for Selecting Luggage for Your Cruise
collection from TravelPro®
the best luggage for a cruise?
It just so happens
that the "best" luggage for your cruise is also suitable
for many other purposes. Airport and pier baggage handlers are
notoriously rough with suitcases, so a top consideration is sturdy
luggage. It doesn't have to be top-of-the-line, but it should be
well-built to withstand the rigors of conveyors and sorting
machines; not to mention being stacked, dropped and thrown through
the air. Really! I've seen that happen!
vs. Soft-side Suitcases
Over the years we've
worn out more suitcases than I care to think about. They can be a
significant investment, so the right choice in terms of design and
durability is important. Brand name luggage that comes with a good
warranty is always desirable, but no-name or private label brands
can also stand the test of time.
Hard-side luggage has
ultimately been the longest wearing of all our purchases. In
addition to being the most rugged, built-in locks also make them the
most secure and water-tight. Improved composition materials have
made their shells lighter; however, even when empty they can still
If my casual
observations at airport conveyors are any indication, soft-side
suitcases are by far the most popular choice. They are lighter in
weight, zippers can be secured, almost all have wheels, and some are
expandable for additional packing volume.
to look for in a suitcase
should have metal "piano" hinges and solid hardware.
Combination locks are great, but look for those that also have key
locks. Unless a clasp is locked, it could snap open. Wheels
(preferably in-line skate type) should turn smoothly and be wide set
for stability. Retractable handle assemblies should be strong and
adjustable for maximum comfort and ease of maneuverability. Padded
interiors with pockets and garment tie-downs are fairly standard.
For frequent flyers who want the greatest luggage mileage, it makes
sense to look at hard-sides.
set for kids
suitcases you are considering should be covered in a tightly woven
ballistic nylon for the greatest durability—other
fabrics can snag, pill, and tear more easily. None are
indestructible, but ballistic nylon (especially Teflon®
coated) is judged the best. Frame construction is a premier
consideration; it should be strong enough not flex out of shape when
the suitcase is fully packed. Corners must be reinforced with rubber
bumpers hefty enough to prevent abrasion, which all too often occurs
in these vulnerable areas. Wheels and handle assemblies should have
the same properties as hard-side cases and a solid "skid
plate" between the wheels is beneficial to protect the suitcase
fabric from damage when encounters with curbs and escalators are
inevitable. Look for self-healing, industrial-grade zippers that
move smoothly and have large enough zipper pulls for ease of use.
Interiors can include a variety of "wet" bags, pockets,
and other organizers, particularly in the lid/door.
suitcases should be well balanced with adequate feet so they don't
fall over when you are waiting in a check-in line. In addition, many
of the newest models include removable garment bags or "suiters"
for wrinkle-free packing.
bags and rolling "suiters"
Even some of the
smallest 22" suitcases are outfitted with "suiters"—those
fold-up panels that accommodate hanging garments. These are great
wrinkle proof organizers and tuck formal clothing neatly into the
suitcase. The handiest are the ones that are removable for times
that you don't need them.
have long favored garment bags for carry on ease and quick
wrinkle-free packing. Their bulky favorites
are being replaced these days by garment bags on wheels that
are virtually rolling closets with multiple pockets and organizers
for folded items, shoes, and even toiletries. Look for the same
construction qualities as any soft-side suitcase. These bags hold a
LOT and are not sized for carrying on aircraft, however.
Limitations For Cruisers —
If you are an infrequent flyer, you may be in for a rude surprise at
the airport. These are airline regulations and the answer to how
much luggage can you take on the ship.
Cruise Tips -- Little
hints to make your cruise more enjoyable.