For some, packing for a cruise can be stressful. You may have gone through every packing list you can find, but still worry about packing the wrong clothes or forgetting something important. This can be especially true for cruises,that are taking place for the first time, or even if you are trying a new cruise line.
For the sake of simplicity, I travel almost exclusively as hand luggage, even on 7-day flights. I find this greatly simplifies my travels.
Since I only have hand luggage, I can easily navigate airports and cruise ship terminals. I don't have to worry about airlines orcruise lines also lose my luggagewhich gives me peace of mind. I always have my luggage with me so it's never out of sight. Last minute flight changes are also easier as I am not tied down to checked baggage.
Of course, traveling with hand luggage has its limitations. The most obvious is that you don't have much space in your hand luggage to pack all the clothes you want to take with you. You have fewer options than you are used to.when traveling around the country. To make the most of my carry-on space, I have to be strategic about what to bring on a cruise. I also use packing cubes to keep everything compact and tidy.
I only packed hand luggage on flights to Alaska, Europe and the Caribbean. In my opinion, it is much easier to pack only as hand luggage on cruises in the Caribbean, because summer clothes (i.e. dresses, shorts and bathing suits) take up less space than thick winter clothesSailing with hand luggage only for a cruise in Alaska was difficult for me, but I made it!
read more:I packed for a 7 day cruise with only hand luggage and a backpack
Anyway, I think that traveling only with hand luggage is a great value. It makes your travels much easier. There's nothing worse than lugging too much luggage and then finding out you didn't take half of what you packed with you.
On my last Carnival cruise, I packed only hand luggage for a seven-day Caribbean cruise. Even though Carnival is the most casual cruise line I've ever sailed, I decided to pack some evening dresses to wear on board.on all sailings there is some sort of elegant or formal evening.
That's why I packed a dress especially for the gala evening and regretted it very much. Here's why it was a complete waste of space in my hand luggage.
Carnival Cruise Line now calls formal evenings "Elegant Night Cruises" and they are far from formal.
After some research, I found on the Carnival website that the cruise line classifies formal nights as Cruise Elegant Nights. This is defined as "Dress to impress.Get formally ready for photos during our elegant cruise evenings.Put on your best outfit and enjoy a classy evening on the high seas.”
Carnival offers ideas on what to wear for elegant evenings on its website, suggesting that gentlemen "wear trousers and shirts, we also recommend a sports coat;gentlemen may also want to wear a suit and tie or a tuxedo."
In addition, the cruise line states that women may wear "cocktail dresses, slacks, elegant skirts and blouses"; ladies may also wish to wear an evening gown.
Finally, the cruise line states that "cut-hem jeans, men's sleeveless shirts, shorts, t-shirts, sportswear, baseball caps, thongs (flip-flops) and bathing suits" are not allowed in the dining room.
Almost all cruise lines offer dress suggestions online for what guests should wear on board; however, I have found that most cruise lines do not adhere to their dress code, especially Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Lines.
I've seen countless people on carnival cruises in the main dining room wearing hats, shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops. I've even seen people in bathing suits!
After sailing out of Carnival for the first time in over a decade last summer, I was really surprised to see how casually everyone was dressed.
I packed several dresses for each night of my four-day Carnival Ecstasy cruise, but halfway through the cruise I ditched half my wardrobe.
Everyone on board was dressed very casually, so I decided not to change clothes again for the evening. I don't even remember if there was an "Elegant Night Cruise" on this cruise. If so, it certainly didn't stand out from what everyone else was wearingothers.
As I was packing for my next carnival cruise aboard the brand new Carnival Celebration ship, I was hesitant to pack a formal attire. After my recent Carnival experience, I thought everything aboard would be relaxed.
On my weekend cruises, I noticed that most people didn't dress up for the evening; however, I didn't want to feel underdressed while sailing this fancy new cruise ship. Perhaps longer Carnival cruises, especially on the newest ships, would create a more upmarket feel, so go for a four-dayweekend trip to Mexico.
I decided to pack my favorite black formal dress for the "Cruise Elegant Night" in my suitcase. While it doesn't take up much room, it certainly takes up more room than shorts, tank tops, and bathing suits. I also packed nicer shoes to go with the dress, hoping thatthese things won't be a waste of space.
It quickly became clear that even on Carnival's newest and fanciest ships, very few guests on board were dressed for evening.
As with our experience with Carnival Ecstasy, we found that few people changed in the evening. It was again very calm and relaxed on board.
When elegant evening arrived, I wore a black ball gown for dinner and the evening performance. As we headed to the Latitude Bar for a travel-inspired pre-dinner cocktail, I again noticed that very few guests attended the elegant evening on board.
By the time the second elegant evening was over, I couldn't be bothered to put my formal dress back on. I was worried that I would be underdressed when on board I felt quite overdressed compared to everyone else!
However, that doesn't mean I felt out of place. In fact, everyone else was dressed more casually than I was.
Looking at the cruise industry as a whole, formal evenings on cruises have generally become less frequent.
The traditional cruise had a heavy emphasis on formal evening, it used to be a spectacle on board, all dressed for the nines, ball gowns for the ladies and tuxedos for the gentlemen.
Currently, cruise lines are starting to phase out traditional formal evenings on board.Dress codes have also become more casual as cruise lines have discovered that most people don't like feeling forced to dress up and pack - for formal evenings on board. Instead of using the term formal evening, you can now find evenings on board, commonly referred to as"dress that makes an impression" or "elegant evening".
Gone are formal evenings, just as cruise lines have eliminated midnight buffets, ice sculptures, cigar bars, internet cafes, and more. As cruising evolves, so does the on-board experience.
I remember going on a cruise as a little girl in the early 2000s.I packed a pink prom dress for a formal night. I felt like Cinderella! I loved dressing up for formal nights because it felt like a special occasion.
Over the last decade, the long-awaited formal evenings have declined in popularity. Women have started wearing cocktail dresses instead of ball gowns, and men have traded tuxedos for simple button-ups.what was.
Now elegant/formal/chic evenings on board are free for everyone. You'll see a ball gown from time to time, but most people are dressed as if they were going to church or a wedding. You can also see very casual outfits;cruisers of the 1980s and 1990s would be shocked to see a luxurious night on board.
Some cruise lines have dropped formal evenings and dress codes altogether, such as Virgin Voyages and Norwegian Cruise Line.
The Norwegian cruise line was one of the first cruise lines in the industry to do away with formal evenings on board. Instead, the cruise line wanted to advertise itself as a company with...casual styleaccess to cruises.
The Norwegian cruise line's website said: "When it comes to what you wear, you can go casual or dress up and look your best - it's your choice.That's the freedom of Freestyle Cruising."
What's more, Virgin Voyages, the newest cruise line out to sea, has gone even further in its approach to freestyle. The cruise line has no dress code and doesn't even provide dress advice on its website.
The cruise line says it's not Virgin's style to introduce a formal dress code. They want guests to be free to express themselves, noting that personal style plays a big part in this: "We always want all our sailors to feel comfortable.We encourage you to wear more than just a swimsuit when you go to a restaurant and consider shoes, but your style is your style.Who are we to judge?Get dressed.Get dressed.just get dressed"
I will not be packing formal attire for future carnival cruises as it was a complete waste of space in my hand luggage.
Even though Carnival says there will be an elegant evening on board cruises, I will no longer be packing special dresses for these evenings. After three Carnival cruises last year, dressing for an elegant evening left me overdressed. During elegant nights on board I just wastedvaluable space in hand luggage.
That doesn't mean I don't take dresses with me for the evening. I will still take a few casual summer dresses with me to wear on carnival cruises. However, these dresses will be comfortable and casual. I don't plan to pack anything that will be too stuffy or tooelegant.
It's frustrating to waste space when you're traveling with hand luggage only. I'm always happy when I'm wearing everything I packed for the trip, especially if I only have selected clothes in my hand luggage.