Since the long-haul cruise season is now not far away and many of you will be thinking of where your next cruise might take you, I thought I might look at the thorny issue of packing for my first blog.
If I mention the word ‘packing’ some of you will instinctively know what to take and others will shake in their boots at the mere thought of it! On my last World Cruise on MV Aurora, I devoted a whole 45 minutes to the subject, one of my lecture topics being ‘The Cruise Wardrobe’.
Some of you will already have booked your World Cruise for next year and be lucky enough to embark in Southampton and disembark in the same place. You’ve no worries about how much luggage you can take as there will be no restrictions. Not so if you’ve decided to fly to a destination before joining your cruise. The airline will almost certainly decide how much, or how little you can pack. That can be something of a predicament if you’ve got several formal, casual, smart nights as well as day wear to take care of. And the chances are you will be leaving good old England in the winter, with temperatures low down on the thermometer. Warmth is a consideration!
The secret to a stress free packing ‘experience’ is to make sure that everything you take can be worn as many ways as possible. This includes layering with other items so that you can deal with different climates and temperatures along the way. Shoes tend to be the heaviest item that you take, so make sure that you can wear them on several occasions with the help of a few added accessories. More on that subject another time.
Warmth is a crucial consideration, especially on a cruise through many temperature zones. Unless you know you are going to be in a warm climate all the time, please pack a thermal vest or two and leggings. They don’t have to look like something your Gran would wear; there are lots of really ‘pretty’ options available. It’s amazing how much warmth you can get from thermal wear and of course it weighs very little.
I always take a pair of 100 denier tights with me. They look great with a skirt or dress and a classic pair of shoes BUT, they are so so warm under trousers and they don’t add bulk around your middle. In fact they actually pull you in and make you look slimmer! As temperatures warm up you just roll them in a ball and put them at the back of the drawer. The skirt or dress still looks good with bare legs! All of the above can be rinsed out in the sink in the cabin, weigh very little and dry in next to no time, preferably hanging up in the shower.
Next on the list of ‘heaviest’ items to pack are jeans. Trouble is they are a staple item as far as most of us are concerned. If you must take jeans don’t take your ‘jean’ coloured blue pair. They look like jeans! Choose a dark blue or black pair or even a more colourful pair. Try to avoid jeans with lots of sparkle on them, this limits where you can wear them. Pick the right pair and you can wear them in the day with a T Shirt and flat shoes, and then on another occasion add a pair of heels and a jazzy top, perfect for a casual evening on board. Add an evening jacket and you might just get away with it on a smart evening. Try it with your evening shoes and sparkly bag to really up the game.
My last tip for this blog is to stick to four colours. Those four colours should complement each other. If you choose the right colours, all your outfits will go with each other. Please don’t take a pair of trousers that only go with one top. The rule is that for every bottom (skirt, trousers, jeans, shorts) you should have at least 3 tops.
I hope that gives you something to think about. I’ll post more ideas over the next weeks with more tips for stress free packing.