Perfect Holiday Gift Ideas for Cruises

Many travelers, when they have experienced their first cruise, they will book many future cruise vacations time and time again. 

Many guests even book the next cruise with guest services while still on board their current cruise.

This often comes with perks offered by the cruise line, such as extra onboard credit, a low deposit payment, or offers of complimentary shore excursions included in the price.

And for those friends and family members, you suddenly have the perfect gift ideas for cruises. Great! All at once, birthdays, holidays and Christmas are taken care of, and your shopping list suddenly becomes much easier. 

And if you are someone who loves to sail from port to port in luxury, then these gift ideas for cruises are perfect for your wishlist. After all, it’s most often the little luxury non-essentials that we don’t need, but would like that make the ideal gift.

Top 12 gift ideas for a cruise vacation

1. In-cabin surprise

Did you know that once you know which cruise your friend or family member is going on, you can call the cruise line and arrange an in-cabin surprise for them? For example, have a bottle of bubbly delivered to their cabin when they check in, or a selection of chocolate strawberries or a basket of fresh fruits delivered on their first morning? There are many things to choose from, and the cruise line is only too happy to arrange this.

You book and pay over the phone. Remember to ask the cruise line not to show this anywhere on the customer confirmation, so it remains a secret and is a surprise for your friends when they are on board.

2. On board spa treatment

All modern luxury cruise ships have fantastic spa and wellness centers.

For some cabin categories, guests have access to a smaller, luxurious spa restricted only to those cruise customers.

Call the cruise line to book a spa treatment for your friend! Often you can do this up to 2 days before the cruise starts. There is even a spa menu for treatments suitable for 13 to 17 years olds.

Prices can vary depending on ship and sailing, so talk to the cruise line and let them know you want spa gift ideas that fit your budget.

3. Specialty restaurant dinner for 2

Of course breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in the cost of a cruise. Dinner is served in one of the main dining rooms, and the menu changes regularly. But in addition, there are several specialty restaurants to choose from. And this costs a little extra.

While the main dining rooms offer great food, the specialty restaurants go above and beyond, and you can have a fantastic gourmet experience on board. An evening at one of the specialty restaurants is sure to be appreciated and is an ideal gift idea for cruises.

Just call the cruise line, and they can help you. Alternatively if you know the name of the cruise ship, then check out the website of that particular ship and you can easily see the specialty restaurants on board. Choose the one that suits the gift recipient the best and book directly with the cruise line.

4. Water-resistant, lightweight backpack 

Do you have adventure-loving friends and family that love cruising? Then any shore excursions they do could be an activity, from hiking and climbing to water sports.

A water-resistant, lightweight backpack for those full days in port is a life-saver to carry all your gear, and it doesn’t matter if the bag gets wet, it keeps all your valuables safe and dry. This is an often overlooked packing essential that makes a great gift.

5. Cruise power strip with USB adapters sockets

If you are a family sharing a cabin or you just carry a lot of electronic gadgets with you when travelling, then you need to be able to charge without a problem.

Cabins have limited USB adapter sockets and power points, so a handy little travel power strip is the answer. And it takes up zero space in your packing. It makes a great stocking-stuffer.

6. Anti-theft cross-body bag

For visits to cities where there are sure to be crowded, keeping an eye on your wallet, camera and cell phone can be tricky when sightseeing. Reduce your risk of being pick-pocketed by keeping valuables safe and close to you with a cross-body bag.

There are some super stylish alternatives out there for both men and women. Often with extra pockets to keep cabin keys, city maps, and sunscreen within easy reach too.

7. Insulated mugs for refills of hot or cold drinks

Who doesn’t love to get a refill of your favorite beverage at any time from the buffet restaurant? Make things safe and easy by bringing your refill mugs to keep it hot or cold, and minimize the risk of spreading germs by using plastic mugs from the counter.

Pick up a travel mug for your gift recipient who loves to cruise; if it’s nautical-themed, it’s even better!

8. Travel-size hanging soft jewelry case

A must for anyone wanting to take a selection of their favorite jewelry for those special nights on board the cruise ship is a travel size handing soft jewelry case. Keep all your jewelry safe, organized, and in one place.

Using a hang hooking where it’s easy to reach – like on the back of your cabin bathroom door, for example – you also keep it out of the way in a cabin with limited space.

9. Plastic water filter bottle 

Shore excursions can last a whole day. Fill up your water bottle before you leave the cruise ship in port then you’ll have something to drink all day with you. And this way you can minimize the expense of buying bottled water.

10. Binoculars

Great for children and adults alike, if you are going on a nature adventure on a shore day, then binoculars are essential!

Especially if you are traveling to destinations such as Alaska, Norway, or the Arctic, you can quickly increase your chances of spotting unique birds and wildlife with good binoculars – a perfect gift.

11. Packing cube luggage organizers

Packing suitcases for the whole family is made much easier when using packing cubes. One for each family member, color coordinated, or one for each daily outfit, you can design your system for easy access to clothes as you unpack on board. These make an easy, lightweight gift for cruise friends and family members.

12. Leather passport and vaccine card holder

Not many of us spend money on passport holders, but they help you keep your travel documents all in one place. It also keeps your passport from getting torn or damaged when traveling, which can make it invalid.

As many countries require proof of vaccination when we travel, the latest good quality passport holders also come with a pocket to keep your vaccine card safe.

Stocking Stuffers – The top 8 Christmas cruise gift ideas that do not take up extra luggage space

Past cruise customers have given up their best tips for stocking-stuffers at Christmas time for cruise guests who about have enough space left over in their luggage to squeeze in a few of these fun essentials:

  1. Cruise plaque with a funny nautical saying or slogan to decorate the cruise cabin door
  2. On board, flip-flops to use around the pool area
  3. Magnetic hooks for cabin walls
  4. Waterproof pouch for your cell phone and cruise card/room key 
  5. Plastic luggage tag holders
  6. Digital hanging scale for weighing luggage
  7. Hanging Travel Makeup Bag
  8. Soft fold-away waterproof beach bag

Need more tips on cruising? We’re here to help!

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Meet the author: Sarah has created and booked hundreds of travel itineraries for thousands of customers during a career in the travel industry that spans 20 years. Having worked hand in hand with cruise lines, hotels, airlines and tour operators worldwide, she offers inspiring & detailed insights in the world of travel and tourism.

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