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The wife and I have some hard sided Samsonite luggage that we purchased 5 years ago that has been on over a dozen cruises, many flights and has survived the various baggage handler gorilla's and what not. I cannot say that there has been no damage as one wheel on one case was dented in slightly but it still functions. I've seen many wheel rubber covers along the loading ramps from some lesser expensive cases. I am not endorsing Samsonite but would recommend a good quality name brand luggage, especially look at the warranties. We have had several lower cost generic pieces but they did not last long. As far as hard or soft sided, it depends on what you are carrying, but remember your luggage WILL be stacked with others and I've seen them 6 or 8 pieces high in the cages they use to get them on and off the ship by forklift.

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I always go with soft sided luggage as if needed it’s more flexible for adding more to it. And even though it seems counter intuitive, good soft sided luggage is less likely to break with impact. 
Over the last five years my Travelpro Magna 2 suitcase has been on 800 flights and around the world and still looks brand new. 

the wire cutter did a comprehensive review a while back testing numerous suitcases. 
 

https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/travel/luggage/

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One of our considerations is the weight of the luggage empty.

The 50lbs limit/extra charge for over/depending on your airline policy of the day...is a factor. Our hard luggage is super light and durable. The largest one in our set is almost five pounds lighter than the largest in our previous soft set. It can make a difference. You typically get what you pay for.

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Mark me down in the hard sided column as well. My current main piece is 24 or 25 inch DELSEY brand, think part of the Helium line. Can't say how rugged worthy it has been with only a few flights but multiple cruises.

Now one OCD thing when it came to hard sided stuff was how it opened. I'm not a huge fan of the clam shell design where you have two half sections. I like a more traditional single flap/compartment.

Example images below are from their "CRUISE LITE HARDSIDE 2.0" line. Just to give an idea of the flap/compartment design.

40207982011_zoomalt-1.jpg

40207982011_zoomalt-3.jpg

 

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32 minutes ago, Gears said:

One of our considerations is the weight of the luggage empty.

This will be my #1 requirement when shopping for new luggage, which will not be for a few years I'm sure.

We too have soft samsonite spinner luggage as our primary pieces, not top of the line and price was very reasonable as it wasn't their latest and greatest. They have held up to all the abuse we toss at them personally, cruise line porters, and airport/airline staff. I think they are decent quality without breaking the bank.

In her younger years my wife bought American Tourister luggage, it was cheap so she could afford it and came with a few pieces. Believe it or not, they held up well, still have them in the basement. The largest one a foot broke so it doesn't stand well (or at all?) on its own, but hey in a pinch we have them. Not bad for the broke college student.

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I used to buy top end luggage but I have found that it is easier to just buy middle-of-the-road, less expensive luggage and be prepared to toss it and re-buy more often.  I still have some very expensive Travel Pro luggage with lifetime warranties but I found myself going to the "dealer" for repairs so often (mostly zipper and "pull" issues) that it became a nuisance.  I have never purchased expensive hard side luggage but the hard sides that I have had in the past did not seem to hold as much as the soft sides.  I used the hard sides for a while but have abandoned them for the old soft sides.

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5 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

I used to buy top end luggage but I have found that it is easier to just buy middle-of-the-road, less expensive luggage and be prepared to toss it and re-buy more often.

This is exactly how I feel. No point in investing in higher end luggage because they all end up falling apart sooner than luggage used to last.

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We use a relatively inexpensive lightweight hardsided luggage set.   They have wheels, retractable handles, and can expand if needed and easily fit under the bed on the ship.  Each of the 3 bags that comes with the set can easily fit into the larger bag which makes storing on vacation or at home a breeze.   We gave each of our kids a set when they graduated high school and our daughter said it was the best and most practical gift that she received. 

We bought them on a website that rhymes with COUPON.......not sure if I am allowed to say the name?

 

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1 hour ago, CGTLH said:

Mark me down in the hard sided column as well. My current main piece is 24 or 25 inch DELSEY brand, think part of the Helium line. Can't say how rugged worthy it has been with only a few flights but multiple cruises.

Now one OCD thing when it came to hard sided stuff was how it opened. I'm not a huge fan of the clam shell design where you have two half sections. I like a more traditional single flap/compartment.

Example images below are from their "CRUISE LITE HARDSIDE 2.0" line. Just to give an idea of the flap/compartment design.

40207982011_zoomalt-1.jpg

40207982011_zoomalt-3.jpg

 

I’m the same way, I’d always rather put the suitcase on the rack and fold it up against the wall, rather than having two halves of a suitcase teetering in the edge of falling off. 

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While we’re talking checked luggage. One thing that is almost as important as the suitcase itself for a cruise is having a luggage scale with a fresh battery. We keep scales in all of our checked bags because there’s no one I laugh at harder than the people who’s underwear are all over an airport floor because their suitcases were overweight because they didn’t distribute weight evenly. You should never get to the airport not knowing how heavy a suitcase is. 

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29 minutes ago, RWDW1204 said:

Whatever you choose,  we're hard-sided people, make sure you do something to easily identify them when you go to the luggage area.

Agree with making your luggage easily identifiable. Way I have my luggage marked up I can see it the second my zone is insight in the luggage area. Another bonus on the first day is finding it getting onboard. I can quickly find it if they haven't distributed the luggage from the various holding spots in the guest areas.

Plus if flying the moment my luggage hits the carousel it can be spotted.

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I just switched to hard sided luggage and will never go back to soft side. I bought the Samantha brown 30" and 26" suitcases. They are extremely lightweight, expandable, and protect everything very, very well. I only have two complaints,  the silver color shows black marks from the conveyer belts very clearly,  and it is the claim shell design which makes balancing the 30" suitcase on a luggage rack challenging to unpack. I switched to hard sided luggage after a trip to Baltimore when my luggage sat on the tarmac for over an hour in a thunderstorm. All of my conference clothes were soaked through. I spent the evening trying to dry them with the hotel's blow dryer. Luckily my room, had an iron. 

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1 hour ago, Andrew72681 said:

While we’re talking checked luggage. One thing that is almost as important as the suitcase itself for a cruise is having a luggage scale with a fresh battery. 

This! Never rely on yourself. Wife took a trip last year with her ambulance core she volunteers with for EMS week. Our scale batteries were dead. I said, don't worry I am not struggling at all,  you're under 50 pounds (when carrying to her car). Well, turns out she wasn't and her friends just made fun while she was scrambling (it was only a pound or two, think she moved a pair of jeans or something). I did take the blame later of course 😃. In hindsight I should have at least used our bathroom scale with the weigh without and with trick. Oh well. 

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18 minutes ago, sk8erguy1978 said:

This! Never rely on yourself. Wife took a trip last year with her ambulance core she volunteers with for EMS week. Our scale batteries were dead. I said, don't worry I am not struggling at all,  you're under 50 pounds (when carrying to her car). Well, turns out she wasn't and her friends just made fun while she was scrambling (it was only a pound or two, think she moved a pair of jeans or something). I did take the blame later of course 😃. In hindsight I should have at least used our bathroom scale with the weigh without and with trick. Oh well. 

Precisely, we all think we could tell the difference between 45 and 55 pounds when lifted but it all just sucks and is heavy. The only thing that gets lighter is your wallet. 

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21 minutes ago, Quilter620 said:

I just switched to hard sided luggage and will never go back to soft side. I bought the Samantha brown 30" and 26" suitcases. They are extremely lightweight, expandable, and protect everything very, very well. I only have two complaints,  the silver color shows black marks from the conveyer belts very clearly,  and it is the claim shell design which makes balancing the 30" suitcase on a luggage rack challenging to unpack. I switched to hard sided luggage after a trip to Baltimore when my luggage sat on the tarmac for over an hour in a thunderstorm. All of my conference clothes were soaked through. I spent the evening trying to dry them with the hotel's blow dryer. Luckily my room, had an iron. 

One thing we have used in the past on my daughters suitcase is Mr. Clean MagicEraser. They do a good job of getting skid marks and belt gunk off a hard sided suitcase. 

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39 minutes ago, CGTLH said:

Agree with making your luggage easily identifiable. Way I have my luggage marked up I can see it the second my zone is insight in the luggage area. Another bonus on the first day is finding it getting onboard. I can quickly find it if they haven't distributed the luggage from the various holding spots in the guest areas.

Plus if flying the moment my luggage hits the carousel it can be spotted.

If anyone is an airplane nerd in addition to being a cruise nerd, planetags makes great luggage tags that are easily identified and personalized. They are made out of retired airplanes, so you never have to worry about the tag getting damaged. 
 

@Matt maybe we could have them carve out some of grandeur, majesty, or empress to sell some cruise luggage tags 

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2 minutes ago, Andrew72681 said:

If anyone is an airplane nerd in addition to being a cruise nerd, planetags makes great luggage tags that are easily identified and personalized. They are made out of retired airplanes, so you never have to worry about the tag getting damaged. 
 

@Matt maybe we could have them carve out some of grandeur, majesty, or empress to sell some cruise luggage tags 

Great idea, still on the small side to be noticed...

Found a picture with my luggage, tape comes in handy for random things...

20180116000331-b0d05603-me.jpg

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Just now, CGTLH said:

Great idea, still on the small side to be noticed...

Found a picture with my luggage, tape comes in handy for random things...

20180116000331-b0d05603-me.jpg

I spend a lot of my life on Southwest 737’s so I could spot that livery luggage tag from a mile away. The BA 747 one on my backpack is harder to spot as it’s white. 

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Checking a bag, I prefer hard shell and I've got an amazon basics 24" spinner that's seen it's share of being tossed around and is still holding up like a trooper. Like @CGTLH my intense dislike of the clamshell style opening lead me on a search for another solution.  I kind of wish I'd seen the one he had linked, but went a different direction.

Luckily I'm an excessively light packer so this may not work for everyone.  Basically, carry on only regardless of the length of the trip with an ONA Brixton for camera/iPad/kindle/misc electronics and important things, and a duffle bag for shoes/clothes/toiletries.  Do generally have to send a few things out for steaming/pressing the first night and on a multi week trip I'll have to do laundry, but it works.

Now I'm going to be stuck going down the rabbit hole of hard shell luggage with a flap/compartment design for when I do need to check a bag...

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