The right cruise gadgets and gizmos can really help to elevate your voyage. With a little help from some of our favourite cruise content creators, we’ve rounded up the travel gadgets you need for your next cruise.
Awesome travel gadgets
“My favourite travel gadget to take on a cruise is a daylight alarm clock,” Emma from Emma Cruises told us. “I usually cruise in inside cabins and the total lack of daylight can be confusing. A daylight alarm clock slowly brightens to imitate the sunrise meaning that you never have to wake up in the dark. I recommend daylight alarm clocks to all inside cabin cruisers!”
Beach towel clips
Rebecca from Cruise Blondes can’t cruise without beach towel clips. She told us, “There’s little more annoying than having to chase your wayward towel around when you’re chilling around the pool on a sea day! For that reason, I have invested in some big towel clips which are essential for clamping it to your sunbed - they come in many colours and are also useful if you need to clip any clothing items up in your stateroom or on your balcony furniture. I got mine from eBay and they were cheap as chips!” You can buy the beach towel clips Rebecca has here.
There’s a lot to see on a cruise. On some cruises, like wildlife cruises, the view is as important as the on board experience. Whether you’re searching for whales or trying to spot seals, a pair of binoculars is a must-have travel gadget. What’s more, a compact pair of binoculars will save you space in your suitcase.
Dental repair kit
“It may sound unusual but my essential gadget is a dental repair kit,” Gary from Tips For Travellers told us. “Cruise ships do not have dentists so if you have a tooth crack, a filling or crown fall out then you are left stranded and have to suffer. You may be able to find an emergency dentist to help out at one of the ports but that can be stressful. I always take a dental repair kit and it has, unfortunately, come in handy for myself, my partner and friends on board. I never travel without it!”
Your cruise card is one of the most important items you require while travelling. What better way to avoid losing it than by using a lanyard? Sanna from the blog Vegancruiser explained why lanyards are one of her cruising must-haves. “Lanyards (I have them in different colours and styles to fit various outfits) to keep my cruise card on me. Most dresses don’t come with pockets and neither does pool wear. The easiest way to have my key/charge card on me is a lanyard.”
Luggage tag holders
It may sound like an obvious suggestion but reusable luggage tag holders are very practical. If you’re heading off on a fly-cruise or simply have to hand your luggage over at the cruise terminal, tag holders will make your luggage easy to identify. They also help to avoid any further complications should you lose your luggage.
If you’re on a family cruise with young children or staying in an inside cabin (which can be very dark at night), a night light is a really handy gadget to have around. An unfamiliar space with unfamiliar furniture can be dangerous for the shins - a night light with a motion sensor will avoid you having to fumble around.
We also chatted to Karen from Cruise Blondes who told us, “When cabin space is at a premium, an over-the-door organiser is a perfect way to store everything from toiletries, jewellery, medicine, chargers, glasses and show excursions tickets. Mine is actually a shoe holder with clear pockets so I can find whatever I (or my forgetful husband or teenage kids) need easily. It simply hangs on the back of the bathroom door, keeps clutter to a minimum and folds away easily into my suitcase at the end of the cruise. For around £8 for one with 20 pockets - enough for a family - it saves so much time every day. Result!” Click here for Karen’s over-the-door organiser.
“Another must for travel is a set of packing cubes to ensure I can travel light and organised,” Sanna told us. “They’re great for saving space in your case and they make unpacking in your cabin so much easier and faster.” Emma also recommends packing cubes, watch her testing packing cubes video here.
Marcus from multi-award nominated blog Sparkx recommends a portable charger. He told us, “For me, there’s nothing more annoying than running out of power with my devices than when out and about on a cruise, in a port of call or when I want to capture a picture-perfect moment. For that reason, I always have a portable charger on me so I can quickly charge up my phone and other gadgets on the fly. It is honestly invaluable and saved my bacon so many times. These days, a power pack can charge most USB based gadgets out there all at once over and over again, so it’s always worth keeping one in your bag!”
Don and Heidi from Eat Sleep Cruise also recommend portable chargers. They told us, “We always travel with a portable power pack. These are especially great to have when on a shore excursion and you need to recharge a phone or other devices, like DSLR cameras or action cameras.”
Portable luggage scale
If you’ve opted for a fly cruise then a portable luggage scale is essential! Whether you’ve picked up lots of souvenirs for friends and family back at home or stocked up on your favourite snacks, your suitcase may be heavier upon your return. A portable luggage scale will ensure you won’t be charged by the airline should this happen.
Cruise approved non-surge protected power bars or power strips as they are also known, are always at the top of our cruise packing list. Staterooms don’t usually have enough plugs to charge all the necessary electricals like phones, tablets and cameras, so a power bar is a great extension. Just make sure to check with your cruise line before packing, some, like Royal Caribbean, don’t allow extension leads.
Don and Heidi also recommend ship-approved mobile outlets. They told us, “One of our favourite gadgets is ship-approved mobile outlets. These include plugs and USB outlets. They are compact, lightweight and unlike powerstrips, these gadgets meet the cruise line’s requirement for electronics.” Find more of Don and Heidi’s recommendations here.
Reusable water bottle
It’s very important to stay hydrated, especially if you’re in a warmer climate. A reusable water bottle is a great way to combat this whether you’re on a shore excursion (collapsible water bottles are great for space-saving while in port) or exploring on board. Plus, as we head towards a more sustainable future for cruising, single-use plastics have been removed from many cruise lines so it isn’t as easy to get your hands on a bottle of water.
An RFID (radio-frequency identification) wallet will help to keep your passport, credit cards and cash safe while you’re travelling. An RFID wallet keeps your belongings close by and blocks potential wireless signals that could lead to you unknowingly have your identity stolen or personal details hacked.
Lois from No Cruise Control told us, “My must-pack travel gadget on any cruise has to be my smartphone. It’s my alarm clock, my torch, I have a book app, a magazine app, a ship tracking app, a camera (which is even better than my actual camera) and a video camera (to film those all-important cabin and ship tours!) Mine is even waterproof to allow for ocean and snorkelling shots too!
“With many cruise lines introducing smartphone applications, a smartphone is also useful to allow you to personalise your cruise with ease! You can easily book extra treats, tours and speciality dining as well as look at online menus and daily ship programmes. The only problem with my smartphone is that the battery often dies from all the use, so a battery power bank is another cruising essential.”
Sanna also recommended a travel adaptor. “My third must-have is an EU to UK travel adaptor with USB points since most ships have EU or US sockets only - not UK. Only the newest cruise ships come with inbuilt USB charging in the cabins. With one of these USB travel adaptors, I have a UK power socket AND 2 extra USB slots for charging a phone, e-reader or GoPro etc.”
Matt from Cruising with Matt recommends a walkie talkie. He told us, “I highly recommend walkie talkies for any groups bigger than two people. It’s so much easier to keep in touch and meet back up when you split up for activities. Some cruise lines have chats in their apps now but for the ones that don’t offer that, I think walkie talkies are a must-have!” Check out Matt’s cruising mini-series here.