Girl sits with a suitcase in a cruise terminal

Pack for Your First Cruise Like a Pro

It can be daunting to pack for your first cruise. After all, it’s not like you can run out to Target if you’ve forgotten something! But there are ways to cut down on the chances you’ll overpack, as well as tips on how to worry less about re-packing everything for the return trip home:

  • Do pack a pair of jeans/pants and closed-toe shoes. Sure, maybe you’re traveling someplace warm and sunny. Who needs khakis on the beach? But some shore excursions suggest or require that travelers wear appropriate clothing and footwear for safety reasons. Even when they don’t, hiking trails, caves, and rocky seashores can be damp and slippery; mosquitos can be a problem when touring outdoor sites in woodsy areas. Ships also offer activities where guests may be required to wear pants, such as ice skating.
  • Check out on-board laundry facilities before you go. Ships may have laundry facilities for guests to use on-board. Being able to do laundry on-board can cut your packing by almost half! You can save money by packing your own laundry detergent; laundry detergent pods are a great option for this. Some cruise lines offer a laundry service. Housekeeping provides you with a laundry bag; you fill it and for a flat fee, the garments are laundered and returned to you, folded. The cruise line’s website is the best place to explore your laundry options; or call the company’s customer service line.
  • Review the excursions available to you before you pack. See what kind of activities you want to do and if there are any particular things you need. Most cruises/tour operators have life jackets, snorkels, flippers, etc., so unless you’re committed to using your own, leave these items at home.
  • A collapsible/foldable tote bag. Why stress about trying to cram souvenirs back into your suitcase? They might break, or maybe you just won’t have room for them. With a “back up” plan for your purchases, you can save yourself the headache of re-packing your suitcase with more than you came with on the night before you disembark.
  • Comfortable dress shoes. There can be a lot of standing and walking on a cruise ship. For example, you may want your photo taken in front of one of the specialty backdrops before dinner one night; those lines can be pretty long (although they do move quickly). Or you may want to visit a club or bar after dinner to catch a show – it’s not uncommon for the dining room to be at one end of the ship and the theater on the other. It may not seem like a long walk on the first night, but by night four or five, you might be wishing you’d packed a pair of flats instead of heels.

Packing for your first cruise can be exciting and stressful – hopefully, these tips will help you leave the stress at home!

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Pack for Your First Cruise Like a Pro
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Pack for Your First Cruise Like a Pro
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Don't let packing for a cruise stress you out! Here's the real deal on how to pack well for your first cruise. Learn what to take and what to leave home.

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