Last updated: 11:45 AM ET, Thu August 27 2015

Opinion Home | Water Cooler Talk for Cruisers

  • Ken Muskat | August 27, 2015 11:45 AM ET

    New to Cruising? Top 10 Must-Haves to Pack for Your First MSC Cruise

    New to Cruising? Top 10 Must-Haves to Pack for Your First MSC Cruise

    For those of you who are new to cruising, the thought of traveling away from home could be a little daunting. I know the feeling. I can remember my first cruise years ago back in 1994. Although I was excited to venture onboard a cruise ship for the first time and visit one amazing destination after another, I have a feeling I didn’t quite pack all the right essentials. However, with more than 80 cruises under my belt, it’s safe to say I have become quite the cruise packing expert. Having perfected this craft of what to pack for a cruise, it’s only right that I share with you the top 10 Must-Haves for your first cruise.  

    Must-Have No. 1: An open mind

    I know that doesn’t seem like much to ask for but if you’re new to cruising, it’s important to know that you must embark upon this journey with an open mind. It will be nothing like any other vacation you’ve ever taken before. Come on! Where else could you visit multiple Caribbean destinations  during one vacation, meet people from all over the world especially if you’re on an MSC cruise ship and witness some of the most breathtaking panoramic views of the sea?  Of course, all on your first cruise.

    Must-Have No. 2: A bathing suit

    Yes I know you’re looking at this and saying to yourself, “ Of course I’m packing a bathing suit for a cruise.” But this is not just a ‘what to pack’ tip but a ‘where to pack’ it tip. Most cruisers have their bathing suit in their checked luggage. However, if you want to start your vacation the minute you step on board, packing your bathing suit in your carry-on bag is a perfect idea. Your checked luggage will arrive shortly but why wait? It’s your first cruise…so jump in and start the fun early.

    Must-Have No. 3: Copy of your travel documents

    I would encourage you to keep a copy of all your travel documents including your driver’s license, visa, legal family documents, passport, etc. It’s unlikely there’ll be any issues but keeping a copy of your travel documents in your checked luggage and carry-on bag, makes it easier to retrieve if lost.

    Must-Have No. 4: Memory cards and batteries

    In the age of amateur photographers, photo bombers and practicing selfie pros, a camera is a must to pack for a cruise vacation. Most digital cameras only require the battery and the battery adaptor, so be sure to pack all the devices that come with your camera. There are some cameras that also use alkaline batteries and memory cards, so pack extra sets of batteries and get yourself a few memory cards because there is no doubt that you will be on a photographic journey during your entire cruise.   

    Must-Have No. 5: Bring workout clothes

    With so much to do on board and so many dining options available, you may be wondering how on earth could you possibly be able to stick to your usual exercise routine. Well, don’t fret! Remember to pack your workout gear, sneakers and all your workout essentials and we’ll take care of the rest. From a full state- of-the-art fitness center filled with elliptical machines, treadmills and cycling bikes to the only ship at sea that offers AquaCycling classes, MSC Divina is well-equipped to keep you on  your fitness track while you enjoy your  first cruise.

    Must-Have No. 6: Comfy shoes for shore excursions

    From traversing the Mayan ruins of Cozumel to even touring the castle grounds of the Cayman Islands, wherever your first cruise takes you, you’ll probably need some good comfortable shoes to get you through your voyage. Flip flops are okay but also keep in mind that you may be close to water or it may rain, so waterproof shoes are great to pack as well.

    Must-Have No. 7: Your favorite & most essential toiletries

    Ships provide some really awesome essentials including hand creams and shampoo. However, if you have your own personal favorite, I would suggest bringing all your preferred bathroom necessities with you. And if you forget, no worries. There are great shops on board that carry a myriad of perfumes, toiletries and more.

    Must-Have No. 8: Wrinkle-release or wrinkle-free clothing

    Irons are usually not allowed on cruise ships which I don’t mind because ironing is definitely not my forte.  But if you do like a nice crisp shirt, the best thing to do is bring wrinkle-free clothing if possible or bring along some wrinkle release spray. I hear it works wonders! My little trick? I usually hang up a few clothes in the bathroom and make sure the shower is on hot to give the clothes a good steaming.  Works like magic.

    Must-Have No. 9: A multi-plug device

    From your digital camera to your iPad and the other handy electronic devices that need to be charged, you should consider packing a mini surge protector. This way, you can spend more  time enjoying your cruise and less time waiting to charge your devices.

    Must-Have No. 10- MSC Onboard Connection – We have a free app for that!

    The days of pens and note pads to keep in touch on board are long gone. Staying connected on board just got so much easier. Now with the MSC Onboard Connection app, you can send instant messaging from  your hand-held  electronic device, chat with traveling companions and new friends, make shore excursion reservations and even book a table in our specialty restaurants.

    For more cruising must-haves visit MSC Cruises


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Ken Muskat Water Cooler Talk for Cruisers

Ken Muskat With more than 20 years of experience, Ken Muskat has dedicated his entire professional career to the cruise industry. He currently serves as chair of the Trade Relations Committee for the Cruise Line Industry Association and is the executive vice president of sales, PR & guest services for MSC Cruises, one of the fastest growing cruise lines in the industry. Since 2006, Ken has also served on the Board of Directors for the Children’s Cancer Caring Center and in 2013 he was named vice president of the organization. Born and raised in Miami, Florida, and having visited 24 countries and 3 continents, Ken enjoys extensive travels and an active lifestyle full of many friends and an amazing family. He reminds people that it’s important to take it all in, take a photo and enjoy the experience and destination. He can be followed in the Twittersphere @KenMuskat.
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