Packing for Your Trip and Keeping it Clean on a Cruise

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This year I plan on doing a lot more extended travel trips. As much as I love traveling, going on a monthly trip was exhausting and I felt like I could have done better.  The later part of the year was hampered by a bad knee and Covid restrictions and I felt constantly hurried.  This year I am traveling more thoughtfully.  I’m taking longer trips and having some town time in between. I don’t want to jump from place to place and not be able to soak in what I’ve seen and what I’ve done. I really want to catalog those memories in a meaningful way.

So, with traveling for long periods of time here comes some challenges. One of the challenges is packing. I am now confronted with luggage restrictions for a longer period of packing. I need to think about what I should pack, minimize overpacking but yet still stay clean and dressed.

The first trip is Europe. I plan on taking my Ebag Mother Lode backpack.  This backpack is a suitcase and worked really well for me when I went to Ireland last year. I needed to pack heavier clothing because of the weather. We encountered an average of 50° degrees and rain and sometimes it was chillier along the coast. This piece of luggage was was the best thing I have bought for travel and even talked my SO into one.

Mother Lode on Ebags

What I really like about this backpack is that I can either check it or use it as a carry-on. I took a look at restrictions for what size I can carry on and this meets the specs beautifully. This comes in at 22″ × 14″ × 10″.  It has a sleeve on the side where you can tuck in your bottle of water.  There are grab and go pockets on the outside for snacks or important documents. On the back of the bag there is a zippered sleeve for your laptop. There is also a front flap that you can unzip to get inside the suitcase so you don’t have to open the whole thing.  The straps are adjustable and there is a belly strap on the front. It’s really well-built and there’s also an extra zipper around the whole suitcase so that it will expand another one and a half inches. I bought this exact model and have yet to regret the purchase.  What I really like about this backpack is that it allows my arms to be free.

I like cruises. At this point in my life, it’s not about getting dressed up. It’s all about the destination. Having said that, there still is a dress code. Norwegian has the following on their site:

What clothes should I pack?

When it comes to what to wear, you can go resort casual or get decked-out and look your best – it’s your call. That’s the freedom of Freestyle Cruising. We even have special “Dress-Up or Not Night.” It’s the perfect opportunity to get your portrait taken with your family, that special someone or even with the ship’s Captain.

Cruise Casual: the Freedom of Freestyle Cruising

Dress cruise casual anytime during the day, in the buffet and in most specialty restaurants. For women, it includes summer and casual dresses, skirts, regular or capri pants, shorts, jeans and tops. Khakis, jeans, shorts and casual shirts are fine for men. Swimwear is acceptable at the buffet and outdoor restaurant, but a shirt or a cover-up and footwear are required.

Be sure to pack a sweater – the air conditioning can be chilly. Kids 12 and under are welcome to wear nice shorts in all our restaurants.

Please Note: We want you to be comfortable, but tank tops for men, flip flops, baseball caps, visors and jeans that are overly faded, with holes or tears and worn below the hips are not permitted in main dining rooms or specialty restaurants.

All Decked-out: Smart Casual

Dress smart casual in our more formal dining room or in our more upscale specialty restaurants. For women, it includes slacks or jeans, dresses, skirts and tops. For men, it’s jeans or slacks with a collared shirt and closed-toed shoes. Kids 12 and under are welcome to wear nice shorts in all our restaurants.

Ready for Adventure: Shore Excursions

Think about the shore excursions you’ll be taking and pack accordingly, including comfy walking shoes. For kids and adults it’s good to pack a pair of closed-toed shoes. You can check within the specific shore excursion for more information.

Special Events: Theme Nights and Parties

Our newest event, Norwegian’s Night Out, is the perfect opportunity to get dressed up for an evening of cocktails, fine dining and great entertainment. You may also want to pack an all-white ensemble for our iconic White Hot Party.

In general, there are rules, guidelines and a certain amount of etiquette when dressing for a cruise.  I’ve looked into several other cruises and spoken with avid cruise travelers and there is a certain amount of overlap when it comes to cruise style.  I am not the fashion police nor the ultimate authority on fashion. Use these guidelines, rules and etiquette at your discretion. At the end of the day, you do you. It’s a matter of what you’re comfortable with.

  1. Be careful with what type of bathing suit you wear. This may cause controversy but watch see-through bathing suits and the potential for breakdowns.
  2. Be careful with wearing camouflage. The reason for this is depending on where you sail. You may not be allowed to disembark at certain Caribbean islands. You could be arrested but more than likely you’ll be told to go and change. You can wear camouflage on the ship just beware of your port.
  3. Ever since my knee surgery and the pandemic, I’ve gotten used to more comfortable shoes and frankly I err on the side of comfortable shoes on vacation. Your choice of footwear is really important because you are going to do a lot of walking. Now is not the time to break out the stilettos, especially if you have not worn them in a very long time.  This is also not the time to break in new shoes.
  4. While I’m a fan of everything comfortable, I personally think that sleepwear should stay in your cabin.
  5. Check the weather. We are sailing over the Atlantic at the end of April and then hitting several warmer countries at the beginning of May. So, from what I understand there’s a potential for rain on the ocean and some chilly weather and then our ports will be warmer and sunny. You may need to pack for different types of weather, so be aware.

Last but not least on the discussion list is how to pack for extended trips. NCL’s luggage policy is:

Bag Allowances:  Each guest is allowed two pieces of checked luggage with a 50-pound maximum each, same as airlines. Luggage should be clearly labeled with your name, address and contact number.

Luggage Tags:  You may find and print your luggage tags on the last page of your eDocs. For your convenience, we recommend that your luggage tags be placed on your bags prior to arrival at the port.

Bring an Additional Small Bag: It may take a few hours after embarkation for your luggage to be delivered to your stateroom. Likewise, suitcases are collected on the last night of your cruise. To avoid any complications, be sure to bring a small bag such as a backpack for carrying any necessary medication, valuables, important documents and need-to-have items.

Since I’m on a tight packing budget because I am packing one bag, I like to wash and reuse some of my clothing.  I usually take a half a bar of Fels Naptha with me so that I can wash some things and use the shower to rinse out and hang my things.  This trip, I will be trying out sink suds travel liquid detergent.  This product is TSA complaint and comes in individual packets and is made to use on a range of fabrics including delicates.

Another option for doing laundry on a cruise are laundry facilities. Norwegian along with MSC and Royal Caribbean do not offer while Carnival and Disney to offer laundry facilities.  There are some cruise lines that have shifts that you have like Holland America.  Some cruise lines, like Viking, have complimentary laundry facilities.  Prices run between $2 to $4 dollars per wash and per dry.  Detergent and fabric softener would cost you extra.  Be sure to check your cruise line before leaving.  I found on NCL:

Laundry & Dry Cleaning:  For your convenience, we offer laundry and dry-cleaning services. Express, same-day service is also available. Just complete the order form in your stateroom and your stateroom steward will pick up your laundry and return it to you clean and folded. Please note that laundry is not self-service

Another option is valet laundry services.  This is an expensive option and one you might want to save for special circumstances.  Washing, ironing, and laundering a pair of jeans with Norwegian Cruise Line averages at around $7.95, for a t-shirt this costs $4.95. Shorts also cost $4.95. A dress costs around $11.95 and underwear as little as $1.95.  Norwegian usually does a “Fill a Bag” special for $20.  Fill the laundry bag as full as you can for a wash, dry, fold at $20 total.  This occurs around halfway through the cruise. If it’s a longer cruise, ie more than 10 days, there may be two bag specials.  You will find the notification for the special in the daily Freestyle cruise news.  There is a way to have free laundry.  At the Gold membership rewards, laundry is 50% off and at Latitudes rewards level, laundry is free.You are not allowed to bring and iron onboard because it can compromise the electrical system, but you are able to borrow one.  If you have a balcony you are not able to hang clothes on the railing.

So there it is .  The quick and the somewhat easy way of keeping your clothes clean.  Be prepared and pack smart.  Remeber you are on a weight limit if you are flying back home and you will more than likely be purchasing souvenirs and goods.  Check your airlines, TSA, and the cruise line for updated information.  More importantly have fun!





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