How to Pack for a 7 Day Cruise
Packing for a cruise is an art form. Learn all of my tips, tricks and techniques to fitting an entire weeks worth of stuff into a medium-size suitcase.
*This post contains affiliate links to products that I use to help keep my suitcase neat and organized*
Hey, y'all! Happy Travel Tuesday, I'm so glad you're here! My Facebook timeline is flooded with pictures of my travels from years past. This time last year I was in Alaska, a few years back I was in Costa Rica, California, Arizona, and Vegas. As a teacher, this is typically my time to get up and go.
With all of the changes going on with us right now (looking to purchase a new home, becoming foster parents, etc.), we weren't able to plan a big trip for this summer. So I'm living vicariously through my Travel Tuesday posts and my old photos.
Last week, I shared with you my packing list for 7 days in the Caribbean along with a free printable to help keep you organized.
As you can see from my packing list, I pack a lot of stuff- but in all honesty, you have to! You'll need clothes for by the pool, for lounging around on the ship, for dinner, for excursions and the beach. You'll also need to make sure you have all of your toiletries, sunscreen, electronic equipment, etc. With a little practice, I've learned to pack all of this stuff away into a medium size 69-liter suitcase that measures 24.2" x 16" x 9".
We got this set last year when we flew to Alaska. I use the medium size suitcase for cruising (Ashley uses the larger one) and it weighs about 6 1/2 pounds and is just the right size for me!
Believe it or not, the picture above includes everything on my list minus the shoes. We're talking snorkel gear, hammock, flat iron, socks, makeup, you name it- it's there.
Step One: Dinner Wear- The first thing I always pack is my skirts and dresses. I used to wear long, fancy schmancy gowns on Elegant Night but over the years I've reeled it in a little and stick to a LBD. On my last cruise I packed a total of 7 dresses, one for each night. If you pack slacks and blouses, you can scale back this a little bit. I didn' take a photo of my dresses but here's a family pic from our last cruise as proof that there are dresses hidden away in my suitcase.
Believe it or not, dresses are less likely to get wrinkled when they are at the very bottom of your suitcase. Lay your dresses longways and flat on the bottom of your suitcase, allowing them to drape over the sides if necessary. Neatly layer your dresses, one on top of the other. Neatly fold all of the dresses together so that they fit in the suitcase. Straighten them out, as necessary, to reduce wrinkling.
Step Two: Casual Wear
The key to keeping my suitcase organized is packing cubes. If you don't own packing cubes yet, get some. You'll thank yourself later! I use this set that I got from Amazon.
To pack my casual wear, I start with stacking all of my bottoms on top of one another in a nice neat pile. All of these will slide neatly into one of the larger packing cubes. Next, I neatly fold all of my shirts so that they are roughly the same size. Afterward, I stack them neatly and place them in a second packing cube. These cubes get placed on top of my dresses.
The third packing cube is used for bras, panties and socks.
I use the laundry bags to house my bathing suits. The second laundry bag is where I store my electronic chargers.
Step 3: Cruise Necessities Now that all of my clothing is packed, I move on to cruising necessities. These will look different for every cruiser. My necessities include snorkel gear, a lanyard, a large drink container, a wine bottle opener, pens and Ziplocs...oh and a hammock. Yours might be a fan, a sound machine, or some other random things. I'll be sharing other expert cruisers must-haves next week!
Most of my must-haves get organized into different travel pouches, to keep things neat and tidy.
The bag on the left is my beach pouch. It houses a hairbrush, extra hair ties, 2 different SPFs of sunscreen, a bottle of conditioner and a collapsible cup (I've always traveled with one of these for some weird reason). On beach days or pool days, I can simply grab a towel, some water and this pouch and be out the door.
The bag on my right is my jungle bag. Although I usually only use this in the Western Caribbean and Alaska, I always carry it with me just in case. It has binoculars, hair ties, sunscreen and insect repellent galore. I swear by BullFrog but have backups in the event we go deep into the jungle. These things are great to have on hand if you're visiting Mayan Ruins!
Both of these bags stay packed year round to help making packing for trips easier.
Bag number 3 is a little larger- about 8" x 10". This is where I keep my shampoo,
conditioner, body wash, chapstick, deodorant, and skin care. I also toss in my hairbrush, some extra hair ties and some headbands (which are great for keeping your hair out of your face on dune buggies, boat rides and ATVs). If you're going to smuggle booze on board, this is a great place to do that as well.
The fourth bag is where I'll store my make up.
The last laundry pouch will hold random items like a Tide Pen, sanitizer, pens, wine gear, Ziploc's etc. My jewelry all gets neatly packed into a travel jewelry organizer and placed in the laundry bag as well. Why a cork and corkscrew you might ask? Check out A Wino's Guide to Cruising for the details!
I place my tops and bottoms on top of my dresses and begin filling in the empty spaces with pouches and other travel "necessities".
Next, I add my travel pouches and begin packing my shoes. And fill the top flap and outside pockets of my suitcase with shoes.
I pack an absurd amount of shoes.
The end result is a neatly packed, well-organized suitcase full of everything I will need during a week long cruise to the Caribbean. Be sure to save this pin for your next tip!