IN SEACLUSION: Tips from a Savvy Cruiser, Part IV

Another heroine awaits on The Love Boat Bachelor: Chapter Four Port of Call: Limon, Costa Rica

Okay, what do I pack? How much can I take?

It’s taken me thirty years to figure out that when it comes to packing — LESS is BETTER!

BaggageTip 1: You can take as much stuff as you want, but remember – if you fly, excess baggage costs. A lot. And if you’re driving, excess baggage can be a bear to manage. My advice is, keep it simple. (Don’t be this person in the picture.)

Tip 2: Sandals rule on cruises. Flip-flops, too. Especially while you’re on the cruise ship. There’s carpeting aboard, but also slick tile and marble, Flip Flopswooden decking, and don’t forget the wet areas. Add in occasional rolling seas, and … well, save the killer stilettos for the dressy dinners. Heels do NOT fare well on slick surfaces, and most of your ports of call will have pot-holes and unimproved roads/sidewalks. Keep it simple. Wear sensible, comfortable shoes. You’re on vacation. There’s no one you need to impress. Relax. Enjoy yourself.

Tip 3: You’ll need something nicer for the dining room. There are many dining Cruise diningoptions on a cruise ship (more about that later). In the main dining room where dinner seating times are assigned, casual attire is frowned upon. Long pants/collared shirt/nice shoes for men and slacks/dress/no flip-flops for ladies. (Guys, don’t forget your socks!) There will also be one or two “formal” nights during the cruise where the passengers and wait-staff dress up. This can be as fancy as tux/sequins, or just shirt/tie and Sunday best. It’s all good. Just don’t show up in cut-offs and deck shoes and expect to be served. Bad taste.Caribbean - Bird

In the more casual dining areas, anything goes. People filter in and out from the swimming pools to the buffet dining area all day (and night) long. Just do everyone a favor. If you’re in a swimsuit, put on a cover-up before you parade through where people are trying to eat.

Tip 4: So in addition to sandals, something nicer for evenings in the main dining room, and swimwear, casual wear rules: shorts, tank tops, t-shirts, etc. Just remember to dress in relation to the locale. Our favorite purchase is a t-shirt from each port of call. We’ll wear Panama and St. Thomas while in Curacao, or Jamaica and Key West while in Barbados. S’all good!

Tip 5: Most cruise ships have washers/dryers available on each cabin deck for passengers to use. Bring coins to run the machines and purchase detergent/fabric softener. Or you can choose valet service. (Check with your Cabin Steward.) There’s an extra charge for these services which will be applied to your account. (More about this later.)

Tip 6: Check your cruise line’s website for their dress code and recommendations. A small medicine kit can be helpful, as well as sunglasses, hats/visors, and sun screen. Hair dryers are typically provided in each stateroom, as well as shampoo, body wash, and soap. Some ships offer free samples of toothpaste, shaving gel, razors, etc., but these vary.

Tip 7: There is a small sundries store available (usually part of the gift shop) where you can purchase a few common amenities, but be aware the selection is extremely limited.Baggage 4

So, you ask, what do I do? Depends on the length of the cruise, but typically my husband and I take one large suitcase (get the ones with four wheeled base; they’re easier to maneuver) and one carryon bag each. In my carryon I’ll pack a change of clothes, jewelry, medicine, money, important documents, electronics, and my computer. Who knows what he carries in his—this is what I need to get by in the event my big suitcase doesn’t show. This, by the way, has never happened.

Bon Voyage!

P.S. Here are some other “Shore Excursions” you might enjoy from The Love Boat Bachelor:

Marji Laine’s blog:  E-mail to Roselle: From Limon Costa Rica

Fay Lamb’s On the Ledge: Port of Call: Limon, Costa Rica with Renee Kessler


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