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Who cruises with only Carry On Luggage?


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In light of so many cancelled or changed flights lately, I am considering doing only carry on for our flight from Louisville to Amsterdam.  They have already added an extra leg into the process.  Now we are SDF to ATL then ATL to MSP then MSP to AMS.  My originals were SDP to MSP.  That is way too many times for my luggage if checked to not make it to our correct flights. 

Our cruise is a 12 night and we are "suppose" to get there the day before.  I have never packed in a carry on size for a cruise before.  I do have packing vacuum bags that I can use so that might make it doable for me.  So all you seasoned light packers - tell me all the secrets to making this happen.

 

 

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I normally pack only a carry-on (21") but if it is more than 11days I expand it, so it can be checked. One thing that is important is the mix and match factor. I.e. I bring black and greys that can go with several options, so I don't have to pack a lot. I did my S2S2S in Jan. which was 16 days at sea, with.......5 dresses, 5 t-shirts, 3 blouses, 3 pants and 3 shorts, 2 capris, a bathing suit and swim shorts and 3 pairs of shows in total

I normally do a total of 4 packing cubes, one large cube with dresses, pants and blouses. Two medium packing cubes shorts, shirts and my misc. items. Finally in my carry-on I do one small cube with undergarments. I then pack another medium cube that goes in my backpack with 2/3 complete outfits. I throw in my laptop and a toiletry bag filled with first aid, hygiene products, etc.

I just brought an even smaller carry-on (19in) for my 8/6-night cruises and did a trial run. I was able to get 2 mediums, one small and 2 pairs of shoes in that carryon. With the other cube in my backpack, I got 8 days' worth of clothes in it. I am also chubby, so my larger clothes take up more space. With your vacuum seal you might be able to do 2weeks or clothes and not have to check your bag. 

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For a 12 nighter... Man, that is a tight one. If you are willing to pay for laundry multiple times and can maybe forego some of the formal nights, saving from packing  as many long pants, dresses and extra shoes.  Bite the bullet and only use the on board toiletries. It's probably do-able, but you'd have to be super flexible with your clothes. I suppose a very experienced traveler that knows EXACTLY what to expect from the ship and every port could pull it off. Good luck!

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Maybe a little off topic - but having just done a big international trip with lots of luggage I highly recommend AirTags in your luggage if you are already an Apple user.

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We won't be doing "formal" just smart/business casual.  I'm not sure on using the on board toiletries as I have sensitive skin but I can do double on somethings as put some in hubby's carry on.  We both have an under-seat rolling bag also.  I just I need to see how much mix and match that I can create.   Now I need to think of this as a challenge....

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14 minutes ago, KLA said:

Maybe a little off topic - but having just done a big international trip with lots of luggage I highly recommend AirTags in your luggage if you are already an Apple user.

We have some air tags so I will mention it to my hubby.

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We have done 6 weeks floating around the Mediterranean with only carry-on roller boards and a backpack.

Undies, socks, t-shirts and my nylon casual shorts are washed out and hung over the handy drying line every couple nights. Wear your heaviest clothes (jeans, a long-sleeved t-shirt, whatever) on the plane, plan to buy and wear a few souvenir t-shirts since you will anyway, don't sweat formal nights, use vacuum bags.  Finally, bite the bullet and for things that won't drip dry use the "$34.99 for a bag" wash day and cram that sucker full...  I wore jeans and a long-sleeved tshirt, my hiking boots, socks and carried my rain jacket on the plane. I packed two very lightweight pair of pants (one khaki, one blue), 2 pair shorts, 4 ss t-shirts, 1 ls polo, 2 ss polos, a madras camp shirt, ls linen shirt, bathing suit, deck shoes and a hat. My backpack carried my iPad with a bunch of books loaded on it, my basic toiletries, charger cords and an adapter, sunglasses, a nightlight for the cabin, a few face masks, all our paperwork and a book.

 

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54 minutes ago, whitsmom said:

We won't be doing "formal" just smart/business casual.  I'm not sure on using the on board toiletries as I have sensitive skin but I can do double on somethings as put some in hubby's carry on.  We both have an under-seat rolling bag also.  I just I need to see how much mix and match that I can create.   Now I need to think of this as a challenge....

I like this approach! The nice thing with cruises is that there are lots of 'costume changes' through the day (swim suits during the day, maybe some shorts and tshirts to wander around in, a few sun dresses for dinner) - a lot of things can be simplified with mix and match (like you said) and rolling is a good option to save space in your luggage. Worst case, you can always use one of the laundry bags to clean a few things up if needed. 

For souvenirs on the way home, pack a separate bag to carry along with you on the plane and check the rest of your luggage home! 

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1 hour ago, Riley said:

We have done 6 weeks floating around the Mediterranean with only carry-on roller boards and a backpack.

Undies, socks, t-shirts and my nylon casual shorts are washed out and hung over the handy drying line every couple nights. Wear your heaviest clothes (jeans, a long-sleeved t-shirt, whatever) on the plane, plan to buy and wear a few souvenir t-shirts since you will anyway, don't sweat formal nights, use vacuum bags.  Finally, bite the bullet and for things that won't drip dry use the "$34.99 for a bag" wash day and cram that sucker full...  I wore jeans and a long-sleeved tshirt, my hiking boots, socks and carried my rain jacket on the plane. I packed two very lightweight pair of pants (one khaki, one blue), 2 pair shorts, 4 ss t-shirts, 1 ls polo, 2 ss polos, a madras camp shirt, ls linen shirt, bathing suit, deck shoes and a hat. My backpack carried my iPad with a bunch of books loaded on it, my basic toiletries, charger cords and an adapter, sunglasses, a nightlight for the cabin, a few face masks, all our paperwork and a book.

 

You might be my hero 😆. We are very port intensive so I will probably wear my Keens on the plane as those are my bulky shoes. I need to check the weather for mid-August for Amsterdam, Scotland, Ireland and England to see if I will need any shorts. 

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14 hours ago, whitsmom said:

You might be my hero 😆. We are very port intensive so I will probably wear my Keens on the plane as those are my bulky shoes. I need to check the weather for mid-August for Amsterdam, Scotland, Ireland and England to see if I will need any shorts. 

Having just been in that region of the world - layers are your friend. You can go from being warm to being a little chilly very quickly.

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We fly to Europe every few years as "stand-by" passengers.  I have a relative that was a FA for American.  We get passes, but you are the last to board and you get bumped frequently. So, no checked bags.  We use the roll up air/storage bags to minimize space. Pack it tight and a backpack for extras.  We've done several weeks like that.  You learn to sink wash some stuff early in the day so it can air dry before the next morning.

For Guys - If you can pack a thin set of khaki pants and a collard polo shirt, wear a sport coat on the plane, then you have formal night covered. Also, for guys - wear a t-shirt under your shirt.  It keeps your outer shirt from getting sweat on it and then you can use the outer shirt several times between washes and the t-shirt is thinner material and dries quicker if washed. 

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1 hour ago, FSUFAN said:

We fly to Europe every few years as "stand-by" passengers.  I have a relative that was a FA for American.  We get passes, but you are the last to board and you get bumped frequently. So, no checked bags.  We use the roll up air/storage bags to minimize space. Pack it tight and a backpack for extras.  We've done several weeks like that.  You learn to sink wash some stuff early in the day so it can air dry before the next morning.

For Guys - If you can pack a thin set of khaki pants and a collard polo shirt, wear a sport coat on the plane, then you have formal night covered. Also, for guys - wear a t-shirt under your shirt.  It keeps your outer shirt from getting sweat on it and then you can use the outer shirt several times between washes and the t-shirt is thinner material and dries quicker if washed. 

I found some individual sink laundry soap packets so I will take those and a few clothes pins.  Hubby wears a lot of dry fit stuff so that will help for sure. 

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Buy cheap everyday tshirts etc for lounging about or going to beach when you get abroad then just leave them in cabin! 

You can pick things up for about £3 in some shops, they do the job! Wear once or twice then bin them

Same with socks.

Toiletries you can purchase abroad also and again just leave them in cabin 

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