Any one that knows me knows I am cruise mad, I honestly don’t think there is any other feeling like standing on your aft balcony watching the surf and feeling the warm sea breeze in you face. It’s that feeling of freedom being at sea gives you. Looking out over all that stunning open water just clears the mind and makes you feel calm.
The moment I set foot onto a cruise ship I feel all the tension leave my body. I don’t know if it is the overwhelming reception which gets me every-time, the promise of visiting a new and exciting land every day or the thought of all that incredible delicious food and cocktail you will spend the foreseeable future enjoying. Ooh or that precious hour in the evening when the boys go off to the club and we get to play a game of roulette or enjoy a cocktail.
When Thomson asked me what packing advice I would give to first time cruisers I felt I was well and truly up to the job. The opportunity to talk about one of my favourite subjects? The challenge is getting to the end of the post without rushing off and booking one myself. Because trust me I spend my life on the edge of booking my next cruise.
Here are my top tips on packing for a cruise.
Check out the dress code before you travel, whilst it is not compulsory most ships operate formal nights. The most we have experienced during a cruise is 3, but the norm for a week cruise is usually 2. For me it is a cruise highlight, Chris grumbles a bit but always enjoys the whole event. I like to take a couple of evening dresses.
Top tip for men’s dress shirts take one a get it laundered and ironed on board, so much easier.
Can you take an iron on a cruise ship?
Irons are strictly prohibited and may be confiscated. I usually take most of our clothes ironed apart from hard to iron mens shirts. A great tip is to hang outfits that have creased in your case in the bathroom whilst you are in the shower. The steam makes the creases drop in no time.
Don’t iron men’s shirts before you cruise
Lets face it they only get creased once packed? Get them ironed onboard. It is not expensive at around $3.50 per shirt, and saves so much time. Click here for Royal Caribbeans laundry prices.
Take a wrap or section of cardigans, I love evening walks on deck and it can sometimes be a little chilly.
Consider the ports you are visiting
Are there any religious restrictions such as covering your shoulders in certain areas? It is better to be prepared to avoid these situations.
Pack comfy shoes and smart but casual clothes for port days
We have walked miles in port, I generally wear my shoes in before traveling so they are super comfy when we are exploring.
Choose an outfit for a family photo-shoot
There are generally lots of opportunities to get family photo-shoots taken on board. I like our family shots more casual, or at the very least not in clashing colours. The photographers are fantastic, and for $100 dollars you get a great selection of family portraits. If you check out the cruise planner certain nights the photographer will run a session with black or white backgrounds for a contemporary shoot.
Take trainers and your gym gear
All that food, afternoon tea, cakes, cocktails, rather than restrict yourself. And do a brisk daily walk, jog around the promenade deck or hour in the gym to work those calories. You may even fancy a round of golf or feel brave enough to scale the climbing wall, but wow what a view.
Have a shore bag packed ready in you cabin with supplies you will need when in port
Pack things such as sun cream, mosquito spray, hats, sunglasses, a small packet of hand wipes, travel guides, plasters and currency. We generally have this packed and ready for visiting shore and use a separate bag for on board.
A thermal coffee mug is something I never cruise without
Have you ever tried walking 4 decks to you cabin after a lovely dinner with wine with a cup off coffee? I take a thermal mug to fill up if I fancy a coffee, it has a lid and its stays hotter for longer. Yes, you can order room service, but sometimes I like to grab a coffee and go for a wander.
If you are traveling with kids take children travel sick pills, our two very rarely suffer. But we did once hit rough seas. Concierge had adult tablet but not kids; with Jack suffering from diabetes sickness can be a nightmare. The travel pills resolved this in no time. And the next day the sea was calm and the sickness was nothing but a distant memory.
Do your research on cruise ports before you go
I always take pocket-sized travel guides for the cruise ports we are visiting. Although there is always lots of information available on board. But sometimes a little preparation goes a long way. We have found some real gems thanks to being prepared and taking travel guides.
I could go on all day, but I think the rest is obvious, what I will say is for the family cruising is such a great option, a way to get quality time together, but also get a little chill time away from the kids, there is so much for them to do, the kids activities are so well-managed, our boys always have a wonderful time, which means we do too.
All Images Courtesy of Thomson