Packing for a cruise in the days when formal meant FORMAL! (This article was written many years ago)
I admit that as a real guy I rarely actually place the clothing in the suitcases. As is the case with most men, I was born without the necessary packing chromosome. In our home the packing process is similar to our sex life. I simply lay it on the bed and let Mrs. Kuki deal with it. However, unlike our sex life, I do have a say in what I'm taking along.
Unlike Mrs. Kuki, I am the over packer in the family. However on our most recent cruise I really fine tuned my methods. I was so proud when the shirt and slacks I dressed in for the airplane trip home were the only clean clothes I had left. When I puffed out my chest and proclaimed the success of my amazing feat to Mrs. Kuki a little smirk showed on her face and she said, my my, my little boy is growing up.
To accomplish what I viewed as this high wire act of clothing assembly I actually took the time to sit down and list each day that we were going to be away, and note what I would need in the way of clothing for each one. Then I simply totaled the columns.
Seemingly the trend on cruise ships is leaning to the somewhat more casual side. Tuxes are becoming less popular onboard with the possible exception of the top end premium cruise lines. On one cruise I took my own tux along. As I laid it out, I had to wonder what a guy like me was doing even owning a tux. I wore it on the first formal night onboard and admit to feeling kind of "James Bondish". I even tried to convince Mrs. Kuki that the only reason the cumber bun around my waist seemed so bulky was it was concealing my berretta. It was trying in vein to conceal something that starts with the letter B, but Beretta isn't even close.
The next time I was going to take the tux along it had apparently shrunk in the sea air, so I arranged to rent one from the cruise line rental agency. The rates vary between cruise lines, but for one tux with pants, one shirt, one tie, and accompanying accessories the cost is in the range of $85. For around $125 you can add on a separate white dinner jacket, and an extra shirt.
In a pattern unusual for me, after the first formal night, I noticed that I had somehow managed to come back to the cabin without the normal food and dessert stains on my clothing. I could wear the tux for the next formal night, and save the dinner jacket for a more important occasion.
The last night onboard (tip night) I dressed in the dinner jacket, stood outside the entrance to the dining room and made enough in tips to pay for the rental and half my bar tab.
Personally I think my days of wearing tuxedos onboard are over with. The majority of men these days are wearing suits, and for the sake of my own comfort I think I'll go with the flow.
Kuki's Packing List for a 7 day Caribbean cruise... -3 Bathing Suits -8 pairs of walking shorts -11 Sport Shirts -4 T-shirts -4 Dress shirts -5 pairs casual slacks (docker style) -2 pairs of dress slacks -2 sport jackets -2 suits ( or tux/dinner jacket) -4 ties -15 pieces of underwear (I call them pieces, because like most men, that's the condition they're in) -12 pairs of socks. -2 baseball caps -1 casual rain jacket, or sweater and umbrella -1 pair black shoes, 1 pair brown shoes, 1 pair sandals or aqua socks, 1 pair walking shoes - video camera (so I can more great shots of my feet when I forget to turn it off) with extra battery and tape - still or digital camera and film - folded sports bag (for hauling onboard the caffeine free diet coke that I can't live without, after I purchase it in the port city) Sundry items: Shaving kit, toothbrush/ toothpaste (extra teeth for those with portable ones), deodorant, sun block, sun burn gel, sunglasses, extra pair of regular glasses, Band-Aids, bonine ( in cases of motion sickness), water proof fanny pack and any prescription medication I may need at the time, and the collar and whip that Mrs. Kuki likes so much.
Before I walk out the door I make certain I've got the money, wallet with credit cards, passport, airline tickets, and cruise documents all accounted for as well.
All of this fits in one large suitcase and a rolling carry on. For those that care, after going through various sets of luggage, and watching it get torn or bent, or finding it hard to handle, we've come across, and now use the Delsey hard sided luggage. We find that they stand up well to the riggers of travel, and we absolutely love the wheel system on them that allows free movement in most any direction. Mrs. Kuki finds she can easily handle two pieces at once which leaves me with rolling the carry on size, and I still have one hand free to wave at my fans.
***NOTE*** I recommend wrapping the luggage with some sort of brightly colored material that is easy to spot both at the airport, and at debarkation. In our case we use bright yellow tape that says, Police Crime Scene. Do NOT cross.
As well, we always have a carry on with us that is packed with all clothes and sundry items that we'll need to get us through the complete first day onboard. This means necessary toiletries, medication, a bathing suit, and a change of clothes for that night's dinner. This relieves any anxiety with regards to when our luggage arrives in the cabin. We can simply drop the carry on in your cabin, and set about to explore the ship, and set out to meet your new and old friends.