With the Polar Vortex bearing down on the Northeast, its no surprise there’s been a mass exodus to the Caribbean! Cruise ships are heading south packed with people that are yearning to feel the heat of the sun penetrate through to their very soul! However, before you start peeling off your parka, turtleneck and long johns make sure you pack the essentials to keep yourself sun-safe.
By now everyone knows it’s foolish to spend any time in the sun without slathering on an ample amount of sunscreen. The Caribbean sun can be very intense, particularly for skin that’s been hiding under layers of corduroy and wool. Dermatologists recommend a water resistant broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher. Apply and reapply often, paying close attention to ears, nose and those spots that are hard to reach. A lip balm with SPF is also a smart choice.
Clothing is the most basic, and one of the best means of sun protection. More and more outdoor clothing now carries a UPF rating (ultraviolet protection factor). Many sportswear companies design fashionable high-UPF items such as swimsuits, swim shirts, cargo shorts, polo shirts, and summer dresses designed to keep you cool, dry, and protected.
The face and neck receive the most sun exposure and are particularly susceptible to sunburn, so every Caribbean cruiser should pack a hat! The Skin Cancer Foundation advises everyone to wear hats with a brim that extends three inches or more all the way around to shade the face, neck, ears, and even the top of the shoulders. Baseball caps and fishing hats are also good choices to protect faces and balding heads
A great looking pair of sunglasses is not only a style statement, but vital in safeguarding the health of your eyes. When you're choosing sunglasses, look for a pair that blocks 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays. Also, opt for wraparound sunglasses or close-fitting sunglasses with wide lenses that protect your eyes from every angle.
Lastly, if you’re planning on spending an extended amount of time lying on the beach or lounging poolside, you might want to consider an umbrella or cabana rental. Cabanas can be rented on some cruise ships (Celebrity has them up at the Lawn Club) and are also available on Royal Caribbean’s private island of Labadee and Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay.