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Learning Choices


Packing for a Cruise
It pays to lighten up


One of our favourite journey women is Arline Bleecker, an American travel journalist with a wonderful expertise in the art of cruising. When she isn't sailing the ocean blue, she lives in New Jersey where she writes up a storm.

Packing for a cruise requires a definite knack - a skill, I must admit, I don't always have. Invariably, I overdo it.

Sure it was fashionable a century ago to board an ocean liner with enough steamer trunks to sink it. But today, the prevalence of one-class ships lets us forfeit fashion fatigue.

Packing smart can save not only a small fortune in porter's tips (about a dollar per bag), but also an aching back, and time--you won't have to wait so long at airports for your surfeit of suitcases. Besides, most cabins don't have enough space to store most of what you bring anyway.

The next time you're preparing for a cruise, keep these female-friendly tips in mind:

  • A good rule of thumb is to pack one outfit for every 2 to 2 1/2 days of travel.
  • Pack lightly, especially for warm-weather cruises. Just remember to toss in a sweater or shawl for cool evenings and hyper-air-conditioned ships.

  • Don't bother buying anything new. For daywear, simply don what you usually do at home: slacks or shorts, T-shirts or sweatshirts, and comfortable shoes such as flip-flops or sandals.

  • Bring a pair of rubber-soled walking shoes for slippery decks and dusty shore excursions.

  • One bathing suit and a cover-up are fine, even for Caribbean cruising.

  • For colder climes, include a warm-up suit. Consider lightweight thermal underwear in place of bulky outer garments.

  • The clothing you bring should be wrinkle resistant (Some silks are ideal).

  • In the event your clothes require TLC, some ships have complimentay self-service laundries for passengers wishing to wash and iron on your own. If you're sailing on one that does (such as the Universe, Sagafjord, and Royal Princess), pack fewer items. Self-service laundries are a handy feature, especially when you consider that travel irons are verboten on most ships (they're electrical fire hazards) and shipboard laundry services customarily charge upwards of three bucks just to wash a pair of socks.

  • Remember, even when formal wear is requested, it is not required. If dolling up just isn't your thing, don't feel obligated.

  • The key to packing smart is bringing mix-and-match clothing. For all formal evenings, I wear the same pair of black satin slacks, just gussying them up with different tops and glitzy earrings. Some journey women may wish to bring two cocktail dresses or a snazzy slack-suit.

  • Pack sleepwear, underclothes, hosiery and toiletries, and some inexpensive foul-weather gear (a rain slicker or collapsible umbrella). Toss in a tote bag for carrying odds and ends.

  • Packing for world cruises may leave you wedded to the steamer-trunk mentality. However, through your travel agent or a cruise line, arrangements can be made to ship those bags ahead of time to International Warehouse Services in Port Everglades. For $25 U.S. per bag, IW will receive, hold and deliver them to ships making extended sailings from that port. However, you'll have to pay the extra cost of getting the bags to and from IWS.

  • Finally, there's this advice to women from one luggage-industry expert: Whatever you planned to take, cut it in half.

Her wise words...

The only cure for seasickness is to sit on the shady side of an old church in the country.

Little children never know that they are seasick until they are.
Katherine Bush - "Things I Have Learned on My Travels" - 1940

The S.S. She...

It is especially fitting that they call a cruise ship "she," for she is pregnant with a thousand adult
embryos who long to stay forever warm and sheltered in this great white womb.
Helen Van Slyke - A necessary Woman - 1979

She flys - she packs carefully...

When you pack your tubes of beauty liquids, creams and lotions, squeeze a little air out of the containers before screwing the lids on tightly. This will help counteract possible leakage caused by the changes in pressurization during your flight. Then, double-bag in plastic all those containers and pack them so that they will be upright when the suitcase is standing.
Sharon Wingler, Author of Travel Alone and Love It

Cruises offer gourmet spa cuisine...

Breakfast might be oatmeal creme brulee -- cooked oatmeal served in an au gratin dish, sprinkled lightly with brown sugar and a blended low-fat ice milk/raspberry cream that's run under the broiler until caramelized. For lunch, you might get a fresh seafood paella with an oil-free tomato sauce,while a dinner favorite is salmon en papillote with herbed couscous and fresh veggies served with an herbed wine sauce.
(Windstar's Sail Light Menu - Source Miami Herald)

More packing advice in Her Disposible Biking Wardrobe






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