Sure, it's just temporary, but your cabin will be "home" for the duration of your sailing, which, for some cruisers, can be quite a large chunk of time. Although cruise lines try to make passengers feel comfortable by offering the latest amenities -- flat-screen TV's, comfy bedding and free toiletries, just to name a few -- there are always additional items you can bring along to make your stateroom a bit less … stately.
Whether you're aiming for practicality, familiarity or just plain whimsy, check out our list of must-pack items if you want to really make your cabin your home away from home.
--By Ashley Kosciolek, Editor
Whether you need extra space for toiletries, a spot to stash your socks or a place to display information for each day's activities, you'll be able to better organize the small items in your cabin with the help of one of these trusty, pocket-heavy household staples. What makes it an even bigger no-brainer is its size. It's virtually flat and can be folded or rolled to take up very little space in your luggage.
If you're accustomed to making your own tea or coffee in the morning, consider packing your own kettle or pot for brewing. One downside is that it might take up some extra room in your suitcase, especially if you pack your own tea bags or coffee packets, but you'll have the drinks you want right at your fingertips. Just be sure to check with your cruise line to determine the sorts of electronics you're allowed to use in your cabin before bringing one of these onboard.
Most staterooms look the same -- standard colors, artwork, bedding and the like -- but you can make yours homey by adding some special touches like photos or other decorations that will exude a more personal vibe. To take it up a notch, consider decorating the outside of your cabin door. Not only will it help you to find your cabin in a long line of identical-looking doors, but it might also help you to make a few new onboard friends when they see your creative prowess.
The most dangerous event that can happen on a cruise ship is a fire. So, naturally, candles are a huge no-no. But if you're looking for a little romantic ambience or just can't sleep without a night-light, you might want to invest in some candles of the battery-powered variety. They're allowed onboard, and it's hard to tell the difference between them and the real thing.
In many staterooms, electrical outlets are scarce, especially if you and your travel companion are both wielding cell phones, iPods, cameras, tablets and other devices. Instead of vying for prime charging space, pack a power strip or two, which will vastly increase the number of outlets available to you. Check your cruise line's policies first, though, to be sure your strips won't be confiscated by security when you board.
When you're sharing close quarters with a travelmate, little things like odors can really be magnified. So, whether you're trying to combat those, uh, rather unpleasant bathroom smells or trying to fend off the stench of dirty laundry and wet bathing suits after a sweaty, daylong excursion, you'll want to keep some type of air-freshener handy. Pack ones you can spray or hang, or pick up a diffuser. Whichever you choose, be sure they comply with all restrictions for your cruise line (and your airport/airline if you're flying to your embarkation port), and remember: no candles.
Given the combination of recent cruise-ship advancements and itineraries with jam-packed daily schedules of events, you'd think alarm clocks would be standard in most cabins. Unfortunately, cruise lines haven't yet caught on, but that doesn't mean you can't tote your own on your next sailing. Use it to wake up in time for your early-morning shore excursion, set it when you lie down for a midday nap, or wind it up when you need to be sure you're on time when getting ready for dinner.
Some cruise cabins have clotheslines built into the showers in their bathrooms, but even when that's the case, they're often small, and they don't come with clothespins. Packing your own clothesline and pins will give you additional space to dry swimsuits and sink-washed laundry, particularly if you've got a balcony cabin. Additionally, the line and pins can be used to hang anything important -- daily schedules, tip envelopes, brochures, invitations to the captain's cocktail reception -- that you want to remember or don't want to lose.