Packing for a cruise is a double-edged sword. On the positive side, there is no limit to how much one can bring. On the negative side, there is no limit to how much one can bring! I have seen people take a two-month cruise with as little as two garment bags and an overnight case, and I have seen passengers with 20 bags of various sizes.
So how does one decide? The first stop is to learn how much storage your suite has available, and storage is the topic of today’s blog. I also want to introduce myself as a member of Ken’s team. My name is Susan, but my husband calls me The Queen of Packing, so hopefully I can offer some useful suggestions.
I always call Guest Services before traveling and ask for the exact number of shelves, cupboards, closets and drawers in my stateroom. In planning for an upcoming World Cruise, I have asked for the precise dimensions of the closets since four months traveling through all the seasons requires many outfits
With that information in hand, I head off to a place like Bed, Bath and Beyond or the Container Store to purchase over-the-door clear plastic shoe bags—these hang by hooks over the top of a door. It is amazing how useful these bags are. Small cameras, suntan lotion, insect spray, bandages, sunglasses, nail polish, pens and pencils, scissors, smart phones, the refrigerator magnets I can’t resist buying –even shoes if necessary: each one has a place in one of these shoe bags. If you are doing your own laundry on the ship, dryer softener strips will fit quite nicely in a pocket.
I also purchase one or two hanging sweater shelves that are held in place by Velcro over a closet hanger rack if I need extra shelving for sweaters, shoes, hats, etc. Both types of storage units are clever items to bring because the space they take up in suitcases before the voyage can later be filled with purchases on the return home! I try to leave the shelving on the ship—if I have room to repack it, I have not done a good enough job shopping!!
Then there are other important items to bring along, especially for longer voyages. Chief among these is a roll of humble masking tape. Masking tape has a myriad of uses, from being a temporary ‘thread’ for a danglng hem, to sealing around the caps of shampoo or perfume bottles that have a tendency to leak.
Plastic baggies of various sizes are useful as well. Let’s be frank—there is always the temptation to pack up a little snack, and these are perfect for that. Also, for the occasional chocolate bar, piece of fruit or other food item purchased ashore, they are handy to store the remains and leftovers. The last bit is important, since most ports insist ship’s food not come ashore, but there is no prohibition against purchasing and eating food actually bought ashore. (Nonperishable food can usually be brought back onto the ship.) I will also put coin and paper currency for each country into them to keep in the safe.
Compression bags that will pack flat when the air is squeezed out of them are useful, especially if bringing several sweaters as their volume can be reduced by up to 75%.
While you might be aware of some or all of the above, here is one tip maybe you don’t know. I carry a container that once held Altoids or something similar. I keep all but one credit card in it—nobody will ever reach into a purse or carry-on to steal breath mints.
I have reached the end of today’s space without clothing suggestions, so that will come at a later date. If you have questions about this or any other topic where I can be of assistance, please ask.