Before you actually board your cruise ship, you first have to get there, and in some cases this involves an airplane. If you have the luxury of being close enough to drive to the cruise terminal, you can not only save the expense, but you don’t have to deal with airports!
For me, being comfortable on an airplane is the driving force behind what I wear. This means a waistline that does not bind, a top that doesn’t wrinkle AND a natural fiber that breathes (cotton or rayon – not anything with a synthetic fiber), shoes that have velcro (so that as my feet swell, I can adjust them). And I ALWAYS take a lightweight sweatshirt jacket (that I can roll up and stuff in my carry-on if not needed. If nothing else, it can always be rolled up to serve as an extra pillow or stuffed into that gap that is spewing cold air!)
I also try to make sure that whatever I am wearing has a pocket so I can have my boarding pass handy. When you’re juggling your carry-on and whatever else you are bringing onboard (especially if you’re traveling with children), having an easy to reach spot for that boarding pass can make the difference between easy boarding and a nightmare!
If your flight is an overnight flight and you are actually going to try to get some sleep (and you should – you’re going on a cruise!), then you MUST have ear plugs AND a sleep mask (I know it may not make a great fashion statement, but if you assume that everyone else will also be asleep, then it really doesn’t matter how you look!)
I used to never be able to sleep on a plane, but once I learned about earplugs and sleep masks, I’ve been able to get a good night’s sleep ever since! The earplugs keep out the ambient noises and the sleep mask takes care of the variances in light (people walking up and down the aisles). You may want to also take some kind of Tylenol PM or similar product to help you relax so you CAN fall asleep during a long flight (check the label to see how long the drug will last – if you only have a 5 hour flight, taking a pill that will give you 8 hours of sleep may backfire and you may be groggy when you arrive) – remember you’re about to go on a cruise so you will be anxiously looking forward to your cruise, but you’ll want to arrive ‘refreshed!’
Another helpful item for getting some actual sleep is a blow-up neck pillow. I know they have some nice cushy ones for sale in the airport, but you’ll want a blow up one because you can then deflate it and slide it into a side pocket rather than have to carry around that bulky neck pillow.
You may also want to bring along some warm booties, although depending on the class of seat you are in, the airline may provide them, especially on an international flight. But when you go to use the lavatory, DO put your shoes back on! God only knows what all might be on that bathroom floor!