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7. Don’t forget your passport and your important papers. This is the one thing that could keep you from boarding the ship. Make copies of all your important travel documents and stash them in the bottom of your suitcase, just in case yours are misplaced or take a photo and Email it to yourself just in case.
Every cruise, at least one or two unhappy couples end up being left at the dock because their paperwork isn’t right. So sad. Check and double check your paperwork, especially if you have a custody situation with your children or if you are taking grandchildren.
Take a photo of your luggage before you leave. Then if it goes astray, you can show the purser exactly what your bags look like.
8. A little reading material, but don’t bring a big stack of books. Most ships have a very nice (and free) library of available books left behind by previous passengers.
9. Comfy shoes! Seriously – comfy, comfy shoes. I swear by Bob’s flats – no socks needed and they are comfy and breathable. Even small ships have miles and miles of walking every day. Wear a Fitbit or other step-counting device – it will make you feel better about the chocolate lava cake!
10. A few dressy clothes, but don’t go nuts with packing lots of elaborate outfits. Our first cruise, we had three large suitcases full of FAR too many clothes, including several fancy outfits for the kids that they never even touched.
After that, we got much smarter! We also had four people and six large suitcases of stuff in a tiny inside cabin – trust me, you don’t want to do that!
Pick light and easy items that you can mix and match. Try to color-coordinate your outfits – I stick with mostly black, grey, and tan and then add scarves and chunky jewelry to brighten things up and add variety
Most cruises have one or two formal nights – don’t take the word FORMAL too seriously. Some people go completely Joan Collins for this, but most people just wear something a little extra dressy.
11. Menswear tip – there is usually a formal wear shop on board – AVOID IT like the plague. It will be the most expensive tux you’ve ever rented! We were able to rent a tux from a local shop and keep it with us for the week. It was far cheaper than even one night at the shipboard rate. It came with two shirts and a reversible vest, so it did nicely for both formal nights.
12. Toys – If you are bringing your kids, pack just a handful of toys and select things that travel well. Legos = NO, Transformers = Yes, Barbies with a zillion outfits and accessories = No, Polly Pockets = Yes. Just pick things that will keep their attention for a while. Older kids, have them bring a notebook and write a journal to remember the things they are doing each day.
13. Toss in some gallon Ziplock bags – great for damp swimsuits, extra snacks, dirty shoes, and any other thing you don’t want touching your clean clothes.