libraries. In the past I’ve brought between six and ten books (paperbacks mostly) depending on cruise length and airline flights.

      As I’m now armed with a Kindle Fire and Nook Simple Touch I will probably stick with them on my upcoming cruise. The only problem is my library district doesn’t stock nearly enough copies of the titles I want.

    8. Susan
      June 12th, 2012 @ 7:23 pm

      I take a small portable steamer, it works better than an iron (I never use an iron at home). We saw lots of people taken aside on our last European cruise from Venice trying to bring wine and booze on board. They only just made the sailing! It was RCI, it doesn’t seem worth the risk to me.

    9. Deanne Emory
      June 12th, 2012 @ 8:28 pm

      If you have a wardrobe type suitcase (one where you “hang” things). Save you drycleaning bags. Put your formal wear in these bags and then hang them in the wardrobe suitcase. Or put them in the bags without folding leaving the tops and bottoms outside the case. Then put your everyday clothes in. When you are done, fold the tops of the bagged formal wear down and bottoms up. The bags will keep pieces of clothing from wrinkling. It’s tricky to get the stuff packed, but you will be happy you did it because it REALLY reduces wrinkling. If you are a frequent cruiser, invest in a folding wardrobe suitcase and put all your clothes individually in the dry cleaning plastic. You will NEVER have to iron or send clean clothes to the ship’s laundry and pay to have it ironed.

    10. MimiCruising
      June 13th, 2012 @ 12:16 pm

      We leave all our clothes on hangers and put two or three items in a dry cleaning bag. Fold a few bags at a time into the suitcase. Your clothes arrive wrinkle free and already on hangers. We can unpack in mere minutes. Just remove the bags and save them for the return trip.

    11. Brenda
      June 13th, 2012 @ 1:35 pm

      I always hung things up in the bathroom; the steam helped the wrinkles every time.

    12. Ed
      June 13th, 2012 @ 9:49 pm

      As far as Leathermans are concerned, you’re right, the TSA does have it’s own set of rules. That being, “Hey, I need one of those.” So you don’t have to worry about the ship even seeing it.

    13. Marcia
      June 13th, 2012 @ 10:07 pm

      Loyalty points on Celebrity will get you 1 free pressing per person and 1 free bag of laundry per person. I can shove a heck of a lot of laundry in one of those little bags!!

    14. Erica bag
      June 13th, 2012 @ 10:58 pm

      Packing soda is a must for 2 reasons
      #1 is obvious. $$$
      My family laughed at the suitcase filled with 12 packs of soda
      At the end of the cruise, guess who had a suitcase for all their delicate purchases. If you don’t have to pay for the extra bag fill fill fill with soda

    15. 1900kt
      June 14th, 2012 @ 10:04 am

      A great instant coffee for traveling is medaglia d’oro instant espresso. It comes in a little glass jar small enough for travel and doesn’t taste bitter. I just mix it weak enough to be more coffee-ish than espresso-ish

    16. Dominic
      June 18th, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

      I’ve always brought one of those cheapo steam irons onboard ($15 or less) – they don’t get hot like an iron, but spit out a nice steam. It, coupled with a wrinkle releaser (Like the DWR mentioned here) do an amazing job and I’ve never had problems getting either on board since a steam iron would be highly unlikely to start any type of fire onboard. Also, save your dry cleaning bags – take your “prized” outfits and put them, one per bag, into each before packing – it really does work.

      As for the BYOB – when cruising, we enjoy our drinks quite a bit. I’ve not had a problem bringing a reasonable amount of clear liquor onboard. I won’t tell you how, but you have all the info you need in this article (H20).

      All this said, I’ve sailed Cunard, Celebrity, Carnival, RC, and Norwegian. Next up is Azamara which has free self-serve laundry/irons, and a BYOB policy (plus included wine w/ meals). SO MUCH LESS STRESSFUL and it would be great if all cruise lines implemented such… Nothing worse than feeling nickeled and dimed (and trapped). :)

      Happy voyages!

    17. Kathy Rubin
      June 20th, 2012 @ 4:55 pm

      Just FYI – on my recent RCI cruise, they confistcated my power strips at security, and held them hostage until I disembarked after the cruise! Never had this problem before on any cruise line.

    18. Amy Crume
      June 21st, 2012 @ 8:55 pm

      I would be leery of leaving an E-reader on a deck chair when getting into the pool for a little while. Seems like a book would be less risky and more durable when on vacation.

    19. Helen
      June 22nd, 2012 @ 6:37 am

      We are going on our first cruise in November and Im taking non iron clothes, east to pack and dont take up so much room in your bag. What else do I need to know?

    20. John
      June 27th, 2012 @ 9:45 am

      Saying that the ships have libraries sounds great, BUT they all allow passengers to check out multiple books at one time, so the first ones in will hog all the books and keep them for the entire cruise. I have seen that many, many times. I have asked the “librarians” why this is allowed, and they all just shrug. That’s why I used to bring along all the paper-back throwaway books I could carry. Now I have an e-reader, which is perfect. Ship libraries should limit check-outs to two books at a time, in fairness to all passengengers.

    21. Peter
      June 29th, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

      When I travel on HAL, I always purchase the Soda card, it cuts the cost per soda down to about $1.25 each, which I think is quite reasonable.

    22. Jo Anne
      August 12th, 2012 @ 2:59 pm

      My mom tells a story about a family friend sailing on the Titanic. This young woman had a small pocket knife which was used to cut the ropes, thus freeing her life boat. I have over the years lost a few pocket knives, but I always carry one.

    23. Barbara
      August 12th, 2012 @ 3:50 pm

      I took an e-reader on a cruise a couple of years agp. I guess I’m a Luddite, because I really didn’t enjoy reading from it, and realized that taking it to the pool, where I often alternate reading/napping with getting in the water, wasn’t practical. I do take a couple of books with me. Picking them out us part of the fun of getting ready for a cruise.

    24. Nancy
      August 12th, 2012 @ 6:26 pm

      I always bring a few paperbacks along. I leave them for the crew to enjoy when we disembark. They always seem to appreciate it.

    25. Charisse Scully
      August 12th, 2012 @ 8:24 pm

      I will never understand the policy of not bringing an iron onboard. That makes no sense. People smoke cigarettes onboard, have curling irons, and…..as a hair dresser I can tell you now that my hair dryer has spit fire a lot more times than my clothes iron. In fact, I’ve NEVER had an iron that even sparked! Come on, it’s just another way to make money and the price they charge you to iron is ridiculous.

    26. jim wong
      August 21st, 2012 @ 9:20 pm

      Most of the iron are rated 1000 watts and up. A few light ones rated around 500 watts. If you have a few hundred of these power hungry devices turned on before dinner time, it puts a very heavy load on ship’s electrical grid. This is the reason they don’t like you to plug high wattage devices.

    27. carolyn mcneese
      August 29th, 2012 @ 7:30 pm

      I like to bring along old clothes/shoes for excursions just to wear….one more time….then leave them behind as donations, along with a note to the crew, to find homes for, as we disembark. This clears out my luggage for all the shopping fun I have had on our cruise! Also, I have collected inexpensive jewelry ( from the shopping networks) to wear cruising, as I do not have to worry about losing my good jewelry.

    28. Steve B
      October 14th, 2012 @ 10:57 pm

      A lot of the new ships can monitor the power consumption on a per cabin basis. That would be my guess as to how the steward “magically” showed up when you fired up the iron.

      Most of the older ones will only localize to a group of cabins, giving you a degree of anonymity..
      We ALWAYS pack waterproof LED flashlights, (usually the 2 AA cell Maglites,) and a set of walkie talkies. (The radios don’t work well if one person is in an inside cabin though.)

      We also pack things like band aids, antibacterial salve, vitamins, antacids, etc. Stuff that you would normally have in the bathroom medicine chest. They can be expensive to get on the ship, if available.

      A small sewing kit has come in handy a few times, along with a small tube of “Shoe-Goo” to glue or fix various things.

      I also take a jewelers screwdriver set for tightening screws on glasses, etc. I was even able to get a pocket camera going again for a fellow passenger! (Removed some sand in the gears for the lens system..)

      For trips to areas like Central America, we’ve asked our Dr. for a script for some antibiotics, just to have along in case we ever wind up in a place where it might be difficult to get them if the need arises.

    29. Sue l
      December 21st, 2012 @ 10:38 pm

      I always pack a second (old) pair of my prescription glasses…just in case.

    30. Rhonda
      December 22nd, 2012 @ 5:58 am

      Peter – You may want to redo the “bargain” pricing for your soda card. Average card costs $50, which means on a 6 night, 7 day trip you’d have to drink 40 sodas. That’s almost 6 sodas every day to get it at the $1.25/ea. pricing. Assuming that you’re busy packing and leaving the ship on the 7th day and not trying to guzzle down glasses of soda, you’d have to drink almost 7 sodas a day for six days to get your 1.25 price.

    31. connie tyler
      December 27th, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

      We used the Holland America ship and in their library, they have a section where you can get free books that other passengers leave. We take a bunch of books and leave them for others to enjoy after we are finished reading them.

    32. Bee
      January 7th, 2013 @ 10:09 pm

      We bring a hand held steam wand and it’s a gem to use, no ironing board needed and no chance of anything getting shiny marks or scorches.

    33. Jan
      January 15th, 2013 @ 9:51 am

      Royal Caribbean now allows you to bring 2 bottles of wine onboard at embarkment per stateroom. No corkage charge for drinking in your room. Wine bought at ports and additional wine at embarkment will be held for you until the end. Rolling clothes when packing avoids most wrinkles. Drink cards for non-alcohol doesn’t cost $50 it’s about $6.50 a day. The new all you can drink that includes house wine and beer is around $50.

    34. Gail
      February 16th, 2013 @ 1:05 am

      Thanks for the tip about the wine, Jan. I leave in 9 days on RC and that’s good to know.

    35. Lou
      April 6th, 2013 @ 6:58 am

      I also bring a cheap nylon backpack, whic IS w/me @ ALL times(just-in-case.In it I have a Spool of nylontwisted rope,w/kids sissorsw/the blade cover.Mirror(2 use4 giving signal in water craft w/Morris-code I’ve Laminated) w/a LED flashlight, a liter of water, life-saver rolls,tic-tacks mt,orgn,cherry flavors,gum)
      foldable cup,extra 2wks meds,6 mini tea-light
      fake plastic candlesw/12batteries(disks)AND an
      all-purpose blade set. 2decks of cards. One never knows& ths I belive would help 6 on a row boat???

    36. thomas
      May 19th, 2013 @ 12:23 pm

      The information in this article is great, especially about not packing a travel iron.

    37. ts
      May 20th, 2013 @ 1:10 pm

      Does Princess have this all you can drink house wine at 50.00.
      We really get tired of watching the same tv programs over and over in our stateroom. Any ideas to solve this problem?

    38. Ken
      May 22nd, 2013 @ 7:23 pm

      Lou, your emergency kit sounds great. But you missed a smoke hood. They cost about $70 with a 5 year shelf life. Think about how many times you’ve heard of ship fires Vs. passengers abandoning ship and using a signal mirror. A smoke hood and good flashlight are a must in hotels, aircraft…and cruise ships.

    39. Jennifer
      May 22nd, 2013 @ 11:01 pm

      I asked my travel agent if we could bring water and soda on board our RCI cruise coming up in September. She said NO we could NOT bring water on board. That is pretty much ALL my 3 yr old son drinks. That and Vanilla Soy milk. Are we allowed to bring water and milk since he is allergic?

    40. Tammy
      May 23rd, 2013 @ 7:39 pm

      @ Jennifer

      Royal will have Soy milk, you just need to ask for it. You can also bring water on.

      Instead of carrying all that water what my husband and I have done is, purchased the Brita individual water bottles. They have a filer in them and you can just fill them on the ship via a cup, not direct from the water spout.

    41. Dennis Slater
      August 28th, 2013 @ 2:38 am

      Duck Tape. Never leave home without it.

      Multi-plugs (3 plugs into 1).

      Bug repellent. Sanitizing wipes.

      Zip Lock bags – different sizes.

      Passports (don’t laugh – we were a mile down the road from home and for some reason a lightbulb went off in my head ‘Honey, do we have the passports? No, we didn’t.)

      Favorite games: cards, backgammon, mahjongg, Sequence, etc. (they will not have your favorite game – ever)

      We have a spreadsheet with the Do-Tos and To-Packs on them and print it out the week before departure. Forget a couple of things and bad things happen like never-ending discussions of how many brain cells you have.

    42. Bill Schirner
      August 28th, 2013 @ 9:29 pm

      I’m retired Navy. I always have a good flashlight and pocket knife (checked luggage for the knife). After I get to the cabin I make sure everybody with me can get on the outside decks totally blind. Practice leaving your cabin both directions and count the cabins each way to safety.
      If the ship is listing, don’t believe any announcements; get onto the outside decks (think Costa). Don’t line up for lifeboats in inside passageways. If you can’t look up and see the sky, relocate yourself.

    43. Shara
      September 1st, 2013 @ 10:50 am

      A curling iron or flat iron can be used to remove wrinkles in clothes in a pinch.

    44. Paul Hinds
      October 13th, 2013 @ 10:26 am

      I have usually packed a small ‘letterman'(along with eyeglass repair kit and tube of superglue) in checked luggage and not had a problem. Even took it on and off ship for use in booked fishing and not had big hassle about it.

      Rather than power strip a multiplug – to allow multiple(low watt)chargers is very handly.

      I have found no problems with having e-reader (Kindles)in bag next to deck chair while in pool or hot tub. The current low prices help in that regard and you can load weeks worth of reading as well as useful apps.

    45. carol sharp
      October 27th, 2013 @ 9:16 am

      where can you buy wrinkle releaser spray from plz

    46. lynnette
      November 3rd, 2013 @ 10:44 pm

      Carol, you can get wrinkle release very inexpensive at Walmart. You can also make your own with about a tsp of fabric softener in 12 oz water, put in a cheap sprayer.

    47. Lady Marion
      November 6th, 2013 @ 7:18 pm

      I have enough no-wrinkle clothes to not bother about irons, plastic bags, etc. Many of them were bought @ thrift shops over the years, at pennies on the dollar.

    48. Tanya
      December 14th, 2013 @ 1:11 pm

      I know that you can’t bring a clothes iron on board but are flat irons and curling irons allowed on all cruise lines?

    49. Crystal
      December 29th, 2013 @ 9:32 pm

      Tanya, I had no problems with my curling iron or flat iron…have fun!

    50. Cindy
      January 8th, 2014 @ 6:34 pm

      If you want something sweet to drink in your cabin, take a box of the single-size powdered drink mixes (such as “Zingers to Go” herbal tea by Celestial Seasonings). Takes up a lot less space and weighs far less than soda cans!

    51. Dee
      January 29th, 2014 @ 10:40 am

      How to heat instant packs of coffee,tea? Dont see mention of any heating fac. in cabin

    52. Kay
      February 12th, 2014 @ 12:18 pm

      It is now posted all over RCCL’s website that you cannot bring any sort of beverage on board — alcohol or non-alcohol. Has anyone been on a recent cruise and have any knowledge if this is true? We are sailing out of Ft. Lauderdale next week. Thanks.

    53. John
      March 29th, 2014 @ 12:35 am

      Im bout to go on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship on 5/26/2014 and thought to grab my swiss army knife. But luckily you guys are the only one who mentioned not to bring that.

      I got this swiss army from Switzerland. I would have cried like a chick if they took it.
      Thank you.

    54. CruisinMermaid
      April 2nd, 2014 @ 2:33 pm

      We always bring an over the door shoe organizer. We are a family of four and space in a cabin gets very limited. We use the shoe organizer to eliminate all the clutter in our room. We store all kinds of stuff in each pocket: bottle of sunscreen, vitamin bottles, sign and sail cards, sunglasses, wrinkle releaser spray bottle, charging cables, cameras etc etc.

    55. Sharron Jenkins
      April 5th, 2014 @ 11:05 pm

      Planning to go on a cruise this summer. All of the information was helpful, especially about not bringing an iron. Fortunately, I have a travel steamer. I do want to know how “formal” the formal night is. Cocktail dress or evening gown?

    56. Carol
      April 16th, 2014 @ 7:30 pm

      I pack an over the door shoe organizer also, works great. I also pack magnetic hooks and large clips, for connecting to the walls, (walls are made of metal) can hang the daily news letter, info and CC invits, saves hunting for them.

    57. Lucy Ace
      April 18th, 2014 @ 4:30 am

      Sharon Jenkins,
      Formal events require Dark suit or tuxedo for men; evening gown or cocktail dress for women.

      A week-long cruise normally has 2 formal dinners with the Captain. So you would need to dress up for the 2 occassions.

    58. Clancyb
      May 5th, 2014 @ 4:46 pm

      Someone asked a question about heating water for coffee in the cabin. I haven’t seen an answer. Is there a way to heat water for coffee? thanks,First time cruiser.

    59. laura
      May 7th, 2014 @ 10:25 pm

      no way to heat water in the cabin. Bring your travel mug from home and send the hubby or someone or go yourself down to one of many places and bring your coffee back up to your room. However, you can order a carafe of coffee to be brought to your room each morning free of extra charge.

    60. Rosagitta Podrovsky
      June 4th, 2014 @ 8:46 pm

      Crystal has laundry facilities on each deck, including ironing boards and irons, along with fairly sophisticated washers and dryers–all at no charge.

    61. kristy macon
      June 10th, 2014 @ 3:51 pm

      We are leavn are leavn in 6 days to go on carnival fantasy. It will be our very first cruise we need help on everything. ..lol mostly wht we can bring and drinks cards as well as alcohol cards

    62. Pat
      June 18th, 2014 @ 3:00 pm

      Downey wrinkle reducer works fairly well

    63. deena
      July 10th, 2014 @ 12:09 pm

      I am going on RC cruise in less than 2 weeks. If I buy a steamer, will it be taken before I board the ship? I cannot believe that irons are not provided and that customers cannot bring one on. This cruise was not cheap.

    64. Nadia
      July 18th, 2014 @ 3:40 pm

      deena, because the cruise was not cheap, they should be less careful about it catching on fire? Your logic does not make much sense. They did not ban irons so you would buy theirs or use their laundry service. They are a crazy fire hazard and fire is one of the worst things on a cruiseship-next to sinking and pirates.

    65. Nadia
      July 18th, 2014 @ 3:42 pm
    66. Airickah
      August 28th, 2014 @ 12:31 am

      Bill Schirner, thank you for your advice. Knowing how many cabins away from a set of stairs or the doors is A MUST. I am so happy that you have reminded me to do that. I think everyone should heed your advice as it could save lives. Thank you for your service.

    67. D Dowden
      September 5th, 2014 @ 3:48 pm

      RE: RCL not allowing beverages to be brought on board. They are offering an “all inclusive” program right now which is similar to land properties that are all inclusive. This does include drinks including water, sodas & I believe wine? Not sure how much $$ would be saved by purchasing this deal, but if you do shore excursions, some are included with this program as well. It’s something worth checking in to. If you’re already booked on RCL before this program went into effect, contact your travel agent to see if you can switch.

    68. Cynthia
      September 10th, 2014 @ 6:22 pm

      Carnival allows you to bring one 12 pack on non-alcoholic beverage per person and 1 bottle of wine per person. Usually we have people in our group who do not drink so they bring a bottle for someone else and the same for the soda. The soda and drink cards are way to expensive for me to feel I would get my money’s worth.

    69. Jim
      September 30th, 2014 @ 3:37 pm

      A flashlight for me is a must after being on a ship that lost power.

    70. Karen
      October 16th, 2014 @ 2:06 pm

      You are allowed to bring 2 750 ml bottles of wine per stateroom aboard Royal Caribbean ships now in carry-on. No other alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages though.

    71. Greg
      November 3rd, 2014 @ 11:25 pm

      It’s important to know that these rules vary greatly by cruise line and mode of travel. Knives under 4″ are kosher on Carnival, but banned entirely on Royal Caribbean. The same goes for soda – fine on Carnival, banned on Royal. As for the comment about Leathermans and TSA – forget it. Knives don’t make it onto planes unless they just fail to see it. 90% of the time it will be found. Then your option becomes throwing it away or taking it back to check it with the airline. (Knives are fine in checked luggage).

    72. Nancy
      November 4th, 2014 @ 11:17 am

      Leaving on a cruise in a few weeks and the comments about the iron and wrinkle reducer spray were very helpful. Have a list ready and keep going over it to make the necessary adjustments. So thanks to all who have left their comments. Happy and safe sailing to all!

    73. ShepW
      November 20th, 2014 @ 9:28 pm

      I agree w/some of these suggestions, but disagree about the ship’s library: The ones aboard the Voyager and Freedom class ships are very good, e.g., when I did an ’02 cruise on Adventure of the Seas, I found a great WEB Griffin novel series I hadn’t read, and although I didn’t finish it, I went to my bookstore at home and bought that same novel. After finishing that novel, I bought the others in the series (it was the Brotherhood of War series for you WEB Griffin fans). I’ve found other favorite authors and their novels aboard ship, and discovered new writers. In addition, if you’re aboard Celebrity Millennium or the Solstice class ships, you’ll discover that the libraries are two stories high, but the higher shelves are not only inaccessible, but also there are no ladders w/wheels to access those higher shelves–most likely for safety reasons. Lastly, I do agree about bringing aboard an e-reader such as an iPad or a Kindle because they will have lots of e-books on it.

    74. ShepW
      November 20th, 2014 @ 9:34 pm

      Re: bringing wine aboard ship: Good luck w/that w/some ships. I think there are exceptions, e.g., if there are winery tours as part of the shore excursion, and the winery furnishes a bottle of wine for each tour group member visiting that winery, the ship’s security crew will allow it aboard–it happened to me when I was on a Wine Cruise on the Celebrity Millennium in ’09. I also saw wines and other alcoholic beverage bottles allowed through security when boarding Voyager in Barcelona–the shops in the terminals were selling booze briskly and then guests were bringing their purchases aboard! Amazing!

    75. DanB
      December 29th, 2014 @ 1:57 pm

      I had my Leatherman confiscated from my checked bag in Southampton. Reason? I was told knives with locking blades are illegal in England. Luckily I was able to convince the portside officials to give it to the ship’s Safety Officer for the duration of the cruise, and I got my $100 multi-tool back. I never travel with it anymore.

    76. SusieW
      January 7th, 2015 @ 12:09 am

      FYI….$ General carries a wrinkle release spray that is much less expensive then Downy and a bigger spray bottle! I’ve been using it for years and it works and smells great! Who needs irons and steamers these days?!

    77. Gary
      January 7th, 2015 @ 3:03 pm

      Wine was allowed on our RCI cruise in Dec 14. One bottle per person. Read your current cruise contract. We had it openly in our carry ons. They will charge you a corkage fee if you take the bottle to dinner. Most bars on board will give you a wine glass to use if you want to drink it in your cabin or walk around with a glass of wine. I always take a swiss army knife or a multi-tool on board in my checked luggage. Don’t take it off the ship in port. They will confiscate it when you get back on board. I always take and carry a small flashlight on board. If the lights go out below decks you need a light. I always take a water bottle on board for use at the pool and on on excursions. I usually take one of those Camelback type water bladder packs for the same purpose. I’ve heard of people using them for other liquids as well. I also take a small emergency kit in my back pack.

    78. Marie
      January 12th, 2015 @ 11:09 pm

      Does the anti wrinkle spray work on all fabrics?
      And America’s Westerdaam does not have self laundry and no steamers or irons allowed.
      I can only imagine what they charge for ironing!

    79. Vicki Wroclawski
      January 18th, 2015 @ 2:52 pm

      Bottled water is very expensive on a cruise ship, so we have always put a baggage tag on a case of water and it’s been delivery to our cabin (NCL). Not at the Houston terminal – they would not take it. We had to hand carry on a case of water and personally deliver it to our cabin. Very cumbersome to have to do this! Next time, we’ll put our bottled water in a suitcase and they will take it and deliver to our cabin – lesson learned!

    80. RJ Vest
      January 27th, 2015 @ 12:11 pm

      Heading out with Celebrity on Feb 13, 2015 for 10 night cruise. Confused about policy for bringing water,sports drinks,or soda. Anyone have updates on bringing non alcoholic drinks on board for Celebrity Equinox? Thanks!

    81. Trudy Prosser
      February 1st, 2015 @ 8:30 am

      So am I understanding 2 bottles of wine that we can take on the boat as of the first day of sailing.Can I buy this at duty free in Miami or bring it from my airport from Hamilton Ontario

    82. Cruise Critic
      February 2nd, 2015 @ 9:05 am

      Hi Trudy, See all of the cruise line alcohol policies here: http://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=46. How many bottles you can bring onboard varies.

    83. Shawn
      February 12th, 2015 @ 3:32 pm

      I am going on a RC cruise Feb 21 are we allowed to bring Soda/Juice /Water?

    84. Terry
      February 25th, 2015 @ 7:50 pm

      Small torch is useful for getting to the loo without waking your partner. Length of cord and a handful of pegs lets you hang a few thi gs on the balcony during sea days.

    85. s2kreno
      March 11th, 2015 @ 4:26 pm

      It’s actually pretty easy to carry booze these days, now that liquor stores like Total Wine stock those little plastic envelopes with shots of booze. They fit in your wallet or makeup bag,and they look just like those little sample toiletries people take on trips.I always buy a drinking package anyway so getting it onto the ship isn’t the issue for me; I mostly need it on the plane because I’m one of those white-knuckle fliers.

    86. BEARS
      April 1st, 2015 @ 5:22 am

      Returning from Canada once, I had used Ducktape to secure a carton for transit and shoved the rest of the reel into my hand luggage – real problem at security as I was treated as a serious security risk and had to be ‘interviewed’ by a Mountie (nice middle aged avuncular chap luckily) – told I might try to disable the captain or other officers with it!!! – I was wearing a scarf at that time which could have done the same job …

    87. Linda Edwards
      April 1st, 2015 @ 10:45 am

      I have a heating coil that I bring with me. Need to have my tea as soon as I get up and before bed. Never had a problem with it.

    88. Cruisin Nanny
      April 1st, 2015 @ 11:47 am

      Since we are Diamond Plus we do get free drinks on board, and neither of us drink soda so that is a plus. We fill our water glasses with water and take to the cabin and put into water bottles and refrigerate. As to wrinkles, the wrinkle spray really does work. We were on a 14 day plus air flying and by the time we got our luggage, most everything was wrinkled. We sprayed everything, hung it up, and by the next day, all was fine. As to bringing booze on board, just be careful where you pack it and what you put it in. A friend of mine put it in a metal flask and in the checked luggage. They wouldn’t release it because the metal flask showed up when x-rayed. That is how they found the flask – not a good idea to put in metal container. Drink packages are very expensive, soda, water and liquor. Most of all, enjoy yourself!!

    89. Triton
      April 1st, 2015 @ 12:33 pm

      Obviously they haven’t heard of “Rum Runner” bags. THE best way to smuggle booze on board.

    90. A. Webster
      April 1st, 2015 @ 3:13 pm

      Thanks for helpful hints. I accidentally took some small scissors in hand luggage on to a ship and they were confiscated! but got them back again after a reprimand and paperwork!
      Had no idea they were like the TSA at airports!
      Enjoy! Angela W

    91. George
      April 1st, 2015 @ 3:17 pm

      We use the new packing cubes and folders for all clothing in our suitcases, even when we will be gone as long as 3 weeks or more. They all fit very nicely in our suitcases and they keep things sorted and neat, and even wrinkle free to a great extent. Socks in one cube, underwear in another, and T-shirts in another. They all have a screen front so you can see which is inside. I have even packed my blue blazer inside the folder I use for dress slacks and shirts, and hung it up immediately once I got to my destination, ship or hotel. The nice thing is that you don’t need to take everything out of the cubes when you arrive aboard ship, just slip it in a drawer, and you don’t have to dig through things trying to find something. There are several brands, but I like the two that start with “E.”

    92. Larry
      April 1st, 2015 @ 7:05 pm

      Somebody mentioned hanging clothes on balcony, on some ships this is not allowed due to another guest may toss a cigarette overboard and it will land on a balcony and the clothes on the balcony fuel a fire. This did happen on a Princess cruise ship.

    93. Sean
      April 1st, 2015 @ 10:23 pm

      I recommend laundry sheets by Purex. Light, and double as detergent and fabric softener. Do it!

    94. Phil
      April 1st, 2015 @ 10:55 pm

      Just back from an 8-day cruise on RCI and have a few updates to some of the comments here. Did take a small knife on board. Went thru without question (but I never needed it). Allowed two bottles of wine and small corkscrew. Asked for mini-fridge for meds and it was there in minutes, parked under dresser. Attendant topped off ice bucket daily inside fridge – lasted all day. Did not bring sodas or water because we read we could not. LOTS of people did – cases of water and soda. Found I could do without for 8 days ($6.00 soda package in advance; $6.50 if you buy on board). They have iced tea and water readily available. I took two bottles of Mio to flavor some of it by the glass and an insulated cup which was handy to tote around! Took an e-reader but did not read much – too busy. Took a well-stocked medicine bag (like in the article plus Aleve, antidiarhea meds and sunblock). Took small steamer along. Again – no questions or problems. Took extra outlet and portable chargers – great for camera and reader. Don’t forget laundry bag, big ziplocks, and small extra bag for return trip. Have fun!

    95. Thomas
      April 2nd, 2015 @ 12:30 pm

      I was recently sent to the naughty room on an RCI ship because they mistook my little clothes steamer for a coffee pot. Once I explained it was a clothes steamer, they said those were allowed. It wasn’t perfect, but it did a very passable job in removing most wrinkles in the clothes I brought.

    96. Pauline
      April 8th, 2015 @ 9:45 am

      My Fifth cruise is coming up in August. Your packing tips were excellent. I add a small torch and travel alarm clock. Have an easy-care haircut before leaving home. Keep it simple on gala nights, just add bling (fake)

    97. Veronica thomas
      April 8th, 2015 @ 6:24 pm

      It contains excellent tips! Always check the cruise ship small print. Just came off the Carnival epic March 29 2015 not needing to sneak alcohol on board. There’s a problem when you are trying to add a bit of alchol to a morning drink’. Just sayin…..

    98. Rena
      April 11th, 2015 @ 3:33 am

      We are about to embark our 25th cruise, learned a lot along the years. Here are my humble suggestions:no need to bring water bottles, I bring an empty bottle for each person, no problem to fill it up in the cafeteria (just don’t touch the faucet), we don’t feel cheap but we don’t want to be cheated by the exorbitant fees the ship charges,we bring q-tips,air refreshner for the toilet.Now a days people don’t over dress for formal nights, just wear something you would wear at home for a night out.Don’t bother thinking about clothes wrinkles (no body pays attention) just roll your clothes in the suitcase.And last but not least,have in your carry-on clothes and toiletries for two days at least, our suitcase got lost and never arrived in our 12 day cruise.Bring permanent medication for at least one extra week than usual.Bring along money to be used locally in the countries you will travel, exchange on the ship is expensive.That’s all for now.Happy travel

    99. Linda
      April 11th, 2015 @ 10:47 am

      My sister and BIL have always brought 1-2 cases of water onboard NCL ships with luggage tags and it always got delivered to their room with no problem. Last cruise we got several six packs of soda at a port and had no problem bringing it on the ship. Never had a problem with electric strips either.

      One more item that can be helpful is a highlighter or several in different colors so you can plan your activities ahead and quickly see what is coming up and every family member can have their own color. You can also request that you receive more than one schedule each day from your cabin steward.

    100. Daisy
      April 11th, 2015 @ 8:38 pm

      No one has mentioned Clorox Wipes. We carry them in our carry-on to wipe down the surfaces in the cabin and bathroom. You can’t be too careful!

    101. J Horning
      April 11th, 2015 @ 9:47 pm

      Carol, what a great idea you offered. I WILL take an over-the-door shoe organizer on my next cruise. Sure would keep the place organized without having to stow every little thing in drawers or closets.

    102. Sgt Paul
      April 12th, 2015 @ 5:07 am

      After losing a nice pocketknife that was confiscated trying to re-board after a nice day in port, I have chosen instead to pack several inexpensive “throw-aways” instead. Menards usually has their “Guidesman” folding knives as part of their rebate program several times a year. Usually they end up being either .99 or free after the rebate. My last cruise I packed enough (in checked luggage) so I would have one for each port stop, should one or more get confiscated while trying to re-board. If it gets taken, I’m out a buck and not a Buck™.

    103. SBL
      April 14th, 2015 @ 12:17 pm

      We are going on the Carnival Fantasy in Oct.First time cruisers.Alittle overwhelmed about what to take and what not to take.Please help!

    104. Julie Rolley
      April 14th, 2015 @ 1:24 pm

      I need to take my hairdryer and my meds , and my flat iron, makup and my iron. But I have read thru everything . No iron. SO I will buy some wrinkle free spray. is that ok to take? First trip. Any other suggestons Please advise . Leaving on May 29th….

    105. Leah Seiberling
      April 23rd, 2015 @ 7:08 pm

      To reduce smells in bathroom, keep sink drain closed, and bring a Renuizet Gel odor air freshner. Works wonders. Don’t rely on minifridge in rooms bring a collapsable cooler and have room steward keep filled with ice. Make sure it doesn’t sweat before you bring it. It comes in handy to pack any alcohol in luggage on way home.

    106. Dora
      April 30th, 2015 @ 12:51 am

      can you or can you not take a blow dryer on the Carnival Dream?

    107. Jan
      May 20th, 2015 @ 3:09 pm

      I always take a heating coil and Starbucks Via for my morning coffee. The coil HAS to be unplugged before you remove it from the liquid, and I hang it over an open drawer to cool down before putting it away. For bringing other liquids onboard, go to REI and check out the Platypus wine preserve system.

    108. Bob
      May 23rd, 2015 @ 5:58 pm

      I am a Marine Engineer with over 1400 days at sea and have spent 45 years in ship maintenance.

      First: You DO NOT want to be on a ship that has a fire (I seen the results of fire on two ships and it is not something that you want to experience). Heating coils, irons, coffee pots, etc can cause a fire if left unattended. I even had an electric blender on my kitchen counter at home that had the switch short out (it was constantly plugged in) and catch fire (luckily I was home and heard the motor running). So please do not use such items onboard, your life is worth more than saving a few bucks on pressing or a few minutes to go get hot water or coffee.

      Second the water on all ships is either distilled or run through a reverse osmosis process. It is as clean if not more so than bottled water.

      Third: It was said before in this thread but DO practice your escape root from your cabin to the nearest exit. If there is smoke you will be crawling and counting as you may not be able to see.

      In todays world with ships cutting back on crew size please take pity on your room attendant as he/she has a work load of up to 150% of what they had to do a few years ago.

      Cruise and enjoy and remember a safe day at sea is better than the alternative. PLEASE think safety first while onboard.

    109. Ros
      May 24th, 2015 @ 3:57 am

      Going on celeb constellation may 28 Venice to Rome. If we organise private transfer to Rome airport can we wait in public seating areas and take off our own luggage at say 10am as our flight to oz does not leave till 4pm.

    110. Diane Stauder
      June 5th, 2015 @ 7:27 am

      The ONLY reason they don’t want you to bring an iron on board is because they want you to PAY them to press your clothes. PERIOD.

    111. B. Kloss
      July 1st, 2015 @ 3:07 pm

      As a diabetic I bring Arizona ice tea packets that fit in sml. ziplock bag. U can also get lemonade with or without sugar, mix with ships water and ice. As good as can be.

    112. Deveny
      July 14th, 2015 @ 12:34 am

      I am cruising with RC. I use a CPap at night. Is that OK to use?

    113. AMBV
      August 2nd, 2015 @ 1:51 pm

      Hi everyone! well I’m a first time cruiser and i’m trying to take with me this umbrella/shelter, it’s called SKLZ Sport-Brella XL. I got it at Dick’s sporting goods. Travel dimensions: 4″ x 4″ x 59″, weight: 11 lbs. Is that silly? Will I be allowed or I just need muscles? thanks guys!

    114. BKF
      August 23rd, 2015 @ 2:00 am

      Is a hoveround scooter allowed on the ship during a cruise? What about a manual wheelchair?

    115. Naenaelo
      September 12th, 2015 @ 4:12 am

      I couldn’t agree more about bringing a bag of Clorox or Lysol disposable cloths to throughly wipe down your cabin IMMEDIATELY after you get to your stateroom. Don’t wait…don’t hesitate or get distracted by being excited about looking around or reading their information. Wipe down every single area that someone may have touched. Doorknobs, lights switches, edges or doors, drawer handles, REMOTE CONTROL (the filthiest thing in the room), bathroom fixtures, telephone…everything. Believe me, that effort of prevention will pay off in the end.

      Also, you can have your attendant help you clear out the refrigerator of items you won’t be purchasing, which enables you to store what you need in there. However, bringing a collapsible cooler is a great idea. The attendant will keep ice in it…to keep your carried on wine or champagne chilled.

      Room organization is key to enjoying every possible minute of your time on the cruise. Familiarity and easy access to needed toiletries, makeup, meds, etc will make all the difference. The recommendations on using a hanging shoe organizer or fold up toiletry organizer, hung up on the inside of the bathroom door is fantabulous! Empty suitcases can often be stored under the bed…on most ships. This allows for more space to move around…and can store rarely used items such as carried on personal snorkel equipment, steamers, dirty laundry, etc.

      Tipping your steward immediately upon meeting them on Day 1 will go a long way to extra special attention and
      treatment during your cruise.

      Last tip: Take time to go up to the highest deck late at night or very early morning hours and gaze at the stars. Simply breathtaking…and there’s nothing quite like seeing a shooting star alongside your significant other and/or children & family. It’s one for the memory books. Happy crushing to all….

    116. Angie
      September 23rd, 2015 @ 1:12 pm

      Going on a RC New Years cruise, Has anyone been on one and what can I expect?? Do they do anything special??

    117. Gail
      October 2nd, 2015 @ 3:01 am

      Anybody know how to pre buy bottled water for Princess cruise that is delivered to cabin? Thanks!

    118. robin delahoussaye
      October 8th, 2015 @ 2:17 am

      can i bring small bottles of liaguids….need to bring the detergent “all” i am alericg to all others…..sorry about the spelling.

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