What to Take: Packing for a Cruise

Cruising is one of the most popular forms of travel, but the what-to-pack conundrum can often be the most difficult. Dress codes have been relaxed, but there’s still a level of appropriateness that’s necessary. First, check with your cruise line. Many, like Crystal Cruises or Royal Caribbean, offer an interpretation of what they mean by resort casual, casual elegant, black tie, formal, etc., on the company website. Here are a few easy tips to make your sail less stressful and more enjoyable.

Help ensure your bags arrive

It’s not fun to get to your cabin to find that your belongings are not there. For this reason, cruise companies send out name tags/cabin numbers for you to attach to your luggage. To be certain that tags remain affixed to your bags, use a twist tie to fortify the connection. It also helps to have a lightweight change of clothes (a simple white cotton T-shirt and a black jersey skirt can look fresh with a pretty gold necklace) in your carry-on, so you can refresh when you arrive, even if your luggage has not.

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Pack more efficiently

If sharing your cabin with someone other than your partner, say, a female friend, draw up a list of common items you’ll want to stock. No need to duplicate items like tea bags, mosquito repellant and antiseptic cream.

Pack for any weather

Sadly, the sun is not always guaranteed to shine on cruises. That makes a lightweight folding umbrella an absolute must. In fact, your umbrella can also serves as sun/heat protection on shore excursions when the weather is fine and you are outdoors for long periods of time.

Pack for a.m. and p.m.

When it comes to dress code, days at sea can be like your days at home, within reason. Choose the items that you are most comfortable wearing if you have to go out in public at a drop of the hat. Pick a workable colour scheme for mixing and matching ease. Don’t forget a shawl to combat the air conditioning that is inevitably colder than necessary on any ship. If you enjoy dressing up for formal evenings, pack accordingly and strut your stuff. If you’d rather not go all out, a simple pair of tailored black pants plus a top with a bit of glitz will be just perfect. Wear a fabulous pair of earrings or add a sparkly clip to your hair and you’ll be the “belle of the ball.”

Tip: Pack small pieces of lightweight non-slip matting (similar to that used in kitchen drawers) to put on bathroom shelves. It prevents toiletries from sliding to the floor on rough days.

Evelyn Hannon is the editor of www.journeywoman.com, the largest online travel resource for women. Her newsletter connects 65,000 women worldwide. 

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