By Janice Wald Henderson
Updated: June 25, 2019
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Advice abounds on what to pack for a cruise, but few passengers know what should always be left at home. With this invaluable list, preparing for your trip will feel as stress-free as the sail ahead.

Related: Making Any of These Rookie Mistakes Can Totally Ruin Your Cruise Vacation

An iron: Because fire is the biggest safety risk at-sea, electrical appliances like irons are banned. Ensure wrinkle-free clothing for fancier nights onboard or special outings ashore by packing outfits in garment bags, in dry cleaner plastic bags on hangers, or folded carefully with tissue paper. Shake out wrinkles after removing clothes from suitcases, and in a pinch, hang them in the bathroom when taking a steamy shower. Or, pack a spray-on wrinkle-release product. Some ships have self-service launderettes with irons.

A Coffeemaker: Electric coffeemakers also rank as a fire threat. Java fiends can pack a French press and freshly ground coffee, then score hot water from the buffet and treasure every sip en-suite.

Alcoholic beverages: No one wants to pay shipboard markups on alcohol. Alas, BYOB is either restricted to one or two bottles—or outright prohibited—on most cruise lines. Luxury lines prove the exception: Most allow spirits, wine, and champagne. (However, with most alcohol included in cruise fares, only connoisseurs bother.) Follow ship rules; it’s no fun to discover that your favorite vodka was confiscated during luggage screening.

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Weapons: Leave firearms (or realistic-looking toys), baseball bats, and other real or perceived weapons at home. Some ships allow knives or scissors with blade lengths less than four inches, should you want a trusty pocketknife.  

Illegal Drugs: For the safety and security of all passengers, stick to legal kicks. Luckily, cruises always induce natural endorphins.

Candles: Such mood-setters are bigtime fire hazards. Pack battery-operated candles and a teensy bottle of fragrance spray instead.

Extension Cords and Power Strips: More fire hazards. Learn to optimize and extend battery life on smartphones and tablets before sailing, and prepare to share outlets and USB ports with cabin mates. Battery life extenders can be lifesavers; pack one that supports charging two devices simultaneously.

Books: Books weigh luggage down, often prompting excess baggage fees. Load an e-reader up with tomes, and dive deep into bookworm heaven at-sea.

New Shoes: You’ll walk miles every day just getting around huge cruise ships, let alone ashore. Break in shoes before—not during—travel, to ward off blisters and aching feet.

Self-Defense Gear: Ships have zero tolerance for pepper spray or other such protective tools. The simplest way to stay safe cruising is to follow rules and always use common sense.

Kites, Drones, HAM Radios, Laser Toys: Perceived as having the potential to interrupt ship operations, these items are quickly confiscated. Most ships dazzle with nonstop entertainment—you’ll be lucky if you find time to fit it all in.

Pool Toys: With the potential to fly overboard, floats, tubes, and other water toys are outlawed. No worries; most ships feature watersports and fun-filled kiddy pools.

Expensive Jewelry: Leave pricy or heirloom jewels at home, even if your cabin features a safe. Bling it up, carefree, with statement costume pieces.

Too Much Stuff: Don’t you want to save room in your suitcase for all the sensational souvenirs to buy on the cruise?

Related: This Cruising Secret Will Change the Way You Explore Port Stops:

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