A wise man once said ‘When you figure out your suitcase, you figure out your life’ and we all know how devastating it can be when you arrive at the port and realise you’ve forgotten your new dress, or the only shoes that match your suit or, worst of all, your passport!
With that in mind, we’ve got all the top tips you need for packing for your cruise, from deciding what to bring (and what not to bring) to making the most out of the space in your suitcase. And even how an empty bottle of mouthwash and a drop of blue food colouring can be your fast track to saving your wallet from the notoriously steep drink prices…
You can watch our best packing tips below!
First things first, you won’t even be stepping onto your cruise if you don’t have the magic ticket that is your passport! Make a list of the most important things that first come to mind for your holiday (and we don’t just mean your new swimsuit for the jacuzzi, although this is important too) and make sure they’re packed last or in your carry-on bag so you can get to them as soon as you need them.
The priorities can vary from your medicine, camera or your favourite toiletries! So make sure you’ve ticked everything off your list before you set off for port and consider ziplock bags: this way you can pack certain items together e.g. chargers, liquids, and you’ll be on top of where everything is in your suitcase!
Our specialist cruise consultant Judy told us: ‘Organisation when packing for your cruise is underrated! I have my checklist when I’m packing and make sure everything’s ticked off before closing my suitcase, and when I open it back up again I can find everything I need within seconds.’ You can read more about Judy here.
Know Your Dress Code
What is worse than being the only one in a floor length gown at a casual dinner or the only one wearing jeans at a suit and tie affair? Avoid being the one that’s failed to pack for the appropriate dress code by researching the cruise line! Most cruises have one very formal night then more of a relaxed approach for the remaining evenings so don’t worry about having seven different sets of cufflinks or a pair of sky high heels for every night.
For example, you’d assume Oceania, the 6 star luxury river cruise line, would be an intensely formal affair… but they’re not! Their focus is your ultimate comfort on-board so keep the dress code relaxed, whereas if you’ve opted for Cunard cruises or the likes of Fred Olsen you’ll need to be bringing your tuxedos and fanciest dresses to fit the part!
Our specialist cruise consultant George told us: ‘There’s nothing worse than seeing someone at the dinner table in an average shirt surrounded by everyone in tuxedos, or even worse if you are that person! Don’t stick out like a sore thumb and beware that you might not even be allowed in some restaurants on-board if you’re not dressed in the right attire!’ Read more about George here.
Think Outside The Box
So your passport’s packed, every outfit planned and your organization skills have never been better, but for the ultimate comfort and convenience on your cruise (the kind you get at home), you’re going to need to think a little bit harder. Have you thought of earplugs? You never know what your cabin will be next to and how soundproof it is when you’re wanting to get your beauty sleep.
And if there’s a slight chance you’ve overpacked you might need some more hangers! There’s nothing worse than having a wardrobe for your new holiday clothes to proudly hang in without the actual hangers (and cruise ships are notorious for not giving enough).
Our specialist cruise consultant Lorna told us: ‘I have a little list of extra’s I always remember to bring on my cruises: an extension lead for my electricals, an alarm clock so I never oversleep on my precious days at the port and a disposable camera so I don’t spend too much time checking back over my photos on my phone!’ You can read more about Lorna on her blog here.
This is all about efficiency, innovation, limited items and effective use of space. The first rule is to roll and not to fold! The days of carefully ironing, folding and placing your items into your case are over; roll your shirts and skirts and not only will you be left with extra space you’ll have minimal creases in your clothes- just like that.
These army hacks will leave you amazed. We’re talking putting socks and underwear inside your shoes in your suitcase, rolling your belt up and placing it in your shirt collar to keep it crisp, shower caps over your shoes and placing fragile items (perfume, electricals) inside your socks too.
Leave all your options at home and think capsule wardrobe for your cruise; although this depends on what cruise line you are sailing with, you can usually still go by the same general tick list. You’ll need formal attire for at least one evening (suit for the men, dress for the ladies), swimsuits for the pools and spa (why not use the laundry service on-board to save bringing one for each day?), practical outfits for excursions (weather suitable) and clothes you can mix and match for days on the ship.
Our specialist cruise consultant Declan told us: ‘I always watch videos of how to pack for the army before I pack for my cruise- it just reminds me I don’t need 5 different belts on a 3 night cruise! And I swear by rolling my clothes in my suitcase instead of folding, it gives you more room than you think.’ You can read more about Declan on his blog here.
The expense of your cruise can add up to more than you think in the end and although they’re always worth it, we still love any inside tricks to save a little extra cash. So, how about bringing some pre-dinner drinks on-board?
Simply swap your vodka bottle for an empty blue Listerine bottle, pour your vodka in and add three drops of blue colouring. There you have it! You vodka lovers have saved money on-board and given yourself a reason to have a pre-dinner cabin party. So, who are you inviting?
Disclaimer: Whilst the www.CRUISE.co.uk team may have heard of this trick, we cannot condone it. You didn’t hear it from us!
So those were our tips for packing for your next cruise! Which one do you swear by? Which tip most impresses you? Will you be adding things to your tick list now or emptying out your mouthwash in preparation? Let us know your thoughts below!