Packing packing packing....



On my first cruise, you would have thought I was going on an extended safari! I packed tons of clothes, shoes for every occassion, dried sausage (I still don't know why--seemed like a good idea at the time), extra this, extra that. I had two large suitcases and one bulging carry on! Nowadays, if it doesn't fit into one "airline approved carryon size" bag, it aint going with me! That's true even for longer cruises. I've got the art of packing down to a science (or have I lifted the science of packing up to an art?) Anyway, here are my packing "rules": What are yours?

1. No one will mind or notice if you wear the same thing twice as long as it is clean.
2. One pair of evening shoes that goes with your evening wear selections (even with two formal nights)
3. No groceries, liquor, appliances, or beach towels. This is a vacation not a survival trek.
4. If you can rent it, (tuxes, snorkeling gear) do it.
5. Two pairs of everyday shoes (athletic shoes for walking, sandals for on board). Ok, ok, I also squeeze in a pari of sytlish flip flops.
6. Evening wear that can be rolled and packed with minimum creases.
7. An all purpose, solid color sweater or wrap for evening.
8. A cruise wardrobe centered around seperates in three basic colors so everything goes with everything else.
9. One mascara, eye shadow, lipstick, face cream, sunscreen, period.
10. No perfume! I always vist the ship's store where there are plenty of samples to spritz on a bit for those times when I want perfume. And as much jewlery as you want--cause it doesn't take up much room!

Cruise cutie

I agree with all most all of it..I am a nurse...having said that with the risks of all that cross contamination....I have seen what "passes " for sterilization on Snorkel cleaning..and boy oh boy it "ain't gonna happen I ever trust putting their snorkel gear in my head" for what they clean with.:nono.....more power to you..but for the space it takes up..WE BRING OUR OWN!!..=shrug =twocents..Have a great cruise..:thumb...:)..Joanne


I agree on the snorkel!!! Last time I snorkeled using thier equipment I came home with a wicked cold. Not to mention being sceeved out by thier sterilization methods. The one other time I snorkled the place was much better at the cleaning and sterlization.

And I can't survive with just one eyeshadow/eyeliner, but that's me.

I have had to pay extra $ for having a check in bag over 50 pounds and that was just a 6 day trip to visit a friend in California. Not sure how I'm going to survive a 7 night, plus one extra at the port the night before, trip that you have to dress up at dinner.

Definatley just one pair of dressy sandals for the night, that I can handle.


I posted this elsewhere but figured i would copy it here as well, this was for a 7 day cruise: the two i have been on i have over packed each time

In my 22 inch carryon, i fit 2 pair of dress shoes, snorkel gear, bottle of champagne, 2 pairs of black dress pants 3 shirts,( i mixed and matched jewlery to make the outfits different) 2 formal night dresses, make up, toiletries, 3 swim suits to wraps, 2 pairs of shorts, and 2 shirts. socks, and ofcourse underwear. It was very nice to unpack as soon as we got to them room, and not have to wait until after dinner to do so. I like to carry on my bags after hearing horror stories of people not getting their luggage... my Dh had pre ordered a tux, so no need to pack that , and dress shoes, and we were unpacked on the lido deck , and enjoying our cruise with no apprehension, also with the 22 inch carry ons, we can put them in over head on the plane, NO CHANCE OF LOST LUGGAGE ON MY VACA !!!!

ps this was still overpacked we didnt wear half the clothes we brought

... but still and my bag was not crammed up either. I found that the majority of the day was spent in a swim suit and an ankle length wrap that doubles as a neat way to wear it as a dress tied at the top in the event that i wanted to eat at the buffet inside... we changed for dinner, and i did laundry twice. which only took about 45 min and this time around, im not even packing that much.. plus.. i bought gauze pants this time, and sun dresses instead of pants, because you can roll them up very very small, and they are meant to be wrinkled.. i have ( ok i obsess about vacation,, ) have done a test packing for my cruise in november.... so far heres what s going in :

2 sundresses, (one nice enough for formal night we only do 1)
2 pairs of gauze pants -one black one maroon
2 shirts one black one maroon ( those items washed and mismatched will make 4 outfits) with varying jewlery
3 swim suits w/ 3 wraps ( all ankle length)
One pair of shorts and a regular white tshirt
two pairs of sandals (both black, one pair flat, one with heels)
Since iam from Jersey and the cruise is in November in miami, we were a sweatsuit, and sneakers on the plane) so if were chilly on the water we have that,, but it didnt get packed ,,, washed and worn for the return home,,, again not packed.(leaves more room). 2 pairs of socks, and underwear.

i still have one whole side of my 22inch carry-on empty,, that will be enough room for 2 bottles of wine, and my makeup bag..a curling iron, and misc. toiletries. again when we unpack the wine will no longer be an issue and leave more room for trinkets

I do wash twice, on at sea days.. it only takes 45 min , and 4.00 dollars- i dont check my luggage at the airport, i dont porter it , i carry it on the ship... i dont have to worry about where it is or if its getting damaged. Also , i have yet on either cruise... and we have been on board -each line princess, and carnival before 11:30am,,,we have never not been able to get in my room, so we drop bags off, head for lunch come back and upack... This has simplified and made me less crazy about losing my luggage. I am 25 my DH is 34 and my girlfriend i go with is also 34 we all use this method, and we are all happy.. Hope this helps all of you ps i am also not a skinny toothpick so please dont think that i am a size 2 and can cram all the tiny itty bitty clothes in a pocket book i am an average sized woman, who has got the packing down to a science


Hear hear! I am all for packing light. And yes, the snorkel gear germs is an issue. You are right, the mask and tube fit neatly into even the 22" carry on. I went on a cruise with my family last year and my sisters could not believe I had enough stuff in my 24" bag--but I did and there was STILL one outfit I did not get a chance to wear! (Also not a size 2) I guess everyone has at least one (or two :) ) must haves. I do squeeze in a small watercolor book and paints -- the entire thing measures about 4" x 6" so I can get sketches to hopefully turn into painitngs back home.


Very interesting read, mlzangel78... you have inspired me for my upcoming cruise in Dec. Im not a "heavy" packer, but of course I always end up bringing things home that I never used. And I must admit, I laughed myself silly at your "test packing" comment.... but the more I thought about it, the more I realized what a good idea it is! :lol ..... think I will actually try that, becuase Im sure to look at it when Im done and say "Holy smokes!! ... hmmm ok, I dont need this... and that... and not that either..." and start pulling things out. Thanks for the great tips.


Oh, come on, should know that you never don snorkeling gear without first "washing it out" in the ocean (phitoplankton, salt water and its contents really do clean it for human consumption). Thus you are wearing the same "gear" as just swimming in the ocean!

I bring my own because it is of a higher quality than those of rental quality. You want a real danger? Do you take your own fins or do you gamble with athletes foot? And what about the bed you sleep on? The bedspread in MOST hotels is laundered monthly at best, on cruise ships, every 90 days!

It's true...better to be safe than sorry, but you, as a nurse, should know, "stay clear of germs the best you'll have NO resistance to anything" (including the recirculated air of jets).

No, really...have a good time, be smart and do what makes you comfortable (within reason), don't be afraid of crime or infection (unless you are a sexual lunatic) and most importantly-


Cruise cutie

We actually do take our own fins..:grin..and I always's my choice..but we cruise for 2 weeks at a time, and pre and post cruise turns my trip into 2 1/2 weeks..=shrug..I lift it, carry it, and I wear the stuff, I happen to love shoes too...the more the better..Since I am a SALE QUEEN..I have them, and bring them....if someone gets their jollies by wearing the same clothes and laundry cool by them..I do the same thing at home.I wear t-shirts, scrubs, and flats day in and day out.... and I do some laundry while cruising...But I've worked darn hard to amass a gorgous array of cocktail dresses and gowns, bust my butt to be sveldt for them and by George I haul them and wear them...DH brings the Tux he owns too..At 44 and getting older I figure I'll do my thing, does not affect others ,and I will bring my snorkel stuff..Happy cruising everyone!!..:)..Joanne.


I will never rent snorkel gear again! I had the worst ever upper respiratory thing going on after renting snorkel gear on our last cruise. We'll take our own next time, fins included.

I think the more we cruise the more we are comfortable with what to, or not to, take.

I have a friend traveled to China for 2 weeks with only carry-on luggage. We took a 30" pullman, 2 - 24" cases, 2 back packs and 2 other carry-ons. We were both comfortable with what we took. I didn't want to spend time doing laundry, she didn't mind rinsing things out and hanging them to dry.

I over pack too, for every trip.

Lady Jag

I'm in the same boat as those above that bring their own snorkel gear. It's so nice to know where your gear has been and in who's mouth. It's better quality than what the shore tours use too.

I couldn't imagine getting by with a small carry-on. If there are 8 sea days, I'm going to have a different pair of shorts for 6 of those days at least, same with my kids. Then there's formal nights, casual dresses, shoes to match those dresses, etc. Give me one 30" bag and I'm set for a lot of clothes changes. I might wash a load of whites and a load of swim suits, but that's it.

There are 4 of us in our family and for a12 day cruise, we brought 6 suitcases, a carry-on and our laptop. I don't think that's too bad. In 11 cruises so far, we have never, ever had our many suitcases not show up at our cabin by Early Seating.

To each his own. Everyone has to be comfortable with what they do. =dunno


Wow...lots of great tips on packing.

Going on my 2nd cruise in March 2005 on Enchantment of the Seas. Last cruise was 6 yrs ago on Carnival's Fascination.

I ALWAYS overpack...would love to pack just right for this cruise. It's only a 5 nighter. I'm going to try some of your tips/ideas. I would absolutely love it if my boyfriend and I could each pack in our own small wheely that could go in the overhead bin. I'm just worried clothes+shoes+toiletries won't all fit in there. I'll definitely give it a try though.

So let me get this straight...if I don't check any luggage, then I can carry that all onto the ship myself and bring it directly to my room??? How about leaving the ship? Do you have to leave it outside your door overnight and pick it up the next morning...even if you're not checking anything?

Thanks for all the great ideas.


My first cruise (last winter) was on the Enchantment - you'll love her. The captains sense of humor was great in a dry, Norwegian sort of way! I guess your cruise will be one of the last until she is refitted.


Yes I didn't read about the stretching of the Enchantment until after I booked my cruise! Had I known maybe I would have waited to go on her. I'm really looking forward to it though. Looks like a beautiful ship.


For the super organized (as well as the dis-organized) I suggest the "packing grid." Make yourself a grid for all travel days and split each day into changes. So for example, an at sea day might have you in swim suit for the morning, shorts and a top for inside activities, and something to wear to dinner, but a shore day may involve only two changes --what you wear during the day and something for dinner. Just fill in the grid with short descriptions of your clothes and shoes and jewlery. Then go back and see what can do double duty, whether a jacket can make one outfit seem like two, and so on. Don't forget to include columns for travel days and any pre or post port stays. This method really helps me think through what I'll need as well as what I want to wear.


Is it just me, or when you are just about to go on your cruise and you're reading the boards...the excitement level reaches a peak...hands shaking...stupid grinning...seconds ticking like hours...can't think clearly...

ALRIGHT I GIVE UP!!!! I RETRACT EVERYTHING I PREVIOUSLY SAID...OOOOOOOOOhhhhhhhh....I'm packing everything I own, the clothes the DVD's the big screen TV, if I could take my Directv dish, GIANT 2-person sombrero, I'M TAKIN' IT ALL!!!!

This is gonna be so much fun, I better not forget to take the duct tape to I can keep my HEAD FROM EXPLODING!!!!

Hands shaking more.......trouble


Okay, someone please take a crack at this. This is just the list of the clothing and personal items I'm bringing for myself. (My wife has her own issues. <grin>) What shouldn't I bring? (3-night weekend cruise on Majesty of the Seas)

1 Anti-perspirant
1 Belt, cloth
1 Belt, leather
1 Book (current)
2 Books (not currently reading)
4 Briefs
20 Business Cards
1 Camera
1 Copy of Passport
1 Dock Shoes
1 Dockers
1 Driver's License
1 Extra Set of Eyeglasses
1 Eyeglass Cleaning Supplies
1 Fanny Pack
1 Hat
1 Jeans, lightweight
1 Journal
1 Lounge pants, blue
1 Passport
12 Rechargeable Batteries
1 Rechargeable Battery Charger
1 Recharger for Camera
1 Sandals
1 Shades for Extra Set of Eyeglasses
1 Shades for Eyeglasses
1 Shampoo
3 Shirt, casual
1 Shirt, formal, banded-collar
2 Shirt, tee
1 Shoes, formal
1 Shorts, cargo
1 Shorts, gym
1 Shorts, standard
1 Sneakers, dark hiking
2 Socks, athletic
1 Socks, black
3 Socks, dark
1 Suit
1 Sweatpants, thin, blue
2 Swim Suits
1 Toothbrush
1 Travel Alarm Clock
1 Wallet
1 Waterproof Camera Bag
1 Watershoes
1 Windbreaker


Ok.. just my =twocents

Do you really need 3 books for a 3 day cruise? And 12 rechargable batteries AND the chager - heavens, do I even wanna know what you are going to do with all those?? And SIX pair of socks?? I have never taken a 3 day cruise, is there a formal night?

.... you asked :grin


3 books... yes. One that I'm finishing, and one I'm going to start, and one to read instead if the one I'm going to start sucks. <grin> Actually, I can probably read one full novel, just on the flights down and back, 8 1/2 hours in the air total, plus a couple of hours connection time. Then I'll need to have stuff to read on the beach, on deck, etc.

The rechargeable batteries are for my wife's camera and the GPS. In the interest of preserving our marriage, we each must have our own cameras. The GPS, well maybe we'll leave that home, this time. It does take up a good bit of room.

Socks. One pair for the formal night (yes there is one). One pair for each other night. Then one each for each morning jog. I can probably leave one of the six pairs home. Still not saving much space there. <grin>

Other than the GPS, then, is there anything else big that I probably wouldn't need. Less pants? Less shirts? Less footwear?


I guess that is a lot of flying time, and reading material is a necessity for that, so ok .. I'll give ya that one. Thing is, I always pack books when going on vacation (ummm yes, sometimes 2 or 3) but I NEVER end up reading as much as I think I will. Only on the plane, and thats if Im not busy chatting with my kids or whoever Im sitting with. Ha... separate cameras to preserve the marriage, say no more - I understand!! But socks to jog? Heck no, not when I'M on vacation!! I know, many like to keep up with their exercise routine, but with all the snorkeling and walking I do while in port... thats enough exercise for me. As for clothes, for 3 days its just hard to say. Maybe one day will be rainy and cold, you have to be prepared for anything. Bad thing is, you could probably cruise for a week on that list, but its just about all needed for 3 days as well (ok maybe a few more briefs for an entire week!). Yeah, leave the GPS home if its a space hog. Maybe leave out the sweatpants (or lounge pants?) since you are taking a pair of jeans? Ok so, thats the GPS, one pair of socks, and 1 pair of pants.... hardly seems worth it :lol

p.s. I noticed... you even alphabetize your packing list!


Bicker, is this your first cruise? Go ahead and pack all of it, I did on my first, you will realize how much of it you never use, did it again on my 2nd cruise which was a 7 day... again over packed.. thats why i posted the above, of what fits... however in all fairness, princess and carnival both have self serve laundry... im not paying those laundry rates on RCL so i will probably pack 2 extra outfits, 1 of them being shorts and a shirt, the other being and extra dress shirt and pants, it will still all fit in my 22inch carry on. i have never found on my past 2 cruises needing more than what i posted above.

NYC CHIC, yes if you carry on , you can carry off.... I always do , and it taked alot of stress away from me.. carry on the plane, and cruise, ensures me personally that i will have my suitcase, ofcourse thats my own paranoia so others may not have the same fear of being in the same clothes for 7 days, that is my one fear so the carryon works for me, and ive never felt like ,, oh i wish id packed that