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An Expert's Cruise Packing Advice...

 

Journeywoman Linda Coffman is a freelance travel writer who has been dishing out cruise advice for more than a decade. An avid cruise passenger who enjoys sailing on ships of every size to any port worldwide, Linda also devotes time to publishing CruiseDiva.com and writing for Fodor's Travel Publications. She is the author of Fodor's The Complete Guide to Caribbean Cruises. She writes, 'With the help of some of my friends, here are some of Cruise Diva's favorite tips'...



Getting Ready...

First of all (at home), 'stage' your outfits for evening wear-- if the shower rod in your bathroom is convenient, hang them there. If not, get one of those things you hang over the closet door and hang up the outfits you'll be wearing to dinner each night. (Get the shoes out for each outfit, too.) Then -- and this is important -- cover each outfit with a plastic dry cleaning bag. Then fold each outfit over and place in your suitcase, hanger and all. They generally will not wrinkle. Unpacking onboard is a breeze -- just open your suitcase and start hanging things in the closet.

A caveat -- unfortunately, there are some garments that defy the 'dry cleaning bag packing' method. Clothing that is slightly creased or wrinkled can often be freshened up by steaming. Just hang those items in the bathroom while taking a hot, steamy shower and often the wrinkles will fall out. If all else fails, many ships have ironing stations in their self-service passenger launderettes or, for maximum convenience, send the offending garments to the ship's laundry for pressing.

 

Shoes and bathroom necessities...

This next idea is so great I wish I had thought of it. I'm notorious for the vast number of shoes I pack. As we were preparing for a cruise, another veteran cruiser suggested, "Hey, Linda, let's go get those shoe organizers that hang in the closet, the kind with shelves, not pockets." We got them and they were great for stashing shoes, small evening purses, rolled up belts, and anything small. (This photo illustrates the shoe organizer at work.) I'm happy to report these can be found at many Target stores. I've seen a slightly wider version, labeled a Sweater Organizer at Wal-Mart recently. By the way, emptied they fold like an accordion and take up little room in a suitcase. Editor's note: Try dollar stores as well.

Another cruiser friend offers the following solution for a neatly organized bathroom. We all know those ship's bathrooms are small. Becca Love's tip is to hang an over-the-door pocket-style shoe organizer on the bathroom door. Slip your bathroom necessities in the pockets and they're handy and out of the way. Your cabin steward will love you for that.

 

Neat packing...

Drew suggests, "After ironing items that are going in my luggage, I fold them up with tissue. Kind of like when items are 'new' from the store. This cuts down on wrinkles, and also because your 'stacks' are neater, allows you to put more in one suitcase. Also, as you're unpacking, this keeps things much neater, and kind of gives you an extra lift when wearing that article. I'll also place several layers of tissue in the luggage, as the stacks get to about 6" or so. On the way home, the tissue sure comes in handy when repacking for all the extra goodies that we seem to 'acquire' throughout the holiday/cruise."


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