Cruise Packing for the Obsessive

| August 9, 2008

Packing to go away on vacation is pretty straightforward. Figure out if you will do laundry or not then pick out the number of outfits to make it that long, a few toiletries and you’re all set! But not for a cruise!

Granted you still need clothes and toiletries, but there’s so much more to it than that! I mean, if you’re not on a cruise and the weather gets colder than anticipated or someone gets ill, we head to the closest Walmart and take care of that. Forgot batteries? The store will have them. On the ship you can find them but at a premium price. We paid $15 for a 4 pack of AA e2 batteries on the Magic once (no choice of the cheapies either).

So a lot of thought and planning must go into packing for a cruise. I’m a planner and want to be prepared. I read the DISBoard threads about things not to be forgotten and they immediately are added to my list. I do have a master list for all cruises and then modify it as appropriate for the particular cruise. Here are a few favorite items: Multi-sized Ziploc bags, gaffers tape, wire caddy for the shower, battery operated night light. I’ve used all of these at one time or another on a cruise and they always come with!

Funny story about the Ziploc bags from our first cruise ever. We stayed a few nights prior at the Walt Disney World Swan and stopped for some snacks when we got there. At the end of the stay my husband had some peanuts left over. Rather than bring the big glass jar, I asked him “Do you think they’ll all fit in a snack size bag or do you need the sandwich bag?”. The look on his face was simple amazement. You see he had previously questioned why I needed to have four different sizes and types of bags. I tried to explain but lost him after “If our swimsuits are wet when we have to pack, what will we do without gallon sized bags?”. On a recent cruise, a friend brought a bottle of wine in a huge Ziploc bag. I of course drank the wine and saved the bag for the future!

The weirdest thing I ever packed was a plastic tablecloth. What for? A banner of course! On the first Panama Canal cruise I noticed some of the cruisers had a sign, but it was on white cloth and it blended really well with the side of the ship. I brought a green plastic tablecloth and made letters out of full sheet labels (precut before we left) and put together my banner for our trip through the Panama Canal. Much, much easier to see and carry with us! The gaffers tape held it in place for the transit through the canal.

My sister always hated that I was prepared for a cruise. I bring Pepto Bismal, Imodium, Ibuprofen, Allergy pills, just to name a few, plus anything else you would have in your bathroom. When we cruised together, she did everything she could to not need anything that I brought. On the first night she complained about not having a tweezers. I told her “I have one!”. She refused to use it for a whole day and finally gave in.

Now this time not only am I going on one amazing cruise, but two of them! On both cruises we are doing the Fish Extender exchange. This means that I have to have gifts for about 250 to 300 people! I have bubbles, pens, pirate tattoos, pirate bookmarks, pirate rings. Some are for each of the cruises. I have to bring two Fish Extenders because my sister will be joining us on the second cruise and she needs one. I actually tricked her grandson into helping deliver the booty! We are also doing a Secret Mickey exchange on the Panama Canal cruise so all of those gifts need to come too! I decided to wait until we get to California to buy the alcohol for the trip, but will need room in the carry on for that too!

We have found that we cannot live without one main necessity for cruising – the over the door shoe holder! I put this on the door to our second bathroom and keep all the toiletries in there. I have to unpack the second my luggage arrives and this item makes life so much easier. We cruised in a category 11 once and had one door to the bathroom so we didn’t use the shoe holder. I don’t know how I ever survived that week!

So for the last few months, I have started accumulating things in my guest room for packing and it’s been going well, but none of this included the clothes. Today we started working on clothes. I used to have a problem with packing clothes. I would look at my stuff and think “I look cute in this, I should bring it” or “people will like this outfit, it’s coming too” and before I know it have enough clothes for five! I’d get on the ship and realize that I don’t care about what I look like today because I’m off to the pool! I would end up wearing the clothes that I think are the most comfortable and the cute things would sit in the drawer. Enough of that! This time I picked out simple mix and match outfits. Of course I need my martini shirt!

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So now I’ll take a little time off from packing and think about whether or not I really need the five or six swimsuits I have packed and wonder if I’ll have trouble with the weight or amount of suitcases we are bringing. It’s all a necessity for cruising after all so how can I possibly leave some of it behind?


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Category: Disney Cruise Line

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  • MenashaCorp

    Let me solve this for you, Asktracy!! Problem with the weight?? Simple; Take a valet!! Now, I don’t eat much, and can’t drink right now, so your wine is safe… I have 5 sizes of Ziploc bags I can bring and I have my own tweezers in a very multifunctional Swiss Army knife…

    Just lemme know… ;)

  • Cyrano

    Great blog Tracy. Definitely one for saving for the future :)

  • cocowum

    Wow Tracy, you didn’t mention you were going on a cruise … ;)

  • http://www.tonya2426.blogspot.com Tonya2426

    A packer after my own heart!!! Life used to be so much easier without the luggage weight restrictions.

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