Oh, baby! The Caribbean. So many islands. So much to do.
It’s the hottest of the hot spots for cruising, offering the perfect warm-weather getaway.
The sun-splashed region full of beaches and surrounded by beautiful seas requires some special attention, though, when it comes to packing. We’ve been there several times and have frequently learned the hard way that we forgot an item or two that we wish we had packed.
Learn from our mistakes and make sure to consider these 10 items you didn’t know that you needed for a Caribbean cruise.
Sure, we had plenty of sunscreen and lotion, but the sun can be so hot down near the equator that you misjudge just how much you need. Even if you slather it on pretty good, you can get a sunburn if you stay out too long (like we did while snorkeling in Aruba). Bring some aloe vera gel to soothe sunburn and help you sleep better after your days on the beach.
Also, speaking about that sunscreen, make sure you use a reef-safe lotion that won’t damage the coral when you’re in the ocean.
To further protect yourself when out on a catamaran ride or snorkeling, swimming and paddleboarding under the intense sun, get yourself a rash guard. These are long-sleeve athletic swim shirts (spandex or polyester) that often have added UV protection properties. They can be quite stylish, too.
Wouldn’t it be just like you to finally lose or break your favorite pair of sunglasses while you’re on your cruise vacation? Be prepared with a backup pair of shades.
In some parts of the Caribbean, sand fleas, flies and mosquitoes can prove to be a nuisance, especially when you visit the beaches or rainforests. Pack a can of bug repellant to aid your efforts in keeping them away.
Chances are you’ll be spending a lot of time in your swimsuit, whether in the highly chlorinated pool on your ship or in salty seawater at your port destinations. Women’s bathing suits can be especially expensive and delicate, so you want to make sure to take proper care so they will last longer. Bring along some baby shampoo or mild liquid hand soap to use to rinse out the oils, sweat, lotions, sand and salt each day from your suits. (Laundry detergent is too harsh and can ruin your suits.)
You will be using beach bags, towels, swim suits, coverups, floppy hats and other items when you go out daily to the pool or beaches. While you’ll probably have a small clothesline and a few hooks in your cruise cabin bathroom, they probably won’t be adequate for all your stuff. Get a package or two of strong magnetic hooks to use on your cabin walls (which are made of steel), and you’ll have all the extra space you need to keep your room organized and functional.
If you expect to be snorkeling, swimming, paddling or enjoying other activities on the water, you might want consider getting a waterproof camera or housing for your camera or cellphone that lets you take pictures underwater. This way, you can capture all the best moments from your adventures. It’s a good idea to get a strap for your wrist or a floatie for your camera, too, so that it won’t sink to the bottom of the ocean if you drop it while snorkeling or off a boat while on a tour.
You might be used to just traveling with your passport as identification, but there are times when you might need your driver’s license, as well. To get around on a Caribbean island for a day, you might decide to rent a scooter, ATV, golf cart, 4-wheeler, or even a car. This means you’ll need a valid driver’s license to rent the vehicle.
When ashore, you might encounter rocky or pebbled entries to the water. Tours could take you into cenotes or across lava-like surfaces toward swimming holes or tubing activities that can be hard to navigate in bare feet. A good pair of comfy water shoes are always recommended.
A good item to pack for a cruise to any region. We’ve often overindulged, enjoying all the great food and drink on our cruise ship, and wished we had brought some antacids to help bring some relief from our indigestion.
What other items do you think are especially helpful for a Caribbean cruise? Let us know in the comments below.
This article is brought to you by Cruise Compete. CruiseCompete.com allows you to easily compare multiple offers from Cruise Experts