One of the best parts of a cruise is the opportunity to get off the ship for a shore excursion! These excursions can enhance your cruise by giving you great experiences on shore: think wine-tasting in France, glacier hiking in Alaska, or swimming with dolphins in Mexico. So, when it’s time to leave the ship to enjoy some time on land, what should you take with you? You’ll want to pack your bag as lightly as possible, but there are some essentials you should bring along.
It’s always a good idea to take a bottle of water with you, especially in warmer weather or a low-humidity location. Even when the weather is cool, it may be difficult to find a readily available source of drinking water on shore.
In a sunny location, bring some sunscreen and a hat with a brim, especially in locations – such as the Greek Isles – that have little shade.
If you’ll be near water – say, taking a hike up to a waterfall – bring a small towel to wipe away water spray or sweat. If temperatures will vary as you climb, bring a long-sleeved shirt or light jacket you can pop on and off.
If you’re not already wearing them, bring proper shoes for your activity on shore. You may need sturdier shoes for rough ground or cobblestoned streets, or water shoes for splashing through a creek.
Be sure to bring your camera to capture the images of the day (remember to charge the battery the night before).
In general, there’s no need to take your passport on a shore excursion. First, it’s probably more secure in the safe in your stateroom (along with other valuables, like jewelry and watches). Second, you should only need a photo ID and your keycard when it’s time to re-enter the dock area. Watch your ship’s daily bulletin for any special information on documents that you may need on shore, or ask at the ship’s shore excursion or customer service desk.
Finally, however sad you’ll be to leave the wonderful places you discover on shore, be back on the ship before sailing time. That’s your responsibility, and ships usually will not wait for stragglers.