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There's more than one way to keep track of your cruise key card (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
There's more than one way to keep track of your cruise key card (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

6 Great Ways to Carry Your Cruise Key Card

There's more than one way to keep track of your cruise key card (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
There's more than one way to keep track of your cruise key card (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Assistant SEO Editor
Marilyn Borth

Last updated
Dec 4, 2023

Read time
3 min read

Veteran cruisers know this to be true: Your most valuable personal item onboard is your cruise key card. This seemingly innocuous object provides you with several vital capabilities on your ship. Unlocking your cabin door, powering the electricity in your cabin (newer cruise ships have key card master switches), getting on and off the ship securely and paying for onboard expenses are all made possible thanks to your cruise key card.

As important as these tiny objects may be, they aren't exactly the easiest to locate when you need them. I personally have found myself dropping my key card out of my purse, kicking it across crowded carpeted floors in the casino, digging for it in the sand at the beach, or even accidentally trying to use a leftover key card from a previous cruise on the same line to purchase an onboard drink (spoiler alert: it didn't work).

What can you do to make your cruise life a little easier and not be like yours truly, who loses her key card left and right? We've compiled a list of six great ways to carry your cruise key card both on and off your ship so you are able to find it when you need it most.

On This Page

1. Place Your Key Card in a Cruise Lanyard and Wear It Around Your Neck

Lanyards (seen here in the gift shop aboard Celebrity Ascent) are a great way to carry your cruise key card (Photo: Adam Coulter)
Lanyards (seen here in the gift shop aboard Celebrity Ascent) are a great way to carry your cruise key card (Photo: Adam Coulter)

One of the most popular ways of carrying a key card around is with a cruise lanyard. Lanyards are convenient, comfortable and easy to carry both around the ship and at ports of call. Plus, they're eye-catching, which is important when you're leaving your room and your key card is still sitting in the switch (yes, the door will still lock behind you if you leave the key card in the switch).

Cruise lanyards come in countless designs, from glittery and beaded to nautical and basic. Cruise lines also offer their very own themed lanyards as well, which you can buy pre-cruise or while onboard. Disney-themed cruise lanyards are particularly popular with Disney Cruise Line fans, for example. Be sure to grab one that speaks to you.

Note: Key cards on most cruise lines typically have punched holes for carrying via lanyard or other such items. If there isn't one, don't punch a hole yourself as this could ruin the card and make it unusable. Instead, head to the front desk and request a hole punch; they'll do it for you without issue.

2. Clip-on a Retractable Badge Holder to Your Shirt or Bag

Not interested in a potentially cumbersome lanyard dangling around your neck all day? Opt instead for a retractable badge holder that clips onto your clothes, belt loop, bag, pocket, or anywhere you want. Plus, this is retractable, making your card sit even closer to your person and easier to use then return to its rightful place.

3. Stick a Cruise Card Holder on the Back of Your Phone or Phone Case

Another personal item that's crucial to your cruising experience is -- you guessed it -- your phone. Keep both your phone and key card together in one place with the help of a cruise card holder. These typically are applied via adhesive tape to the back of your phone or phone case so they'll stick and stay while holding onto your precious card.

4. Stretchable Wrist Coils Make for Fashionable and Comfortable Cruise Card Holders

If you're comfortable wearing something around your wrist, then try a stretchable wrist coil. These don't pinch your skin and effortlessly hang on to your cruise key card. Plus, they're fashionable and come in several different colors.

Take these wrist coils a step further in functionality and, either before or after your cruise, use them to hold your keys or even act as hair ties.

5. Use a Money Clip or Small Wallet

A Celebrity Cruises keycard holder (Photo: Adam Coulter)
A Celebrity Cruises keycard holder (Photo: Adam Coulter)

Maybe placing your key card in your pocket or bag is more ideal for you. In that case, place your cruise key card in a money clip or a smaller wallet. This may sound trite, but these are compact, affordable, reusable and easy to carry around with you, so we'd be remiss to leave these out.

What’s more, some lines – mostly luxury lines like Regent Seven Seas and Silversea, but even Celebrity and Windstar – even give you a nifty little key card wallet at embarkation.

6. Snap on a Fanny Pack and Put Your Cruise Key Card Inside -- Among Your Other Valuables

Fanny packs are a tried-and-true accessory for any traveler, making it a necessary option on our list of cruise card holders. You can wear your fanny pack around your waist or in a crossbody fashion. Either way, fanny packs keep your key card within reach, along with your phone and other necessities.

Whether you choose to carry your key card via cruise lanyard, money clip or otherwise, make sure it will be the most comfortable and convenient for you -- and hopefully you'll never lose your cruise card in the sand again!

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