I’ve been on two cruises now and I had a much better time the second trip after I learned to bring these three essential items.

1. Lanyard

When you get on the ship, you are issued a room key that also serves as your charge card for all things on the ship.  Stupidly, it doesn’t have your actual room number on it, but you need it for everything.  The cruise ship charges $7 for crappy lanyards and as much as $12 or $16 for “nice” ones.  I don’t ever intend on wearing it again so even $1 lanyard from Dollar Tree would have made my life easier.  I refused to pay for one on the ship and sadly, most girl clothing does not have pockets and who wants to carry their purse around all over the ship?  Most of the time I just made my husband carry my card but then I had to remember to get it back from him.  Or, in absence of pockets, I would tuck it into my bra and hope for the best.  My second cruise I got smart and I purchased a stylish magnetic clasp lanyard for $5 that looked like jewelry I would actually wear and I can use it for my work badge when I’m not on a cruise.  When I did have to remove it, like to send my son to my room to get something for me, I simply pulled it apart and handed it to him.  

2. Water Bottle

Yes they have all the food and drink you want on a cruise, for various price levels.  The base package includes juice, tea, and water but not soda.  Then they have a soda package and of course the whopper alcohol package.  The problem is, the ship is huge and the juice stations are at the buffet and few other places.  If you have the soda or alcohol package, you can flag down any one of the hundreds of wait staff and get a drink but if you’re on the base package, you have to walk halfway across the ship to get a drink.  Then the next problem comes in, the drink cups provided are tiny plastic kid-sized cups.  I routinely took two, and still wished I had more.  Bring a big water bottle and fill that sucker up so you don’t have to spend half your trip searching for the lemonade.  

3. Static Window Decal Stickers

Imagine a hallway as far as you can see in both directions with identical doors.   Now try to find your room, or worse, try to find your room after drinking all day long.  The first time I looked down the hallway I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone.  I saw other people decorate their doors and thought, “How cool is that!”.  Our next cruise was a family cruise with our grown kids and we had three rooms.  I went to Dollar Tree and picked out 3 unique peel and stick removable sticker sets for each of our doors.  Both of our kids remarked at how much easier it was to find their rooms in the confusing hallways and I overheard a couple passing by our room that had doughnut stickers on it say, “We’re coming up because our room is three past the doughnuts.”  You’re welcome fellow passengers!