Packing for cruises has become a common question with the baggage limits and extra charges to check bags on airlines, so it’s just easier all around to pack light. But what should you pack? That’s the real question.
Carry a day-bag for boarding the ship. Remember it can take up to 8 hours to get your luggage to your cabin. Fill your bag with all the things you’ll need first, like boarding documents, medicines, camera, swim suit, etc. The bag will also come in handy later for shore excursions.
Cruising has become more casual, so walking shorts, slacks, jeans and casual outfits are great for days aboard the ship. Pack items that can be mixed and matched to save space, both in the suitcase and in the cabin’s small closet. And, of course, swim suits and cover-ups are a must. No need to bring a beach towel, they are provided onboard. If you’ve booked shore excursions, consider what will be necessary for the type of excursion you will be doing. And a sun hat is also great to have.
Then there’s nighttime formal attire. If you’re a fashionista, or just want to be, this is your chance to shine. Most cruises have formal nights and/or dressy restaurants for those that want to participate. Although cruises are much more casual, options are still available for those that love to dress up. And many cruises offer tuxedo rental if you want to go all out. Remember, suggested attire for each evening is printed in the daily schedule, so check it out before you leave your room.
Be sure to match and pack appropriate shoes for your casual and formal outfits. Nothing like suddenly realizing all you have is flip-flops and tennis shoes to wear with your dressy outfit. You don’t need a suitcase full of shoes, just some appropriate footwear.
Remember, even though the tropics are thought of as warm and sunny, you should pack a light jacket for rainy days. It can rain quite heavily sometimes, so a jacket with a hood is a good choice. It isn’t necessary to pack a wardrobe for different temperatures, instead just add a sweater for cooler weather.
Small totes or backpacks are great for carrying cameras, suntan lotion, books, etc. If you bring the kids, be sure to have inflatable water toys that can be blown up and deflated for easy use. Also have cash on hand since many places do not accept credit cards.
If you plan on bringing lots of electronics (laptop, music player, alarm clock, cell phone, etc.), consider packing a small power strip as well. Though American-operated ships have both 110 and 220, most cabins have limited outlets.
And finally, be sure to leave room in your suitcase for souvenirs. You may even consider packing a foldup tote to fill up for the return voyage.
Now you’re ready to cruise. Have fun. Bon voyage!