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It’s the ultimate all-inclusive trip: a cruise. It’s part of the allure, really; with meals, refreshments, entertainment, and more all supplied courtesy of your floating palace, what do you really need to bring?

First-time cruisers may not realize it, but the answer (and reality) is that you really do need to pack some critical cruise essentials in order to elevate your vacation from a fancy boat trip to all-time affair, in terms of adventure, relaxation — and, of course — convenience. So, before you walk the gangplank for the first time or next time, consider packing some or most of the following suggested items.

1. Peace of mind. A 24/7 travel concierge. Financial recourse (in the event of trip cancellation, trip delay, baggage loss — and other scenarios.) And more…

OK, that’s definitely more than one thing. Fortunately, all of these essentials can be handled by a travel insurance plan. You get the peace of mind that if one of the multitude of events that can negatively impact your travel plans actually happens, you have a back-up plan. If you opt for travel insurance through Allianz Global Assistance, you also get access to 24/7 assistance to help troubleshoot everything from finding an English-speaking pharmacy at one of your ship’s ports of call to checking the references of a third-party snorkeling excursion provider. Insurance plans are known for financial protection, such as reimbursement for that new bathing suit you had to buy when the airline lost your luggage. If a shore excursion such as a whale-watching tour is cancelled for a covered reason, that could be eligible for reimbursement, too. Of course, conditions apply and always be sure to read a travel insurance plan’s details. Before you continue scanning the list of cruise essentials, take a moment and find the right Allianz Global Assistance travel insurance plan for your cruise and budget.

2. A transparent plastic shoe organizer

Cruise veterans swear by this simple trick: pack an over-the-door shoe holder and use it to store small, easily-lost essentials. Examples include batteries, lip balm, sunscreen, travel documents, and pens.

3. Small bills

Do you plan on tipping (we hope so)? How much? How often? It’s essential to consider when you’re preparing for a cruise. The recommended tipping budget is $10-$12 per day, per passenger. On many cruise lines, you can choose to automatically have tips added to your onboard account. But if you want to share a more personal, real-time thank-you with the cruise ship staff, tip in cash.

4. A bungee cord

A small bungee cord with hooks can be used to keep your balcony door open, as well as to attach suitcases to each other.

5. Post-it notes

These humble stickies come in handy for leaving notes for your steward, or your travel companions. Heading to karaoke on the Lido Deck? Let your fellow travelers know.

6. Duct tape

Experienced cruisers never fail to pack a roll of duct tape when they’re planning for a cruise. Duct tape can be used to repair everything from a camera battery case to a broken flip-flop. Use it to strip the lint from your dinner dress and even for cleaning up spilled sand.

7. Thermal coffee cup

This may seem like an odd thing to pack when you’re deciding what to take on a cruise, but if you’re a coffee fan it’s essential. Many cruise ships provide only small cups for coffee, frustrating people who like a morning buzz. Of course, these vessels also keep drinks cold, too.

8. Small waterproof bag

You don’t want to worry about your possessions while you’re frolicking in the waves. Bring a small, waterproof bag you can hang around your neck to carry your money, ID and keys.

9. Clothespins and a retractable line

We’re sure you’re not thinking about doing laundry when you’re planning for a cruise. But experienced cruisers recommend bringing a retractable travel clothesline and pins to neatly dry swimsuits. Clothespins also come in handy for holding closed shower curtains and drapes.

10. Antibacterial wipes

Wipes might be the most important thing to remember when you’re pondering what to take on a cruise. Cruise ships, no matter how clean, are notorious breeding grounds for norovirus and other gastrointestinal ailments. Getting sick can ruin your trip, so pack antibacterial wipes to use in your cabin and on board, just in case.

By taking a few moments to pack a few extra strategic cruise essentials, you can ensure that your first or next cruise getaway is smooth sailing.

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