What you package to take on-board can impact the enjoyment of your cruise vacation.
Allan Foggitt, Veteran Cruiser and Marketing and Sales Director of MSC Cruises, offers his Top 10 Tips.
Whether you are the organised type of traveller who starts filling your suitcase a week (or more) before you cruise, or the type of traveller who simply throws a bunch of clothes and toiletries into a carry-on bag the night before you cruise – what you choose to take with you can have a big impact on your cruise experience. Says Allan Foggitt, Sales and Marketing Director for MSC Cruises: “Cruise packing can easily go wrong, especially if you are cruising for the first time and you are not sure what to expect. Having said that however, even if you don’t pack all the right things, it is not the end of the world, as most ships offer a good selection of clothing, swimwear, accessories and toiletries in their on-board shops, and there are laundry services available on-board as well.”
If you are going on a cruise, here are Allan’s top 10 tips for packing:
- Over-packing: The biggest mistake you can make is to over-pack – chances are that you will spend most of your time on-board in your swimming costume and beachwear, so you don’t need to pack an extensive wardrobe. Also, keep in mind that space is at a premium in most cabins, so the last thing you want to do is to clutter up your cabin by bringing too much clothing with you.
- Luggage: MSC Cruises allows each passenger to check in one bag on cruises of four nights or less. Any additional bags will be checked in at an extra charge. Carry-on luggage is also restricted to one bag as well, and it may not exceed the following dimensions: 56cm (length) x 45cm (width) x 25cm (depth). Although MSC Cruises doesn’t enforce any weight restrictions on luggage when cruising, prospective passengers should be aware that there are definite weight restrictions when flying – so if you are flying to port, you must be sure that the weight of your luggage corresponds with the weight restrictions of the airline you are flying with.
- Pack your carry-on bag wisely: You don’t want to wait for your checked-in bags to arrive in your cabin before you can start enjoying your cruise. As such, it is advisable to pack some first-day essentials into your carry-on bag – along with your normal items, such as your cell phone, wallet and sunglasses, these would include your travel documents, a change of clothes, bathing suit, sun hat and any medications that you may need. Also, all your valuables should be packed in your carry-on luggage and not in your checked-in luggage – these include your airline tickets, cruise documentation, jewellery, medication, eyeglasses, makeup, camera, tablet, MP3 player and laptop should be packed in your carry-on luggage. Also, it is advisable to bring photocopies of your passport and prescriptions in case these get lost. Also, you will need your carry-on bag at the end of your cruise – your luggage needs to be left outside your cabin for collection by latest 2AM on the day of disembarkation, so your carry-on luggage will be required to pack your toiletries, pyjamas, and so on, in the morning of disembarkation.
- Medication: Although there is a doctor on-board, it is highly advisable to pack enough medication for the duration of your cruise. Also, it is wise to pack some medication for motion sickness – ear patches, bands and pills all work well. However, to limit the chance of motion sickness ruining your holiday, tablets such as Stugeron are recommended, and you should begin taking them the day before departure to ensure the medication is in your system.
- Daywear: If you are cruising to a warm-weather destination, then be sure to pack quality swimwear, as you are more than likely to spend a lot of time around the pool. Pack two costumes in case one is wet, and a pair of casual shoes, such as sandals or flip-flops. Shorts, t-shirts, slacks, trousers, casual skirts, blouses and sundresses are all perfect attire for daywear – whether you are indoors or out. If you are cruising to cooler destinations, then be sure to dress in layers in order to cater for the cooler temperatures outdoors and the warmer temperatures indoors. Also, if you are planning to visit the on-board fitness centre, pack extra fitness attire and some tennis or running shoes.
- Dinner attire: Most cruises have one or two formal evenings, and suggested guidelines for these nights are either Casual (sport shirts and slacks for men, sundresses or pants for women), or Smart Casual (jackets and ties for men, dresses or pantsuits for women). It is advisable to pack a dressy sweater, jacket or pashmina as it can sometimes get a little nippy on-board at night.
- Themed nights: Most cruises have theme nights on-board that you can dress up for, and it is wise to find out about these, so that you can pack accordingly. When cruising with MSC Cruises for example, you can expect the following theme nights:
- 3-night cruise: Tropical Night – dress in tropical attire
- 4-night cruise: Gala Night / Captains Cocktail – formal attire
- 5-7-night cruise: Retro Evening – flower power of the ‘60s and ‘70s
- 5-7-night cruises: Italian Night – dress in the colours of the Italian flag (green, white and red)
- 10-14-night cruises: Gala Night – formal attire
- 10-14-night cruises: Souvenir Night – a flavour of the destinations you have visited
- Packing techniques: When it comes to packing your luggage, there are a few tried-and-tested packing techniques that will help you save space. The first one is to wear your heaviest shoes during embarkation and disembarkation so you don’t have to pack them. Pack heavier, bulkier items, such as shoes and toiletries, before packing lighter items, and stuff socks, belts and other smaller items into your shoes to free up some space. When packing jackets – turn them inside out, fold them in half and place them in dry cleaning bags – the plastic helps to minimise wrinkles, which is why dry cleaners use them. Vacuum storage bags are a great innovation when it comes to travel – they allow you to vacuum-pack your clothing, which not only minimises the space that it takes up, but also ensures that it is watertight, so you can be sure that if any packed toiletries leak, it won’t matter.
- Dangerous items: You will not be permitted to bring the following items on-board: weapons, alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs, flammable liquids, explosives, dangerous chemicals, firearms (and realistic replicas), ammunition, sharp objects, including knives and scissors, candles and incense, coffee makers, clothes irons, hot plates, hockey sticks, cricket bats, bows and arrows, skateboards, surfboards, martial arts gear, self-defense gear, flammable liquids, explosives, and HAM radios.
- Don’t forget: Be sure to pack an empty soft bag for souvenirs and momentos. Mark your luggage with brightly-coloured yarn or tags to make it easy to spot and less likely to be picked up by somebody else by mistake. You don’t need to pack towels, as bath and pool/beach towels will be provided. Pack comfortable walking shoes for shore excursions.
Copy submitted by: www.msccruises.co.za.