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what to pack for a cruise
 

What to pack for a cruise with the family



The jolt of pain as coral pierced the arch of my foot followed by the sharp sting of the salty seawater was a lasting reminder to pack reef shoes on subsequent Pacific Island cruises. We discovered that families onboard our recent P&O Pacific Eden cruise also suffered the same uncomfortable experience.

To avoid making common cruising mistakes, here are our packing essentials on a family cruise around the Pacific Islands:


1. Reef Shoes


Unlike Australia’s soft sandy beaches, the Pacific Islands shores and coastlines are often made of coarse shell and coral. Bring a set of reef shoes for each family member to protect feet from pointy shells and sharp coral.

2. Sun protection


Our recent trip to Papua New Guinea found us 11 degrees from the equator in the hot and harsh sun. Sunscreen, hat and rash guards are essential to prevent sunburn.

Although sunscreen can be purchased in local shops and onboard, the variety is limited and absurdly overpriced, make sure you pack enough for the duration of the cruise.



cruise with kids
 

3. Floatation device


Pools onboard can be deep and some beaches have unexpected drops in depth. Even for the most confident of young swimmers, a child flotation device, kickboard or a safety vest provides an added safety precaution when kids are around water.



4. Reusable bag


A fold-able lightweight reusable bag comes in handy as a beach bag to carry all the families gear for shore days, a laundry bag onboard or act as an overflow to carry the many souvenirs purchased along the way.

cruise with kids
 

5. Snorkel, mask and fins


The coral atolls of the Pacific Islands are ideal for snorkelling and the reef shallow enough for kids to give it a try. Families are missing out on a whole world of marine life and colourful coral if they only spend their shore day with their head above the water.

6. Pen, Blu-Tak & Post-It notes


Even the smallest of cruise ships are big enough that you can’t find one another easily. A stack of post-it notes, blu-tacked to the cabin door with a pen, becomes a noticeboard and communication point to avoid the time wasting task of searching for one another onboard.

Cruise with kids
 

7. Lightweight slimline suitcase


Families know that when packing every kilogram counts, particularly important on our fly-cruise holiday where we were subject to a 23-kilogram weight restriction. The key is to travel with the lightest suitcase you can find and slim enough so that it can slide under the tight space underneath the bed of 31.5 cm height. Achieving this means you don’t take up vital storage space in the small cabin wardrobe.

8. Lanyard


The card issued upon check-in becomes the most important item onboard and used to sign children in and out of kids' club, for onboard purchases and account balances, to book shore excursions, as the key to the cabin and the primary ID for entering and exiting the ship at port. Pack a lanyard to attach the card around your neck.

what to pack for a cruise
 

9. Inflatable lobster (or not)


Whilst it maybe a grand idea to pack an inflatable lobster for the kids to play on the Pacific Island beaches, we found out that giant rubber lilos require exhaustive exhaling in the heat and humidity.

The lightweight object can easily be swept out to sea. Should a kind fellow passenger recover the fast moving lobster on a kayak, it’s most likely the inflatable toy will instantly deflate after it gets snagged on a tree branch, leaving little ones in tears.

It’s best to leave it for the pool at home.

Together we roam‘s Rene Young has travelled to 70 countries. When the Brisbane based blogger is not discovering Brisbane's street art, exploring Queensland or roaming the world with her five-year old son and three-year old daughter, she can be found indulging her love of reality TV.

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