Duct tape. It’s the powerful, sticky, loyal best friend that should be part of any savvy cruiser’s packing list. Airline destroy your bag? Duct tape can help. Stubborn shower or window curtains won’t stay closed? Force them to adhere to your rules. Bring the whole roll or reduce the bulk by wrapping some tape around a sharpie, another handy tool to have on a cruise (for door notes).
Remember, though, that certain adhesives will leave a residue, especially over time, so be wary about applying tape to the cabin door or other surfaces. Cruise Critic readers have suggested that baby oil helps remove any gunk left behind, but we haven’t tested this. Some experienced travel-tapers also swear by the equally potent but cleaner gaffer’s tape, duct tape’s classier cousin.
Still skeptical? Here are just a few of many ways in which duct tape can save you on a cruise.
The Formal Night Lint Remover
With the sticky side up, wrap a few revolutions’ worth of tape around your hand. Remove hair, lint and other particles from your own gown or monkey suit, or de-lint your partner like a chimp grooming his mate. Take caution with especially delicate clothing.
The “Blackout” Curtains Sealer
On a June cruise in the Baltic — during which the midnight sun almost never disappeared — light came seeping in along the borders of the blackout curtains. The rectangle of sunshine that skirted my balcony door was mesmerizing, but not conducive for sleep. A few pieces of strategically placed duct tape spelled relief from the glow.
Broken Luggage Fixer
I didn’t realize US Airways had taken my $50 checked-bag fee then destroyed my suitcase until a gentleman in the airport told me I was leaving a trail of balled socks and rolled T-shirts. The airline agent denied me a refund (US Air and other operators don’t cover ripped zippers) but offered me some duct tape. Instead of leaving infuriated and with a broken bag, I left infuriated…with a broken bag sealed with duct tape.
The Sandal Repairer
After traversing mile after mile in multiple crag-covered Greek Isles ports, one of the straps on my Teva sandals threw in the towel. Duct tape entered the ring, securely re-attaching strap to shoe so I could keep trekking.
The Torn Hem Mender
If a hem unravels, duct tape works in a bind. Attach it on the underside of the garment for an attempt at discreetness. Again, note that you should take caution on less rugged fabrics.
The Luggage Identifier
The mob scene of dented bags and tired flyers can make for a stressful experience at the baggage carousel. Make your life easier by marking your luggage with “X’s” or just wrap the handle with colored tape for easy identification. A good bet is Duck brand duct tape, which comes in a kaleidoscope of hues.
The Creeping Shower Curtain De-Creeper
It’s one of cruising’s more unsettling forces: the relentless, creeping, clinging shower curtain that repeatedly attaches to your legs for a tingly embrace. Instead of making yourself crazy battling an inanimate object, showering with the curtain open or avoiding the bath altogether, use duct tape to keep the curtain at bay.
The Cabin Baby-Proofer
The littlest cruisers are often the most curious…but have the least sense of self preservation. Keep babies and toddlers away from seductive death traps by taping drawers shut, outlets closed and wires or curtain pulls to the wall. Bonus: the roll of duct tape makes a great rolling toy.
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