Before your cruise: Pay for your cruise, book your shore excursions, pay for your gratuities (up front—it’s slightly higher post-cruise), print out your tickets/itinerary, print out your luggage tags (yes, it’s paper, and you will need to follow the instructions), make a copy of your ID’s and passports, make a copy of your suitcase contents, make out-of-town arrangements, and, finally, get rid of perishables in your refrigerator (get some frozen foods for convenience so you have food when you return unless you want to go to the store on the day of your return).
When selecting clothing and other essential items for your cruise, keep this in mind:
(1) Select a few basic colors ( for example, black, blue, or khaki), along with a couple prints, and be able to mix and match all of your pieces. The general rule is to have more tops than bottoms. Consult the following for inspiration. I found a couple of neat blogs on the subject: (1) One suitcase packing, recently discovered (http://www.outfitposts.com). (2) Another that I’ve been following for a while is (http://www.travelfashiongirl.com). Lay out your pieces on the bed. It takes a bit if planning but it will be worth it. I noticed lots of people (we saw many people many different times) wearing the same clothes and when we disembarked; I also noticed many seniors (easily composes 75% of the cruising population) who packed very light. I prefer to have options but I am not dragging everything with me (we already have more stuff to bring because we’ve got a toddler son). But there is a better way, packing smarter and lighter.
(2) If you are a minimalist, and prefer to wash your items in the sink (use clorox wipes before doing so), there is a hangline in the shower of the Norwegian Jewel. If you run out of room in the bathroom, you can hang items in the closet, if they are not too wet (make sure you squeeze out all of the excess water). Some travel brands like Ex Officio has clothing that dries quickly. The website http://www.Travelsmith.com also carries travel-friendly items. If you brought wrinkled pieces, you can also hang them in the closet and spray some wrinkle-release spray on them. Some people also advise that a hot shower’s steam can take the wrinkles out.
(3) Bring items that do double-duty or even triple-duty. Pashminas, scarves, or sarongs are very handy (as an accessory or an outer layer when it gets chilly). These items can change up an outfit very easily. If you plan on wearing some items more than once, then, this is the perfect accessory. Tunics (if it’s long enough and sarongs) could double as cover-ups as swimwear alone is not allowed in the main dining room (the buffet does not have a dress code). Leggings can serve as gym wear, sleep wear, walking wear, and as a base layer (under your jeans). Shea butter is great for full-body moisturizing, but it can be used for your lips, small cuts, dry rough spots, etc.
(4) Walking shoes which are comfortable are a MUST-HAVE (*you will be doing lots of walking and stairs, because there is a wait for the elevators, keep in mind, you will be with many, many Seniors), a sweater or lightweight zip jacket for nightly walks on cold and windy decks (after a heavy meal, you will want to do this, trust me), your travel outfit should have long pants or jeans—when we disembarked, it was raining, boy, was I glad I wore my jeans instead of my capris for travel (*this should be your bulkiest outfit to save space in your suitcase), and possibly, white clothing for the White Party (if you plan attending).
(5) Some other important essentials: a travel pillow (the pillows are always too bulky for me), a day pack (use it for the beach and/or shopping too (double-duty)), a case of water and/or soda, protein bars (a handful is enough) or pkgs. of nuts or candy, a sippie cup for your little one (if you have small children), a portable mug (for coffee drinkers), napkins or paper paper towel, medications/vitamins, ginger candy, motion-sickness aids, water shoes (for rocky beaches), zip-loc bags (came in handy when I collected seashells on the beach or to keep organized, or empty netted produce bags, so the sand comes off), large plastic bags (for your dirty clothes unless you have a designated LAUNDRY bag; there is no laundry self-service on the Norwegian Jewel), stain-remover pen, travel size bathroom spray, clorox wipes, highlighter, small alarm clock. (Please note, strollers need to be rolled up during the tenders.)
(6) If you are familiar with the ship, you can eliminate some items from your inventory (unless you are very picky). I know that the Norwegian Jewel supplies the following items in the staterooms: bathroom- handsoap, shampoo, body wash, cabin- hair dryer, safe, mini-fridge (it is stocked- but you pay the premium, for example a bottle of water is $5.50), in the closet- hangers.