The Caribbean is a delightful location – a selection of white sand beaches; palm trees; holiday resorts; and nature reserves. It's islands vary in size and makeup, but the laid-back attitude is common to all. It’s where you go when you want to get the benefit of sun, sea and sand without the crowds or the overt tourism.
Clearly there is tourism in the Caribbean, of course – it’s just of a slightly different order. Where mainstream package tourism is often crowded and not very relaxing, the price mark-up on a Caribbean tour ensures that a higher level of service and experience is usually achieved.
If you’ve never been on a Caribbean cruise before, you’ll need some packing tips. You’ve got a smart luggage set; you’ve got the guide book – now, apart from that guide book of course, what do you put in your cases?
Packing for the Caribbean
Let’s start with the basics. Sun cream (sun tan lotion), after sun cream, and mosquito and insect repellent. Don’t underestimate the power of the tropical sun, which can have you blistered in less than an hour. If you’re British, you’re not used to it for sure. Take sun cream with a factor around 25% stronger than you think you need. SPF50 and above should do the trick. You can start to reduce to 30 and 15, don't risk just 30 initially.
After sun lotion is an absolute lifesaver in the tropics – particularly when you are so near to the sea. On and off your ship, you’re likely to be buffeted by gentle sea breezes most of the day – very pleasant indeed, until you realise they’ve been tricking you into feeling cooler than you actually are. When you inevitable burn your forehead or your ears, after sun lotion can take the heat and pain away in seconds.
Make sure it’s good – expensive lotion with a lot of aloe vera in it is a very wise investment indeed.
Evening in the tropics is dinner time for guests and insects alike. Anything containing Deet will definitely keep the insects away – though it will also make your lips go numb when you put it on your face. If you want something less full of insecticide, try a natural remedy full of citronella. Many sun tan lotions these days can contain insect repellant and every little helps. Some destinations are worse than others for insects but even at the best they can be annoying.
How to dress for a Caribbean Cruise?
That’s the smart luggage choice as far as protection from climate and creepy crawlies goes. Now, what about the rest? Well, cruise ships often require that guests adhere to a dress code in the evenings – so the next thing to do is find out what that dress code is and make sure you have the clothes to keep it. Gents may be asked to wear a jacket to dinner – it’s unlikely that you will be asked to wear a tie unless you are on a very high end cruise indeed, but it is always just as well to check in the cruise forums or trip advisor.
Smart luggage choices for a Caribbean cruise probably include a selection of cases – one for clothes; one for toiletries and beach stuff; and a small one for incidental things like books and cameras. Remember that you may need universal adapters for your phone chargers and your camera battery chargers; and don’t forget that your cabin is likely to have a safe for valuables, so it isn’t necessary, necessarily, to carry all of your things with you at all times.
That said, every prudent traveller always knows where his or her passport and bank card are. Smart luggage choices for a Caribbean cruise include packing plenty of super high factor sun cream.