This is my 3rd cruise this year and every time I go, I end up packing a little lighter as I become better at figuring out what I really need (and don’t need).
I try to remember to pack light as closet space and space in general is limited in a normal cruise ship stateroom (cabin). I always count on wearing clothes at least twice, I.e if I’m going for a 10-day cruise, I’ll bring maximum 5 outfits for daytime and 5 dresses to wear for dinner.
How many pairs of shoes do you really need? I personally prefer to wear flats over heels, so I’ll just bring:
• 1 pair of fancy flats that goes with all of my evening dresses
• 1 pair of flip-flops
• 1 pair of training shoes
• 1 pair of sneakers or walking shoes (I’ll usually travel in these shoes)
Bring a travel coffee mug to avoid using single-use coffee cups & plastic lids. This is a must for me. I usually do an early morning, post-gym coffee run and the travel mug is perfect for brining a large cup of coffee back to the room.
Buy bottled water before you board the ship to keep in your room (preferably big bottles) or (even better) pack a big travel water bottle to refill at the water stations around the ship. There is usually always water available at the buffet or some café where you can get a refill. I always bring my little Hydro Flask with me, which keeps the water cold for hours.
Bring a reusable drink cup and ask the waiters to pour your drink (cocktail or beer) in it to keep it cold when you’re by the pool…and don’t get the plastic straw.
You’ll be eating and drinking a lot (!), so bring your workout clothes & shoes and make plans to exercise daily at the gym or participate in a class ($). The gym is usually open from 6 am to 10/11 pm, so you’ll have plenty of opportunity to get a workout in during the day. I’m an early riser, so I prefer to go first thing in the morning. On some cruise ships, the gym is very crowded in the morning so you might be better off working out late in the afternoon before you go to dinner. I also always bring my yoga mat to work out in the room.
Bring your own (full size) bottles of shampoo & conditioner. Some cruise ships like e.g Celebrity Reflection give you those small bottles of body wash, shampoo and conditioner, which I find so annoying (so much plastic waste). Other ships like Royal Caribbean have wall-mounted shampoo dispensers, but still give you small soap bars wrapped in plastic…so you might even consider bringing your own (large) soap bar to use.
That’s it…apart from all the other obvious things that you need to bring when traveling, these are just some of the items that I never really used to think about before but that I’ve found to be very useful.
On one last note I’ll say again: You’ll be eating and drinking a lot (!), so try to eat mostly plants and natural foods. This is something that I’m focusing on during this trip as I tend to eat too much when I’m traveling. So, this time I’m doing my best to eat fruits, salads, vegetables, fish and chicken…and trying to stay away from fried foods and desserts (as much as possible).