When it comes to cruising, it’s no secret that space is limited in your stateroom. Therefore, you have to be selective in what you bring, and you have to make the most of the storage you do have. Although I’ve never been an overpacker by any means, I still find it a challenge to make the most of my storage space, especially when my kids are cruising with me. If you come prepared, though, there are several ways to “double up” your storage space without tripping over everyone’s belongings.
Finding enough hangers in your stateroom closet is a hit-or-miss proposition. On occasion, I’ve had plenty of hangers, but, for the most part, I don’t have enough for the entire family. So I bring my own – usually the wire hangers my husband brings home in droves from the dry cleaners. This way, when I leave the ship, I leave the hangers behind for the next guests to use.
Clothespins come in handy when hanging clothes in the closet because, obviously, you can clip pants or a skirt to a hangar, and then hang a shirt on that same hangar. However, clothespins are a fantastic way to maximize the pitifully short clothesline in the bathroom shower. After all, if laying swimsuits across the clothesline, you’re lucky if you get two, maybe three swimsuits on it. By using clothespins, you can add more clothes because you can hang swimsuits by the straps or clip swim trunks at one corner. On our most recent cruise, I was able to hang my two-piece swimsuit, my daughter’s one-piece swimsuit, my son’s swim trunks and my mother’s one-piece swimsuit on the clothesline at the same time.
3. Plastic shopping bags
I’m a firm believer in reusing all those plastic shopping bags as much as possible before sending them off to the recycle center. When cruising, I bring a large one for each person on the trip. I hang a bag for each person from its handles on one of the hangers I bring with me, and use it as a laundry bag. At the end of each day, each person deposits his or her dirty clothes in the bag. The night before we disembark, I just put the bag in its respective suitcase, and I’m done packing. When I get home, the bag goes straight to the laundry room.
With everyone having multiple electronics, charging up at the end of the day leads to a fight for outlets, which are severely limited in a stateroom. To alleviate this problem, bring along a portable power strip. If you plan to charge devices while you are hanging out by the pool, having dinner or heading into port, be sure to leave a key card or similar card in your “power slot” by the door before leaving. Otherwise, to conserve electricity, the power will be cut off to your stateroom and no charging will take place.
5. Zippered tote bag
I love zippered tote bags for carrying items here, there and everywhere. Unlike a lot of women, when I cruise, I do not bring my purse with me. It’s just one more item I don’t want to carry around. Instead, I bring a zippered tote bag, because I throw everything in it and close it up. Hanging out by the pool? I carry my towels, sunscreen, magazines and iPod in my tote bag. Going ashore for an excursion? I toss in my passport, sunscreen, camera and some unopened snacks. Basically, I throw whatever I want or need into my zippered tote bag and close it up, without worrying that something will fall out or someone’s hand can sneak in.
Of course, these are just my favorite packing tips for cruises; ask anyone who cruises regularly for their advice, and you’re sure to receive many great tips on what to bring. In fact, if you have been cruising before, what’s your favorite item to bring aboard? Tell us in the comments below!
If you liked this, you’ll probably also like these: