Cruise Packing Tips
See Top Cruise Packing Tips
Pack your carry-on bags wisely
Packing a change of clothes in any important medications or toiletries in the bags you take on the plane and personally transport on board is very important. The first reason is that your luggage gets lost by the airline before the cruise; at least, you will have some essentials with you. Oftentimes it takes a while for your luggage to be found and shipped to the next port of call. Secondly, when your suitcases can be delayed in being delivered to your cabin, you'll have a bathing suit or dinner attire and enjoy all the onboard activities right away, rather than waiting for your bags to show up.
Pack your checked luggage wisely
Being smart about your check bags also is important. If you have a tendency to over pack, lay out all the close you think you'll need, then pack only half or three quarters of all of them including issues. If you're traveling with family, consider packing half of your things in one suitcase in half and another one. That way if one bag gets lost everyone will have some clothing, rather than one person having nothing. To save space roll your clothes rather than fold them. Make sure you never pack valuables in your check bags as they can be stolen. Put all cameras, electronic games, jewelry and prescription medicine in your carry-on.
Know the dress codes
If you love to dress up some lines do offer tux rental so you don't have to pack your own. Some folks do like to dress to the nines with formal gowns and tuxedos for ships formal nights, but most people dress more informally suits for men and cocktail attire such as flowing pantsuits or little black dresses for women. Resort casual is now the evening dress and men with slacks and button shirts and no jackets. Women can wear everything from sundresses to skirts or slacks with tops. Even jeans are now a staple on many cruise ship dining rooms.
Consider doing laundry on board
If you want to pack light make sure you read the cruise reviews as not all ships offer self-service Laundromats. The ones that do have such facilities and don't offer them for free so it can get expensive. Some cruise lines do offer complimentary laundry and pressing services to suite guests. It can pay to be a top tier loyal past passenger. You can always save on laundry costs by bringing your own travel detergent and renting out your underwear and shirts in your cabin's bathroom. You can even pack a bottle of Febreze to get one days use out of the gently worn outfit.
Don't assume your favorite toiletries will be in your cabin
Even though you find basic toiletries on board, such as soap and shampoo, make sure you bring your own. In Maine cabins on some cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Carnival, toiletries offered are limited. In some cases they are pump bottles affixed to the shower wall. You might want to make room in your luggage for your favorite brands. The same goes for hairdryers. Most staterooms have weak hairdryers so if you're picky, pack your own. Another tip is that you never unpack your toiletry kit. Leave it filled with travel size bottles and an extra toothbrush or razor. That way you are always ready for your next cruise and all you need to do is top off or replace the bottles. Don't waste time collecting items and possibly forgetting something.
Dress for your destination
Some places are more formal than others. Expect to pack more resort casual wear if you're going to Europe or Bermuda. Be sure you know the golf courses as some of them have strict dress codes. If you're going to Hawaii, the Mexican Riviera, the Caribbean and French Polynesia they are all more casual than the norm. Don't forget to think about your in port activities. Flip-flops are fine for a beach day but make sure you include comfortable shoes for long days of sightseeing or active excursions like hiking or biking. If you visit religious sites in the Middle East or other parts of Europe you want modest clothing that covers your shoulders and knees, even if it's hot.
Save some room in your suitcase
You'll most likely pick up a few souvenirs during your cruise, so you'll need to leave room in your luggage to bring them home. Whether you pick up leather goods in Italy, Aloha-wear in Hawaii or duty-free goods in the Caribbean, consider packing foldable duffel. It doesn't take up much space in your suitcase and you can fill it and check it for the flight home.
Mix and match
Make sure your clothes you take do double duty, and you won't get hit with excess bag fees and find yourself fighting with your spouse about who gets the last hanger in the cabin small closet. Stick with the color themes you can re-wear bottoms and different tops and bring shirts that can be dressed up for dinner on one night and worn sightseeing the next. Opt for a layered look to handle different temperatures at the various cruise ports. Change up the look of one formal outfit with different accessories such as jewelry, ties, scarves rather than bringing two suits or two cocktail dresses. Your shipmates won't know or care when you wear the same outfit twice.
Keep all-important documents with you
Make sure you bring your necessary IDs and cruise documents and never ever pack them in your checked luggage. You want your photo ID and cruise ship-boarding pass on hand, so if your suitcase misses the boat you can make sure you get on board. Check and make sure you have the correct type of identification for your cruise destination that may be a passport or birth certificate and photo ID. Many cruisers have been turned away from their peer for just having a copy of their birth certificate and not the required original, or a passport with a name that doesn't match the one on the ship's manifest which can often be the case in a honeymoon cruise. If you need visas or immunizations for your cruise carry those documents with you as well.