Top 10 Ocean Voyage Essentials

A cruise ships sails in Australia's New South Wales harbor. See a cruise gone wrong in pictures of the Titanic.
A cruise ships sails in Australia's New South Wales harbor. See a cruise gone wrong in pictures of the Titanic.
Walter Bibikow/Getty Images

"L­ove -- exc­iting and new. Come aboard, we're expecting you!" That's right folks, the love boat promises something for everyone.

Or at least the kitsch television show of the ­late 1970s and earl­y 1980s did. Captain Stubing kept the Pacific Princess on course and steady. Cruise Director Julie McCoy made sure smiles abounded on the shuffleboard court. Doc Bricker was on hand to see to the medical and romantic needs of female passengers. Yeoman-purser "Gopher" Smith satisfied the whims of each and every passenger onboard, and Isaac the bartender served up liquid courage and advice to shy men wearing Speedos.

What you didn't get on "The Love Boat" was a good packing list. It seemed like every passenger aboard the Princess was a cruise veteran. There were never any episodes about seasickness or overpriced toiletries. That wouldn't exactly make for good television. Lucky for the cruise novices of the world, HowStuffWorks is here to fill you in on the most essential things you'll need for your maiden ocean voyage.

­Before we get to that, let's take a look at a few things you shouldn't take on a cruise ship:

  • Towels -- If there's one thing a cruise ship has plenty of, it's towels. Leave yours at home.
  • Alcohol -- Despite warnings, people try to sneak alcohol onboard a cruise ship. Alcohol sales are a big source of revenue and shunning a B.Y.O.B. policy helps a cruise ship to ensure passengers aren't over-served and unsafe.
  • Too many clothes -- Cruise cabins are small and there are valet services onboard, so don't overdo it with the luggage.
  • Tuxedo -- File this one under unnecessary. For most formal dinners, men can get by with a nice suit, and if not, you can rent a tux onboard.
  • Iron -- Leave this at home. Your room will have one, just like a hotel would.
  • Cash -- Bring some, but not too much. Cash is risky and theft is common on cruise ships. Most ships have a sign-and-pay policy anyway, so your cash won't be necessary.

These are just a few things you should leave behind. To find out what you should absolutely bring, read on.