How I pack for a cruise

This portion of the website is about travel tips I have learned while on fun/leisure trips. Most of it is for cruises, since that is what I tend to do. These are not necessarily travel tips for business travel, though I suppose lots of the tips will cross over. This is not everything and all that I have found as handy tips; just what I have put down. If you have been on this site before, you will find some changes. As I have acquired new suitcases and clothes, what I take has been slowly changing. Now I am sure some people may think I don’t take what they would take, and they are probably correct. But since this site is about me and what I take, I get to choose what goes in my case. Happy travels!

On a one week cruise many (not all) cruises will have two formal nights. If you want to dress up you need to take something suitable. If the ship has alternative dining, you may want to dress up for that depending on the restaurant and its dress code. The Pinnacle on Holland America ships prefers you dress up a bit for dinner there. The Royal Caribbean restaurants Chops Grille and Portofino also prefer a more dressed look. Jeans, especially old faded holey ones, are not considered appropriate attire, but dockers type of pants are fine. Since I prefer pants to dresses, I would wear slacks, a nice sweater, a scarf/jewelry and shoes other than my sneakers. Full Disclousure – I have been known to wear nice, dark wash, dressy jeans with a nice top and shoes/sandals/heels (not sneakers) to dinner in the specialty restaurants on board ships. I don’t tend to be a fancy dresser.

Once we have put a deposit down on a trip, I begin my research. I research where are we going, what is there to do there, climate, etc.

I start checking the weather at my destination a couple of weeks in advance of the actual trip. I would prefer to be prepared with my clothing. I will alter my tops to fit where I am going. If it is expected to be cold, I will take a heavier jacket, maybe polar fleece or warmer. If it is expected to rain I will take a light rain coat, something I can layer a sweater underneath. The rain coat doesn’t have to be a heavy coat, it can be a shell type of waterproof windbreaker. Coats can take a lot of room in a suitcase, I wear/carry mine on the plane if I take one.

Another thing to consider when you are packing is what kind of excursions you like to take. And of course, where in the world you are. Have you ever been to an Italian church where your shoulders and knees must be covered? They will escort you out if you are not properly attired (that’s why the jacket is at least elbow length). Vatican tours require shoulders and knees are covered – that’s for men and women last time I was there. I have seen some paper type of clothes for sale at the Vatican for those not properly attired. Kind of strange, but they will cover you if that’s all that’s available.

If your excursions tend toward hitting the beach, don’t take the sneakers, sandals would be great, and take more swim suits. You might also remember to take some sort of cover up. Not all cultures find walking around in your swimsuit acceptable. Even shorts and a t-shirt, sundress, long tunic or even a pull on skirt may be enough to cover you and look presentable.

I pack the same way for a one week cruise as I do if I will being gone 3, 4 or 5 weeks. Basically I take one week worth of clothes. I make sure everything is washable. The idea is if I have to wash it in a sink, I could. Granted, that may not work for everything. One of the formal jackets, the black one is fine silk and needs to be dry cleaned. That’s why there are two. If I mess one up, spill something on it, etc. I still have another one for a formal night if needed. And the jeans might take a while to dry. But that’s why I have a spare pair of pants. And yes, if I only take one week of clothing and I’m gone longer then that I expect to do laundry somehow. I may wash stuff in the sink, use the on ship laundry services (for a fee) or find the ship laundromat.

In looking for ideas I came across a blog, The Vivienne Files. This blog has some great ideas for putting together clothes for trips. These wardrobes are mainly for women’s clothes but she has some great ideas. I’m thinking about changing up some of my packing after viewing her ideas. Her wardrobe include shoes and some accessories to go with the clothes. I highly recommend taking a look at her website for ideas. There are a lot o other website that also have great ideas, often under capsule wardrobes.

Additional items of clothing include: bras, panties, night gown, swim suit, hose if needed, socks. Once I have clothes picked, then I pick jewelry and scarves to go with the items. I may also add a bug shirt, but I am a bug magnet so I need it. Not everyone does.

Notes for overseas/long haul travel

A little bit about a trip to Antarctica.

Luxury cruise – aboard the Queen Mary 2