Jump to content

JamieLogical's Cruise Packing Guide


JamieLogical
 Share

Recommended Posts

I see a lot of people asking about tips/tricks and packing advice, so I thought I would put together my definitive packing guide to refer back to when answering those posts. I understand that everyone's needs may be a bit different. Some people may have kids they have to pack for. Some people might have medical conditions that require them to bring different devices. Some people may *need* a different pair of shoes for every occasion. And obviously, cruise length and itinerary can have a significant impact on how much and what you need to bring. So take this all with a grain of salt and put your own spin on it to meet your specific needs.

 

Carry-On

While the number of suitcases I bring may vary by cruise length, what I bring in my carry-on bag remains the same. For my carry-on, I use a backpack. I find this incredibly useful as it frees up both of my hands during check-in and boarding. At a bare minimum, your carry-on should include your passport, eDocs, cash, medications, and electronics. These are all things you will either need during check-in or can't afford to lose. Here is the full list of what I include in my backpack:

 

  • Passport
  • eDocs
  • Cash
  • Daily medications and vitamins
  • Sunglasses
  • Kindle eReader
  • Chargers - any chargers I need for my various electronics
  • Full change of clothes - just in case suitcase(s) get misplaced
  • Final Straw - more on this later
  • Highlighter
  • Pen - they never provide you with pens to fill out your health form at check-in!
  • Playing cards - never know when you need to kill some time
  • Swimwear (swim suit, cover up, and sandals) - in case I want to hit the spa or a hot tub before my suitcase(s) is delivered
  • Toiletries - more on this later

 

That may seem like a lot, but it does all fit in my backpack and I know I will be set, even if my suitcase(s) take a long time to show up or get temporarily misplaced.

 

Toiletries

I see a lot of people asking what toiletries are provided by NCL. In a non-Haven room, you are provided with liquid hand soap, shampoo and conditioner in one, really crappy lotion, and body wash. The "conditioner" part of the shampoo leaves a lot to be desired. I didn't bring my own on my first cruise and have not made that mistake again.

 

Here is my full list of what goes into my toiletry bag, which then goes into my backpack:

 

  • Conditioner
  • Comb
  • Leave-in conditioner spray
  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Razor
  • Hair ties
  • Hair clips
  • Nail file
  • Nail clippers
  • Tweezers
  • Bandaids - various sizes
  • Neosporin
  • Downy Wrinkle Release Spray - great for getting out minor wrinkles and for freshening up your clothes
  • Lip balm
  • Lotion
  • Q-tips
  • Gaviscon, Naproxen, Excedrin, Dramamine - basically anything that's not one of my daily medications, but I may need for headaches, indigestion, etc.

 

Clothing and Shoes

One thing a lot of first-time cruisers do is over pack. I think I have gotten my own clothing and shoe packing down to the bare minimum for myself. Of course, this depends a little on the length of the cruise, but generally, I bring the following:

 

  • One t-shirt for each day
  • One pair of underwear for each day plus a couple of extra
  • One pair of cotton socks for each day plus a couple of extra
  • One bra for every 2 days
  • One pair of jeans for every 2-3 days
  • One pair of pajama pants for every 2-3 days
  • One or two moisture-wicking shirts to wear on physically intensive/hot port days
  • One pair of moisture-wicking socks for every anticipated physically intensive/hot port day
  • One pair of moisture-wicking trail pants to wear on physically intensive/hot port days
  • One dress with matching shrug sweater for every two nights of specialty dining
  • Two swim suits - I always bring two, no mater the length of cruise so I will have one to wear if the other is still wet
  • Swim suit cover up
  • One pair of sandals that I can wear with swimwear or my dresses for specialty dinners
  • One pair of sneakers - I wear sneakers the VAST majority of the time while out and about on the ship
  • One pair of running/walking shoes - I usually wear these on embarkation and debarkation day because they are my bulkiest shoes so would take up the most room in my suitcase

 

Again, clothing and shoes are going to be pretty itinerary-dependent. But the key is to understand exactly what you are likely to need and bring the minimum.

 

Cruise-specific Items

Over the past two years, I have accumulated some items that I have bought specifically for cruising. These are all things that have improved my quality of life while cruising and I would not cruise without them! This section is going to come complete with pictures!

 

The first cruise-specific item I bought after my very first cruise was a suction cup foot rest for shaving my legs. The shower in a standard balcony room is NOT large and having to bend completely in half to reach my ankles while shaving was a real challenge. So I now bring one of these on every cruise. It sticks to the glass shower wall fairly well (will slip a bit each day so you might have to reattach or adjust it, but it is better than nothing for sure!) https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B001CFFX90/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

61YPixc9vwL._SL1500_.jpg

The next major purchase I made in order to make cruising a little easier were a few collapsible cloth cubbies from the dollar store. I have mostly sailed on Breakaway and Breakaway Plus class ships. In the balcony rooms on those ships, there are several shelves in the closets, but no drawers. I prefer these cubbies so I don't have to have loose underwear and socks just sitting on the shelves. I bought four of these (2 for me and 2 for my SO) before my third cruise for a whopping $1 a piece and they have lasted five cruises so far. Because they fold flat, they take up almost no space in our suitcases.

g47Ihb0zk0y4cr2_6zCRaEsd1NibXeSJc8kyzSzqCk1tMs1SJfM9YAJt2SlGkDS2RzdeZDgZcnuyHuJArIJjwe7_xpOv9PYqNtf2nMwLVJGofzDA4s4TGrqQyiO6vdHHzoULskPVlA=w2400

 

Since irons aren't allowed on board and it can be a hassle requesting one from your room steward, I read a great tip on these forums to get Downy Wrinkle Release Spray. It comes in a convenient travel size and, in addition to helping smooth out minor wrinkles, it doubles as a fabric refresher (think Febreze). On ships with open casino smoking or times when you might want to re-wear something you've already worn, that can be really nice to have!

71VfSKERuEL._AC_SL1500_.jpg

 

Around about my 4th cruise, NCL (and most other cruise lines) stopped providing plastic straws on board. For most drinks I don't need a straw, but I admit that they make drinking frozen drinks and mojitos (no one wants a mouth full of mint and lime!) easier to drink. So I invested in a Final Straw, which my parents had seen on Shark Tank. It was pricey and there were cheaper knock-offs available, but I am glad I got the real thing. It has lasted several cruises now, is pretty easy to clean, and fits in my jeans pocket. https://finalstraw.com/

FS2-800_600x.gif?v=1574724992

 

On our first several cruises, we simply used our roller bags as our laundry hampers, but there was one particular sailing where I felt like that really started to get a bit stinky. So for my next sailing, I invested in a collapsible hamper. The one I chose has a removable divider so when sailing with a roommate, you can each use one side. It fits perfectly in the bottom of the Breakaway and Breakaway Plus Class balcony closets. And, like the cubbies, it collapses down flat into a little disc, so takes up almost no suitcase space. https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00N2380FY/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

813Vx1yM1AL._AC_SL1500_.jpg

 

The final cruise-specific item I have purchased may be my favorite. My SO and I like to take full advantage of the drink package on NCL, but sometimes that led to being a little drowsy by the early evening and sometimes even a bit hungover the next morning. I happened to read an article where the author reviewed several hangover prevention options and one of the items he tested were these Rebound Patches. They are small patches you wear on your arm or really any hairless part of your body. You are supposed to put one on an hour before you start drinking and they last 24 hours. I was pretty skeptical at first, and a little cynical that maybe it had been some kind of paid review I had found. But they were cheap enough for me to go ahead and give them a try. These things turned out to be miraculous! I am not exaggerating. My SO and I each wore one every day of our 12-day sailing on the Bliss in March and neither of us experienced the evening sleepiness or a hint of a hangover. I am not proud to say that I actually got blackout drunk for the first time in my life one night drinking too many Irish Russians in the Cavern Club listening to Britain's Finest and I didn't even have a hint of a headache the next day! Though I definitely do not encourage that much drinking and don't plan on doing it again! https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07H3GC9B8/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

71cyULjvrDL._AC_SL1497_.jpg

 

Conclusion

I hope all of this gives new (and veteran) cruisers some good ideas. As I said several times, packing isn't one-size-fits-all. Take the time to think about what your individual needs might be and factor in your specific itinerary. Please feel free to post with your own tip/tricks about how and what to pack!

  • Like 9
  • Thanks 2
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think this list is great and very close to what I pack in your backpack and for clothing. I would like

to add (and maybe you do this) but pre-packaged snacks are a must for me. You never know how long

you will have to wait at the terminal, for shuttles and also in those rare emergencies that food

is not readily available.

  • Like 2
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One more add.  We bought these for our cruise in 2018 and now we use them on every trip.  They really do compress your dirty laundry and they keep the smell, etc. in as well.  Just have to watch as they can easily put your bag over airline weight limits if you are not careful!

 

Compression Bags

 

BTW, I do not roll ours like they show in the directions.  I fill them almost to the top and then lay on top of them as I zip.  Works like a charm!

Edited by GA Dave
  • Like 3
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great list.

 

A few things I would add is that I always bring a "sport ready" swimsuit. One that will stay in place on the slides, or swimming in waves or water activities and such. I usually only wear it when I know I'll need it because it usually has more straps and more material to help keep it in place that would make bad tan lines.

 

At least in the studio the magnetic hooks are great. I can hang up my card on it, it'll hold a small purse, use it to attach papers to the wall that I want to keep, can be an extra hook for clothes that can still be used. 

 

A beach bag - great for when you wanna carry stuff up to the pool deck or get a towel and want your hands free carrying it back to Spice. I usually have it as a carry on in addition to my backpack, but that's because my meds take up a bit of space so I just throw my swimsuit stuff, sunscreen, hat, towel clips, rash guard, and reusable cups in it to carry on. 

 

Towel clips because it can get windy on deck.

 

Rash guard for when I'm tired of putting on sunscreen or doing an activity that makes it harder. If it's a Caribbean cruise having clothing with UPF in it is so nice to have. 

 

And I bring an extra sunglasses and a baseball hat, but I'm close to a vampire without them. 

  • Like 2
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

27 minutes ago, drewzy said:

Great tips!  Has anyone used these Rebound patches while also using the seasickness (scopolamine) patches? 

 

I haven't used it with the seasickness patches, but I did take non-drowsy dramamine (same as Bonine) every day and didn't have any interactions.

Edited by JamieLogical
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I always travel with one of those large claw style hair clips.  Obviously it is great for piling long hair on top of your head when you swim, sauna, spa, etc.  But the best thing I use if for is to close the window drapes at the middle.  Grab a pleat of the drapes from each side and use the clip to hold them together.  Light always seems to seep in from that spot.

 

I also always travel with a combo alarm clock thermometer.  This way I never have to say "is it hot in here or is it me."  There have been many times when a cabin A/C has not been adequate and I have been able to validate this to myself and engineering by saying, look it's 75 in here.

 

And also along those lines for us women who are at that stage of life with the is it hot in here thing, I always have one of those folding fans.  I keep that on the night table for those wonderful "personal summers" I experience ; )

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, PTC DAWG said:

As a guy, all I can say is, that’s a lot of stuff. 🙂

 

Ha! My SO is a guy and he brings way more stuff than I do. I am always the one who has to pack the cubbies and hamper and shared toiletries, because he never has enough room in his bags. He always brings way too many shoes and like three different sports coats that he never ends up wearing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, GA Dave said:

One more add.  We bought these for our cruise in 2018 and now we use them on every trip.  They really do compress your dirty laundry and they keep the smell, etc. in as well.  Just have to watch as they can easily put your bag over airline weight limits if you are not careful!

 

Compression Bags

 

BTW, I do not roll ours like they show in the directions.  I fill them almost to the top and then lay on top of them as I zip.  Works like a charm!

I bought a set of compression bags and boy, did i love them. I used them for my socks, underwear, undershirts etc...:-)

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, Petoonya said:

Thanks Jaime. Terrific list.

First time on NCL. Laundry services on the ships I sail on have a 24 hour turn around time.

What about NCL?

 

I use packing cubes https://www.amazon.com/s?k=best+packing+cubes&i=fashion&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

 

We've only used the laundry service once, on our 12-day sailing and it was 24-hour turn-around.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

55 minutes ago, gizfish said:

I always travel with one of those large claw style hair clips.  Obviously it is great for piling long hair on top of your head when you swim, sauna, spa, etc.  But the best thing I use if for is to close the window drapes at the middle.  Grab a pleat of the drapes from each side and use the clip to hold them together.  Light always seems to seep in from that spot.

 

 

 

 

For those of us without enough hair to justify buying a big clip, you can use a coat hanger with pants clips to clip the curtains together, just place it vertically and clip the two sides together.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, spanishguy1970 said:

I bought a set of compression bags and boy, did i love them. I used them for my socks, underwear, undershirts etc...:-)

We were so thrilled with the way they compressed everything in our large bag...until we got to MIA.  When the bag that weighed 40 lbs on the flight to MIA weighed in at 54 lbs home bound, we had to do some quick repacking!  🤣

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wrap duct tape around a hotel card, it comes in handy for so many things! Also, we use a collapsible duffle bag to take our dirty laundry home. After buying souvenirs it saves our luggage from being overweight. Also a push on nightlite for the dark bathroom. I set it on the sink counter closest to the door so as soon as I step in I can turn it on & close the door. Saves me running into things! Or a flashlight on my nightstand. Everyone has such great ideas!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • ANNOUNCEMENT: PONANT Cruises & Expeditions
      • Cruise Critic Live Special Event: Q&A with American Queen Voyages
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...