Packing for a cruise – whew! Where do I begin? Some people love packing for a cruise while others stress over it. I actually enjoy packing for a cruise because it’s part of the overall excitement of the trip for me. I’m getting ready to leave for my next cruise, so I thought it would be helpful for myself, and anyone else who lives and dies by lists to remember some useful reminders as I begin to plan my pack.
1. Pack appropriately for the specific cruise you’re taking.
Doing some research about your upcoming cruise can help determine what you should pack. It’s not only about considering what to pack based on the cruise line’s dress code, but many cruise lines have theme nights such as White Party, 70’s Disco Party, 80’s Party, etc. If you like to get really involved and dress up for theme night you’ll want to know if you should make room for your platforms and bell bottoms.
Most cruise lines have some type of dress code that can vary from one end of the closet to the other. This can be stressful since dress codes are different from line to line. You can find the dress code policy for your cruise line/ship by visiting the cruise line’s website.
Based on the climate you’ll be cruising to you’ll need to pack the appropriate clothing. I’ve taken an Alaskan cruise in the past, and while the majority of my clothing consisted of long pants and long sleeves for the cooler Alaskan weather I did pack a pair of shorts and bathing suit since many of the Alaskan-bound cruise ships have a covered pool allowing you to swim comfortably while cruising through Glacier Bay.
2. Roll your clothes.
One of my all-time favorite packing tips that I learned about years ago was to roll my clothes. Rolling not only provides more room in your suitcase, but it also helps minimize wrinkles.
3. Leave room in your suitcase for the trip home.
Some of us, myself included, tend to over pack for a cruise and then we shop till we drop to buy clothes, souvenirs, etc. for family and friends. When it’s time to pack for home, that’s when the panic sets in that you didn’t leave any room for items that you purchased during your trip. So remember to leave room in your suitcase for potential items you may purchase and will need space to pack in your suitcase.
4. Bring your own hot and cold travel mug.
There’s a couple of benefits to this tip. The obvious is that you can use it for both hot and cold drinks, allowing you to keep the temperature of your drink controlled.
The other benefit is for those who may want to save money by avoiding having to purchase a bottled water package (some ships, like Norwegian, do not include bottled water in their beverage packages and you have to purchase that separately). You can fill your travel mug with water from the buffet using the pitchers of water.
5. Bring a multi-outlet/USB strip for your technology.
Cruise lines have added more electric outlets and some even have extra USB ports, but not all of them do and even those that do may not have enough for your technology (tablets, phones, cameras, etc.). There’s a huge variety of travel outlet/USB options out there that should suit your needs. My go to is Amazon as they have a ton of options, and if you’re a Prime member you get two-day shipping for free.
6. Cruise magnet hooks.
Some may not be aware that cruise stateroom walls are made of metal, and you can use magnet hooks on the walls to provide more places to hang your towels, wet bathing suits, etc.
I’ve even heard of people using magnets to post their daily activity sheets, reservation reminders, any loose papers, etc. to free up and de-clutter desk space.
7. Cruise luggage tags.
I was never a believer in purchasing luggage tags for my cruises until I heard a horror story from a cruiser whose stapled, paper luggage tag was ripped off after dropping it off to the porter at the dock. Their luggage ended up on another ship and they didn’t see their suitcase until several days into their cruise. This is an inexpensive way to better ensure that your luggage gets delivered to you on time.
If you purchase cruise luggage tags, be sure you are buying tags that will fit your cruise line’s luggage tag. The tag size does vary from line to line.
8. Beach towel clips.
These are great for pinning down your beach towel to your lounger, especially on a windy day.
While you’re not supposed to hang wet clothes on your balcony on a cruise ship, these clips do give you piece of mind that your clothes are much less likely to fly off the balcony if you are a bit naughty and break that rule.
9. Over-the-door organizer for extra storage.
Cruisers know that staterooms are not the biggest and most storage-friendly accommodations. Packing an over-the-door organizer to place over your bathroom door in your stateroom can give you some additional storage options. You can use them for anything you want – hair products, toiletries, makeup, shoes, small articles of clothing, etc.
10. Zip lock bags/phone-passport dry pouch.
I always pack extra zip lock bags when I travel. They’re great for packing wet clothes, liquids, shoes, fragile items and protect delicate items such as nylons from snagging. The dry pouch is perfect for keeping your phone and passport dry when leaving the ship.
These are some of my favorite tips when I’m packing for my cruise, but I always love to listen and learn from others what they find useful when packing for their cruise. Please feel free to leave your comments and share your best packing tips.