Packing for a Cruise: The Essentials

New Southampton Terminal
New Southampton Terminal Courtesy Daily Mail

Cruising is big business. Although there are always spaces on the ship for when you want to be alone, things do get hectic when a thousand people disembark. Port authorities do their best to make things pleasant. However it still pays to buy a suitcase that you can spot among a thousand others.

What you need to remember when packing for a cruise

The next important thing is size. Unless money is no object, hanging space and shelves for clothes in a twin cabin are less than you might expect in an average hotel room. I leave my shore clothes in my suitcase and shove it under the bed for later. The secret is to take a large suitcase, but one that is not too fat.

You can take as much gear with you as you can fit into your cabin. That said, the passage inside it will be as narrow as they can get away with for your class, and you definitely don’t want boxes lying around! If you can’t fit what you need into your suitcase then you are can use the ship’s laundromat which is where you meet kindred spirits. Take clothes that dry quickly and iron easily.

Packing for a cruise: Note the typical standard cabin
Typical Standard Cabin Courtesy of Holland-America Line

I personally could not be bothered with dressing up for a captain’s dinner-dance. I don’t own a tux and I hope I never wear one. For me, a shirt and shorts and sandals is all I ever want, although you can also wear long pants if you prefer. When I cruised from Cape Town to England we left in summer and arrived in winter, so I had to remember a warm jersey and a swimming costume!

You don’t really need to dress up either when you go on shore along the way. Tourists are tourists and only the crazy ones hope to impress the locals. I do however recommend a pair of good walking shoes and a sun hat for visiting outdoor attractions. And yes, do take sun factor with you. Shops on cruise ships are expensive so remember these when packing for a cruise!

Packing for a cruise: light clothes
The Author on Queen Mary 2

If you are on medication don’t forget the obvious when you’re packing for a cruise. Your prescription will not work in a foreign country, so take more than the amount you need because you never know. The moral of the story is to only pack what you really need. Leave the rest behind including all your worries. Happy cruising. Have a good one!

About Richard Farrell

Richard FarrellI tripped over a shrinking bank balance and fell into the writing gig unintentionally. This was after I escaped the corporate world and searched in vain for ways to become rich on the internet by doing nothing. Despite the fact that writing is no recipe for wealth, I rather enjoy it. I will deny I am obsessed with it when I have the time.My base is Umtentweni in South Africa on the Kwazulu-Natal South Coast (30.7167° S, 30.4667° E). I work from home where I ponder on the future of the planet, and what lies beyond in the great hereafter. Sometimes I step out of my computer into the silent riverine forests, and empty golden beaches for which the area is renowned.

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  1. Board a Cruise Ship: What to do - Go 4 Travel Blog

    […] Once your ship casts off your umbilical cord to land is broken, and there is literally no way of going back if you forgot your suitcase in the taxi. Board a cruise ship early, inspect your cabin, take a look around for what you might have overlooked, and visit the shop (for what it’s worth) to see what this might cost. When you recover from the shock, check out from the boat and visit the local onshore shopping centre to buy the things you cannot do without. […]

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