Here’s a list of my best travel gifts for cruisers, whether first time cruisers or those with dozens of cruises under their belts.
Remember to include your friends and family who’ve never cruised but are considering it. Some of these gifts would be appreciated by your land-lubber friends, too!
Whether these little gifts seem like tchotchkes or super silly, they can be really helpful on a cruise, whether used in your stateroom or ashore.
Best Gifts for Cruisers, Whether First Cruise or 50th!
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Did you know that power strips with surge protectors are NOT allowed on ships? I used to bring a typical power strip/surge protector on cruises for a few years.
I didn’t know there were two different choices. However, I would always unplug it when I left the stateroom. But unplugging my power strip/surge protector wasn’t good enough for fire safety.
Eventually, a combined power strip/surge protector was not allowed.
Your stateroom attendant was given the green light to “confiscate” those until the end of the cruise.
This is simply a multi-outlet power source WITH USB. Not all older ships have USB ports built into the lamps or nightstands.
This is the hanging organizer that I always pack. It lays flat in my suitcase or carry-on. After nearly 10 years, I just bought a new one. And that’s only because I crammed too much into the biggest section and forced the zipper.
The smallest zipper pockets get filled with earrings and pendants and one for just dental floss. I can fit my toothbrush and toothpaste in one of the wider zipped pockets and eye makeup in another wide pocket.
This is a great gift for first time cruisers who might not know exactly the best way to pack for a cruise.
There are times when I’m in transit, whether on a ship or hopping on and off trains that this is perfect and holds everything I need, even for just one night.
Yes, I actually just bought this for myself and it arrived yesterday. It was my best gift for a cruiser…me! I wasn’t sure if I really needed it…I’m not the most avid reader. But that’s partly because I don’t like to pack actual paper or hardcover books for travel.
And though I hate to admit it, small print is getting more difficult and annoying. Plus, there’s not always the best reading light. (Sounds like a litany of literary excuses, right?)
With this small e-reader, you can adjust the font size, line spacing and warmth or cool screen lighting.
It took me all of five minutes to sync the new Kindle Paperwhite 11th Generation to my Kindle app on my iPhone and poof! All my books and book samples were on my new Kindle.
Though I always travel with my iPad and iPhone, this new Kindle edition is waterproof and super light. I can sit on my balcony or at the pool and not worry about it getting splashed on or caught in a light rain or mist so common on an Alaska cruise.
READ MORE: What to Pack for an Alaska Cruise
Packing Cubes – Don’t Leave Home Without Them!
These are almost crucial to successful packing and living aboard a ship. First of all, you can see the contents through the mesh top. Second, they easily fit into the few drawers in your stateroom closet so you don’t have to unpack the contents.
The lighter colors are convenient (there’s about five or six colors to choose) because they’re easy to find inside the drawers or closet shelves.
And I’ll confess, I bought two sets of these packing cubes; one in black and the other in red. I roll or fold everything into these and pack into my suitcase like playing Tetris til everything is in its place.
Poo-Pourri – One Spray Goes a Long Way
And yes, it works. You simply spray a small “protective” layer of oil on the surface of the toilet bowl water to repress any, shall we say, unpleasant odors?
In addition, as a person that cruises and travels solo, I’ll admit that I like to have at least a few photos of me with an interesting background to remember the trip.
Or, if I meet some new friends, I can place it on a table, set my phone self-timer and get a decent group photo.
And last, it has an excellent built in stabilizer (that’s a “gimbal”). So if I want to take a video as I walk around ancient ruins or record a calving glacier while the ship is in motion, it’ll take the perfectly stabilized video.
It folds down into something about the size of your hand and fits neatly into its cloth case.
READ NEXT: 9 Money-Saving Items to Pack for a Cruise
It’s a passport cover that holds your passport with a window slot for your vaccine card. There’s also a pen holder and behind where the passport is secured, are slots for credit cards, ID cards and two sim cards. It’s also made of RFID blocking materials.
Available in many colors and vacation-themed designs.
Did you know that most walls and doors on cruise ships are metal? They may look fancy, but they’re usually metal.
These hooks are great for a zillion uses; hanging your hats and caps, sunglasses, lanyard with your room key, wet raincoat or umbrella and on and on.
Living in a small room for a few days or longer, it’s so nice to be able to declutter your living space. I bought two packs…I usually forget to “unstick” at least one on each trip.
Yes, I have this one, too. And in pink…for a Caribbean cruise and black for Alaska, of course. Because it folds into itself into a tiny package, I bring it along on all my cruises; you never know when you’ll need extra space at the end of the cruise.
Right. I know I said that I keep my small earrings in the hanging organizer. I use it for necklaces, bracelets and dangle earrings (or post earrings if the organizer is full). This foldable case is small and easy to carry with you, NOT in your checked luggage.
This is my go-to travel water bottle from Hydro Flask…light weight but still carries 24 oz. Remember never to let the lip of your personal water bottle touch the public drinking fountain spigot on the ship.
A more sanitary workaround is to simply use one of the ships water glasses to pour. I’ll even pour from one of my water bottles that I buy in a package. Why not just buy a plastic water bottle? Of course you can. But…
With your own Hydro Flask, it holds more than a $2.99 plastic water bottle, is better for the environment, looks much nicer and you can bring it home! Plus, I’ve used the lid handle with a carabiner clip to attach to luggage or a belt loop.
It may look kind of dorky, but it’s really a handy gadget. Great for shore excursions that involve more water fun…like a catamaran cruise, whale watching, or floating on a mat at the beach.
It’s waterproof, not just resistant. Just make sure the seal is completely closed. There’s even a quick release clip if you need your phone separately.
The pouch is also waterproof and fits all major cruise lines’ ship cards. Wear with or without the pouch, if you have a hole punched in your card for drinks, too. These make a great gift idea for first time cruisers.
Instead of getting a piece of stationary and an envelope from the Front Desk, here’s a pack of cruise ship thank you cards ready to give. This is definitely something to gift for first time cruisers! And a surprise gift for your cruise ship staff to receive it from you!
Even if you don’t feel the need to “overtip” someone, leaving a special thank you note is very much appreciated by the crew, far away from their families and countries.
Whether you’ve been or know someone who’s planning an Alaska cruise, this ornament is the perfect reminder of an upcoming or previous bucket list cruise.
The ornament lists all the Alaska cruise ports on an Inside Passage cruise plus recognizable iconic symbols.
Recommended For Cruiser Who Love to Read
In addition to my new Paperwhite e-reader, I also have the Kindle app on my iPad to use with my Kindle Unlimited plan. I did this so I can download cookbooks and read the recipe as I cook.
When it comes to finding the best gift for someone who loves to cruise, first-time cruisers or even yourself, I hope my hand-picked list will make your gift-buying decision a little easier.
I’m the editor and creator of CruiseMaven.com, a solo traveler cruising the world on waves and wheels, collecting recipes along the way. I hope my articles and photos entertain, advise and inspire you to travel the world without flying. Take a breath…stop for a local meal and a glass of wine along the way.