Cruise Tip Tuesday | Packing Light – Men’s Edition

159 - Packing

In the past we have tended to over-pack for vacations, but with the rise in airline baggage fees we have learned a bit about packing lightly for our cruises and family vacations.  On our last 7 day cruise in January we flew on Air Tran and did not pay any baggage fees.  We are a family of 5, but had a child under 2 without a seat.  We were able to pack everything in 4 carry-ons, 2 backpacks (personal items), and 1 small child-size backpack.  This included diapers for 8-9 days (1 pre-cruise hotel night).

Here are some tips for men to pack lightly for a cruise.  This is based on a warm weather 7 day cruise where a man would wear shorts during the day and pants in the evenings to be appropriately dressed for dinner in the dining rooms.

Men’s Cruise Packing list:

  • 3 or so shorts to be worn at least twice (adjust based on cruise length).
  • 2 or 3 pants to be worn in the evenings only and at least twice during the cruise.
  • 5-6 polo shirts to be worn all day and evening. Polo shirts are great because they can be worn with shorts or pants and should be acceptable in dining rooms on all nights except those that are exclusively formal.  Wear what you want the last morning of the cruise (i.e. tshirt).  If going formal, feel free to wear a tshirt instead of a polo that day as well.
  • If you really want to pack light, skip the formal night(s).  You will have the option to go to the Buffet or Lido Restaurant for dinner instead of the main dining rooms.
  • If you want to go formal, pack 1 long sleeve button down shirt with a tie.  Make one of your evening pants more formal (suit pants?) and add a matching suit jacket if you feel it is necessary.
  • Shoes take up a lot of room in luggage, so pack smartly.  Sneakers are basically a must for day time and you will probably wear them onto the ship, so there is no need to “pack” them.  If you need sandals for the pool, beach or shower, try to pack lightweight ones.  Pick one pair of dressier shoes for evenings.  You can probably wear sneakers on non-formal nights in the dining rooms especially if they are dark in color.
  • 1 pair of swim trunks is all you need.  You can wash your swim trunks in the bathroom sink or shower and hang to dry.  If it is still wet when you need it, just blow dry it for a few minutes with the hair dryer.
  • Pack as many underwear and socks as you need  – just remember you could hand wash items if you need to.
  • 2 tshirts or so for the pool, beach, or workouts - They could also be worn as sleepwear.  Better yet, pack none and buy 1 on the ship or in the first port.
  • Don’t forget a belt and probably an undershirt if going formal.
  • Sleepwear – a couple of pajama pants or boxer shorts for bottoms could work well.  Consider some junky old tshirts for tops and throw them away before the end of the cruise.  This will allow for some extra room for souvenirs.  You could do the same for underwear and socks.
  • Outerwear – bring a lightweight jacket for cool, breezy nights and your return home.  Try to leave your heavy coat in your car at the airport or with the person that picks you up if the weather is cooler at home.  You might consider a poncho for rainy weather.
  • Try to keep personal care products simple.  The cruise line will usually provide shampoo, some sort of bodywash or soap, and hand soap.  You will need to bring a shaver, toothbrush, toothpaste, and deodorant at a minimum.  The rest is up to you, but remember if you are only bringing carry-ons, keep the liquids in bottles of 3 ounces or less and put all of them into 1 quart-sized zip bag – 1 bag is allowed per person.

Try to wear pants and a polo when you board the ship.  Not everyone gets their luggage before dinner, so it is not usually expected for everyone to be “properly” dressed at the first night’s dinner.  This is the night to wear what you want if you prefer to be casual.  If you want to follow the rules, then go with the polo and pants.  The pants could be worn another evening when you change for dinner.

Keep in mind that there is always an option to have your clothes laundered by the crew on the ship, though it is very expensive.  You could hand wash any items that get stained with powered laundry soap you bring or even just the soaps provided in your stateroom.  There is usually a clothesline in the shower for hang drying.  Some ships even have self-service laundry facilities.  This could be a great advantage for packing light.

If you have any other tips, pleaes feel free to share them in the comments!

photo credit: LaMenta3

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