If you’ve found this post it’s likely you’re searching for a great gift idea for a loved one. Cruise lovers will always appreciate a thoughtful gift that they can use on their next cruise. I’ve trawled the internet for the best cruise gift ideas to help an avid cruiser enjoy their next cruise experience. In this post I share the best practical cruise gift ideas for a cruise addict.
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Best Practical Cruise Gift Ideas for Before the Cruise
There are a number of travel gift ideas that can help with planning for a cruise. Planning a cruise can be an exciting time, with organising what to do onboard as well as choosing shore excursions.
Cruise Gift Cards
Many of the cruise lines offer gift cards or a gift certificate that you can purchase as a gift. This is a great way to treat someone you love and they can choose to use the gift card for pre-purchases such as shore excursions, spa treatments and dining. It can also be used to pay for the cruise itself.
- Princess Cruises gift cards – can only be purchased in the US or Canada
- Carnival Cruise Line gift cards – cannot be used on ships in Australia
- Royal Caribbean gift cards – to be used to pay for the cruise (rather than onboard services)
- Marella Cruises – Tui Holiday Cards can be used to help pay for their next cruise vacation
- Celebrity Cruises – offer the option to purchase onboard credit or a specialty restaurant
If you’re in the U.K. I’d also recommend taking a look at Travel and Holiday Gift Cards, it offers a Royal Caribbean gift card as well as many others for hotels, flights, and AirBnB.
Cruise Luggage Tag Holders
Luggage labels need to be attached to all luggage being taken on to the ship by porters so it’s really important that they don’t rip or come off during their journey from port to the cruise cabin.
This is a simple but practical gift that can be reused over and over again.
I bought these ones for my last cruise. They were really sturdy and did exactly what they needed to do.
Passport holders are a nice accessory but also really useful if you want to easily identify individual passports during check-in. This is a useful but stylish cruise gift and you could even choose to buy one for each family member.
Packing cubes can help pack similar clothes together. This saves time when unpacking on a cruise (less time unpacking = more time to enjoy the cruise). Following an experiment by Emma Cruises, the best options are the Mia Tui Packing Cubes Set and Amazon Basics Pack Cubes.
You can receive a 15% discount on your order with Mia Tui by using the code VN15.
Best Practical Cruise Gift Ideas for Cruise Ship Cabins
There are some cruise gifts you can give that will enhance the use of the cruise cabin.
Cruise power strip with no surge protector
Most people will have lots of devices that need charging in the cruise cabin and there’s never enough plug sockets!
A simple way to solve this issue is to have a power strip but cruise lines require passengers to use one with no surge protector. This is due to the electrical system on cruise ships.
The best one for U.S. cruisers is the Cruise On Power Strip, which has three U.S. sockets and two USB ports.
For cruise passengers from the U.K., E.U. or Australia, I’d recommend using it with a travel adapter.
Travel alarm clock
This is a perfect gift for cruise travellers who know that ship time can sometimes change during sea days and from port to port.
We can’t always rely on our phones to auto-update, especially when in airplane mode (to avoid costly charges) so a handy little travel alarm clock is a good idea.
I found this one on Amazon for £11.04, which is compact, doesn’t have a ticking noise and you can turn the backlight off so it’s not bright in the night.
Bottle of wine, flowers and chocolates
Help your friends or family start their cruise in the best way by ordering gifts to their cabin.
Most cruise companies will have an option to purchase a selection of gifts such as:
- Cabin decorations for a special occasion e.g. birthday
- Soft toys
- Water bottles
- Gift baskets
You need to be a bit sneaky to pull this off so you’ll need a few details about their cruise and the booking reference number might come in handy. You can contact the cruise line and order the gift so it’s in their cabin when they arrive.
Hanging toiletries bag
Space saving gifts are one of the best ways to make full use of the cabin bathroom. A toiletries bag that can be hung on the back of the door is really useful.
I have one from when I used to go camping and it’s a really handy to take on cruises.
Pre Poo Spray
This is a funny gift with a practical (embarrassment-avoiding) use. When on a cruise you may need to use a public toilet at short notice. This is a little bottle that can be left in the cruise cabin bathroom or taken with you to ports of call.
The spray locks in any smells you don’t want to share. I have a bottle in my handbag at all times, just in case.
Magnets and hooks
These magnetic hooks can be used on the walls of the cruise cabin to hang things such as hats, leads and accessories. This helps to keep the cabin clutter-free.
They can also be used to pin useful paperwork to the walls such as the daily newsletter and shore excursion information. There’s never much space to put things like this, so these will come in handy.
Best Practical Cruise Accessories Gift Ideas
In this section, I’ll share the cruise accessories that are great stocking fillers but will be really appreciated by your cruise friends.
Many cruise lines still give passengers a cruise card to open their cabin and pay for items onboard so a handy accessory is the cruise lanyard.
You may wish to treat them (or yourself) to two lanyards: one for day and one for night. A nice lanyard for formal nights would be extra special.
There’s nothing better than taking your morning coffee outside so you can enjoy the sea views. A insulated coffee mug is a perfect cruise gift idea for a coffee lover.
It’s also an environmentally-friendly gift that reduces the amount of waste on a cruise.
There are plenty of novelty towel clips available to buy online (beware of buying flamingo towel clips if you’re friends aren’t swingers!).
But the newest thing to keep towels on sun beds on the pool deck are towel bands.
You can read my review of towel bands I tested out on my Caribbean cruise. I won’t go back to towel clips again!
A pack of towel clips can be easily carried in a beach bag or your pocket so they are much easier to pack than towel clips that may break in your luggage.
Sun Lounger Organiser
This is one of those useful gifts that people don’t know they need until they have it.
The sun lounger organiser fits over the top of the sun lounger and has pockets to put the cruise essentials, such as: sun cream, Kindle, phone and watch. It’s a perfect way to keep everything together.
I have actually bought myself one for our next cruise.
This gift is particularly useful for an upcoming cruise with scenic cruising. If your friends or family are going to Alaska, the Norwegian Fjords, the Suez Canal or are taking a river cruise – this is the gift.
Binoculars are a practical gift idea for using on the cruise balcony or on open decks when there’s plenty to see. We have used them several times on cruises and always pack them if there is scenery we don’t want to miss.
Best Practical Cruise Excursion Gift Ideas
Reusable water bottle
A reusable water bottle can be a good way to take water on cruise excursions or visiting cruise ports independently. Walking around in hot weather means having a drink to hand can be very useful.
I’d recommend getting a collapsable bottle so that it doesn’t take up too much space or weight in the luggage.
If your friends or family are heading off on a cruise where there will be sunshine and plenty of beaches, a beach bag will come in useful.
It’s a good idea to look for one with pockets to help store small items. This one from Amazon has pockets and comes with a waterproof phone case and bottle opener.
The cruise ports and busy tourist areas, it’s important to keep valuables safe. We were very glad of our anti-theft backpack when we were in Barcelona as we were aware of pick pockets operating in the Las Ramblas area.
Concealed zips helps to reduce the chance of things being stolen out of a bag. This prevent the extra cost and stress involved in replacing stolen items.
Swimming, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking and snorkelling are all fun activities you can do on a cruise. If you are buying a gift for a person who likes water sports and being active on a cruise, this might be a good idea.
A dry bag is waterproof and can be used to store clothes and valuables. For families, this set of five bags is an easy way to keep identify everyone’s stuff, whilst keeping everything dry.
Waterproof phone pouch/case
Whether it’s for selfies in the hot tub or a day at the beach, a waterproof phone case is a safe way to take photos and videos in water without damaging your digital camera or phone.
This phone case by YOSH allows you to take clear photos underwater and use the phone without needing to remove it from the case.
It can be a bit tricky to keep valuables safe at the beach so consider buying a beach safe to store valuable items safely while swimming or away from your sun lounger.
You can also find beach safes disguised as sun cream bottles. I bought mine from Avon but it’s no longer available. I did find another one on Amazon.
A portable charger can be one of the best gifts for cruise fans who love to take plenty of photos and videos when they are in port.
It’s likely to be something they will use even when they aren’t on a cruise.
A portable charger can keep things charged when you are out and about, especially if you are relying on a phone for maps and need to make emergency calls.
Practical Cruise Gift Idea for a Special Crew Member
If you are searching for the perfect gift to say thank you to a crew member, always try to make it a practical gift that they can use or benefit from.
We gave a cabin steward a bag of Cadbury’s Mini Eggs over Easter once and he was polite but didn’t really want them.
The most obvious option is to give them a cash tip but after my last cruise I discovered another really valuable gift you can give someone who works on a cruise ship – a sim card.
We had a chat with our room steward who said that a phone sim card from 3 Mobile is the best because it has so many countries in it’s roaming plan. It’s the sim card that all the crew want because the roaming coverage is so good compared to other providers. This means crew members can call home on their cell phone without racking up huge phone charges.
You can actually order a pre-loaded 3 Mobile Pay As You Go sim card on Amazon that they can activate and start using. It has to be activated in the U.K. so this is only good for U.K. cruises but once it’s activated can continue being used even when the ship repositions or their next contract.
Practical Gift Ideas for Cruise Goers
I hope you’ve found this post about the best practical gift ideas for cruises valuable. This list of useful gifts will hopefully help that special person enjoy their cruise even more thanks to your thoughtful gift.
If it’s the person’s first cruise, these gifts will definitely come in handy and for the more seasoned cruisers your thoughtful gift will show that you care.
Sometimes the best gifts are those you didn’t know you needed but wouldn’t cruise without now.