You know what you want to pack as far as your wardrobe for your cruise vacation, but here are the little essentials that you might not think about.

One very important thing to pack is a Wall Mount Power Outlet with 3 Outlets. Electrical Outlets in the cruise cabins are very stingy and if you want to dry your hair while your curlers are heating up you will have a problem.

When I pack, I put all of my clothes in Dry Cleaners plastic bags. These will keep your clothes from wrinkling. Pack anything that can spill in zip lock bags. An international power converter and a currency converter will be needed for European Cruises. Some people pack a night light for the bathroom. I have found if you leave the bathroom light on and close the door it is sufficient to guide you there in the middle of the night.

We pack a portable CD player with 20 CD’s and an alarm clock. We pack two way radios so we can communicate when we are in different parts of the ship. I like to sleep in when we go to the Caribbean and John likes to get up and have breakfast. He quietly lets himself out of the cabin, and when I get up I call him to let him know its safe to come back to the room.

In colder climates you will need a jacket and some long sleeve shirts. I always pack sturdy hiking boots if we go to Europe or Alaska. (Most of the time I wear them on the airplane with slacks since they take up so much room in the suitcase). They come in very handy when touring Europe’s sometimes centuries old cobblestone streets. When you go to Europe you will probably visit churches, and other religious buildings and proper attire must be worn-no sleeveless tops, no shorts and in some places a head covering. In Thailand it was necessary to remove our shoes before entering their holy places. You are in some else’s country and must abide by their rules. No matter where you are headed remember that cabins are small and have little closets and drawers. This is an important fact to know when you are packing.

Bring all of your toiletries, film, in-cabin wine, lotions, medications and dental care products from home. They will be quite pricey on the ship. If you have an on going medical problem have your doctor write a brief medical history so you can supply it to the ships doctor if a problem should arise. You should also pack things like, Alka Seltzer, constipation relief, cough drops, aspirin and band aids. Make up a little first aid kit that suits your needs. Don’t laugh, you will probably be trying new foods, eating more than usual, and you never know how you will react. Those items mentioned above are expensive on the ship.

A few things that are handy are clothes pins for weighing down the shower curtain (the showers are small and the curtain will stick to you when your wet. This really gives me the creeps). A highlighter is great for highlighting the activities on your daily cruise sheet. The night before highlight the events you want to participate in and all you have to do is glance at the sheet to know where you want to be and when. Tell your room steward on the first day to leave you two daily cruise sheets so each of you will have one. This way if one of you wants to go to the wine tasting and the other wants to join in the art auction you both know where and when. Then when it’s over, call each other on the two way radios and meet up for a drink or lunch or whatever. Another valuable little item is post it notes if you don’t have the two way radios. Just write on the post it where you are going and at what time and then stick on the outside of the cabin door. Presto your traveling partner knows where you are and when to expect you back. This is great for parents traveling with children.

Cruise Tip: Pack business cards with your email address on them. You meet all kinds of interesting people that you will want to stay in touch with. Some of our best friends are people we met on cruises, friends we continue to cruise with. I like to pack computer generated address labels to make it easy to send postcards.

I read this tip in several cruise reviews. Send a postcard to yourself. I have postcards from all over the world with the local stamps that I have sent to our home during each of our exotic cruises. I have a stamp from the CCCP ñ that was the USSR- years ago. Its fun and you will always get a chuckle when the post card catches up to you after you are home.

It is a smart thing to bring along your cell phone (which means the charger too). If you incur delays you can call your Travel Agent and have her call the cruise lines. You can make phone calls while you’re leaving port on the ship, and in some islands. The islands I have found to be cell phone friendly are the Bahamas, Bermuda, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Grand Cayman. It’s great for phoning for a cab to the airport, or getting in touch with friends when you disembark. On the islands that do provide service you won’t have to wait in long lines (pay phones on the islands is where the crew keeps in touch with home). It’s just a handy thing to do and would be invaluable in an emergency.

Please don’t forget a good sunscreen if you are going to the Caribbean. If you are from the colder climes and have not seen the sun in awhile you will NEED it. Even in Alaska you have to wear a sunscreen.

Lastly, don’t forget your camera. Put this in your carry on, do not pack it. I have a friend that went to Hawaii and video taped a wedding, packed the camera in her luggage and it was stolen on the way home. If it is digital camera take extra memory cards since you will be taking lots of pictures and the cards are more expensive once you leave home.

Follow this advice and you will have a very enjoyable and comfortable cruise.

Happy Cruising!