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What to take on your first cruise

What to take on your first cruise

Getting ready for a cruise isn't a tough task, but there are a few things to take into account. One of the most important things to figure out is what exactly you'll be bringing with you on your voyage. Striking the balance between bringing too much and not having everything you need can be a little bit tricky, so to make things super simple we've laid out a brief guide to the essentials: everything you really need to pack for a cruise. 

What you'll wear

You may have heard conflicting reports about what to wear on a cruise. Casual, formal, swimwear, semi-casual, semi-formal... don't worry, it's not as complicated as some people make it sound. Take a look below to find out what you really need to bring with you and what you can leave behind in your wardrobe.

Bring your swimwear Although it may not be appropriate to wear in all areas of the ship, you won't want to forget your bathing suit. After all, what's a cruise without taking a dip in the pool then working on your tan while reclining on a nearby lounger? Be aware that swimwear is not acceptable attire in the ship's restaurants, no matter which cruise line you're sailing with.

Take some 'smart casual' items Perfect for heading out to grab a bite or simply strolling along the deck, a smart casual outfit allows you to be presentable without sacrificing comfort at all. Jeans, casual dresses and tidy t-shirts all fit nicely in this category. This will be the type of thing you'll be wearing for the majority of most cruises.

Don't forget some classy options Most cruises will have at least one formal night where everyone gets dressed up to go out to dinner. If you really don't want to go formal, there are always a few parts of the ship that still allow for casual clothing, but it can be quite fun to head out for the evening in your finest, even if that's not usually your thing. Double check with your cruise line about their restaurant dress code and how many formal nights your sailing will have.

Comfortable footwear We can't emphasise this one enough. Cruise ships aren't small, and you may end up doing more walking than you think - plus there's always the possibility of shore excursions. Don't let sore feet cripple your cruise holiday. Bring shoes you know you're comfortable with. Packing some nice shoes for formal occasions is also recommended, although you might want to avoid heels if you can: for safety's sake, it's a good idea to stick to flat shoes while onboard. The outdoor decks can get a little slippery and have small gaps between the planking - two things that spell disaster for anyone wearing high heels. Opt for wedges if you are looking to dress up a little, to avoid any slips or falls.

Essential documents

If you forget to pack your swimsuit you might be a little annoyed with yourself but if you don't bring along these documents, your cruise holiday will be over before it starts. Having your ticket on hand when boarding is a no brainer, but you'll also need photo ID. If you're sailing away from New Zealand, you must bring a passport which is valid for at least 6 months from the last day of your cruise. Those who are stepping aboard a domestic cruise will still need to bring photo ID, although a passport is not usually necessary. A driver's licence or other government-issued ID (with your photo on it) should be enough. If you're unsure whether your documents are suitable, please double check with your cruise line.

Just for fun

This a holiday after all, so don't forget to bring along a few items to keep yourself entertained. Books are a popular choice, although if you have an e-reader this may be even better as you'll cut down significantly on weight and bulk. Internet is often not amazing at sea so if there are any movies or TV shows you want to keep marathoning while onboard, don't forget to download these to your phone or tablet before embarking. Those who are hoping to spark their creativity with time away on a cruise might want to bring along a notebook or something similar in case inspiration strikes at sea. If you're travelling with kids, consider bringing along a game for the whole family - ideally something compact like card games. 

Practical bits and pieces

One important thing to consider before boarding is that not every cruise line will have power points compatible with your devices. In fact, P&O Australia is the only cruise line which is guaranteed to have New Zealand/Australia style electrical sockets. This means that on any other line you'll need to bring along a power adaptor if you want to keep your electronic devices topped up. 

Appliances like hairdryers and irons are not allowed on most cruise ships and will be confiscated at embarkation, but you can usually get hold of these kind of things onboard - just ask, and the staff will be happy to help you out.

There's generally no weight or bag count limit for cruises, but keep in mind that if you're flying at any point during your holiday then airlines will be much more strict with their baggage requirements.

Don't forget:

Passports and boarding passes
Appliances require a power adaptor
Clothing suitable for onboard including daytime comfort, smart casual and formal.
Keep an eye on your bag size and weight

Keep the above points in mind and you'll have everything you need to enjoy an amazing cruise holiday. If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to get in touch with the team at Cruise Sale Finder - we'll make sure you're all set to go.

From party cruises in the Baltic to a classy Cunard voyage, I’ve been lucky enough to experience the full spectrum of cruise life. Onboard you’ll probably find me by the pool with a doorstop sized book in one hand and a mojito in the other, or sampling an array of delicious foods.

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