Trim Your Cruise
Wardrobe, Pack Light...
Be Fashionable & Practical
by Linda Coffman
went to Europe for a 15-night cruise with everything I
really NEEDED in a carry on and a backpack style purse.
you ever worry about getting your luggage?
probably wonder why I am asking. Just what does that have
to do with your cruise wardrobe? Everything, if you don't have it!
According to cruise line Hotel Managers and Guest Satisfaction
Directors I’ve spoken to over the years, their passengers’
biggest complaints are poor airline service and lost
luggage—situations over which the cruise lines have little or no
never occurred to me that I’d ever be separated from my luggage
until it happened.
sinking feeling overcomes you when the baggage carousel stops
spitting out suitcases and yours aren’t there.
I know that feeling...
in fashion--the Basic Black dress, a sheer beaded jacket, a
crocheted silk ribbon jacket, Pashima shawl & silk scarf
can plan for weeks and carefully pack everything only to have your
preparations undone by the airlines.
In our case, we received our missing suitcase before sailing,
but I have witnessed first-hand how fellow passengers coped without
their entire wardrobes during a cruise. While cruise lines have
practices to assist passengers whose luggage has gone astray, those
procedures vary widely. Some offer vouchers for replacement clothing
purchases in on board shops and others provide loaner tuxedos
and gowns for formal evenings.
it’s just “maturity” but after years of over-packing, I took a
hard look at my habits and decided it was time for a change. Our
routine was seven suitcases—one per day on a typical cruise.
No one really needs seven suitcases!
I decided that fourteen pairs of shoes were about ten pairs
too many and... who says you can’t wear the same thing twice,
particularly on a lengthy cruise? A few trips on my own also taught
me the value of trimming down and never packing suitcases heavier
than I can comfortably lift and carry. I have never tried to see how
much I could get away with bringing with me on an airplane.
Instead, my goal was to learn to manage comfortably with what
I have in a modest sized bag—just in case the worst happens.
patent leather pumps, a shawl style silk scarf & evening
I still check a suitcase, but I maximize what I pack in my carry on
just in case mine is THE bag that is mislaid.
What does that mean? The
law of averages is that one suitcase per flight doesn’t make it to
the same destination as its owner.
we travel together my husband Mel and I split our clothing between
two medium sized checked suitcases instead of one large one.
It’s unlikely that two suitcases will be waylaid and we
each end up with half our wardrobe.
I've discovered that for almost any cruise I can carry my essentials
on the plane and then straight to my cabin.
If nothing else shows up, I don’t have to worry.
On the other hand, Mel hand carries his cameras so he’d
start looking a bit shabby after a day or two.
addition to “his & hers” packing, we devised a system to
maximize space in our luggage. When Mel began taking weeklong
bicycle tours he had to keep the volume and weight down to a single
saddlebag and, in case of rain, everything had to somehow remain
trial and error, this is what works…
knits, lingerie, and small items in Zip-loc plastic storage
bags. Zip-loc bags are a traveler's necessity. It's difficult to have too many of them in a variety of sizes.
jackets, and slacks stay neat and wrinkle free when they are
packed on hangers and covered with dry cleaner bags.
color coordinating items to do double duty, cut your wardrobe in
half and still have choices. Shop
carefully with an eye for fabric that sheds wrinkles, washes
easily, and dries quickly.
travel documents, medicine, or any necessary items should remain
with you in your carry-on luggage. For safety and peace of mind,
carry travelers’ checks, cash, and copies of your passport and
credit cards in a money pouch under your clothing.
This is how I
went to Europe for a 15-night cruise with everything I really NEEDED
in a regulation carry on and a backpack style purse...
dresses do double duty & a sweater adds another look
rolling carry on included:
dresses (one black & two reversible)
-Dress shoes & evening bag
-Two pairs daytime slacks
-Two pairs of dressy slacks
-Black tunic & black twin set
-Two dressy sweaters
-Scarves & crochet jacket
-A polo shirt & knit top
-Two ivory tops/two white tops
-Short sleeve sweater
-Bathing suit & cover-up
-Lingerie for several days
backpack style handbag contained cosmetics, medicine, and
jewelry, plus a book and other incidentals that I can't fly without (mints,
iPod, and inflatable pillow).
the flight, I selected comfortable khaki slacks, a knit top, black
blazer, and walking shoes—all
items that would come in handy for touring.
Every garment I packed did at least double duty and I never felt
you must check luggage:
at the airport in plenty of time, preferably an hour or more before
departure. One of the leading
causes of lost luggage is late arrivals—they
just doesn't have time to get them to the plane.
curbside check-in. A whopping
87% of lost or stolen luggage originates at those curbside stations.
One of the most common causes of misrouted bags is gate agent error.
Know the three-letter code of your destination airport and
verify it on the luggage tag before your bag is put on the conveyor
connecting flights whenever possible.
If you must connect, especially to an international flight, make
SURE your layover is adequate.
Don’t accept anything less than an hour between flights;
I prefer a minimum of at least two hours.
You might make the plane; however, your luggage may not.
your bags. We use cable ties
and can immediately tell if they’ve been tampered with.
Check the locking devices when you arrive, and report any
damage or missing items to the airline immediately.
necessities in my carry on, even if the other luggage was
delayed, I could rest easy. Once
again, it wasn't everything that I packed for myself—but
it was what I really NEEDED.
luggage on the inside and outside with your name, phone number, and
address (preferably a business address). Include your itinerary on
the inside of your bags so you can be traced more easily. And remove
any old claim checks from the bags.
when tagging your bags for check-in on your ship, use all the tags
you receive or print out at least two for each suitcase. I put two tags
on each checked bag just in case one is damaged or comes loose.
While most passengers have no complaint about printing
e-documents for their cruise, luggage tags printed on paper are a cause for
concern. Cruise Diva offers suggestions for how to keep them securely
Then & Now
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