Happy Wednesday! Today I am going to do something a little different for Wednesday Wellness- I am going to talk about how to cruise. I had never been on a cruise until last year, now I’ve sailed on three. There’s always a bit of stress when planning and packing and travelling- but with a little preparation, you can manage the challenges and even practice self-care. Here are some tips I’ve found.
Cruising 101– choose your destination and your cruise line wisely. There’s nothing wrong with Princess, but they don’t have a surf simulator like Royal Caribbean, for instance. If you are travelling with kids and multi-generations, make sure there is something for everybody.
The staterooms are small. NO, really. Even if you have researched and studied Pinterest, as I did, you will not pre prepared for the minuteness of the bathroom and the army barracks of bunkbeds. If you pack light and smart, you can deal. We pack for 4 days, wearing our bulkiest jeans and tennis shoes on the plane. Plan to do a load of laundry on the ship. There is not a self-service laundry in every ship- so do your research. Otherwise you may be spending $30-45 a bag for wash & fold service, but it is a 48 hour turnaround, and what are you going to wear while you are waiting for your laundry? You can also bring detergent and hand-wash in the tub. If you have a bathtub, that is.
Hanging Shoe Organizer is a necessity. Hang this over your bathroom door to increase counter space for your toiletries. I got mine at Walmart for $3. Such a space saver.
Travel Surge Protector is another must-have item. There’s only two plugs in the stateroom, and so this little gizmo increases your ability to charge all your family’s devices. This one has two usb ports in addition to three American plugs. If you are travelling internationally, bring a converter, as well.
LED Tea light(s) are important as the rooms get pitch dark. You don’t want to waste a plug for your kid’s favorite nightlight. Just bring these.
Hand Wipes my family is never without these. Cruise ships don’t have toilet seat covers. Use a wipe to clean the toilet seat before use.
Sticky Notes are great for leaving notes for each other, or for your stateroom attendant.
Trial and Travel size toiletries. Save money by not paying extra to stow your baggage on the plane. You won’t have too much room in the cabin for all your big bottles of your favorite shampoos, etc., anyway. These little gems will fit nicely in your shoe organizer. In addition to shampoo and conditioner (which ships may not provide)remember sunblock, lotion, Clearasil, medications, etc. If you have curly/ frizzy hair like me, you’ll like this gem I picked up in Vegas: Frizz-Ease touch up crème. Though in a pinch, a little hand lotion will also help calm the frizzies. Don’t forget you will be in stale air on the boat for hours at a time. I recommend eye drops, hand lotion, hair serum, and collagen under-eye treatments.
Now we get to the fun part. I love travel clothing. Multi-purpose clothing, skirts with pockets, sundresses that can be worn on formal night, reversible jewelry, mary janes which are great for casual and formal. Today I am wearing my Essential Dress (2014)from Royal Robbin- works great for casual or even more formal with some sparkly jewelry. I brought this awesome dress for my recent cruise and wore it for both formal nights- once with my hair down and the green necklace, once with my hair up and the reverse side of the necklace showing. All clothing should be able to be rolled, for packing. There are no irons in your room. But who wants to be ironing anyway? I brought a wrinkle release spray, but we never used it. My husband and son wore khaki’s and polo shirts to dinner for formal night. No sweat. My young daughter wanted to bring 7 dresses, I let her bring 4 (one of which was reversible). Pack a maximum of 3 pairs of shoes per person: sneakers (wear on plane and excursions), crocs (for swimming and late night snack breaks), and flats (mary janes for formal and casual dinners). There is no reason to bring heels when you are on a boat which may be rocking in 100 nautical mile winds. (My son has black tennis shoes, so those also worked for formal night.) You just need a light sweater/jacket for being on deck, and something water resistant for your excursions.
Backpacks and totes: I didn’t bring a purse. I carried a backpack on the plane, as did each of my kids. I packed collapsible daypacks (drawstring backpacks) for our excursions. At night, I wore a phone purse which also held my cruise card, lip gloss, and a pack of wipes. My daughter carried her own little purse which also held our Mio (water flavoring) I also had a passport holder that hangs from one’s neck, and this waterproof phone lanyard which has come in handy while zip-lining on Guam last year!
Kid stuff: my kids pack their own backbacks with activities and books and headphones. My daughter also brings art supplies. Journals and pens are essential. I also brought lanyards for each of them for their cruise cards. A mobile phone/ tablet comes in handy for “down times” but also the cruise selfie scavenger hunt challenge activity. For excursions in crowded cities last summer, I had them wear brightly colored neon clothing.
Save Money: We didn’t pay extra for beverage plans. Rather, I paid for a couple of coffee drinks or sodas at random. I did prepay for the surf-only internet plan for one device. I would log off and share the code with my husband when he needed to log on for work. That’s all you need and it was pretty reasonable. We never dined in the specialty restaurants, which have a $25-40 cover charge (last summer my young daughter proudly ordered alphabet soup at the fancy shi-shi cruise restaurant). I did order a filet mignon in the main dining room for $16.95 (9 oz.) (The filet mignon was actually more expensive and only 6 oz in the specialty restaurant.)
Wellness practice There is a gym on board, and we often took the stairs over the elevator. I had saved money beforehand for a Swedish Massage, which would be my little treat. I listened to music and meditations if I wanted to tune out. I brought along books and ebooks. Watercoloring with my daughter was also a highlight of the trip for me. It is a wonderful way to connect (we honor my dear friend who passed away by continuing her tradition) and preserve memories of the astonishingly beauteous sea- and landscapes. There are glaciers and whales just off your balcony, and this glorious view from the top. It’s not too hard to be grateful. ❤
How do you stay well when travelling?
Stay tuned for my travel journal from this Alaskan cruise!