It's been said that duct tape fixes everything but a broken heart. So it's no surprise the multi-purpose adhesive is at the top of many cruisers' packing lists. Packing duct tape can help you combat wardrobe and luggage malfunctions, fix minor cabin quirks and act as a First Aid remedy. Bring an entire roll, or save room in your suitcase by wrapping only the amount you think you'll need around a sharpie or expired credit card.
Bear in mind: If packing duct tape to use in your cabin, make sure it's okay with your cruise line. Some ban adhesives on doors and other surfaces, as they tend to leave behind a sticky residue. Cruise lines usually list these guidelines on their websites, but you can always call if you're unsure.
If you're a sucker for vacation hacks that help you stay organized, here are nine reasons to pack duct tape on your next cruise.
Want a lint roller that serves more than just one purpose? Duct tape is your answer. With the sticky side up, wrap one round of tape around your hand. Remove hair, lint and other particles from your clothes by gently dabbing your clothing. Remember to take caution with especially delicate items.
Photo: Miyuki Satake/Shutterstock
If you're easily awoken by light, don't want to know when the sun rises or happen to be cruising in Alaska or the Baltic when the midnight sun never sets, duct tape can be your best friend. Carefully place a few pieces around the drapes where light might peek through and prepare to sleep in. Don't forget to set your travel alarm clock.
Photo: Vladimir Wrangel/Shutterstock
Fix Broken Luggage
Whether the airline roughed up your suitcase or your bags were lovingly worn to begin with, your baggage is bound to get nicks and holes if you cruise enough times with it. Prevent any belongings from falling out by bandaging the holes up with some duct tape. You can even add some flair by using fun colors and prints. For other bags and backpacks, we recommend taping rips and tears from the inside.
Okay, so it's not the most stylish look. But if you're in port and one of your sandal straps pops off, the last thing you want to do is walk around barefoot. (You can only last so long clenching your toes around the loose strap in hopes the sandal will stay on your foot.) Duct tape can fix broken sandals in a pinch so your feet are safe until you can obtain new shoes.
Mend Torn Hems
Torn hems are easier to fix than you might think. If the hem unravels on your jeans or blazer, simply attach a small piece of tape underneath the fold. No one will ever notice. Again, remember to use a soft touch with delicate fabrics.
Photo: Lorraine Kourafas/Shutterstock
Make Your Luggage Standout
We've all been there: waiting for your luggage at the carousel while antsy flyers hover around the conveyor belt like Black Friday shoppers ready to bust through a department store door. To make your bag stand out among the mob scene, use duct tape to mark an "X" or create a tag around the handle. Again, you can get creative by using a variety of colors and prints.
Keep Your Shower Curtain at Bay
It's one of cruising's more unsettling forces: the relentless, creeping, clinging shower curtain that repeatedly attaches to your legs for a tingly embrace. Instead of making yourself crazy battling an inanimate object, showering with the curtain open or avoiding the bath altogether, use duct tape to keep the curtain at bay.
Photo: Cruise Critic
Hold Towels in Place
Beach towel clips are cute and all, but they're a waste of money if you have duct tape on hand. When you're heading to the pool deck for some vitamin D, toss some duct tape in your tote bag. Use a couple of small pieces to attach your towel to the deck chair, and you'll never have to worry about your towel sliding down or falling off again.
Cruises require a lot of walking. You can easily spend an entire day walking around in port or finding your way around a ship. But all this walking can take a toll on your feet (even more if you wear heels on formal night). If you start to notice blisters and aren't able to get your hands on antibiotic cream and bandages right away, we have another solution: duct tape. Duct tape works best when applied before blisters form, but if you're too late, place a small piece of paper or tissue over the wound and then cover with duct tape. This will protect the area until you can get the First Aid products you need from the onboard shop.
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Cruise Critic makes no endorsements, representations or warranties with respect to the products, organizations or websites referenced in the above article, nor is any warranty created or extended by providing such information, and Cruise Critic shall not be liable for any damages arising therefrom. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for every situation.
Cruise ship life can be a little mysterious. Your choices aren't always spelled out in black and white. The more you cruise, the more you pick up on the unofficial secrets the cruise lines don't tell you -- which give you more options, let you save money and generally allow you to have a better time onboard. Maybe it's knowing what your cabin steward is able to bring you or what the off-the-menu items are at the bar or dining room. Or perhaps it's a tip to getting a good deal on an onboard purchase. But why wait to figure these things out the hard way -- possibly after you've missed your chance? We trawled through all the great advice on Cruise Critic's Message Boards to bring you some of the worst-kept cruise secrets ... at least among our readers who love to share. But whether you're a first-time cruiser or an old sea dog, you might find there's something here you didn't already know.