Cruises appeal to persons who need assisted living care, albeit there is a notion that vacations at sea are for couples, mainly newlyweds. While this notion might have been true a couple of decades ago, nowadays, cruises attract just about any traveller and are suited to various needs. For instance, you can find a cruise ship for your senior loved one. While on the cruise, they can do as much or as little as they want, depending on their ability.
Just because a person requires Alzheimer care or hearing aids or has limited mobility doesn’t mean that vacations are off limits to them. An assisted living cruise ship will accommodate them to have an enjoyable holiday. You don’t need to hire a caregiver; there will be people onboard to take care of them. You only need to pack their bags; while doing that, you must know what to pack in their suitcase. This review will provide packing advice necessary for cruises on assisted living cruise ships.
On most ships nowadays, crew and passengers must wear masks in public areas. You can check with the assisted living cruise ship your loved one is getting into to see if masks are a requirement. If you can’t get through to them, just pack several of them; after all, they don’t take up a lot of space, and something might come up, and they’re needed.
Choose Bags Carefully
When packing for a trip on an assisted living cruise ship, remember that the onboard staterooms are too small to leave luggage out in the open, and the closets can’t accommodate large suitcases. As a result, you need to pack luggage that can fit under the bed. For your senior loved one to have enough space for extra items like souvenirs, pack their items in collapsible luggage. This type of luggage can fit in narrow spaces and, if need be, can be expanded to accommodate extra items. Also, pack them a small backpack or fanny pack for getting around the cruise ship, and if the cruise ship will be docking in a place where guests can shop, a cloth or mesh tote bag will come in handy. Note that for cruises, people need sealable plastic bags. Why? Because after swimming or dipping themselves in a hot tub, they need a place to store their bathing suits; otherwise, it will drip water on the rest of the items in their suitcase.
When packing for your loved one for a vacation on an assisted living cruise ship, don’t fall into the over-packing temptation; stick to one or two theme colors for clothes and mix or match them. For instance, if formal attire isn’t a requirement on the cruise, your loved one can get by with casual evening wear. It’s also important to confirm if the cruise ship offers laundry services on board; if this is available, it will help you pack fewer items for them. Also, remember to pack clothes made out of wrinkle-free fabric. Why? Because cruise staterooms usually don’t have irons and people aren’t allowed to bring one onboard. The option is to have the clothes pressed by the companion care services on the ship, which will cost you more.
Be Shoe Smart
Be shoe smart when packing for a trip on an assisted living cruise ship. Note that this is a massive ship, so your loved one needs comfortable footwear for walking around the ship and on excursions, such as when the ship docks. For ladies, evening flats and sandals should do the trick. Men, on the other hand, are okay with a pair of boat shoes and sandals. Rubber water shoes can come in handy when swimming in rocky areas to prevent cuts from coral reefs.
Don’t Forget Sunscreen and Wellness Supplies
Don’t forget to pack sunscreen when packing supplies for a trip on an assisted living cruise ship. However, ensure the sunscreen you pack is biodegradable, especially if your senior loved one is likely to go for beach excursions. Why? Because typical sunscreen lotions have chemicals that can degrade coral reefs when they wash off into the water. Therefore, for cruise destinations like Bali, Caribbean Islands, and the Maldives, it’s important that people use biodegradable sunscreen products to help conserve the marine environment.
Apart from sunscreen, also consider packing some bug spray for them; this will come in handy during shore outings. Pack seasickness patches if your senior loved one experiences seasickness. You can also pack over-the-counter medical supplies for gastrointestinal issues, which aren’t uncommon in cruise ships for all manner of reasons. Also, while most ships offer hand sanitizer, it’s important to pack a bottle and a packet of wipes. Wipes come in handy when cleaning commonly used items and surfaces like tables and TV remotes.
Pack Some Binoculars and Other Handy Items
When aboard the cruise, your senior loved one is likely to cruise past spectacular sceneries, and they should enjoy such moments by having a pair of binoculars for a close-up view. Other handy items to pack include a waterproof pouch to store their phones when on the beach or in a hot tub and an insulated coffee mug to help them avoid spilling hot coffee on themselves when they get it from the coffee bar in the lounge. Also, you can get them a refillable water bottle; it gets sunny during shore outings, and people should always stay hydrated.
Include Power and Power Backup Devices
You never know the type of power outlets installed on a cruise ship, albeit most of them support all types of plugs. However, it’s always important to pack a universal adapter for charging electronics such as smartphones and laptops. Also, don’t forget to pack the actual chargers for these devices. Also, your loved one might be in an area on the ship without enough power outlets causing their smartphone or tablet to run out of juice. Therefore, it’s important that you pack a large enough power bank to power their devices in such instances.
Pack Important Documents in Carry-Ons
This might seem obvious, but it’s important that you pack important documents in a carry-on bag like a duffle bag or a fanny pack. Why? Because when boarding a cruise ship, people need to surrender heavy luggage. Important documents, in this instance, include a passport or photo identity card, depending on the itinerary. A lot of people have been barred from boarding cruise ships because they didn’t have the required documents.
If the cruise ship requires your loved one to have proof of immunizations or visas for various countries; pack these items in their carry-on bag. Also, pack anything else your loved one might need as soon as they board in the carry-on bag, such as a bathing suit or hearing aid device. Why? Because sometimes luggage takes time to be delivered to their staterooms.
Pack Any Necessary Meds and Medical Devices
When packing for a trip on an assisted living cruise ship, ensure you pack any medication and medical devices necessary. Ensure your loved one visits their physician a couple of days before traveling to confirm that they have a clean bill of health and they get any backup meds they might need while on vacation. When packing their meds, ensure you include their physician’s information in case of emergencies. If any medication requires special temperature control, ask if the assisted living cruise ship can provide this so that you know if you need to make arrangements to store the medicine on your own. Also, remember to pack medical devices like in ear hearing aids, inhalers, spectacles, etc.
Use Packing Aids
Packing aids like cubes are a travel necessity most people don’t realize they need. You can use them to pack items like dental care supplies, toothpaste, dental floss, toiletries, underwear, swimsuits, etc.
As a result, when your loved one unzips their suitcase, they know exactly where all their necessities are because you’ve already grouped them together. Compression bags can also come in handy to help you squeeze a lot of items into one suitcase.
Pack Enough Toiletries
On most mainstream cruise ships, whether for assisted living or not, toiletries are limited to the basics, often a bar of soap, cheap toothpaste, and a shampoo bottle affixed to the bathroom wall. If your loved one is picky about the toiletries they use or if they have allergies, pack travel-sized versions of the toiletries they need. Don’t forget to pack them some moisturizer and face cleaner. You don’t need to pack their hairdryer if they need one because most staterooms on cruise ships often have one, but you can confirm to be sure.
Pack for the Specific Cruise Destination
When packing for cruises, pack for the specific destination because they differ. For instance, cruises to Europe comprise mostly resort-casual wear. On the other hand, cruises to Hawaii include more casual wear. Also, consider the weather in the cruise destinations; don’t assume what it will be like. Most so-called cold destinations don’t require heavy gear during the peak summer cruising months, but they can get chilly at night.
Don’t forget about in-port activities when packing for the cruise. For instance, flip-flops will come in handy for beach days. When visiting religious places, it’s important that people have clothing that covers their entire bodies even when the weather is extremely hot.
Leave Room for Souvenirs From the Cruise
Your loved one will most likely pick up a couple of souvenirs from the various cities the ship docks. As a result, when packing their luggage, you should leave room for them to store souvenirs. For instance, you can pack a foldable duffle bag so that they can store items on their return trip or pack their items in a collapsible suitcase that can expand to fit more items.
Pack a Mobility Device
Most cruise ships allow guests to bring canes, medical scooters, walkers, and wheelchairs. If the mobility device can’t be stored inside the stateroom due to its size, the cruise ship will check it as cargo at no additional fee because it’s considered a disability device. The staff can then bring the device to the guest’s stateroom upon request. While most ships allow guests to bring their own mobility devices, you also have the option to hire one from the ship to help your loved one easily get around the vessel. The benefit of hiring is that your loved one doesn’t have a lot of luggage with them. Note that cruise ships typically don’t own mobility devices like wheelchairs; instead, they rent them from organizations such as specialneedsgroup.org.
The newer and larger cruise ships have the best-designed staterooms and cabins for people with movement problems meaning they can fit mobility devices like medical scooters and wheelchairs. In an assisted living cruise ship, all cabins and staterooms should be ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant; however, if the specific one you’re loved one is boarding isn’t, ensure the mobility device can fit through the door if they need one.
Include a Portable Humidifier
Like hotel rooms, cabins and staterooms on an assisted living cruise ship can feel dry, especially when it’s cold. What’s the solution? A portable humidifier will help add moisture to the room, which can help your loved one breathe and sleep better. You can find a small portable humidifier on online platforms like Amazon for under $25. The good thing is that most portable humidifiers are USB powered; they can be connected to a power bank or PC. Also, they have ambient light, which can help your loved one see in the dark and sleep better.
In conclusion, packing for a trip on an assisted living cruise ship isn’t like packing for any other cruise because seniors need specialized care. Therefore, carefully study this review to know what to and what not to do when packing for a senior going on a cruise.