Saturday, February 3, 2018

Packing for a Cruise

"I get ideas about what's essential when packing my suitcase." ~ Diane von Furstenberg

When other passengers ask us about what we pack for a cruise they don't understand how it's possible we use just one suitcase. Then when we tell them hubby and I share the one suitcase they think it's impossible.

One of the biggest misconceptions a first-time cruiser has is that everyone wears dressy clothing all the time. Remember, these perfect photos are an advertisement. The ideal. They don’t represent the majority of passengers on today’s cruise ships. Go to your local movie theater, mall, or restaurant to see who you will find on a ship. Average people. Some are smaller, some are larger. Some wear sharply pressed clothing and some wear wrinkled clothing. Some look like they are heading to a wedding and some look like they are ready to mow the lawn. Even packing lists promote a mentality of it all having to be perfect. Do an internet search for cruise packing list and what you find will be overwhelming.

And not necessary.

Packing for a cruise isn’t much different than packing for a land-based vacation. There is no need to pack something just in case. With only paperwork, a passport, medications, a clean pair of undies, and some deodorant anyone could survive on a cruise. (But you’ll probably be more comfortable with more.) Bring a couple pairs of shoes with one dressier to wear into the dining room, a couple pairs of slacks, and a few tops. Reduce the amount of clothes by sticking with the same color scheme. Don’t forget to wear what you’re comfortable in! Wear the bulkiest of the clothes on the plane.

Whether going on a cruise or land vacation we subscribe to the belief of packing half as many clothes and twice as much money as we think we’ll need. Since we frequently take our trips last minute we keep a basket of our must-haves ready to go.  After all these years of traveling our list is about right. For us.

Our list:

  • Medications - Prescriptions, vitamins, pain relievers, antihistamines, cold medicine, anti-nausea, antacids.
  • Toiletries - Toothbrush and toothpaste (ask dentist for extras), deodorant, hair gel, powder, sunscreen, disposable razor, shaving cream, lip balm.
  • Adhesive bandages, travel size sewing kit, nail clippers, small scissors. We keep all of these in a glasses case.
  • Fabric freshener that can double as an air freshener. Remember the bathroom is small.
  • Reclosable bags in a variety of sizes. Keeps money dry and sand out of electronics while at the beach. Larger size bags can be used for sandy/muddy sandals and shoes.
  • Windbreaker, hat, cheap rain poncho.
  • Electronics, headphones, charger. We rotate electronics for charging.
  • Slippers. Comfy for a quick trip to the buffet.
  • Undergarments and socks. Bring old ratty ones and toss them out as the trip goes along. Leaves more room in the suitcase for trip purchases. We don't buy souvenirs but we sure like coming home with a lighter suitcase!
  • Cross body bag or drawstring backpack to use when going ashore. Holds ID and money, camera, on-shore purchases, sunscreen, beach towels. If not a beach day I use a waist wallet under my clothes. 
  • Magnetic clip to keep paperwork organized on the cabin wall.
  • Pocket sized hand sanitizer and disinfectant spray.
  • For warm weather trips - snorkeling equipment and underwater camera, swimsuits and cover-up, sandals. 
  • We don’t own binoculars but if we did we would take them on voyages to Alaska.
Bald eagles and calving glaciers will be easier to see with binoculars.