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susannahclair

Packing help for family of 4?

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We are cruising next week for the first time over Spring Break with our two tweens. Would anyone mind sharing their family packing list for a Caribbean cruise? I don't want to overpack, but I am feeling overwhelmed thinking about all the things we will need for on and off ship (casual daily clothes x8! gala nights! swimwear! multiple pairs of shoes for everyone! something for cool nights!) Do kids really need to wear slacks (boy) and dress/skirt (girl) for the average MDR dinner? Any tips would be most welcome. Thank you!

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Buy the laundry package--$7 per day for the whole cabin. This sounds snarky, but it is a wonderful way to save on packing. Only need three sets of daytime clothes and one gala set which could actually be your travel clothes--long pants and a collared shirt/nice top for the kids.

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My first tip would be to encourage you to pack so that each suitcase going to the same stateroom has at least half of the outfits for each person occupying that stateroom.  That way, if either suitcase gets lost, everyone has at least a few outfits to wear.  Beyond that, don't get too tied up in planning wardrobe.  Tweens can wear either slacks or skirts to the MDR, paired with nice tops almost every evening.  On gala nights dressier outfits like nice slacks, shirts, ties and jackets for the boys, dressy slacks or skirts and dressy tops or party-type dresses for the girls.  Also remember that you don't need an entirely new outfit for every occasion.  The other folks have never seen you before, probably will never see you again and won't notice or care if you wear an article of clothing more than once.  As far as shoes are concerned, one pair of dress up shoes, sandals, flip-flops, water shoes, athletic shoes with closed toes for shore activities.  Shorts, bathing suits and cover-ups, tees.  Remember that there will be t-shirts available to buy at every port.  Just relax and enjoy planning for the cruise and especially relax and enjoy once on board.

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12 minutes ago, oceanmom said:

Buy the laundry package--$7 per day for the whole cabin. This sounds snarky, but it is a wonderful way to save on packing. Only need three sets of daytime clothes and one gala set which could actually be your travel clothes--long pants and a collared shirt/nice top for the kids.

That laundry bag can be packed tight.  The clothes will be returned folded or on hangers.  Not sure I'd send dressy clothes though.

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I pack one swimsuit per person in the carry on and one nice outfit and then whatever other clothes fit with socks and underthings in the carry on as well.  Other types of stuff goes in the main suitcase.  Shoes are in the main suitcase. All meds are in my purse. You have 4 suitcases and 4 carry ons, correct? If so, you have plenty of room. Think about stuff that can be drip dried over night in the bathroom, like swim suits. Dress in stuff that matches other stuff.  One skirt or pair of dress pants is good for both gala nights, just wear different tops.  It can be done.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, susannahclair said:

We are cruising next week for the first time over Spring Break with our two tweens. Would anyone mind sharing their family packing list for a Caribbean cruise? I don't want to overpack, but I am feeling overwhelmed thinking about all the things we will need for on and off ship (casual daily clothes x8! gala nights! swimwear! multiple pairs of shoes for everyone! something for cool nights!) Do kids really need to wear slacks (boy) and dress/skirt (girl) for the average MDR dinner? Any tips would be most welcome. Thank you!

There are not 8 gala nights on a week cruise,  We travel with a 17 & 14 yr old, all in carry on ( even for our two week panama cruise) our daughter, 3 pairs of capris, 2 dresses, 2 bathing suits a cover up, 3 pairs of shorts, 5 shirts, underwear, sock, dressy sandals flipflops. She wears a pair of pants on the plane, runners, t-shirt under a lond sleeve cardigan and a rain jacket. 

My son 4 pairs of shorts, 4 -t-shirts, one dress shirt, 2 bathing suits, one pair of pants, underwear,  socksdark pair of canvas shoes, flipflops, he wears runners, pants, t-shirt short sleeve button up shirt rain proof jacket. You can send out laundry, we find the $49 for a week a great value for 4 of us

Edited by Jareds_mommytoo
Forgot underwear

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Posted (edited)

I find packing cubes to be helpful in reducing the amount of space everything takes up and helping to organize everyone's clothing. They really make a big difference for my family. Everyone has a medium and large cube. Under things,socks, tees, exercise shorts, and odds and ends go in the medium one and tops, slacks, cargo shorts, etc go in the large one. We pack our overnight pj's and next days cloths (including bathing suits for the kids) in our carry on bag since we stay in a hotel that first night. This just makes life easier since we don't have to delve into our packing cubes for clothes until we unpack on the ship.

 

Wear your sweater/windbreaker on the plane along with you bulkiest shoes/clothes. Plan to wear this outfit when flying back too so you never have to pack that heavy bulky stuff. Remember with unlimited laundry as soon as you step in your cabin you can pack a laundry bag and send it off and it will be ready the next afternoon. I literally just unload the lovely plastic hotel provided dirty laundry bag, fill out my form, and toss everything right into the blue laundry bag right after we take a look around the cabin.

 

Travel size everything you can and if you possibly can buy the extras at a grocery in the embarkation city. I always do this with cheapo beach toys and kid snacks. And you can just leave the beach toys on the ship.

 

Hope you all have a lovely cruise!!

 

 

Edited by fatcat04

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28 minutes ago, Jareds_mommytoo said:

There are not 8 gala nights on a week cruise,  We travel with a 17 & 14 yr old, all in carry on ( even for our two week panama cruise) our daughter, 3 pairs of capris, 2 dresses, 2 bathing suits a cover up, 3 pairs of shorts, 5 shirts, underwear, sock, dressy sandals flipflops. She wears a pair of pants on the plane, runners, t-shirt under a lond sleeve cardigan and a rain jacket. 

My son 4 pairs of shorts, 4 -t-shirts, one dress shirt, 2 bathing suits, one pair of pants, underwear,  socksdark pair of canvas shoes, flipflops, he wears runners, pants, t-shirt short sleeve button up shirt rain proof jacket. You can send out laundry, we find the $49 for a week a great value for 4 of us

 

I totally agree...teach your kids to be light packers and they will thank you when they are adults. Coordinate your colors so you can mix and match. Overpacking is a common problem that is totally unnecessary. 

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I cannot stress how wonderful the unlimited laundry for $7/day is ($49 for a week).    It will cut your packing by half, if not more.   Dry cleaning isn't included, but clothes were returned in less than 24 hrs, perfectly pressed and on hangers or folded.   

 

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19 minutes ago, kdakda said:

I cannot stress how wonderful the unlimited laundry for $7/day is ($49 for a week).    It will cut your packing by half, if not more.   Dry cleaning isn't included, but clothes were returned in less than 24 hrs, perfectly pressed and on hangers or folded.   

 

And you can come home with clean laundry to

 

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Even just for myself, I divide the cruise into three clothing needs: (1) at sea days; (2) in port days; (3) evening dinners

Then pack for how many days I have of each setting.

 

There can be overlap between at sea day clothes and port clothes, but I like a lot more pockets in my "port outfit". And I like to dress up a bit for dinner.  So count how many times you can wear the same things for each type of clothes setting before you need to wash it, and when it will be available to wear again. 

 

Weather matters too - going to hot and humid means more changes of clothing and washing. Temperate or cold can mean you only need to change some long underwear or get multiple wearings of the same things. 

 

Also look into the "IT" brand of very lightweight suitcases so you can use more of your luggage allowance on what you want pack;  and not lose it on what you pack it in. 

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We are a family of 4 traveling to the Caribbean in April as well. I just purchased the laundry package. $49 is so cheap and I figure by mid-week we can each send a few things to be laundered (underwear/shorts/tees).  I am only packing one gala night outfit and figure the second gala night we can either do the lido or room service.  I am separating my clothes into categories: pool/beach days, resort wear that I can wear for day or night on ship, and the odds and ends (pj, workout gym outfit, gala).  Packing cubes are also helpful - my husband is cube crazy right now!  

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2 minutes ago, kaiiak said:

We are a family of 4 traveling to the Caribbean in April as well. I just purchased the laundry package. $49 is so cheap and I figure by mid-week we can each send a few things to be laundered (underwear/shorts/tees).  I am only packing one gala night outfit and figure the second gala night we can either do the lido or room service.  I am separating my clothes into categories: pool/beach days, resort wear that I can wear for day or night on ship, and the odds and ends (pj, workout gym outfit, gala).  Packing cubes are also helpful - my husband is cube crazy right now!  

We sent out 2 bags a day last cruise lol

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We do carry on cruising with our two teens as well.  Just go easy on the shoes as they seem to take up so much room.  We always end up taking too many "dinner" outfits and just enough casual clothing.  We don't send out any laundry, just maybe wash out some favourites to get through the week.  

One thing we took on our last cruise which we all agreed was excellent was an insulated steel water bottle each.  We were able to fill it up with whatever beverage we chose and lots of ice and take it off at ports and have ice cold drinks all day.  

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Thanks for the tips and information! I wasn't aware of the laundry deal, and that seems great.

 

One additional question: are shorts/leggings/jeans ever okay for kids in the MDR (not on Gala nights)? I have a 10yo son who lives in athletic wear and a 12yo daughter who despises skirts/dresses and lives in jeans or leggings. I'm trying to determine if they just need to eat at the buffet most nights. Might not be worth the fight. 😉 

 

Thanks again!

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28 minutes ago, susannahclair said:

Thanks for the tips and information! I wasn't aware of the laundry deal, and that seems great.

 

One additional question: are shorts/leggings/jeans ever okay for kids in the MDR (not on Gala nights)? I have a 10yo son who lives in athletic wear and a 12yo daughter who despises skirts/dresses and lives in jeans or leggings. I'm trying to determine if they just need to eat at the buffet most nights. Might not be worth the fight. 😉 

 

Thanks again!

In the evening shorts are not permitted in the MDR.  As long as the athletic wear is long pants I don't think anything will be said.

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I find that I am now taking a lot of clothes from Columbia Sportswear. Lot of bright colored shirts that I roll the sleves up by day and down for night.  Even wear a tie with them. Also the nylon pants that you can unzip for shorts. Very lite weight.

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I also vote for the laundry package.  We send something out every day.  When we get to the end of the cruise, we put notes in the packing cubes labeled clean and dirty.  Also cross pack!  We remove the caps from the toiletries long enough to put a plastic square over the opening, then replace the cap.  Fewer leaks.

 

Keep the shoes to a minimum.  For the Caribbean,  remember sunblock and sun hats.

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Speaking of travel  shoes, I have found  the shoe brand Clark's "Cloudstepper" line to be extremely comfortable for those plagued with various foot discomfort issues, light weight and packable with enough attractive styles to cover a lot of bases.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, susannahclair said:

Thanks for the tips and information! I wasn't aware of the laundry deal, and that seems great.

 

One additional question: are shorts/leggings/jeans ever okay for kids in the MDR (not on Gala nights)? I have a 10yo son who lives in athletic wear and a 12yo daughter who despises skirts/dresses and lives in jeans or leggings. I'm trying to determine if they just need to eat at the buffet most nights. Might not be worth the fight. 😉 

 

Thanks again!

Shorts no, my daughter wears lululemon leggings to dinner no issues, im sure she wore them one gala night to with a longer shirt and belt ( shes 14 this year) she also lives in her Birkenstocks, no issues with them at dinner either

 

Edited by Jareds_mommytoo

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For sunblock and carry on, we pack  “Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Non-Greasy Sunscreen Stick for Face & Body, Broad Spectrum SPF 70,” the solid sticks dont count as liquids the last a long time, longer then a spray bottle 

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As a former over packer, it took several times before I learned to pack wisely.  Here's a tip.  I own several casual dresses from Old Navy.  I first wear them with a wrap, jewelry, and heals to dinner.  They are easy to dress up and look great.  Then, I wear the dress again with flats/sandals and no jewelry during the day while at port.  Two looks, one dress.   Saves on the packing and no one ever remembers what you wore anyway.  By the same token, I have worn the same basic black dress to dinner more than once--each time with different jewelry or wraps.

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13 minutes ago, Jareds_mommytoo said:

For sunblock and carry on, we pack  “Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Non-Greasy Sunscreen Stick for Face & Body, Broad Spectrum SPF 70,” the solid sticks dont count as liquids the last a long time, longer then a spray bottle 

We bring a huge bottle of Coppertone, and also the individually wrapped wipes.  The wipes go in our day bags, just in case we forget to apply it  before we go out.  We also bring the insect repellent wipes for the room and our day bags.

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4 minutes ago, knittinggirl said:

We bring a huge bottle of Coppertone, and also the individually wrapped wipes.  The wipes go in our day bags, just in case we forget to apply it  before we go out.  We also bring the insect repellent wipes for the room and our day bags.

We only pack carry on so we are limited to the 100ml size and one litre bag to fit it all in, so we look for things that dont count as part of the liquid allotment 

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3 minutes ago, Jareds_mommytoo said:

We only pack carry on so we are limited to the 100ml size and one litre bag to fit it all in, so we look for things that dont count as part of the liquid allotment 

We ship our luggage to the pre-cruise hotel.    One of our carry-ons (personal bag) is devoted to medicine these days.   We stay at the Residence Inn (2 night pre-cruise) and always send a shopping list.  We buy huge bottles of mouthwash (DH uses three different types), box of Puffs Plus, etc.  We need larger bottles since many of our cruises are in the 20+ day range. 

 

We've taken to using sunblock & insect wipes, because they don't count as liquids.  The wipes go into the carry-ons.  Since DS needs three bottles of mouthwash, we've had to get creative.

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