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Sweetnspicy

Capsule Wardrobe for an 11 day Cruise

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Hey everyone! It's my first time posting in here!

 

So a little background, we are on the 11 day Southern Caribbean in January on the NCL EPIC. We are traveling from Seattle (home) to San Juan, Puerto Rico 2 days before embarkation to sight see and relax. Last January we went to Mexico on a 7 day cruise and I didn't pack enough clothes. My husband really challenged me to travel light and only take a carry on and a backpack. I tried to make everything mix and match but it came out terribly and I ended up with random odds and ends. I was frustrated by day 4 because it was so hot in Mexico and everything I wore was stinky and wrinkly. 

 

So for this 11 day cruise (technically 14 days away from home) I will be bringing a big suitcase but I still want to try a wardrobe capsule and really mix and match the right way. I keep seeing things on pinterest but I am kinda overwhelmed! I have about 24 weeks until we sail so I want to start trying to find pieces and build up my wardrobe now. I work retail so I have access to a lot of clothing. I really need some suggestions on how you guys pack for 11-14 days, what clothing items are essential to you, and if you think packing cubes are the way to go? Really throw anything out at me. This is my first vacation in my life that's longer than 7 days. I don't want to feel frustrated a few days in that I don't have anything to wear! Thanks so much!

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If it were me I would make a plan. I use a rail in the spare room. I start with what I will travel in. As you're going with NCL you dont really have to worry about formal wear.

Work out what you'll be doing each day which will mainly involve swimwear, shorts, tanks/t-shirts, sarong and or sun dress. Take 2 or 3 lots if each so while you rinse and dry one lot you have others to go at. Evenings you can get by with LBD, black pants, white jeans and some sparkly/pretty tops. Footwear think flip flops and espadrilles or trainers and come strappy sandals for evening. Mix and match with jewellery and scarves. 

I hang all the stuff I want to take on the rail.  Daywear and underwear goes in packing cubes. Long stuff gets folded in. 

Dont sweat it too much, cruise packing pretty much follows the same route as a land vacation especially on a casual cruise line like NCL. 

Enjoy your trip. 

 

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I have no idea what a "capsule wardrobe" is.

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The way I approach a cruise wardrobe is to break down the one cruise wardrobe into a few different wardrobes...each with a purpose based on time of day and activity. SOOO...what I mean by that is...I plan my evening MDR wardrobe...I plan my excursion/day wardrobe. 

 

For evenings...especially during the summer, or a typical beach centric, or water centric type days where the day clothing is completely inappropriate for evening clothing...I will plan a capsule to cover what I will wear for dinner plus on the ship. Getting ready for dinner generally involves a bit of a shower, and generally my evenings are not strenuous so I really don't have issue wearing my evening clothing multiple times. This is the type of thing where you plan to wear a dress however many times (there's really nothing like just being able to put on a dress for the evening...the one and done without fuss is quite convenient and comfortable and generally looks very nice even when casual). It's up to you to decide how many times you are comfortable wearing a dress between washings. I typically wear sleeveless dresses...and I also find that those tend to weather wearings by an average of at least once longer than any sleeved version (unless it is one of those flutter sleeves that is basically a sleeveless with a little extra fabric over the shoulder but not at the arm pit). Patterns are your friend for disguising any mishaps...but I would venture to say that over the course of two weeks...you could probably wear it 3 times. Maybe spray a little vodka water on the armpits if necessary (a stage hand trick I learned about here on the boards)...and definitely allow to air out between. If you were a dresses in the evening type person...you could pack 4-5 dresses and call your evening wardrobe done. I would add a "warmth layer" to battle over aggressive air conditioning...

 

If you want to add bottoms/tops and not have dresses only...then you decide how many times you are willing to rewear your clothing...both tops and bottoms. Part of that will depend on how unique your items are IMO...I find that if I have a very unique shirt, I may only want to wear it once...but something like a solid tee, I will happily rewear. Some of it is fabric dependent too...IDK, but this is what you plan for yourself. Many try to coordinate one bottom with two tops...but then you have to decide if you would rewear those tops or not? And would you wear the same bottom four times? Or would you rewear the tops if they also coordinated with another bottom...each bottom worn twice, each top worn twice. That would account for 4 nights out 10 on the cruise...bring along 2-3 dresses to cover the remaining 6?

 

So...for an evening capsule wardrobe...I might have 2-3 dresses, one maxi skirt and one pair of capris that each coordinate with two tops, and a pashmina scarf or cardigan type topper. 7-8 items for my evening capsule.

 

I do the same thing for the days. Generally, I begin with my port activities and plan for those first. Caribbean is usually beach days and catamarans...so swim suits and cover ups. I like activewear on sea days...as well as more swim suits and cover ups. I would have at least 2 swim suits...and a variety of coverups. I usually like to have a dress type cover up that I feel comfortable wearing around port...as well as the kind that I might just throw on to relief from the sun. So my day time capsule looks like: swim wear, rash guard(s), loose shirt style cover up(s), dress style cover up(s), 2-3 pairs of activewear bottoms, 2-3 activewear tops.

 

Pre cruise plans generally resemble the same as a port day for me. I would likely have what I want for walking all around and may want to change for dinner.

 

I'm not offering any specifics here, but hopefully my process helps! LOL.

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43 minutes ago, ohnonotmeagain said:

Well,you won't be able to help then.

No, but I could learn, couldn't I?????

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5 hours ago, Sweetnspicy said:

Hey everyone! It's my first time posting in here!

 

So a little background, we are on the 11 day Southern Caribbean in January on the NCL EPIC. We are traveling from Seattle (home) to San Juan, Puerto Rico 2 days before embarkation to sight see and relax. Last January we went to Mexico on a 7 day cruise and I didn't pack enough clothes. My husband really challenged me to travel light and only take a carry on and a backpack. I tried to make everything mix and match but it came out terribly and I ended up with random odds and ends. I was frustrated by day 4 because it was so hot in Mexico and everything I wore was stinky and wrinkly. 

 

So for this 11 day cruise (technically 14 days away from home) I will be bringing a big suitcase but I still want to try a wardrobe capsule and really mix and match the right way. I keep seeing things on pinterest but I am kinda overwhelmed! I have about 24 weeks until we sail so I want to start trying to find pieces and build up my wardrobe now. I work retail so I have access to a lot of clothing. I really need some suggestions on how you guys pack for 11-14 days, what clothing items are essential to you, and if you think packing cubes are the way to go? Really throw anything out at me. This is my first vacation in my life that's longer than 7 days. I don't want to feel frustrated a few days in that I don't have anything to wear! Thanks so much!

We just did a similar length trip (12 night cruise plus 2 nights pre cruise). We found the unlimited laundry package on HAL was a good deal for us and allowed us to pack much lighter. Maybe you can find out if NCL offers a laundry package that would work for you. We had laundry done almost day and it was typically returned the following day so we only had to pack for about 5-6 days for our 14 day trip and always had clean clothes. We each took one checked suitcase plus we a shared carry on rolling suitcase with just enough clothes for the 2 days pre-cruise. 

 

I generally like to pack mostly blue and white clothes for warmer climates and black and grey clothes for colder climates to make it easier to mix and match tops and bottoms. My favorite travel pieces are my J McLaughlin pants which are a thin synthetic fabric that dresses up or down and are wrinkle resistant so really nice for travel. 

 

Enjoy your cruise! 😀

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Try pants from Slimsations, travel-friendly/no wrinkle clothing from Chico's Travelers, JJill Wearever, Gretchen Scott, Jude Connally, and Persifor.

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16 hours ago, suzannecruisecritic said:

 

Ouch. 

Oh, I figured it was another trendy thing and then saw that I've been packing and dressing that way for decades.

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On 8/15/2019 at 6:30 PM, Anita Latte said:

........

I'm not offering any specifics here, but hopefully my process helps! LOL.

 

Thanks for sharing your description, it is very helpful. I am going to copy it for my cruise planning notes. 

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16 hours ago, Brownie54 said:

Try pants from Slimsations, travel-friendly/no wrinkle clothing from Chico's Travelers, JJill Wearever, Gretchen Scott, Jude Connally, and Persifor.

 

Awesome suggestions! Thank you!

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On 8/15/2019 at 3:30 PM, Anita Latte said:

The way I approach a cruise wardrobe is to break down the one cruise wardrobe into a few different wardrobes...each with a purpose based on time of day and activity. SOOO...what I mean by that is...I plan my evening MDR wardrobe...I plan my excursion/day wardrobe.

 Yes everything you said is super helpful! I am going to pull out all my cruising/tropical clothes and see what I have first and then start making some outfits from there. I need some pashminas and cover ups to really round out my closet.

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On 8/15/2019 at 12:53 PM, Sweetnspicy said:

need some suggestions on how you guys pack for 11-14 days, what clothing items are essential to you, and if you think packing cubes are the way to go?

 

 

People have mixed views on packing cubes.  In my opinion, they don't really allow you to pack MORE than you would otherwise, although some seem to think so.  Unless you're using compression bags, your clothes take up just as much room in a cube as they do loose in the suitcase.  BUT, they can help you keep organized.  I often pack bras and underwear in a small cube, just to keep them all in one place.  I can put that cube, unzipped, right in a drawer in a cabin or hotel room.  Same for exercise wear.  And sometimes people will use a cube to pack all the stuff they are going to wear for the 1-3 days pre-cruise in a hotel somewhere so they don't have to unpack or dig through the entire suitcase prior to getting on a ship or to their final destination for a week or more.

As for what to pack, a common tip is to never pack for more than 1 week, and just plan to re-wear clothing multiple times and plan on sending laundry out or rinsing items in the sink and hanging to dry.  In the interest of packing light, I would just plan on sending some things to the ship's laundry around day 4 of the cruise, which would be halfway through your entire trip.  On longer cruises like yours, there may well be a laundry special offered mid cruise.  Either way, just accept that expense as the trade-off for packing lighter.  You can also get a few things in technical or high performance fabrics that rinse and hang dry easily/quickly.  Brands like Columbia, REI and some things from Athleta fit this bill well. 

I would also consider things that do double duty.  I have a black Columbia skort that works great for casual daytime excursions.  I can pair it with a tank and flip flops, or wear it with sneakers for a day that involves more walking.  But paired with a "nicer" tee or other knit top and sandals and it's fine for casual dinners.  You can find similar tank or tee shirt dresses made of the same kind of fabric that work well during the day, but can be dressed up for dinner with a nice bracelet or necklace, or a light shawl or shrug-style cardigan, and pretty sandals.   Wear these types of things to dinner one night, then wear for a daytime excursion the next.  If you get sweaty, rinse and hang dry and wear again a few days later.

The other big tip is to build your travel wardrobe around 1 basic color and an accent color so everything mixes and matches.  Take half the number of bottoms and make sure your can wear multiple tops with each bottom, and that each top works with more than one bottom.   I take mostly black and white, and usually add a couple tops with color in them that would pair with either black or white bottoms.

 

On 8/15/2019 at 4:51 PM, clo said:

I have no idea what a "capsule wardrobe" is.

 

In a nutshell, a few basic pieces that all mix and match and can be dressed up or dressed down to create multiple different looks with just a few clothing items.

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I love packing cubes!

 

I agree that the cubes don't necessarily let you take more clothing. BUT, they can help you to compress things that are compressible so that you can get all the air out and have those things take up less space while at the same time, allowing things that you DO want to be packed loosely and with more air space be packed that way. For instance, I will CRAM my underwear and socks and activewear and swim suits and anything else that I don't care how creased it gets into my packing cubes. And I will lightly fold and pack my shirts and dresses.

 

Most of my clothing is folded and put in my dresser. I have gone through the KonMari method with my wardrobe...the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. My drawers all look like little files of clothing...everything is in one layer and "filed" so that I can see all my tee shirts, etc. And this is the way that I pack my packing cubes...they look like little files so that I can see everything that is in the cube. Most times anyway...sometimes, I lay a larger item, like a scarf across the top of the cube with all the files of clothing under.

 

The beauty of cubes is in the way you can selectively choose to pack your clothing tighter or looser as well as organizing your suitcase. For my AK cruise last summer, we stayed 2 nights in Vancouver, then the 7 day cruise, then 4 nights in AK. I didn't need access to everything I was taking in Vancouver, so I had one or two cubes that had what I needed in Vancouver. Packing and unpacking with cubes is very easy so this made the arriving and leaving in Vancouver much less time consuming and changes the whole digging through a suitcase dynamic.

 

IIWY, I would have a cube or two for your pre cruise days in San Juan. Whether or not you will wear those clothes on the cruise...just separate them out for easy access in San Juan, even if that clothing is a part of your overall wardrobe scheme.

 

eBags is a good source for seeing different brands and thus sizes of packing cubes. I have eBag brand cubes, the classics. I use the longer thinner ones for things like underwear and socks. The small cubes work well for shirts. The medium cubes work well for bottoms. That's just me. What I appreciate, is knowing how the cubes fit in my luggage. It's not a bad idea to measure your luggage and then buy cubes that work well with your dimensions. I have found though, that packing cubes and luggage is a bit like 3D Tetris with each trip...and the cubes make great use of the cubic space in different bags with each trip. Remember that once the cubes are packed, you can lay them flat, turn them on their sides...just easily organize all your stuff. They also help to alleviate any concerns about things like shoes next to clothes, etc.

 

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We regularly travel for several months at a time and do different types of travel during that time.   I don’t officially do a “capsule wardrobe” but I guess what I do is very similar. I always travel with a backpack and a small rolling suitcase and many times have room to take most of the shared items (like toiletries) that my husband doesn’t have room for because his clothes are larger than mine.   We each take around 11 outfits and everything can be worn with at least 3 different things.  I usually take 2 or 3 jeans, 2 or 3 skirts/dresses, 1 or 2 capris, and the rest is shorts.  My tops include 1-2 spaghetti strap, but mostly sleeveless and short sleeves with maybe 1 long sleeve.  I take a sweater and a jacket that matches everything and usually take several small rain ponchos that get used once and tossed.   We do laundry when needed....we usually take about a day per week to relax and catch up on paperwork and things like laundry....we’ve learned we need to do that to enjoy the long trips.  We rarely wear things twice between washings unless we lightly wear the garment the first time. 

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I’ve found a color scheme really helps me. We’re getting ready to leave for a Vancouver to Hawaii cruise with precruise in Vancouver & a week in Oahu following. I’m taking black, white & cobalt blue...everything mixes & matches. I have allowed myself one hot pink (linen palazzo pants with hibiscus flowers)...it just screamed take me to Hawaii

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@awhfy That sounds like a good color scheme for you (judging from your thumbnail photo) -- Cobalt turns my skin Frankenstein green! I think the palazzo pants will be a perfect kick with the other colors!

 

I am off in 10 days for a land-trip to central Europe. I spent last evening browsing VivienneFiles. Did not find anything that helped (but I sure do love her ideas)... It's only a 12-day tour, but our flights are with FinnAir having a carry-on limit of 8kg/person! Also the longest we stay anywhere is 2-nights so laundry will be tight -- either handwash or by the hotels.

 

The highs look like they will be about 60, so significantly cooler than home OR my mom's where I just spent seven weeks. So today I'm rooting through storage boxes for cool-weather clothing...

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