Cruise Packing for Women

| October 12, 2007

What women need to bring on a cruise, with a printable list included.

If you have read through the men's packing list you will see the emphasis on electronics and not so much on comfort and clothes. It is a valuable list but the ladies need one with our priorities in mind.

When going on a trip, create a staging area where you can assemble everything you want to bring and add to it as you think of an item. Even with a list, this is good to do because you know ahead of time if the clothes you want to bring are clean, pressed and ready or if they need a trip to the washer or dry cleaners. You will be disappointed if you've waited till the day before your flight to pack that favorite outfit, and it needs cleaning. Or you will be under unnecessary stress the night before your flight, waiting on laundry. Staging also allows you to look at the outfits you are bringing to see if they mix and match. By bringing one plain black or solid colored skirt or dress pant you can put together several different outfits just by changing your blouse. A little pre-planning will allow you to bring all you need in only two suitcases. Less luggage means less frustration as you travel through airports and maybe hotels on your way to the ship.

Preparing Your Body for Your Flight and Cruise

It is common knowledge that airline travel exposes you to higher levels of environmental and personal stress. You want your body strong and healthy to enjoy your vacation fully. Getting enough rest, eating sensibly, and taking extra nutrients and immune support before your vacation, and during your flight, will help ensure a happy, healthy experience.

What Clothes to Pack and How to Pack Them -- Based on a Seven-day Cruise

Plan for only two formal nights. Bring outfits made out of material that is beautiful but does not wrinkle. I have found that many clothes when folded neatly, carefully rolled tightly and placed in your suitcase, come out virtually wrinkle free and ready to wear. The added bonus is you can pack more in your suitcase when you roll the clothes. This does not work well with jeans, but very well for dresses, dress pants and blouses. Another idea is to get "compactable bags" where you roll the air out of them through a one way valve. This will work very well for lingerie and hosiery.

On larger ships and longer cruises there is usually an inexpensive laundry available so there is no need to bring underwear and socks for everyday you'll be gone. As a rule, I bring a seven-day supply and then plan on hand washing or using the laundry if I need to. Most cabins have a retractable laundry line inside the shower for small items you may want to hand wash and dry. Your cabin steward can provide next day laundry service for you as well, but it can be pricey.

There is a line of clothing that I highly recommend called "Coolmax". It can be purchased in any good sporting goods store. It moves moisture away from your body and dries quickly. A shirt made from this fabric is great for those hot Caribbean shore excursions. Underwear made in this fabric can be washed, rolled dry in a towel, and ready to wear again in a matter of hours.

Make a habit of checking the weather for your travel destination and pack accordingly. Keep in mind however that inside the ship will be air-conditioned and perhaps at a colder level than you like. Consequently, light wraps or sweaters that go with your wardrobe are a must. This is true for your bedclothes as well. Something long sleeved and warm and short sleeved and cool will insure you are comfortable while you sleep. Slippers or booties are a nice addition.

If you are bringing a large purse or bag for general travel, be sure to pack a small dressy clutch for evening. You won't want to bring a big bag to dinner when all you need is your cruise card, perhaps your glasses for reading the menu, and a lipstick.

One of the things often forgotten is a hat. Bring one that has sun ray protection and is light and cool on your head or warm depending on where you are traveling. There are several lines of hats that crush or fold and regain their shape when opened. This type of hat will pack easily and be available when you need it.

As for the rest of your wardrobe, keep in mind the mix and match rule, and go for comfort and pockets. Think about those long bus rides and lots of walking on shore excursions and shopping. Which brings up another must for packing: COMFORTABLE SUPPORTIVE WALKING SHOES. Nothing will ruin your vacation faster than not being able to see what you want to see because your feet hurt! Make sure to pack a secure, hands-free, over the shoulder bag or fanny pack for those shore excursions. See websites for great ideas. If you are a big shopper, I suggest a collapsible bag with wheels for your excursions so you don't have to carry it all.

When reviewing the men's list I didn't feel it was necessary to list things women normally carry in their purse. The only thing I will say is be sure to go through your purse and leave things like checkbooks and all your credit cards home. Only bring what you need, i.e. identification, one credit card, etc. Most women know what to pack in a toiletries bag, but it really helps to have it packed ahead of time so buy duplicates and add to it as you think of things. Having the staging area with all your things makes it so easy to prepare ahead of time. You will be less likely to forget anything and actual packing takes 10 minutes and no stress.

See below printable packing list for women.

What to Bring on the Plane

  • Sweater or wrap (in case it is cold)
  • Small light blanket (you can't always count on getting one on the plane)
  • Booties (take off your shoes for comfort)
  • Snacks (trail mix, etc. You don't always get fed)
  • Ear plugs -- eye mask
  • Candied ginger (for motion sickness)
  • Sea bands (for motion sickness)
  • Toothbrush, small toothpaste (for international flights)
  • Anti-bacterial wipes (bathroom as well as other things)
  • Reading material
  • Any electronics you might like

    There is a growing concern about leg circulation issues from long plane flights. It is highly suggested that you get up and move around at least once an hour. Stretching your legs by flexing and extending your feet helps to keep the swelling down and improve your circulation. Also I have found that wearing a good quality support hose, either knee high or full pantyhose keeps your legs from getting as tired, helps to minimize swelling, and reduces your risk of circulation problems.


    Items as indicated above, plus:
  • Phone
  • Identification
  • Passport
  • Travel documents
  • Money
  • Medications


    • Shampoo
    • Conditioner
    • Hair gel or moose
    • Curling Iron (all cabins have a hair dryer)
    • Hair spray
    • Body lotion
    • Powder
    • Facial cleanser & moisturizer
    • Makeup
    • Q-Tips
    • Headache remedies
    • Antibiotic ointment
    • Bug spray or wipes
    • Sunblock
    • Antibacterial wipes
    • Nail file & clipper
    • Nail polish
    • Deodorant
    • Toothbrush
    • Dental floss
    • Razor
    • Band-Aids
    • Perfume
    • Jewelry (most cabins have a safe but luggage can be opened. Leave your best at home)

    Note: There is a store onboard the ship where you can get many basic items like headache remedies, antacids, sunblock, toothpaste, etc. However they may not have your favorites.

    Enclose anything that can leak in a plastic bag or in a plastic lined toiletry bag.

    I like to bring an empty nylon laundry bag to fill as needed for the return home.

    Main Luggage

  • Underwear & hosiery
  • Mix and match outfits
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Formal wear for at least two nights (7-day cruise)
  • Dress shoes
  • Evening purse or clutch
  • Sweaters or wraps
  • Sleepwear
  • Booties
  • Hat


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