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We asked our readers what one thing they regretted packing for their cruise

In:
03 Nov 2023
By: 
Calista Kiper

Packing for a cruise isn't always the easiest thing, especially in the struggle of trying to not overpack.

Packing for a trip

On a cruise, you want to be careful to bring everything you might need, but you are also limited in the luggage you can carry along.

Read moreUltimate Cruise Packing List

You also never want to have too many items to organize while on your cruise. Having an overpacked suitcase or a messy stateroom will make your vacation more stressful!

Sometimes, you don’t fully realize the best strategy until the cruise is over.

The same goes for items you needed to pack, and items you didn’t need.

To get more insight on the best packing ideas, we asked our followers on the Royal Caribbean Blog Facebook page what one item they regretted packing on their last cruise.

We received hundreds of responses and collected some of the best advice so that you don’t bring anything you regret.

Books

Book beach

Having some fun reads with you can make a quiet vacation more entertaining, but paper books take up lots of luggage space.

User Michelle Knapp Habrych wrote that she took “Too many books!”

“My suitcase was overweight at the airport and I had to do some rearranging!”

Packing lightly is especially important when you have to take a plane to the cruise port. You’ll want to be careful that your luggage is within airline standards and that you don’t have to pay extra for any overweight bags.

To avoid having Michelle’s problem, try bringing only a few paper books or loading up digital ones on a device like a Kindle or your phone.

Read more: 10 worst cruise fails by our readers

Too many shoes

sneakers

Many readers commented on our Facebook post that they regretted bringing a lot of shoes, and I have to agree with them.

Formal shoes, especially, will barely find their way into your cruise wardrobe. 

Amy Stewart Smitherman commented: “I always overpack them and I usually end up not wearing them.”

Shoes can take up a lot of space, get dirty fast, and be tricky to store in your suitcase. Plus, when you’re traveling to a warmer climate or spending time on the beach, you will only need some open-toed and waterproof shoes. 

If you pack cleverly, you can make do with a couple adaptable pairs of shoes.

Read more: What to bring on a Caribbean cruise? 23 essentials to pack

Jeans

blue-jeans

It’s true that the air conditioning can run cold at night, and you will find yourself at more formal dinner venues on your cruise, where you could want to upgrade from shorts to a pair of jeans. 

Especially for any travel in the airport, it might make sense to pack a pair of jeans or two. 

However, jeans are another heavy, bulky item that doesn’t mix well with water or hot environments, as Katrina Dockter reminded us.

Consider leaving the jeans behind and packing some light slacks or flowing pants. 

Wine

Wine brought onboard

Although most cruise lines restrict the alcohol you can bring onboard, Royal Caribbean allows you to pack your own bottles of wine. This sounds like a great way to save money and still get tipsy on your vacation.

However, user Emily Lestock Ransom said she regretted packing some.

“[The wine] took up too much space and weight,” she commented. 

Although it sounds like a tempting option, carrying one or even multiple heavy, fragile bottles of liquid in your suitcase is a risk you might want to forgo. 

Towels

beach-towel-stock

Ricky Homeier commented that he regretted bringing towels on his cruise.

Don’t forget that Royal Caribbean will supply all the linens you need!

Towels will be provided daily in your stateroom bathroom, and you can always request replacements from your stateroom attendant.

Beach towels are also available on multiple stations on the pool deck of your cruise ship, provided that you use your keycard to check them out. This ensures staff can track and charge for any missing towels.

Towels are even provided everywhere on Royal Caribbean’s private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay

Too many clothes

overpack-suitcase-stock-luggage

A resounding number of cruise fans agreed that they packed too many clothes, including user Leigh Hanson.

It’s one of the most common pitfalls when packing for a cruise.

What types of clothes will you need on a cruise?

There are so many different events, venues, locations, and activities available that you want to be sure to pack for everything.

Additionally, laundry comes at an extra charge, so most cruisers want to avoid needing to re-wear clothes. 

The best way to ensure that you’re prepared but not overpacked is to pack a variety of outfits but limit the amount.

For example, pack one formal outfit and one sporty outfit. No need to bring multiple formal dresses or several pairs of sports clothes.

Laptop

American Express website on laptop

I can relate to commenter Brandon Forlenza-Owens, who said he regretted bringing his laptop and “never even touched it.”

For the length of your cruise vacation, bringing a laptop can be a redundant option. People looking to relax will want to stay off any work on their computers.

Additionally, it’s cheaper to purchase WiFi for one device, and use any essentials on a phone. 

For those looking to watch any TV shows or movies, Royal Caribbean has movie nights most days of the cruise. 

And newer Royal Caribbean ships feature a smart TV in the staterooms, where you can Chromecast any shows directly from your phone.

Too much cash

Cash on cruise ship

While we do recommend that you bring cash on your cruise, you may not need as much as you expect.

“I didn’t need as much cash as I brought,” Mary Jo Hughes Kean wrote on our Facebook post.

Cash will not be required on your cruise ship at all, as you can pay for any purchases with your SeaPass card.

You can, however, use cash for any extra tips you wish to give to crew members. And you will want cash to tip the porters on embarkation day. 

We also recommend that you bring $50-$100 in cash on shore days for each port you visit. 

Shoe organizer

shoe-organizer

Some cruisers like to pack along an over-the-door shoe organizer.

Others, however, regretted bringing one. 

User Stephanie J. Ross packed one along for extra storage in the bathroom, but “there were other hooks inside the door, so there was nowhere to put it.”

She wrote that it was fortunate they didn’t need the extra storage, but the organizer “took up a chunk of space in my luggage.”

Whether you’re needing space for shoes or other items, an over-the-door organizer may not be the best way to sort them.

Your cruise ship will only have a couple doors from which you can hang an organizer. If hooks are already there, or if the organizer gets in the way, you may struggle to find a place to hang it.

Additionally, an over-the-door organizer can take up a lot of luggage space.

Games

uno-card-game

If you’re unfamiliar with the range of activities offered on Royal Caribbean ships, you might think of packing games and cards to amuse yourself.

Danielle Hough Borrayo commented that she regretted bringing games, cards, and Dominos.  

“I had visions of hanging out with family playing games. There was so much else to do together that we never even touched them.”

With all the activities offered on Royal Caribbean ships, from pool times to trivia nights to the casino, bringing your own games will only be a waste of space.

In addition to onboard entertainment, most ships also have their own game room with board games, cards, and books, so there is no need to bring activities from home!

Formal clothes

Along with being careful to pack a reasonable amount of clothes, it’s important to also be careful that you don’t pack too much of the same type of clothing.

Kathy Volkening found this was true when it comes to dress clothes; “never wore them.”

Although you may hear about Royal Caribbean’s formal night and other elegant dinners, it’s more realistic to expect that you will not wear dress clothes very often. 

When it comes to clothing, the water activities, the casual atmosphere, and your personal comfort can outweigh the desire to dress gracefully. 

Be realistic when packing, and bring clothes you know you’ll feel comfortable in. 

Gym wear

athletic-gym-clothing

Optimism is a beautiful trait, and many cruisers employ it when they expect to use the gym on their cruise. 

Royal Caribbean ships do feature a quality fitness room, where gym attire is required to enter. 

Many cruisers expect that they will take the opportunity to exercise, but end up relaxing, or spending time at the ship’s many activities. 

User Sapphire Rose commented that she regretted packing gym wear.

“Using the stairs in heels is a workout day and night.” 

In addition to using the stairs, you’ll have access to swimming, walking tours, kayaking, ice skating, and other sporty activities that don’t require gym clothing.

If you don’t regularly hit the gym at home, you might want to leave the sports clothing at home, and practice realism by reserving that packing space for something you will actually use.

Cleaning supplies

vacuum-cleaner

If you’re considering packing cleaning supplies for your cruise, don’t waste space on them.

First-time cruisers might have learned from other types of travel to bring their own cleaning supplies. Locations like hotels, Airbnbs, and hostels don’t always live up to your ideal of cleanliness. 

It’s hard to travel for people who value neatness!

However, crew members on your cruise ship will work tirelessly to ensure you have a clean and healthy environment.

You will see staff cleaning the amenities such as stairs and bathrooms every day. 

And even in your cabin, you will never need cleaning supplies. A stateroom attendant will clean the room daily, even changing towels and linens at your request.

As far as traveling goes, cruise ships are some of the neatest locations I’ve experienced. And helpful crew members are always ready to provide anything you need.

What is one thing you regretted packing for your cruise? Don't pack these items!

Calista Kiper graduated from Wheaton College, IL, with a B.A. in English Writing. 

Growing up traveling around the world, she developed a passion for diversity and cross-cultural communication. From her first cruise on Wonder of the Seas, she has delighted in the intersection between travel, diversity, and writing in the cruising world.

Calista spends her free time reading, cooking, and researching the latest human-interest stories. 

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