Every cruiser has their own list of "Must-Have" items that they are happy to share with all the people out there who are researching and planning their own adventures. Generally, I think people's lists should stop with the word "Boat". After that, it is just too dependent on where they are cruising, what they like to do, how long they will stay off a dock and how much money they have.
I've met cruisers in Mexico perfectly happy and loving life without a watermaker, an SSB, a dinghy motor, a refrigerator, or a freezer - all items I have on my "Must Have" List. They aren't missing them, but I sure would. Of course I am traveling without a Kindle, washing machine, air-conditioning, a boat-wide inverter, or a built in genset - all items that others have on their "Must Have" List.
With that said, I will now tell you about something that you should consider having - a Honda generator. It has changed our cruising life in many positive ways. In the beginning, we never even considered having a generator, and our boat did not have a genset. It started to be a problem as we spent longer and longer off the dock. We would find a great anchorage, be loving life, and then be forced to leave since our batteries were very low and we needed to charge them - which meant that we had to fire up the engines and move to another anchorage. We couldn't sail even if there was the perfect wind because we needed to have our engines on and under a load to pour as much power as possible back into the battery banks.
During our first hurricane season in the LA Bay area, we had to motor between anchorages at least 8 hours away every three to five days just to charge our 660 AH battery bank. We had solar power, but it wasn't enough to keep up with the power drain of our refrigerator in such a hot environment. We realized we needed to change something. We decided to swap out the stock 55 amp alternators on our engines with higher input alternators (two 110 amp alternators that run in tandem to deliver 220 amps). This was an expensive and complicated improvement. It helped, but not enough. We still had to fire up the engines and move around to charge the batteries, we just didn't have to move as far.
Then we bought a Honda 2000 generator about a year ago and all our old annoyances are gone. On our last hurricane season, we spent weeks floating around in our favorite anchorages and never had to move. When the batteries got low, we just fired up the Honda and let it run for 8 hours. A chief benefit of this was that we no longer were putting hours on the boat's engines - a plus for resale value. We also saved on fuel costs since the Honda takes 1 gallon of gas per 8 hours use, which tops off our battery bank. Yeah! Movie night? No worries. Blender party? Come on over. And best of all - that generator is ours and we are free to sell it or take it with us when we sell the boat. No more money sunk into the bottomless pit of a boat. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!!!