Packing for a cruise: six things that should stay at home

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Is there anything quite as daunting as an open, empty suitcase? Or, perhaps, the moment of truth is when you try to close a full one? 

While one of the indisputable benefits of cruising is the fact you only have to unpack once, it doesn’t mean you should use this as a green light to attempt to stuff all your worldly belongings in your suitcase. 

Some everyday things you use at home are simply not allowed aboard a cruise ship. Along with the kitchen sink, here’s a handy run down of six of the key things to leave at home.

1. A clothes iron or steamer
While no one likes sporting any form of wrinkle, taking an iron on board is regarded as a major fire risk. This includes those especially designed for travel. The solution? Avoid packing clothes that wrinkle easily, be prepared to pay for your clothes to be ironed or choose a ship with a self-service launderette. 

2. Candles?
Similar to the issue with an iron, an open flame is considered a major fire risk. So if you’re in the mood for some high-seas romance, or you have a bathroom with a tub (lucky you), the best option is to take a couple of battery-operated fake candles or tea lights. They’ll create soft lighting, and an atmosphere for love minus the risk of burning down your stateroom or the ship.

3. Blades?
Just as when you fly, anything with a blade will likely be confiscated, or ‘held’ by security for the duration of your cruise. This even includes any large scissors. Small blades may be allowed by certain cruise lines, but be prepared to be held up by security upon check-in.

4. Alcohol?
While different cruise lines have different rules, generally, beer and spirits are forbidden and will be confiscated. Some cruise lines allow a small number of bottles of wine to be taken on board, but be prepared to pay a corkage fee to use them in a bar or restaurant on board.

5. Electric kettles and coffee makers?
While you may think this is a great way to avoid paying for specialty coffees or herbal teas, sadly, electric kettles and coffee makers are strictly forbidden on cruise ships. So to avoid losing yours (possibly more expensive than the herbal tea?), you’ll have to order hot water to enjoy a cuppa in the privacy of your own stateroom.

6. Power boards and extension cords?
When it comes to power boards and extension cords, there’s no hard and fast rule. Depending on the cruise line and the port, you may have them confiscated on check-in or, on the flip side, get them through security without any problems. The main concern is electrical overloading, either in a cabin specifically or an individual socket, which can pose a fire risk. If you have a lot of electrical devices with you, take a couple of double adaptors instead, one in your carry-on luggage and one in your check-in bag to be safe.

Have you had anything confiscated when checking in on a cruise? Share your experience with our community in the comments. 

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Written by SJ


Total Comments: 4
  1. 0

    They seem to be cracking down on power boards from what I am reading on different cruise lines. I myself pack then unpack, take half of what i have in their out and repack. Ive never under packed for the 13 cruises or several land trips Ive done in the last 7 years.

  2. 0

    I took a large suitcase last time…never again…only taking a small one with a cabin bag. Find out how many formal nights there will be and only take outfits for those nights. On a ten night cruise Iam going on shortly it is 2 nights.
    No need to take a different outfit for every night. No one takes any notice of what you wear…trust me. Mix and match and during the day you can more or less wear the same outfits a number of times if you wish.
    Make sure you take a hightlighter pen to mark up what you want to do of a day from the daily newsletter which you received. I always take a small emmersion heater to make a coffee. I always take my own coffee in a zip lock bag. The coffee on board is usually rubbish (in my opinion) and I always take thermal cup with a lid.

  3. 0

    I had a letter opener confiscated that I had purchased as a souvenir of Vanuatu. We got it back after going through customs in Sydney at the end of our cruise.

  4. 0

    I really enjoy simply reading all of your weblogs. Simply wanted to inform you that you have people like me who appreciate your work. Definitely a great post. Hats off to you.



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