Going on a family cruise is a fun, exciting way to make lasting memories. However, packing for it can be on the lower end of the fun spectrum. Here are some top tips to ensure you are able to bring everything you’ll need for your family’s cruise vacation, without overpacking.
An excellent way to stay sane when packing for a family trip is to use packing cubes. These affordable packing accessories come in a variety of sizes and colors. Pick a different color for each family member and be able to see where someone’s clothing items are with just a quick glance at your suitcase.
Plus, you can transfer them right into drawers in your cruise stateroom to keep thing easily organized during your cruise – and then stow away your suitcases under the bed so you have extra living space.
Insider Tip: Having trouble finding a spot for all your stuff as you’re unpacking it in your stateroom? Ask your stateroom attendant – he or she knows all of your stateroom’s secret storage spots.
Families can share toiletries like shampoo and conditioner in order to save packing space. Parents: consider leaving your fancy hair products at home and slipping into the ease of vacation mode with your children’s hair products – or better yet, use the ship’s! All staterooms and suites come equipped with shampoo, shower gel, and hand soap.
One thing you will want to pack double of for everyone in the family are swimsuits. From the pool to the spa to water-based shore excursions, there are a number of ways to get wet on a cruise. Since your suit may not have time to dry in between water activities, pack an extra one so you’re not stuck being uncomfortable in a damp suit or having to cajole your child to put on a wet swimsuit.
Some other things you’ll want to make sure you have extras of -- particularly while in port -- are socks (in case it rains and gets your feet soggy), hair binders, and sunscreen.
Consider a family daypack that you can take turns carrying. Getting a daypack for each member of the family may backfire if your kids are younger. They may seem excited about being in charge of their own stuff, but once you’re out and about you don’t want to be stuck carrying their backpack and your own daypack. Pack everything into one, and consider using smaller packing cubes for the daypack as well to keep things organized.
Don’t Pack a Surplus of Snacks or Toys
Don’t use precious suitcase space for boxes of your child’s favorite snack. Having a few packed for busy embarkation and air travel days may be helpful, but once on board, you can always find something to eat. If your child needs a snack, you can get something at the Lido deck or the café or even order room service.
Another type of thing you don’t want to pack too much of are toys. With the kid’s clubs on the ship and exhilarating adventures to be had in port, your children will have plenty to entertain them without you having to drag toys all over the world.
While you may have the sounds of the waves to lull you to sleep, if you’re sharing a stateroom with your children, you’ll likely want to pack a sound machine, too. The sound machine will help mask any in-room movements you and your partner make while using the bathroom, finding something in a suitcase, or getting room service from the door after your children are already asleep.
Walking Shoes for the Whole Family
You’ll be doing a lot of walking around to explore the ship and to see all the different sights in port. Make sure everyone from the youngest family member to the oldest has comfortable walking shoes that are worn in before your cruise so no one gets blisters or sore feet.
Just in case your shoes do turn on you, bring band-aids in your day pack so you can put them over a blister should one arise.
Umbrella Stroller and/or Baby Carrier
If your children are still young enough that they can’t walk for long distances on their own (or they can, but are extremely slow at it), maximize your time in port by pushing them around in an umbrella stroller. This type of stroller is usually lightweight and folds up small. You might not be able to fit much in it, but you can bring a daypack for that.
In addition, if you’re planning on doing excursions that aren’t as conducive to the maneuvering a stroller requires, pack a baby carrier so you can strap your baby or toddler to you and still be hands free to enjoy the day’s activities.
When figuring out how many outfits to bring for your kids, keep in mind accidents and spills. You’ll want to bring extra change of clothes, particularly for the style you’ll be wearing in port, but don’t go crazy – remember there is laundry service on board if you’re nearing the end of your cruise and your family is running out of clean clothes. Budgeting in some money for laundry service is less of a hassle than trying to figure out how to fit 14 pairs of pants and shirts for each kid in a suitcase.
Journal and Camera
Long gone are the days when letting your child have a camera of his or her own on vacation meant they’d go through a roll of film in less than a minute. Digital cameras have fantastically changed that.
Today, you can get your child a digital camera that is sturdy and made for little kid hands, plus has storage so kids can take as many pictures as they wish, and you can download your favorites and delete the others to make room for more fun picture taking. Kids will love being in charge of their own camera and parents will get a delight out of seeing what their children deemed photo-worthy on vacation.
Another good thing to pack for your kids is their own journal for documenting the travels. Give your kids writing prompts each day to help them better record their memories from the day.
Start creating those family memories to record by planning your epic family cruise today. Browse itineraries on Celebrity Cruises or speak with your travel agent to put together your family’s dream Celebrity Cruises vacation.