Pack & Cruise Like a Pro

We love all the cruises we’ve taken to Mexico and have become much wiser in what to pack and how to pack than on our first cruise south. We jammed nearly everything we owned into our burgeoning suitcases, afraid we’d forget something. But we don’t do it anymore and we can save you the achey breaky back problems that a too-heavy suitcase gives.

1. Know the weather conditions at the time of travel and pack accordingly. Go online for weather conditions at your various destination ports.

2. A few rolled, not folded, shirts & blouses which go well with slacks, jeans, and shorts will do nicely. Don’t forget the customary formal evening wear & shoes, as you dress up for lobster dinner night. Remember your pool-side bathing suit & sandals. You’ll be glad you brought a light jacket or sweater for your midnight stroll on the top deck. Gentlemen, this fashion tip is bound to save you embarrassing stares: unless you are looking for unwanted attention when wearing shorts, push down those long socks and avoid that Florida tourist look. It may be a vision, but not a pretty one!

3. Fill a backpack with bottled water, camera, snacks, tissue, and medications which can double as a carryall for onshore shopping. Many people buy their medications in Mexico because they are so inexpensive. Check with your own health care professional.

4. When traveling with a companion, divide your items into two suitcases. That way, if one suitcase is lost, you will both have something to wear until the other one is brought to your stateroom. Lost luggage doesn’t happen often, but splitting your suitcases is free insurance.

5. Your cell phone and camera are a must, but only if your phone has unlimited calling to avoid the roaming charges. We have not had much success with cell phones at sea, but they work well in port.

6. Family or friendship groups traveling together would do well with walkie-talkies. You’re traveling on a VERY LARGE ship and this makes it so easy to find one another. Don’t forget your sunglasses, reading glasses plus an extra pair, in case of loss.

7. Mini Tips: Tie a brightly colored ribbon to the handles of your suitcases. You can’t believe how many black suitcases with wheels are in the airport and at the dock. Bring your camera, tripod and lots and lots of batteries, or, better yet, rechargeable batteries and a charger. On our last cruise we went through four sets of batteries and they are pricey when you buy them on the ship. Onboard passengers are happy to exchange pictures taking moments. You take our picture, and we’ll take yours. Don’t be afraid to offer or ask.

8. Go ahead and leave your blow dryer at home because the ship provides one in each stateroom. Besides, this leaves more room in the suitcase for clothes & gift purchases!

9. Bring excellent walking shoes. On our last cruise Kathi managed to come home three pounds lighter. You will walk a lot.

10. If you are sleeping in an interior cabin, bring an alarm clock. We’ve missed breakfast so many times because it was too easy to sleep late in a dark cabin. Maybe that’s where the three pounds went!

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