The last cruise I took was in April, 2016. I was four months pregnant and it was the last big trip I was able to take before giving birth. So when my husband and I decided to take our two kids on a European cruise this summer, we had to buckle down and do some research to make sure we were up to speed on everything we needed to know and what we needed to bring. RELATED: If You’re Going on a Cruise, Make Sure You Bring This

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We chose our route, a 7-day itinerary aboard Princess, from Barcelona to Rome with stops along the way in Gibraltar, Marseille, Genoa and Livorno. We packed a non-surge protected power strip (did you know that power strips with surge protection are banned by most cruise ships?) and also got some great tips from experienced cruisers, like packing these handy-dandy mini magnetic hooks that can stick to most cruise ship cabin walls and are a great way to maximize space, keep your cabin organized and always find things you’re looking for. Read more about them here.

One of the things I loved about Princess is the medallion that each guest is given upon check-in on a Medallion-class ship. Medallion class ships are classified this way because it means those ships have Princess Cruises’ high-tech OceanMedallion technology installed on-board. The medallion is your digital ship ID and comes on a long lanyard. The technology it enables is very cool. You can scan in and out of the ship with it but it also unlocks your cabin door as you approach, it can be used to pay for food and drink aboard the ship so you never need to carry cash, credit cards or a wallet around with you and it can also be used to locate your shipmates, which is extremely handy when, like us, you’re traveling with two little kids. The medallions are essentially like having Apple AirTags (summer’s hottest travel accessory) on your kids so you always know where they are.

As I mentioned, the medallions are on a long lanyard and while handy, they’re not exactly stylish. Plus, they scream ‘cruise ship passenger’ when you’re out exploring a port, which can make you a target for pickpockets. Speaking of which, to keep your valuables (cash, credit cards, ID, etc) safe from pickpockets, always wear a money belt like this RFID-blocking money belt from Lewis N Clark.

And our kids didn’t always want to wear theirs (understandably; they’re long on little kids and get in the way) so I’d end up throwing them in my bag and then spend upwards of five minutes rummaging through said bag trying to find them when we were getting back on the ship.

RELATED: Rick Steves Got Pickpocketed in Paris: Here’s What He Wants You to Know

While aboard the ship, I saw a number of passengers wearing their medallions tucked into a wristband. While the wristbands can be purchased on the ship, you can get them for half the price on Amazon. It’s the one thing I wish I’d bought before going on the cruise. It’s definitely the way to wear the medallion.


There are two options I really like. There’s the watch adapter like this one, which slides on to the strap of your Apple Watch. And there’s also a wristband just for your medallion. Both options are a more stylish and discreet way to wear your medallion, plus, it won’t get caught in your clothes or tangled with your crossbody bag strap, which happened to me frequently. Plus, they’re waterproof, which makes them perfect for the pool when you want to have your medallion on you but don’t want it around your neck. Check out more options here on Amazon.

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2 Comments On "One Thing I Wish I’d Bought Before Going on a Cruise"
  1. Chris|

    We just finished an Alaska Princess Cruise and I agree with your assessment of the medallions and using the wristband. I did purchase the Princess wristband when I order my medallion because I like the fancy artwork you could get. My wife ordered the wristbands for the Apple Air tags from Amazon and they worked great but they covered up the nice artwork on the medallions.

  2. Penny Keefer|

    What I meant was there was info on all the different locations of cabins on a ship and which ones had less noise or were close to elevators or were located in better sections.
    Thank you for responding to my request. You are very kind to do so.

    Penny Keefer
    Oeanside, CA

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