Hitting the beach on your cruise requires a little more preparation than your average day trip. Since you'll be away from your ship for hours, you need to make sure you've got all the essentials to carry you through the day -- OK, and maybe a few cute accessories you might not actually need, but we know you'll love as much as we do. Add a little panache to your Caribbean cruise packing list with these fashionable and functional beach day must-haves.
Photo: BlueOrange Studio/Shutterstock
Why choose between style and functionality, when you can have both? This adorable, brightly colored beach tote has a main compartment for all your necessities -- beach towels, sunscreen, a change of clothes, etc. -- and an insulated cooler section on the bottom for water bottles (or wet bathing suits). We especially love the lightweight canvas and mesh material, zip-top closure and interior pocket that keeps your valuables secure.
Waterproof Phone Case
Even if you don't plan on bringing your phone into the ocean, it's a good idea to get a waterproof case to protect it from water and sand. This universal dry bag is compatible with almost any phone, and -- if you do want to get creative with your photo-taking -- totally safe to use underwater (the case material is touch-sensitive). Wear it around your neck via a comfortable lanyard for security and easy accessibility; the case also can be used to hold your cruise key card and cash/credit cards.
They say every woman needs a little black dress, but we think a beach cover-up is even more vital. Think about it: When you're walking to and from the beach, bar, restaurant and restrooms, it's a pain in the butt to keep putting on/taking off your clothes. A beach cover-up -- like this one-size-fits-all number -- requires no effort; you can just slip it on and go. Its soft, flowy material is also a lot more comfortable over a wet bathing suit than jean shorts and a tight tank top.
If you're like us, then you've experienced the heartbreak that comes with spilling a plastic cup of precious booze on the beach. Rest assured, there is a solution: sand coasters. These durable plastic cup holders allow you to keep your drink upright on the sand and -- unlike similar products such as drink-holder stakes -- they're compact and easy to pack. Bring your own prepackaged snacks, or order small bites from the beach bar? The coasters also can double up as snack holders.
Breezy beach days call for one simple product: towel clips. These fun, portable yet durable gadgets help secure beach towels to lounge chairs, so they stay in place through any gust of wind or movement. Choose from a variety of cute designs, including flip-flops, margaritas and sunglasses. When you're not on the beach, use them by the pool onboard.
Whether you prefer to "beach it" in the shade or you're traveling with little ones in tow, this easy-setup beach tent is your saving grace. Not only is the tent compact and easy to travel with (weighing in at less than 5 pounds), but it also is equipped with a handful of smart design features such as UPF 50-plus protective material, ventilation windows and interior pockets for storage. The tent also comes with stakes and sand bags that can be used on windy days.
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Cruise ship sun decks offer all the convenience of loungers, hot tubs and beverage service -- and all the headaches of screaming children, rock concerts on poolside screens and live bands playing "Hot Hot Hot" for the 20th time. Adults-only sun decks offer all the former in a much more serene environment. We have nothing against kids, but even on the most family-friendly cruise ships, an area explicitly excluding children gives parents a valuable hour or two of "me time," while maintaining the sanity of fellow cruisers who came on vacation for peace, quiet and minimal crying. Adults-only sun decks come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Many have amenities not available in the main deck areas and nicer loungers or sun beds; some also require an entry fee. We have not included adults-only solariums that are strictly covered pools. If the only "whining" you want comes with dining, then consider the following six sun decks that maintain a strict adults-only ambiance.