Friday, February 19, 2010

Let the shopping begin!

The cruise is exactly 12 weeks away! Can you believe it? (Related: the final payment is due in 6 weeks!) We may have a foot of snow on the ground, but stores are filling with summer clothes, so we can start shopping in earnest. But what to buy? Here's my breakdown.

Note: This is not an exhaustive list. I assume you don't need me to tell you to bring a toothbrush. However, if you want an everything and the kitchen sink kind of list, there's a good one here from last year.
  • Three casual day time outfits: sundress, shorts and tanks, etc. Wear these to the sail away party, while you're on land on Saturday, and around the ship Sunday.
  • Bathing suits and cover ups. You'll wear these a lot. Many people wore only swim suits at the sail away party. I spent the better part of Sunday in my suit and cover up.
  • Photo op outfit. This may just be one of your casual outfits. Last year I bought a dress before finding out our photo session was at 10:00 a.m., so I felt a bit silly wearing it at that time of day. This year I'll just wear a regular sundress.
  • Theme outfits, whatever they may be. (Dear powers that be: I have a proposition. We get the themes at the same time we make the final payment. That's fair, right? I don't even have to know which day is what. They can just be announced one at a time as they are decided. Perhaps we can get one per month? Maybe you can start giving out cryptic clues. Or once a week tell us what the theme is NOT. I'm reaching here, but the point is: we would all appreciate as much notice as possible, especially for things that may take a bit more effort, like . . . 80s night as an example. Have pity on us girls trying to look our best for you. Thank you.)
  • Going home outfit for Monday. You won't do anything Monday except get up and get out, so pack something comfy to fly home in.
  • Pre-party outfit (optional), assuming it happens. Club wear.
  • Sweater or light jacket for nights on the deck.
  • Shoes: in addition to theme outfit shoes, flip flops, comfy walkabout shoes, and/or something to slip on after 3-4 hours of the deck party when you don't even want to look at heels anymore
  • PJs to sleep in that will not shock and offend your roommate or any unexpected visitors
  • Bras and underwear: please wear these
Aside from clothes and the normal stuff you'd pack on any trip, you may want:
  • Power strip or extension cord, as there is only one outlet in the room
  • Hair dryer, since only the very top suites have them
  • Flashlight or nightlight
  • Travel alarm (no clock in the room)
  • Walkie talkies. I've heard of people using these onboard but have no experience myself.
  • Over the door shoe holder to hold toiletries in the bathroom
  • Door decorations and tape
  • Sea sickness medication
  • Contraband alcohol
  • Travel steamer
  • Various methods of keeping your hair back in the wind and humidity
  • Books or something to do while waiting in line or laying out at the pool
Most 2009 cruisers will tell you that they overpacked. Even with just a carry-on, I still had two outfits left unworn in my suitcase. I just didn't wear as much as I thought I would. Sunday I had my photo op dress on for an hour or two, wore my bathing suit the rest of the day, and then the white dress at night.

What saved me from having to bring a larger suitcase was packing only two pairs of shoes: flip flops and a pair of heels that went with both theme dresses. I wore a pair of dressy sandals on the flight. It was plenty.

Hope this is helpful and the right amount of detail. If there's anything I didn't mention that's an important tip, please leave it in the comments!

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  1. This put my mind at ease. I'm a chronic over packer and want to avoid it for this event. Thank you, Katie! You're awesome as always! I can't wait to see you in May!

  2. We are heading to Miami on Tuesday and one of the girls I am traveling with is a wicked over packer, and refuses to reuse outfits. So we are taking her to the UPS store to mail her used clothing home. Her suitcase also tends to explode all over the room so this will help us save space in the already cramped cabin. Not much room for people with her luggage.

  3. Oh my gosh I just lost in on the....Bras and Underwear Please wear these!!!!comment... Too funny!

  4. Always Katie you have the best information! I know there will be about 2000 of us on this cruise but I hope to meet you during this trip!! @mysticfearie

  5. Not sure if this was mentioned... but you may want to eventually mention that those who will have suitcases and not carry-ons, that suitcases are usually delivered around dinnertime. So people should pack a bathing suit, some neccesities, and an outfit to change into in a carry-on.
    I know last year i had an extra outfit. It was cold here in Cleveland and i came down in jeans and a sweatshirt. I was able to change into a sundress and enjoy the rest of the day. Then had my suitcase delivered later that day.


  6. Is anyone familiar with using the space saver bags? I read on the ning you could use a hair dryer instead of a vacum but Ive never used them so Im not sure how and cant find the ning discussion.

  7. Hi Juliet, I don't know about using a hair dryer, but they do make bags that don't require any equipment. I have a couple that let you roll the air out through a one-way valve. Try a Bed, Bath, and Beyond kind of store for them.

  8. space saver bags are awesome, we used them when we went to japan in winter. we packed for a family of 6 ( one who was only a bag so had nappies etc etc in 2 medium suitcases only thanks to those bags, and they are still going strong. definately worth checking out :) ( does make you suitcase heavier though so be aware of that!!