What NOT to pack on your upcoming cruise vacation
Camo print clothing or accessories
Some places actually have rules about dressing in camo print because their police or military wear the pattern on their official uniforms. It’s like how you can’t have red and blue lights on your car in most places in the US because it’s too much like police lights. Barbados, Jamaica, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia all outlaw camo for non-military members.
Same thing, walkies are sometimes considered “military equipment” and in places like Cuba you can get in trouble if you’re found with them.
Drones are tricky for 2 reasons: first you need a license to fly them in most places and second, most cruise lines don’t want amateurs (or worse, professionals) taking high-def ariel footage of their boats or guests. Especially their guests. Drones can be used to spy on the private parts of the boat or of a person’s vacation so you are usually made to surrender your drone on arrival. If you get clearance to use it ashore by the appropriate governmental agency you may be able to check it out when you disembark in port and check it back in on return, like alcohol purchased ashore.
Anything with wheels that goes under your feet
Heelies, skate boards, roller skates, hover boards, Segways—anything you can accidentally launch yourself off the boat off of is typically banned. And people do fall off boats so please just don’t and make sure your kids don’t either.
The boat has towels and towels you can take off with you even, the fee for losing a towel is probably a lot less than what you actually paid for your towels at home. Towels are also bulky and inconvenient to pack. Don’t bring your own towel.
Similarly- don’t bring a pillow unless it’s for a very good (medical?) reason. The boat has a variety of pillows and even the smallest beds and cabins have extras and you can ask for more or different pillows if you need them. I do like to bring my silk pillow sleeve and weighted eye mask, however, to ensure good hair and quality sleep on board no matter the hour.
Devices with Lithium-Ion batteries
Now, these devices aren’t banned- it’s just a broad suggestion for all cruisers to please minimize how many lithium batteried devices you bring onboard. They are a fire risk, that’s why you can’t check them in your luggage and why they require special shipping and handling in transit. Believe it or not, a LOT of cruise ship fires happen every year—you just don’t usually hear about them. Even on your own boat if there’s a fire you may not know about it. Typically the firefighting crew (yes, there are people specially trained to fight fires and ALL crew have basic fire safety training) puts it out before you ever hear an alarm in a public zone but fires happen with some regularity. Help prevent them by cutting down on how many potential exploders you bring.
This is a tough one for me-- have you seen my hair? It’s five feet long or something. I am used to a powerful hair dryer and sometimes using the one on the boat is a big time-suck. So why not bring your own? It’s the voltage. Each cabin has its own electrical circuit and, luckily, if you short out your room you aren’t shorting out the whole floor. That would be way more embarrassing than it already is to call someone to fix the electricity … three or four times … per cruise. Your cabin steward isn’t cleared to fix it either, they’ll have to get an engineer to flip the breaker to reset your cabin electrical. You will still be able to open the balcony door, front door, bathroom, and the water will continue to work- don’t panic. If you trip your breaker in your room, you are never trapped. While we’re at it: don’t plug anything except an electric razor into the bathroom either.
The internet is full of interesting and strange ways to smuggle alcohol on board a cruise ship. There are fake suntan lotion bottles, the mouthwash system which involves a touch of blue dye, and the “re-sealer” where you fill bottles and re-seal them like they left the factory. I’m not saying it isn’t possible- I’m not even saying it’s that difficult BUT why?
A typical drink on an NCL cruise costs $6.50 if you pay cash. You no longer sign the receipt to tip on every alcohol purchase (which I know brought up the cost of drinks for chronic over-tippers). I live in Seattle where a typical drink at a club costs around $13.00. Literally double. So, for starters, you aren’t being fleeced the same way you are when you go out to enjoy drinks at a bar or downtown club. NCL also runs 2 for 1 happy hours driving prices down further. Plus, once you’ve cruised you typically can enjoy “free at sea” deals on most semi-inclusive cruise lines like Royal Caribbean or Norwegian which means we haven’t paid for drinks in like 8 years.
Plus if your super clever system to smuggle booze on board fails, you’re going to have alcohol soaked clothes and on-board laundry is not cheap (around $40 a bag). That’s 6 drinks. Or god forbid you get caught—what then? You are banned from your favorite cruise line because you didn’t want to pay for a liter of drinks?
I'm going to preface this by saying I take my Safety Cat everywhere and it has never been confiscated on a plane, train, or cruise ship.
You should not attempt to bring weapons on board a cruise ship. You will go through a metal detector prior to boarding. Pocket knives often get overlooked, check your pockets before you board. If they find a gun you will not be boarding today, you could be banned. If you flew to your cruise port you probably already removed all the obvious stuff from your luggage and clothes but Cork Screws, Box Cutters, Ice Picks, and Craft Knives could all be confiscated and not returned.
We're Natalie and Tracy, the girls behind Millennial Cruisers. Our blog highlights the best and most affordable in cruise fashion year round as well as cruise news from around the world!