Wednesday, February 14, 2007

How to pack for a cruise

[this post has been updated - 25 Feb 2007]
(as dictated by Darlene - who just returned from a cruise from LA to Mexico)

Carry on luggage: (on the way there) airline ticket; passport; itineraries for flights, hotels and cruise; contact numbers for lost credit cards, etc; emergency numbers at home; reading material; medications in original bottles in a single ziploc bag (a must); prescription glasses and sunglasses; watch.

Stuff the rest of your carry on with socks; hose; underwear and bras; dress shoes (1 pr); comfy sandals (1 pr); deodorant / toothpaste / toothbrush (in their own ziploc); a rolled up gown; shirt; capris; etc. Try to make your carry on contain the bare essentials for survival for a few days - just in case your main luggage gets lost. A tip on packing the gown - turn it inside out, lay it lengthwise and fold it across its width twice, then roll it up like a towel and store it in a large ziploc. In fact, if you notice a pattern here, put as much stuff in big ziplocs as you can - sorted by related items. It makes finding little things so much easier and keeps messes off important things like clothes. It also makes it so that when security empties the carry on (and they will), it won't get screwed up. You can put all bras in one bag, all socks in another.... you get the picture. Keep the documents in the same place all the time so you aren't scrambling to find them when
needed. Make sure every piece of luggage has a tag with your name, etc.

Carry on luggage: (on the way back) Try to stuff your carry on bag with dirty laundry instead of all the emergency clothes and shoes. security and customs is going to rip it apart anyway - may as well make their experience as memorable as possible - who knows, they may move faster.

Main luggage: business cards with email addresses to give out to your new cruise friends; mp3 player with earphones and extra batteries; wallet; a pen; American money (and some from your own country too - while you're still in country); health care cards; driver's license; phone card; tweezers; razor; nail clippers; separate medications - immodium, gravol, antibiotics, pepto bismol, tylenol or ibuprofen, scopolamine (over-the-counter sea-sickness patch); shampoo and hair products; brush; comb; elastics; hair clips; curling iron; hair dryer if you have medium to long hair (cabin dryer not sufficient); sunscreen; 2 bathing suits; cover-up; laundry tabs; pyjamas; underwear; bras; socks; flip-flops for by the pool; light jacket; capri pants; camisoles with built in bra; dark panty hose (2); second evening gown (optional); mid length evening skirt; dressy tops; white cotton button-up blouses; dress pants; undergarments for formal wear; jeans; floss; mouthwash; hand cream; face moisturizer.

Make a packing list in advance so you don't forget anything and you cross it off as it gets packed.Wear your heaviest, warmest clothing en route (rather than having it packed) and your comfiest sneakers. For a 7 day cruise, there are normally 2 formal evening dinners, 2 business casual dinners and 3 casual dinners. Don't hesitate to wear the same gown twice. Bring only one pair of dress shoes in a colour that can be worn with every dressy outfit. Most useful clothing item - camisole with built in bra. Second most useful - capri pants. Third most useful - Miraclesuit bathing suit. More on all 3 items at the end of the post.

Make your own hand-made itinerary, listing your name, contact info, every place you'll be on each day of the trip (hotel, ship, flights) with dates, numbers, etc and have a copy in every piece of luggage. That way, if anything gets separated from you, the baggage handlers are instructed to look inside for clues as to where you are. Get whatever needs shaving taken care of (Darlene suggests waxed) before you go, because there is absolutely no chance in hell you're going to do it in your cabin bathroom. The shower is the size of a coffin (with a flailing curtain) and the bathroom is the size of a shower that will be soaked by the end of your shower. Try to bring luggage that can fit inside each other (when empty) because there is almost no room left once you stock your cupboard-sized closet with all your clothes - especially if you're sharing a cabin. Packing clothes can be simplified by
putting a pants / shirt combination on each hanger (use foam coated hangers to prevent the clothes from slipping off) and dividing the total amount of hangers in half. To pack - simply grab one pile of hangers (with clothes on them), fold the entire stack in half and drop it in the suitcase. Repeat with second suitcase. This also makes unpacking fast, because you just pick up the stack, unfold it and hang it up in one smooth motion. Packing the clothes on hangers also solves the problem of there not ever being enough hangers anywhere you go.

Now back to where to get 2 of the 3 ultimate clothing items. I'm going to tell you where to get the camisole and the Miraclesuit:

The first item is the Bali® Behind The Scenes™ Underwire Lace Trim Camisole or the Bali Behind The Scenes Tailored Camisole with Bra Inside- No need for a separate bra beneath this Bali camisole. There's an underwire bra sewn inside, offering full support and coverage. So, you'll never have to worry about show-through or struggle with unsightly bra straps. Wear it on its own or as a sleek first layer under a light gauzy cotton shirt. You can find this on Ebay, from Essential Apparel, or from One Hanes Place. It comes in black, white or ivory – buy one of each – it is worth it! You may want to measure and be sure of your exact bra size for this camisole or find the size of your favourite fitting bra. For hints on measuring your correct bra size go to Bare Necessities. I find that this Bali camisole comes true to size - as in no surprises. There is also the Sassybax: Torso Trim Camisole - again from Ebay or from Bare Necessities.

The other item I want to tell you about is the Miraclesuit swimsuit. It is more expensive than most but actually lives by its claim that you can lose 10 pounds in 10 seconds with this suit. I looked fantastic on the cruise in my suit as it took the 10 pounds off instantly! Miraclesuit has many styles to choose from for your own size and figure type and you can save a fortune by purchasing these on Ebay by doing a search on ‘Miraclesuit’ and you can also buy them at Cyberswim, the store with the most selection online.


Carla said... how was the cruise, Mrs White Noise?

Karl Plesz said...

Call me Darlene. The highlights of the cruise were the all-you-can-eat endless buffets, the great entertainment, watching a sunset on the ocean, frolicking whales and dolphins, the warm Mexican sun, wearing a ball gown, being rocked to sleep by the ship. The lowlights were the four hours of security and customs at the airports / docks. I would highly recommend a cruise to people that like to socialize, play bingo, eat, swim and don't mind bikini waxes.