12 Packing Tips For Your Cruise

Getting Ready

Ok, maybe I don’t personally pack everything for our cruises, but I do know what should and should not be packed from experience. My wife usually does the packing for our cruises, but the one time I decided to surprise her with a “two day cruise to nowhere,” I packed way more than we would probably need on a five day cruise and forgot things that she definitely needed. Since then, I have been much more in tune with what is important when packing for a cruise.

1. Pack Based On Where You Are Going

Most people cruise to beautiful tropical islands to enjoy the sand and surf. So, obviously you will want to bring a few bathing suits and some flip flops. But, what about some ports that might have some great opportunities to see nature. If you want to hike through the jungles or search out Mayan ruins, a bathing suit and flip flops might not be the most comfortable, or safe, choice of attire.

If you will be going to Alaska, keep in mind it is a colder climate, but most of the time it is not the frozen tundra. Especially when you are sailing in July or August when the temperatures are in the 60s. So, bundling up in heavy clothes is not recommended unless you like being really warm.

2. Check The Weather

Besides temperature, there are other weather factors that can influence your packing decisions. Rain is a big factor to consider. No use in packing an umbrella if the weather in all of your ports will be clear and sunny. However, if rain does look like a possibility, it is always best to pack a compact travel umbrella that you can take with you and fit in a bag to take on your excursions.

3. Don’t Pack Important Documents

Too many times, passengers have checked their luggage at the curb to have it safely taken to their cabin, then when asked for their passport, they realize with panic, that it is packed away in their suitcase, which is currently in a massive warehouse with thousands of other pieces of luggage waiting to be sorted and delivered to their cabin. This mistake might not only cause you grief, it might also keep you from being able to check in and eventually miss the cruise.

4. Don’t Pack Your Medications

There is no telling when your luggage will arrive at your cabin. There have been times, that luggage has even gotten misplaced for days, or completely failed to ever show up. So, if you are taking medications, make sure they are on you personally or in your carry on. You do not want to need to take your medication and it is nowhere to found.

5. Layout Day By Day What You Will Wear

Some people have a issue of trying to keep the packing to a minimum, and do not calculate everything they will need. Seven day cruise, so bring seven shirts… right? Well, depending on what you are doing. You might wear one shirt to go to the beach in the morning and when you get back in the afternoon, you will not want to put on a shirt covered in sand and lotion after you shower, so that will be another shirt you will need. Then, another day you might be relaxing around the ship, but need to put on a nicer shirt for dinner. Then, there are those days that are casual all around and one shirt will be fine.

This tip also works for people that over pack. Don’t think, “I don’t know what I will fell like wearing, I will just bring everything.” You will end up packing way too much and unless you are staying in a huge suite, will be living out of, and tripping over, luggage all cruise long.

6. Don’t Pack Prohibited Items

I would assume that it would be common sense not to attempt to bring on guns or other weapons on board a ship, but there are other items that cruise lines do not allow that are not so obvious.

Replica guns are not allowed either. Neither are any martial arts or self defense items such as pepper spray or night sticks.

Flammable or dangerous liquids or explosives are not allowed. For example, lighter fluid, bleach, paint or fireworks.

No illegal drugs or substances. This includes marijuana, even if legal in your state and the state the ship is leaving from. Also, any water pipes or hookahs that could be used for smoking such substances.

Items that generate heat or produce an open flame. This includes heating pads, clothing irons, hot plates, candles, incense and any other item that may create a fire hazard. The only exception to this policy are curling irons and hair straighteners.

Matches and normal lighteners are allowed onboard. However, torch lighters that emit a powerful concentrated flame are prohibited.

7. Wisely Choose Your Shoes

Imaging you get already for a formal dinner and put on your tuxedo. You go to get those high shine shoes to complete your outfit, then end up looking out of place wearing your black tennis shoes because you forgot to back the right shoes for your outfit. Wearing high heels at the beach doesn’t work well either. So, it is best to make sure you have a pair of shoes for every purpose.

However, it is also wise to make sure that you don’t over pack shoes. It is best to pack shoes that can be utilized with several outfits. It will cut down on space in your luggage and in your cabin. Plus, you will probably see a cute pair of sandals you see on the islands and need to get those as well.

8. Utilize Wasted Space

Firstly, to minimize wasted space, roll your clothes. This will not only keep things compact in your luggage, but can also reduce the amount of wrinkling in your clothes.

Fill empty space. For example, you can stuff sock and other small items inside shoes. If you bring things like beach pails for the kids, make sure you stuff them with items to conserve space.

9. The Ship Has Plenty Of Towels

Your cabin will have not only towels for showering and washing, but they also will have larger towels for the pool and the beach. However, if you take a towel off the ship to go to the beach, make sure you don't lose it. The cruise line will charge you for the towel, and it will not be cheap. So be responsible and save the space in your luggage for more important items.

10. Double Check Your Electronics

Face it, even though we travel to escape the hectic world around us, there are those of that still need to bring their devices to connect with the world we are leaving behind. Cell phones, laptops, tablets, MP3 Players, e-readers and other similar devices all need power to work. They won’t do you much good if you leave behind the chargers that are needed to keep them going. Make sure each of your devices have their accompanying charger.

11. Choose Toiletries Carefully

Cruise ships provide various toiletries in your cabin. Shampoo, conditioner and soap are the most common. So, you can save some room if you are ok with using what they have. However, if you prefer a specific brand of product, make sure that you bring it with you. Although the ship has a shop that offers a variety of toiletry products available, they don’t always carry every brand if you do forget yours.

When packing your toiletries, don’t pack huge bottles. If you can’t purchase your brand in travel size containers, you can purchase small empty containers to fill with your products. This way, you don’t need to take too much with you. When packing any liquids or your toothpaste, make sure you put them all in resealable plastic bags. This will prevent them from possibly getting squished and leaking all over everything else in your luggage.

12. Value Your Carry-On

Your carry-on bag will be critical to making sure you don’t end up frustrated on embarkation day. It will be where you carry your medications, boarding documents and anything else that you need as soon as you get on the ship. It is also recommended that you put in a change of clothes. If your luggage does not make it to your cabin until later that night or until the next day, which is rare, and you need something to change into before it gets there, it will be a life saver.

13. Make A List

Before you begin to pack, sit down and write a checklist of everything that you need. Visualize what your bathroom will look like once you set it all up on the ship. List how many of each article of clothing you will need. This way you can check off each item as it is packed in the suitcase so you won’t have any unpleasant surprises when you get on the ship.

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Peter Korer

I have been an avid traveler for the past 35 years. For the past 20 of those years, cruising has been my preferred method of travel. I have been all over the world and have discovered the best way to see many locations while enjoying the travel between them has been by ship.

After going on several cruises I had found a passion for knowing about every cruise line and ship available. My friends would come to me asking for my advice and recommendations for their cruises. I would happily help them out. I then decided to get my license and actually sell travel through the cruise line directly. It did not cost anything more for my friends to book through me since I was paid through the cruise lines as a travel agent, but the perks I received from the cruise lines were incredible. This enabled me to cruise more often and on more cruise ships. I love to share my knowledge with others and see them enjoy themselves as much as I have.

The reason I started this blog was to share my knowledge about cruising with as many people as I can. I am here to answer your questions and I will hopefully open your eyes to all of the wonderful possibilities that cruising has to offer.

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