It is quite common to over-pack for your cruise, as you will most probably not wear everything you bring.
You may also want to pick up a souvenir tee-shirt or other garment from some of the ports-of-call. (By the way, those garments (not necessarily a tee-shirt) make GREAT souvenirs – when you wear them back home, people will ask you where you got it and you can say, “I got this when I was on my cruise to XXXX.”)
Consider packing your clothes in a plastic bag … and for a number of reasons:
• Even though it might not be raining when you leave home or at your final destination, it just might be raining in some of the airports you connect through. When your luggage is transferred from one plane to another, it could very easily get wet, especially if you have a long layover and the luggage has to sit in one of those ‘luggage trailers’ for any length of time. If you have packed your clothes in a plastic bag, your clothes will still arrive dry.
• If you are traveling with your spouse, you can each put a change of clothes in a smaller ziploc in each other’s luggage, just in case something DOES happens to one of your suitcases, you will have at least one extra day’s worth of clothes.
• You can roll your clothes and get a LOT more in the bag than you would have been able to otherwise.
• The plastic bag can also double as a place to put your soiled clothes – although some ships have self-serve laundry facilities, who wants to be doing laundry when you are on a cruise!?!
NOTE: A garbage bag works great as it will conform to its surroundings quite nicely.
Ladies, be sure to pack a lightweight jacket or shawl (pasmina). Even if you are cruising to a warm, tropical place, the temperature in some of the common areas of the ship (especially dining rooms) can be VERY cold. You may also want to take a stroll out on the Promenade Deck and having a shawl (pasmina) with you will be handy as it can get QUITE breezy out on deck.
Typically there is not much counter space in the bathroom, so if you have a small toiletries case you can work out of, you may find it most helpful. MOST cruise lines will provide shampoo, conditioner and hand lotion, but if you have sensitive skin or are particular about the soaps/conditioners you use, you may want to bring your own (travel size of course).
If you have to fly in a day early to reach your embarkation port, you will want to put not only your medications, jammies and toilitries needed for the next day in your carry-on luggage, also pack the clothes you plan to wear for boarding the next day. This way you will not have to get into your main suitcase for your overnight stay, you can just function out of your carry-on.
Make a copy of your itinerary and put it in each piece of luggage along with a contact/cell phone number – this way if your luggage doesn’t arrive, whoever opens it will have a better chance of getting it to you in a timely manner.
For the first couple of hours onboard, depending on the time of year and where you are sailing from, besides your visor/hat with chin strap (which you will need regardless), you may also need:
• warm: sunscreen and a bathing suit (if you’re planning to hit the pool or sauna)
• cool: gloves, a jacket and scarf.
Remember not to overpack.