Few people enjoy packing for a trip. What to take, how much to take, and making it all fit can stress a family out before they've gone anywhere.
What you pack for your cruise vacation will usually hinge on two factors: where you are going and for how long. You'll be able to fit more shorts and T-shirts in your luggage to a warm-weather spot than jeans and sweaters for a colder destination. Do you really need a new outfit for every night? How many shoes can you get away with? Are two swimsuits enough?
In addition to all the clothes and shoes, you'll want to make sure to carry a day bag with medication and important documents, as well as a swimsuit and change of clothes (for you and the kids), if you want to go swimming when you first get on the ship. Your luggage might not arrive until as late as 7 p.m., and even though your arrival time on the ship might mean your bags will get to your stateroom earlier, there is no guarantee.
Seasoned cruisers also make sure to bring items that help keep their cabin organized (like an over-the-door shoe holder to store toiletries) or make communication smoother (like sticky notes, two-way radios and highlighters).
A typical week will have one or two formal nights; one or two semi-formal nights and the rest casual. Based on the length of the cruise and the line, the level of formality (and enforcement) can vary. If your family doesn't feel like getting as dressed up, alternative dining at the buffet and room service are both usually available for no additional charge. As for what defines a "casual" or "formal" night on the ship:
And a word about cell phones: Calling from sea is very costly. Whether you use your own phone or the cruise ship's, you might want to consider getting a phone card to call home when you get into port or purchasing an Internet package (priced per minute) on board to e-mail your friends and family.
So here's our list for what you might want to consider packing for your next weeklong cruise (for weekend or two-week cruises, adjust accordingly). It's a long list because we want to make sure you don't have to spend two to three times as much onboard for something you can get much cheaper before you leave. Print it out and check it off as you put the items into your luggage and feel free to add anything else that we might have missed.