The Packing Hack That'll Make Your First Cruise Day So Much Better

The allure of the open seas, endless onboard buffets, colorful casinos, and intriguing ports of call are just some of the many reasons travelers pack up and book a cruise. According to Statista, the global cruise industry reached nearly $19 billion in 2022 as travelers pursued adventures on the waves. Traversing waters across the globe, cruises offer a unique way to see multiple exciting destinations while only having to unpack once.

If you're looking forward to your very first cruise, there's a good chance you might not have an entirely accurate view of how day one of your journey unfolds. It's certainly nice to envision yourself quickly and easily stepping on board your ship and immediately being able to access the customized services you've been looking forward to enjoying. In reality, there's often a significant amount of time between stepping onto your ship and setting sail, when everything you're wanting to access might not be ready to go as planned.

Sometimes, you'll get onto your cruise ship only to find the cabin you've booked isn't quite ready to be used just yet. There's also the risk that your luggage gets delayed somewhere in the complex embarkation process. Both of these scenarios are reason enough to implement a smart and strategic carry-on packing hack that will improve your first cruise day experience by making sure you have access to a few key items. 

Pack items that ensure fun in the pool and sun

Turning your carry-on into an arsenal of fun options for your first cruise day is a simple way to relieve the potential for stress that can happen when you initially board your ship. It also provides you with peace of mind knowing you can enjoy yourself even if all doesn't go perfectly to plan. Making the most of day-one fun begins with packing your swimsuit in your carry-on.

While this might not come to mind first as an essential item to have on hand, you'll be glad you made space for it in your bag. In the event your room isn't ready right away on embarkation day, you can still change into your swim gear in one of the restrooms found on multiple decks and make your way to the pool while you wait to set sail. Instead of simply sitting around and worrying about when your cabin will be accessible, you'll be relaxing in the water worry-free and soaking up the sun on the pool deck in authentic cruise style.

Of course, if you're going to hop in the water right away for an indeterminable amount of time, your carry-on should also include some sun protection essentials. Be sure to pack travel-size sunscreen, a sun hat that folds up, and sunglasses. These easy-to-pack items will ensure you're comfortable and protected at all times.

Don't overlook the essentials

Having fun-focused gear within easy reach improves your first cruise day, but having a few essentials is equally important. Travelers taking multiple flights to reach their embarkation destination will want to pay particular attention to how they pack their carry-on. Airline passengers are facing increased chances of lost or delayed luggage in the world of modern air travel. Eliminating worries about not having the basics in place is as simple as making sure you have a change of clothes in your carry-on, including extra undergarments, starting on day one.

You'll also want to have any essential medications with you in your carry-on when you step on board. Cruise ships do employ onboard physicians and medical staff. However, spending your first few cruise hours in the infirmary because your medication is tucked away in your delayed or lost checked luggage is less than ideal. Similarly, ensure you have your most important travel documents with you in your carry-on, including your passport. This streamlines the embarkation process with or without your checked luggage. It also guarantees you'll be able to enjoy every port of call no matter what your luggage situation might be. 

Putting serious thought into your carry-on items is important when you want your first cruise day to be a success no matter what. Having items that enhance the fun and cover your basics alike makes all the difference. From there, it's just smooth sailing.