One of the most common questions here at ecruising is what should I pack for my cruise? What am I allowed to take on board? and do I need to dress up? All of these questions and more are covered in our Time To Get Packing special update.
To Dress up or Not to Dress up?
For some of us, dressing up or “formal” nights is such an enjoyable part of cruising as we don’t get much opportunity to do this much at home. Whilst for others, they are something to dread as they just don’t feel comfortable in formal attire.
Some cruise lines have cottoned-on to the latter group who are not huge fans of dressing up and offer no formal nights at all, just simply dress up if you wish to at any time. Whilst on other cruise lines, if you wish to dine in the dining room then every night is formal night so it’s very important to clarify this with your ecruising consultant before you book on a cruiseline you may not have travelled with before to ensure it’s approach to attire fits with yours.
For those that offer a certain number of evenings onboard as designated formal nights, which is quite a number of them, you should check your cruise personaliser and the cruiseline website for details on what they consider formal. This changes considerably again from cruise line to cruise line and the number of formal nights will depend on the length of your cruise. It is best to check this close to sail date – think just before you would start packing your case, as they can change. Don’t forget that if formal dining is not your thing, most ships have options to enjoy a more casual dinner every night, although don’t expect a full three or five-course a la carte experience in these alternative dining venues.
For the Bathroom
If you have a particular type of shampoo, conditioner or shower gel that you just can’t live without, then on, of course, you should take these onboard with you. Most cruise lines offer complimentary toiletries onboard – and generally the shower gels and shampoos provided in your shower for example are not strongly scented, so suitable for use by everyone. But if your preference is for a particular brand or scent, then take yours in your checked in luggage. In addition premium cruise lines will offer higher-end toiletries for your use, so check with your consultant what your cruise line offers. Think of the extra luggage space if you're getting Bulgari amenities!
If you love a hairdryer, and a towel just won’t cut it for your locks, you are in luck! These are generally available in all cabins however fridges are not in all cabins. If a fridge is a must, check with your consultant as you may need to select a different cabin type than originally planned if you need refrigeration.
For the Electronics
We all have devices we need to charge – cameras, tablets, phones – so be prepared and ensure you have an adapter as not all ships have outlets that fit our Aussie plugs. The best option is a universal adapter, however, you can also bring US and Europe adapters too depending on your destination.
Whether you are doing shore excursions or doing your own thing onshore, do your research as you may need clothing or items which you would not need onboard when you step onshore. And, whilst there are stores onboard the ship and shopping opportunities in many ports, the more time you spend in the shops the less time you will have to explore the destination you are in….
When booking shore excursions, the cruise line will include details of any special clothing you may need for the particular experience you are about to have. Some are obvious, such as hiking boots for a hike or swimming costume when going snorkelling, but others maybe not so – for example full body covering required to enter religious buildings or temples, enclosed footwear for trips that include walking or wet shoes for water activities etc
Some cruise lines will allow you to take a small amount of alcohol onboard at embarkation. Generally it is bottled wine only. Others will allow some canned soft drinks to be taken onboard too. However, the general rule for the consumption of these onboard is that you can only enjoy them in the comfort of your own stateroom and if you were to take a bottle of your wine to a restaurant or dining room, if allowed to do so, then corkage fees will apply. It is a great idea to take these onboard if you enjoy a pre-dinner glass of wine on your balcony for example. Just remember to have these drinks in your carry- on luggage when getting on the ship, as if you pack them in your checked-in luggage they may be discarded, and no one wants that to happen to an amazing bottle of wine. And, as I mentioned before, make sure if you are bringing these onboard, that your stateroom has a refrigerator. Similarly to a kettle, and you'd like to enjoy your cuppa in the morning before heading to breakfast, then make sure you ask us about kettle facilities!