packing carry ons only

Oct 15th, 2009, 07:47 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 5
packing carry ons only

So I've seen a person on here that was able to pack for a 14 day cruise in 2 carry ons, if I'm remembering right. How does one do that? Are there really great carry ons out there that seem to fit more than others, even though they all have to be within the certain size limitations? I would love to just bring carry ons just to save time, a little money, and some worry, seeing as I've read some stories that people and luggage sometimes don't find each other on the cruise ships TIA!
hellotoyou is offline  
Oct 15th, 2009, 10:41 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
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I can't speak specifically to a cruise, but I usually pack everything I need for a 14-day trip in a carry-on and personal item. When I do this, the personal item is usually my Arcteryx backpack, and the carry-on is a 19-inch Tumi convertible backpack with wheels. And I'm not a particularly light traveler.

You can talk about strategies, etc. all you like, but there are two keys:
1. You have to be willing to wear things more than once.
2. You have to be willing to do some laundry; you actually pack for one week and do laundry halfway through the cruise.

If you want to be able to pack 1 or 2 complete changes of clothing for each day of travel in carry-on only luggage you can't do it. Obviously, the strategy would work better for an NCL cruise, where you don't have to dress up at all, than for a HAL cruise with 2 formal nights. When you have to include a suit or formal clothing then this strategy just doesn't work very well. But I don't see why it's any harder to pack for a cruise than for any other vacation. I've packed this way for a 2-week trip to Egypt, a 2-1/2 week trip to SE Asia, and a 2-week trip to the Philippines, and it's just not that hard for me. But it really depends on the person. For a heavy packer, it might seem a burden not worth taking on if you don't want to be bothered with laundry or don't like to wear anything twice.
doug_stallings is offline  
Oct 15th, 2009, 03:47 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
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Just did a cruise in July where a couple we know did exactly what Doug_Stallings discussed above. They each had one carry on (small bag - tote size) and a roll-a-board. They did laundry. Also basic colors that mixed and matched. Only regret she expressed was that while the cruise didn't have any formal nights, she wished she had brought a dressier top for evenings for the "country club casual."
patandhank is offline  
Oct 15th, 2009, 03:54 PM
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I can pack carry-on only! In the evening, quick laundry in the sink, drip-dry overnight, day on hangers, voila!

Only instead of 2 carryons we pack one 24" - we don't mind to check in.
Dayenu is offline  
Oct 16th, 2009, 06:38 AM
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Thanks everyone! I'm not a heavy packer and don't mind to mix and match what I wear. so I think for our travel plans this is very doable.
hellotoyou is offline  
Oct 16th, 2009, 02:31 PM
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Just finished a 14 day cruise with only a carry on. Used 3 of those vacuum plastic travel bags and even had room for souvenirs.
1lovetotravel is offline  
Oct 16th, 2009, 07:07 PM
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It can be done but you have to work at it a bit and think very carefully how each and every item is used. We just completed 33 days in Europe which included a 17 day Holland Am cruise in the middle. We always travel with one backpack style carry on for each and for the cruise add one rolling carry size bag which holds the extra clothes that both of us need for the cruise portion. We had four formal nights on HA. Makes for easy on and off the ship, especially off.
fmpden is offline  
Oct 17th, 2009, 11:44 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
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I've packed for a 15-night European cruise with everything in a rollaboard and medium sized backpack. Here's how, with step-by-step illustrations:

Hope that helps!

CruiseDiva is offline  
Oct 17th, 2009, 07:22 PM
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EXCEPT FOR Cruise Diva and Doug who is an me a woman who can pack everything in a mediaum suitcase for two weeks..
ParrotMom is offline  
Oct 17th, 2009, 07:31 PM
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Me!! Me!! Me!! Me!!

(my secret is in doing laundry)
Dayenu is offline  
Oct 18th, 2009, 11:28 AM
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Even being retired I do laundry several times a day...Dayenu... bras, undies and nightgowns I prefer to wash myself.. On a Princess cruise of two weeks I must of done three or four loads,,,, at this point there are favorite blouses and somethings I will wear twice and nightgowns more than that..I do take two bathing suits.. Okay.. this trip I promise to cut down.. at least so I'm not over in
ParrotMom is offline  
Oct 18th, 2009, 01:16 PM
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I am going to do the NCL 12 day Mediterranean cruise in November with one 21 inch Rick steves backpack (to save weight - no wheels. European connecting flight has more stringent weight limit).
- wear my heaviest clothing for two reasons - saves weight and keeps me warmer inflight.I wear my walking shoes, but put on slipper socks inflight.
- wear either a vest with pockets for warm weather destinations, or a coat with pockets for cool weather. In my pockets I keep my camera, cell phone, ipod, headphones and chargers.
- use a packing envelope for 3 pair docker-type slacks, a skirt, 3 blouses, a sweater. A couple silk scarves change the look and don't take any room.
- use a packing cube for nightwear, 2 pair of socks, 2 changes of underwear, 2 swim suits. Use give-away shampoos for laundry of socks and underwear.
- don't bring full-sized toiletries. Sample size containers are perfect for moisturizer, makeup, etc.

The truth is I usually wear my slacks 2 or 3 times between trips to the drycleaner when home, so why worry about new clothes daily on a trip?
choose your blouses for ease of care...and don't worry too much about impressing people you won't ever see again.

Oh, and when I've been on cruises with formal night, I've worn black velour pants (looks like velvet in evening lighting) with my nicest silk blouse...but no need for those this trip!
kathcoll is offline  
Oct 19th, 2009, 12:57 PM
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We have taken cruises as long as 18 days, and with a few days in port cities at each end, with only 21" carry-on and a large tote each. (I believe that there are only two kinds of luggage, carry-on and lost.) The key, IMHO, is a ship that has a self-service laundry. We each stick to one color scheme, carry no new clothes (no surprises with running colors), and avoid heavy garments like 501 jeans.

We also try to bring double duty items that can be dressed up with an accessory for dinner and similar events. Finally, we ship back any large or heavy items, e.g.the jewelry findings or art, rather than trying to carry them back.

So far, this has worked for us on a half dozen cruises. But, if truth be told, none of them has required "formal" wear for any purpose.
Jeff801 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2010, 11:36 AM
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 612
This is a very old thread, I know, but I thought I'd activate it instead of creating a new one.

I am going on my 10th cruise in December. It's just 7 days in western Caribbean, with no formal nights. Ship is "elegant casual", excursions in several hot climate ports, gotta pack my mask and snorkel for sure. But ship has self-service laundries and fairly inexpensive drycleaning/laundry services as well. Plus, we get 4 garments pressed for free.

So, for the first time, I'm thinking we can manage with our new, lightweight roll-aboards, with possibly a small overnight bag added, and my purse of course.

I guess I have gotten alot more laissez faire about what I wear on these things. For second or third cruise to Europe I bought a rolling garment bag, which is lovely for carrying suits and fancy silk items, but I don't think I need any of that this time.

I think I'm going to feel quite liberated by this, but may change my mind when I actually begin packing! What do you think?
WWanderer is offline  
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