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How To Pack For A Cruise

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With travel bouncing back and cruising becoming safer than before, you might be planning a cruise trip. While there are lots of ways to save on a cruise, what about packing for a cruise? Just because there are so many different things to do on the ship, it doesn’t mean you need to bring your whole closet. In fact, you can still pack light and have everything you need for your cruise.

Photo by Adam Gonzales on Unsplash

  • Bring multi-purpose items, like a top that you can dress up or down depending on the situation. A plain black tank top can work for a formal night when paired with a statement necklace and a light wrap.
  • If you want to really dress up for those formal nights, invest in a bag like a Skyroll, that incorporates a garment bag in the design. You can pack all your regular stuff and then the garment bag wraps around it. Both are carry-on size, so you don’t have to check them and *hope* they make it to your cruise. Another option is this 2-in-1 garment duffel.  I would still opt for a few pieces that can be reworn in different ways, even if it’s just a little black dress or great pair of pants.
  • A nice pair of sandals can also be worn for formal nights, so you don’t have to pack a pair of heels that you’ll only wear a few hours the whole time you’re cruising.
  • Men can bring a lightweight sport coat and a few ties to dress up any outfit…and not have the same look twice if there’s more than one formal night on your ship.
  • Aside from these things, bring what you normally do: 5 tops, 3 bottoms, a pair of really good walking/running shoes, a rain jacket, sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses. If you need more help packing light, here’s a post for you.
  • Stage, roll and stuff. To avoid overpacking, set up a staging area where you can lay out everything you are packing. Make two piles: one with essentials and one of things you might need. Roll and pack your essentials first, then see how much room you have left for “maybes”. Stuff shoes with socks, belts and other small items. Think of your bag like a game of Tetris and fill in all the available space of each layer. This will eliminate shifting and wrinkles as much as possible. You don’t have to stuff your bag to the point of having to sit on it to close it though, because remember that you might want to buy some things at your ports of call. 
  • Don’t forget your passport if you aren’t going to a closed-loop U.S. port.
  • If you “check” your bag at the port authority, it may be an entire day before you get it delivered to your stateroom, so make sure you either don’t check your bags (you can wander the ship with them, which you might find annoying) or have a smaller carry-on or tote bag with necessities like your bathing suit, extra clothing, sunscreen, camera, etc. I always have a packable tote in my bag just in case. This is a great way to use it.
  • Take along a pop-up mesh laundry hamper. Not only does this keep your clean and dirty clothes separate, but it gives you something to carry your dirty clothes to the laundry room. You aren’t going to be doing something 24 hours a day on your cruise, but having to do a bit of laundry will remind you to slow down and take a breather. Plus, you can always start your load and hit the buffet while you wait.

I think you’re ready to head out on the open seas now, with an excellent mix-and-match wardrobe that doesn’t weigh you down too much.
What are your favorite cruise tips?

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which may compensate me monetarily if you make a purchase through them. Your purchases enable me to run this blog, so thanks in advance.

Want to read more tips for traveling worldwide on a budget? Check out my blog at Shereen Travels Cheap or find me on Facebook or Twitter. You’ll also find product and website suggestions, packing tips, current deals and a whole lot more to help you travel better for less!


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