As a mom the job of prepping and packing for a trip is something I take quite seriously. We have known about this family cruise for a long time so I have had time to think and plan what needs to be packed where. Thankfully this is something that runs in my veins, as a 7 year I packed 6 weeks in advance for our family trip to Disney World.
You may be wondering why or what I packed, and how to know how much you need to bring. I tend to over pack in case of emergencies. Right now, in this stage of life, I have 1 still in diapers, and 1 that still wets the bed frequently and should wear pull ups at night but doesn’t like to. So these things require extra space in our luggage.
For our family of 5 I packed 4 roller suitcases, 1 garment bag, a carry-on bag, a backpack diaper bag, 3 back packs for the kids, and our stroller. Teddy still takes naps daily and I wanted to be able to let him nap while we were on the deck if possible. On the air flight down, my carry on bag and backpack contained snacks and games for the kids and myself and my husband. But because we had to stay overnight in Florida one night before boarding the ship, the next day I also added our swimsuits and sunscreen, glasses, and anything else we would need immediately upon the ship. Often times when you check your luggage with the ship it can take awhile for it to be dropped off at your room. And I knew the kids would want to swim right away.
I made a packing list for each member of our family with the clothes, shoes, other items they would need so I could check them off as soon as they were packed. This allowed me to begin packing early and not forget anything. If you are unfamiliar with cruising, you often need more formal clothes for your evening meal. Being aware of the dress code requirements allowed me to be more prepared.
I do think that Joy over packed. She wanted to bring all her favorite dresses instead of just picking 5. But she was so excited I couldn’t say no.
Don’t be like me. Don’t over pack. Especially when the room you will be staying in is quite small. We had too much luggage. I brought along several cute summer outfits for day time. While 90% of the trip during the day I was wearing a swimsuit and cover up. I also should have only brought enough dresses for 1 a day, but I wanted choices. My husband did better. He didn’t over pack. He brought just enough to not wear the same shirt twice. But thats it. I definitely learned alot about packing this week.
One of my favorite traditions of travel was started by mom when we were young and that was car surprise bags. Little bags full of treats and snacks and maybe some toys.
Those are the ones I made. I included:
- Melissa and Doug Water Wow books
- Fruit Snacks
- Playing Cards
- A few Dum-Dum suckers
- Fruit strips
- Applesauce squeeze pouches
Having young kids traveling they are always hungry and wanting snacks. And airport food is 4x more expensive. So I packed extra snacks in my bag. If you are not familiar with the Water Wow books, and you have young kids, you need to be. They are mess free and completely reusable. Check them out HERE. My 3 year old loves them.
Here is my biggest piece of advice for packing for a cruise. Put together outfits and keep them together (use ziplocks for easier packing) for each day you are gone. For example, for Deano, he insisted on wearing tennis shoes every day even though we were on a boat, he doesn’t like sandals. So for him each day I had a pair of shorts, top, undies, and socks. And for the evening he had to wear a collared shirt for the dining room. So we also had either nice shorts or dress pants.
Here are Joy and Deano ready to hit the pool.
I also packed 2-3 swim suits for each person because nothing is worse than trying to put on a wet swimsuit after you’ve gotten dry.
This is my list of the top 10 things to pack for your cruise:
- Swimsuits/cover up
- Casual clothes
- Dress clothes (for dinner)
- Sunscreen & Aloe (I recommend THESE)
- Cash for tips
- Sunglasses & hats
- A good book
- A sweater or sweatshirt (evening breezes can get chilly)
My mother in law had advised us to bring cash, particularly in small bills. This was great advice because you don’t realize how many porters or shuttle drivers you need to tip. For us we tipped shuttle drivers $5 and the porter who helped us get our bags through customs $10. Once on board you can pay tips with your seapass card. Also alot of ports of call do not accept credit cards, so you need cash to purchase souvenirs or drinks off the ship.
DO NOT LOSE YOUR SEA PASS CARD!!
For those who have never cruised before a sea pass card acts as your room key, dining pass, also your access on and off the boat at the Ports of Call. Your sea pass card can also be connected to your credit card and you can use it to purchase drinks, or souvenirs.
If you have any questions about packing for a cruise. Please message me. I’d love to help you!