Packing and Other Tips for the CJ and Debbie Ray Sailaway
Dave & I have been on about thirty cruises and have become pretty adept at packing efficiently, especially nowadays when all the things that used to be free on a plane aren't anymore! We even went to Alaska for two weeks and only checked one bag each. Here are a few of the things we've learned:
- Stash some snacks in your carry on. I know you're going on a cruise, where there will be lots of food, but anything can happen when you travel. I always have a bag of almonds or trail mix in my purse or backpack.
- I've found that knits are the greatest travel invention ever. Just hang what you're going to wear in the bathroom when you shower and it'll be good to go when it's time to put it on. (I got busted one time on Celebrity for having my steamer, so I don't usually bring it anymore.) Some Downy wrinkle release isn't bad idea, either.
- I like those space bags, too. Just roll them up and squeeze the air out and you'll have plenty of room. Plus, when you unpack in your cabin, you can toss the space bag in the closet to throw your dirty clothes into. AND, if TSA or ship security has to open your bag, they won't have to put their hands directly on your stuff. (Those gloves are for their protection, not yours!) When it's time to leave, just squeeze them up again.
- If you bring eye cream or other potions you won't need a huge quantity of, just put it in contact lens cases. They seal tightly and don't take up as much space as the whole bottle. Plus you can carry a small amount like that on a plane. Those little cases are way less than the 3 ounces TSA allows.
- The beverage packages are a good idea for people who plan to drink a fair amount of alcohol, plus the tips are included in the price of the drink package. (When you're figuring if it's a good deal for you or not, remember to add 18% gratuity to every drink.) On the Oasis of the Seas, you can bring personal wine on board at your embarkation port only (limit 2 regular bottles per stateroom.)
- Bring your passport with you when you leave the ship. People will tell you that all you need is your Sea Pass, and that IS all you need to get back on the ship. But what if you miss the ship? Accidents happen. You won't be able to get back into the U.S. without the right documents. I don't know about you, but I don't want to end up at a foreign airport with no ID.
- Program the phone number for Travel Machine into your phone before you leave and give their number to someone who's not coming with you. They will always know how to get ahold of you while you're on the ship. And remember Maegan Sonnier's name. She will be aboard with us and she can help you if you have any trouble (or get into trouble, CJ!)
- A hair clip works for keeping the drapes closed if the daylight bothers you.
- I don't know if they do it on Oasis, but a lot of ship casinos will punch a hole in your SeaPass card for you and give you a lanyard for it.
- I always bring some extra medicine, because you can't always get Tums or Tylenol, etc. when you need it.
- Put some sort of identifier inside your suitcase and on the outside, too. Once at the port in New Orleans, a lady picked up my black garment bag and took it home to Mississippi with her. Took two weeks to get it shipped back to me. All those black bags look the same when folks are in a hurry to get home! (Every suitcase I've had since has been a color other than black!)
- The best tip, though, is don't over-pack. You'll probably buy at least a t-shirt or a new ballcap during the week, so you're going to need some room in your suitcase for the trip home!