The 13 Best Holiday Gifts for Cruise Lovers

See recent posts by Leon Beckenham

Lifesaver on a cruise ship

If you still haven’t found the perfect present for the cruise fanatic on your list, have no fear. We’ve amassed a bounty of items at all different prices. These suit avid cruisers and newbies alike, whether they enjoy trips to the Caribbean or Mediterranean, or are just doing a little nautical dreaming. Take a look at our picks below to point your gift-giving compass in the right direction.

1. InterestPrint Canvas Tote Bag

Canvas tote bag

The last thing you want is to waste your precious cruise time by constantly popping back to your cabin to grab different items. This stylish tote bag is the solution, with its roomy compartment that’s large enough to accommodate anything you might need onboard. Plus, it’s great for those day trips on shore. A bold wave design ties neatly into your seafaring surroundings, while its high-grade durable canvas means it will last for many voyages.

2. Cruise-Themed Page-Turner

The Woman in Cabin 10 bookA gripping novel is always a good gift. Ruth Ware’s twisty mystery has earned comparisons to “Gone Girl” and “Girl on the Train,” but unlike those bestsellers, Ware’s plot takes place on a luxury cruise. It’s murder on the high seas, which is sure to thrill any cruise fanatic, and this one works both as poolside reading on the top deck or armchair reading between sailings.

3. Vintage Ocean-Liner Postcards

Vintage post cardsEven cruise naysayers can’t deny the beauty and glamor of cruise’s yesteryear: the golden era when ladies and gents would arrive, steamer trunks in tow, for rounds of shuffleboard and ballroom dancing. Those days are perfectly captured in these nostalgic postcards featuring vintage cruise line ads. They make wonderful “Wish You Were Here” postcards on a sailing or just pretty wall decor to dress up your desk space.

4. Beach Towel Clips

Towel clipsAvid cruisers in the know swear by these towel clips. And when a gust of wind comes across the Lido Deck, flipping towels off their loungers and dunking them into the whirlpool below, you’ll see why. These keep towels snuggly secure and as a bonus, they can act as a “luggage tag” of sorts, making it easy to spot your chairs from rows away. The clips come in a bunch of playful designs (parrots, alligators, tropical fish), but the classically kitschy pink flamingos get our vote as a fun stocking stuffer.

5. Anchor Necklace

Anchor necklaceA sleek and subtle nod to sailing, this necklace is perfect for the chic cruiser. The design manages to avoid going near any cheesy or blingy references usually spotted in nautical jewelry while still bringing to mind a love of the sea. And the charm itself, free of any ornate embellishments, is also entirely unisex, making it any easy gift for any cruise fanatic on your list.

6. Magnet Hooks

Magnet hooksAs little stocking stuffers, these magnet hooks may not look like much, but they’re a lifesaver for many cruisers. Just plunk them on cabin walls (Surprise! These are metal!), and they create an extra surface to hold stray things. T-shirts and sarongs can get hung up, and the ship’s daily schedule can go up on display, too. Bonus: Put one of these on the door and you can put up little notes for travelers in your group (e.g., “Grabbing lunch at the buffet!”).

7. Solid Brass Compass

Brass compassFor a more sentimental gift, this attractive compass makes a handsome counterpoint to jewelry. As a navigational tool, it’s both functional and dapper. Even better, it’s beautifully presented in a rosewood box topped with an anchor logo. As a final flourish, you could get the compass engraved with initials, a meaningful date, or a romantic quote related to cruising (such as “Find Your True North”).

8. Hanging Travel Toiletry Bag

Hanging toiletry bag

When things get tight in the bathroom — and lets face it, they usually do in a cruise cabin — it pays to be organized. Hang and unfurl this jazzy toiletry bag and you’ll get easy access to all your cosmetics, shaving tools, hair accessories, and any other grooming items you brought onboard. Velcro and zip fasteners mean everything stays put, while the mesh lining keeps it all visible and the waterproof exterior ensures it stays dry.

9. Kurt Adler Cruise Ship Christmas Ornament

cruise ship ornament

What better way to bring a little cruise-mas (see what we did there?) cheer into your home than with this ship ornament. Manufactured by yuletide gift specialists Kurt Adler, this top-quality mini-replica also makes for a perfect stocking stuffer. You can even personalize it with a festive message.

10. Freegrace Waterproof Dry Bags

Waterproof dry bags

Just because you’re on a cruise doesn’t mean you don’t want a bit of active time. Many cruise itineraries offer the chance to indulge in water sports, and these three waterproof bags should ease any worry about your precious belongings getting wet. The large shoulder bag, waist pouch, and phone case all include zip-lock seals guaranteed to keep contents dry, whether you’re snorkeling, kayaking, or rafting. The bags also come in handy when sipping cocktails in the hot tub.

11. Lifeproof Phone Case

Lifeproof phone case

For many, a broken or waterlogged phone would spell disaster on a cruise. While your average phone cover can protect your device from the odd bump and splash, serious protection comes in the form of this Lifeproof case. Not only can it be submerged up to an hour in two meters of water, it can also survive drops from two meters. Plus, its sleek design is stylish and won’t interfere with any of the phone’s snazzy features.

12. Highwind Cruise Luggage Tags

Highwind luggage tags

As any experienced cruiser will tell you, stapling or taping tags to your luggage will leave them prone to damage or loss. Plus, you may experience a delay in being reacquainted with your belongings. Made specifically for Royal Caribbean, Cunard, and Celebrity cruise lines, these premium luggage tag holders are designed to fit and display printed boarding passes and folded A4 documents. They’re made from thick PVC material and feature steel loops and a zip-top seal, so you won’t lose them easily.

13. “Ship Happens” Coolers

ship happens coolers

These drink coolers make the perfect gift for boating enthusiasts who like to keep their beverages chilled longer. With a vintage-style design and cheeky puns, they brighten up any 12-ounce can or 12- to 16-ounce bottle. Thick foam not only insulates your drink, but it also makes it far more comfortable to hold. Plus, they’re machine-washable and fold flat, making it easy to bring along on a cruise.

Additional reporting by Maria Teresa Hart

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