Worst Cruise Packing Mistakes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
All times are GMT -4.
The time now is 07:52 AM.
250 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
Hey there cruisers,

We are compiling the worst cruise packing mistakes we've made so others can learn from our unfortunate -- and sometimes hilarious -- mishaps. If you have any you would like to share, they very well might be published!

We look forward to reading (and grimacing) along with you


~Brittany Chrusciel, Associate Editor, Cruise Critic
North Central USA
1,838 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Like bringing 6 pairs of shoes once!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
SAILED: Carnival Legend - Cozumel, Belize & Roatan - March 21-28, 2010
SAILED: Royal Car Explorer of the Seas - Bermuda, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, San Juan PR - MOTORCYCLE CRUISE! April 28-May 7, 2011
SAILED: Carnival Spirit - Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, Victoria, BC, CA - June 26-July 3, 2012
SAILED: Carnival Breeze - Grand Turk, Ocho Rios, Nassau - Dec 1-7, 2013
SAILED: Carnival Breeze - Key West, Grand Cayman, Cozumel - Aug 24-30, 2014
SAILED: NCL's POA - Maui, Hilo, Kona, Kauai - Nov 29-Dec 6, 2014
SAILED: Carnival Valor - Cozumel - January 18-22, 2017.
/// 47 Days at Sea & Couning
Up Next: Carnival Horizon - Grand Turk, St Kitts, St Maarten, San Juan - February 23 - March 3, 2019
San Diego
8,367 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Sorry but I am the queen of packing light and I don't make mistakes!
I can't imagine taking all the things I read that people "must have"!!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
UP next:
Coral Princess Panama Canal December 7,2018

Carnival Splendor April 13,2019-Yearly Mexican Honeymoon
Oceania Insignia November 9,2019-Cuba Adventure!

161 Posts
Joined Jul 2012
Originally posted by silvercrikhix

Like bringing 6 pairs of shoes once!


Rule of thumb... Lay it all out, remove half. Double the budget

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
1/9/2009 Carnival Paradise; 7/20/2009 Carnival Paradise; 1/22/2010 Carnival Paradise; 7/22/2012 Carnival Legend; 8/27/2013 Carnival Fantasy; 2/23/2014 Carnival Valor

4 hours and 38 minutes from the closest cruise terminal
11,263 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
My rule of thumb: If it doesn't fit in one carry on, it's not going.

Packing mistakes? If traveling with multiple family members, putting all clothes for one person in one bag. Instead, cross-pack. Make sure that there's a bit of clothing for every person in each bag. That way, if one bag is lost for any reason, one person is not left with nothing to wear.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature

1981 Cunard Princess / 1982 Cunard Countess / 1984 The Victoria / 1991 Carla Costa / 1993 Monarch of the Seas / 1994 Tropicale / 1996 Royal Majesty / 1998 Viking Serenade / 1999 Dolphin IV / 2000 OceanBreeze / 2000 Carnival Destiny / 2003 Carnival Fascination / 2004 Empress of the Seas / 2005 Carnival Fascination / 2005 Carnival Liberty / 2006 Carnival Imagination / 2006 Carnival Fascination / 2007 Carnival Sensation / 2007 Holiday / 2008 Carnival Liberty / 2009 Carnival Imagination / 2010 Carnival Fascination / 2011 Allure of the Seas / 2011 Carnival Dream / 2013 Westerdam / 2014 Enchantment of the Seas / 2014 Golden Princess / 2016 MSC Divina / 2017 Disney Fantasy

2018 EMPRESS OF THE SEAS - Cuba / 2018 MSC MERAVIGLIA - Mediterranean / 2019 CARNIVAL FANTASY - Western Caribbean / 2019 REGAL PRINCESS - Atlantic Canadian Provinces / 2020 CARNIVAL PANORAMA - Mexican Riviera

725 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
We left our garment bag hanging on our bedroom door many, many years ago. We could not dress for formal nights. It actually turned out to be a good thing because we realized that we don't really have to dress formally and they fed us anyway.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature

CARNIVAL- 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2013, 2015, 2016 (84 DAYS AT SEA)
NORWEGIAN - 2005, 2005, 2007, 2008 (29 DAYS AT SEA)
CELEBRITY - 1997, 1998, 2004, 2010, 2011, 2014 (41 DAYS AT SEA)
COSTA - 2009 (7 DAYS AT SEA)
23,341 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
We had a group going with us and a bunch of people over our house the night before the cruise. The adults were staying up as we had a 2:45 AM bus pulling up (I am always a hot with the neighbors....) but we sacked the kids out in our 4 bedrooms, one of which was ours. I pack the night before and had started packing and then go occupied on something....probably an elbow bending event. My wife moved my suit bag out of the bedroom. Time marched on, I forgot all about it and when it was time to leave. my bag was closed and zipped and we loaded up the bus and off to the airport.

Fast forward to getting on the ship, we get our bags delivered and am unpacking (we had a bunch of people in our cabin for sail away - we were staying in the Captain's Suite on the Liberty) and I discover I have no pants....zero.... I was def on the receiving end of a lot of humor from all in our group.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Carnival Celebration (1 sailing) 07/96 (Western Carib.)
Carnival Imagination (2 sailings) 07/98 (Western Carib.) 04/09 (Bahamas)
Carnival Destiny (2 sailings) 08/99 (West. Carib.) 08/03 (Southern Carib.)
Carnival Triumph (1 sailing)07/00 (Eastern Carib.)
Carnival Pride (5 sailings) 07/01 (Western Carib.) 07/05 (Mex. Riviera) 04/12 (Eastern Carib.)12/16 NYE cruise (Eastern Carib), 7/17 4th floor VS (Eastern Carib.)
RCCL Majesty of the Seas (1 sailing)04/02 (Bahamas)
Carnival Spirit (2 sailings) 07/04 (Alaska) 07/08 (Alaska)
Carnival Valor (1 sailing) 08/05 (Eastern Carib.)
Carnival Ecstasy (1 sailing) 04/06 (Cozumel, Progresso) Platinum Cruise
Carnival Liberty (4 sailings) 07/06 (Med cruise) 02/07 (Panama Canal) 07/08 (Exotic Eastern Carib.)
02/07 (Panama Canal) 02/11 (Exotic Eastern Carib.)
Carnival Inspiration (1 sailing) 8/07 (Western Carib.)
MSC Orchestra (1 sailing) 2/09 (Eastern Carib.)
Carnival Splendor (3 sailings) 08/09 (Mexican Riviera) 08/13 (Eastern out of NYC) Milestone Cruise 08/14 (Eastern out of NYC)

Carnival Dream (1 sailing) 8/10 (Western Carib.)
Carnival Magic (2 sailings) 02/12 (Western Carib.) 02/15 (western Carib.)
Carnival Victory (1 sailing) 08/12 (Southern Carib.)
Carnival Legend (1 sailing) 02/13 (Western Carib.)
Carnival Breeze (3 sailings) 04/13 (8 day Eastern Carib.) 12/14 6 day Western NYE cruise 04/15 6 day western Carib. Diamond Cruise
RCCL Oasis of the Seas (1 sailing) 03/14 (Western Carib.)
Carnival Sunshine (2 sailings) 08/15 (8 day Southern Caribbean) 02/16 (8 day exotic eastern Caribbean)
Carnival Vista (2 sailings) 07/16 (8 day western Med cruise) 04/17 (8 day exotic eastern Caribbean)

Upcoming Cruises:

Carnival Horizon 7/18 (8 day eastern out of NYC)
Azamara Quest 8/17 (1 sailing 8 day Rome to Venice)
Carnival Breeze 11/18 (13 day Journey cruise Eastern Carib)
526 Posts
Joined Mar 2013
The first cruise I packed a different outfit for each night. Big mistake. Now I pack things that are mix and match and have never brought more than a carry on. That same cruise we brought walkie-talkies. Another big mistake.
Greensboro, NC
1,482 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Too many clothes!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature

Holland America Rotterdam
Norwegian Skyward
Fantasy Amerikanis
Celebrity Horizon (2)
Celebrity Zenith
Celebrity Mercury
Celebrity Infinity
Celebrity Summit
Celebrity Galaxy
Royal Caribbean Sovereign of the Seas
Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas
Carnival Miracle
13 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
We actually like to have options so we definitely over pack. However, I don't see the problem in doing that? We have 2 suitcases each that once they are dropped off with the porters aren't a problem at all. It's not like we have to lug them around or anything. We do dress up every night but that's what we like to do. We probably don't wear a third of what we bring but that's ok since we don't know which third that is going to be before we cruise! Unless you are flying I don't see the big deal about over packing. Just gives us more options while we are on the ship. That being said I know every one is different but if you are new to cruising don't worry about over packing is my take. Happy Cruising!!!
1,964 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Absolutely over packing!! 2 outfits a day plus a dinner outfit per day and all the shoes to match each outfit!! Not anymore!! No need for all that!! Almost every day (depending on ports) you're in a bathing suit all day! 2 shoes for dinner and a couple flip flops that match everything is good enough!

PS - cruising maniac - we had friends who forgot their garment bag one year with their formal clothes as well. However, they realized this at the airport - drove all the way home and back to the airport. Well, they missed their flight! Jumped on the next flight out so wasn't too bad. The kicker is - one of them got sick the night of formal night and they skipped it anyway. So never got to dress up in those formal clothes they missed a flight over!! It was - and still is - quite funny!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
SS Dolphin IV 5/88
Carnival Victory 6/00
Sovereign of the Seas 4/06
Carnival Miracle 4/23/08
Carnival Miracle 5/8/09
Carnival Destiny B2B 5/8/10
Carnival Destiny B2B 5/13/10
Carnival Pride 5/6/2012
Carnival Dream 10/12/2013
Carnival Sunshine 3/5/2016
NCL Dawn 5/25/2018
NCL Gem 3/8/19
Tucson, AZ
2,046 Posts
Joined Jan 2001
Almost had to go Chip n Dale style once, as I packed my tux but forgot my shirt!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Cruise line # of Cruises

Carnival 73
Regent 1
North Dakota
382 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
My husband, who is a XXL, forgot swim trunks on his 2nd cruise. So...we did find him a pair in the 237843 shop we looked at in Nassau.

Fast forward to our 4th cruise. He also forgot his swim trunks. This time? Found him a pair, too tight pair, from a Jamaican street vendor...Pretty sure they were from 1996.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Celebrity Constellation 2016
RCCL Majesty of the Seas 2016
Celebrity Summit 2015
Carnival Glory 2014
Carnival Valor 2013
Carnival Ecstasy 2012
Carnival Ecstasy 2011
Carnival Destiny 2010
2,950 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
I always overpack. I don't know if it is a mistake though- as long as you aren't paying for baggage, choice is nice.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Carnival Spirit- Mexican Riveria 01/01//08
Carnival Freedom- Eastern Carribean 01/01/11
Carnival Triumph- Progesso/Cozumel 4/14/12
Celebrity Xpedition- Galapagos 9/28/14
Carnival Magic- Western Carribean 09/20/15
Middletown, Ohio
659 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
I do over pack I confess
I am OCD when it comes to wearing the same outfit twice esp. in hot weather
We do fly and am allowed one free check in bag each (50 lb ) ad one carry on free so never an issue for us
If not cruising I pack less because we stay in condos that have washer/dryers but am not going to waste my cruise time in the laundry room
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature

10-18-2009 Carnival Legend
10-12-2014 Carnival Conquest

Created by MyFitnessPal.com - Free Calorie Counter
Bensalem, PA, USA
59 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Once packed all of our shoes in one suitcase and then promptly forgot to bring it. Went on the trolley tour in Key West and just looked for shoe stores.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature

Crystal River, Florida
958 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
My tip is just to make sure you have the toiletries you need.
Once in the middle of the ocean, your resources are limited, unless you want to pay a price.

On our first cruise (Dream) my husband got a bad sunburn in the first port.
ALOE! Why didn't I think of that?!

$25 for a bottle of aloe in the Carnival gift shops.
That was in April 2012..
We cruise again in December of this year and I am bringing that same bottle of aloe!
5 cruises later and I still have it, LOL.
Better believe I am going to get my $25 worth.

We tend to still over pack.
I am OCD about not running out of things, so maybe that is why?
Better safe than sorry.
It's getting less and less though.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Carnival Dream (7 Day/Western Caribbean/4-28-12)
Carnival Breeze (8 Day/Eastern Caribbean/12-8-12)
Carnival Breeze (8 Day/Eastern Caribbean/11-8-14)
Carnival Breeze (8 Day/Eastern Caribbean/12-5-15)
Carnival Vista (8 Day/Southern Caribbean/12-3-16)
Carnival Sunshine (5 Day/Bahamas/4-23-17)
Carnival Vista (8 Day/Southern Caribbean/12-2-17)
Carnival Horizon (8 Day/Eastern Caribbean/12-1-18)

"Softness is not weakness.
It takes courage to stay delicate in a world this cruel."
It's Great To Be A Florida Gator!
Reston VA
862 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Packing rule #1, do not do laundry and pack the morning you are going to leave. Because you (oh, yes you will) wash, dry and fold your son's underwear and socks, put them on top of the dryer to grab on your way out of the laundry room and forget them. And your 10 year old son will be going commando and sockless for an entire cruise. Pack ahead, people, pack ahead!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
1,225 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
My DA acidently only packed one shoe of each pair 😉 shoes. I once had a bottle of sun lotion split in my case and ruined half my clothes. I always double bag any liquids now 😢
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature

02-07-2015 Norwegian Getaway
10-04-2014 Norwegian Jade
08-10-2013 Crown Princess
526 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
I also tend to overpack. I am the type that will take stuff "just in case" solarcaine, Pepto-Bismol, cold medicine, zantac ( you get the drift) I also take dble the supply of prescription meds ( ie if a 5 night cruise I will take a 10 day supply AND a copy from the pharmacy listing all our meds). I overpack, clothes, shoes, you name it. But we drive to the port. I figure this is the only time I can "dress" for dinner.