Monday, September 10, 2018

Packing For Our 12 Day Mediterranean Cruise

We only have two weeks to go until we are in Barcelona, Spain starting our 40th Anniversary Dream Vacation.  (I made a title for our trip because it's that special to us!!)  We have never been on a 12 day cruise before, or in the Mediterranean, but we have been cruising.  If you have never been on a cruise but would like to one day, this post will definitely be helpful to you.  If you have been on a cruise, I might have some things on my list that is not on yours.  Please, please if you have something on your list that is not on mine, please share that info with us!

The first thing I think about when I'm packing for a cruise is bringing a carry on bag onto the ship.  The first time me and Soko went cruising we had no idea of how getting into our room or getting our  luggage worked.  So we wound up wandering around the boat in dress clothes for a couple of hours until our clothes arrived and we could get into our bathing suits.  Now, I just wear my bathing suit  under my dress, and pack Soko's in our carry on, so that we can relax by the pool until our rooms are ready and our suitcases are at our door.

Carry On/Cruise Bag - Folder containing our  travel documents and itinerary. 
Travel Documents - are our SetSail passes and a document regarding the cruise ticket contract and onboard expense account that needs to be signed in two places.  (We received the passes and document when we checked into our cruise a couple of weeks ago online.  We printed them up along with luggage tags that are available to you after you do the online check in.)
Itinerary - includes our own notes, pre-purchased admission tickets (Vatican Museum, Sagrada Familia, etc.) and information about the excursions we purchased from the cruise line.   And
passports (important to have with you on any cruise just in case you have to fly back unexpectedly from a cruise port.  Note:  It's a good idea to make a copy of your passport and keep it in a safe spot in your suitcase), Soko's bathing trunkswallet, phone, sunscreen, sunglasses, head covering, reading material (Kindle), iPodcamera.  
Note:  Pack whatever meds you need in this bag, also, as you never know how long it will be before
           you see your luggage.  And make sure you don't forget your motion sickness pills, sea bands,
           ginger, patches or whatever it was you decided to use to prevent getting ill if the boat is
           rocking a bit too much.  I use the sea bands and haven't gotten sick on a cruise.  I did feel a
           little queasy looking out of the porthole when we got an oceanview room once so now we just
           stick to reserving an inside stateroom when booking a cruise.

Anti-theft crossbody bag (for me) and anti-theft backpack (for Soko) - It is better to be safe than sorry.  Our bags have locking zippers and are slash proof.

Foreign Currency - We will be using our Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card whenever we can as there is no transaction fee to use it.  But we would not feel comfortable if we didn't have some Euros in our wallets.  The most expensive place to exchange money is at the airport so we went to AAA (we are members) and exchanged a few dollars there.

Sim Card - I looked into getting international service with my carrier, Verizon.  It would cost me $10.00 a day.  My sister did this and called to cancel a couple of days into her Switzerland vacation because she was having a hard time using it somehow.  When we went to Japan 3 years ago, my brother got me a portable wifi device that I paid over $100.00 for but it worked great.  For this trip we are trying the sim card option. We found a card that works in most European countries and costs $30.00.   I will put the chip into my iphone when we get to Europe and we should be good to go.  We will be able to make calls and text to any phone with a UK number and we will have 12 GB of data.  We're buying this to make sure we have always have wifi with us to access Google maps.  (I will get back to you on how this option worked out for us.)
Note:  I will definitely be getting the sim card again when we travel to Ireland next year.  It didn't work when we were cruising at sea or in Montenegro but worked perfectly everywhere else and the 12 GB was more than enough data for our 2 week vacation.

Chargers - phone, Kindle, iPod and fitbit.
Note:  Also, portable phone charger.

Umbrella -and/or ponchos.

Clothes - Every cruise line has their own description for each of these categories of dress.  We have cruised on Royal Caribbean and Carnival.  Carnival has a more relaxed description of what kind of dress is allowed in the dining rooms compared to Royal Caribbean.   This is what works for us on either cruise line.
When the dress code for dinner is either casual wear or smart casual, I will wear white or black jeans or capris and a nice top and dress shoes.  Soko will wear khakis and a polo or button down short sleeve shirt and loafers.  When the dress code is formal, Soko will wear a suit and tie and dress shoes.  I will wear a cocktail dress and heals.  There are opportunities, on formal nights, to take lots of formal photos.  We would like to get a nice picture of  the two of us to remember this special vacation and our 40th anniversary.  On this cruise there will be more than one formal night and we decided that we would just wear the same formal wear again.  During the day, anything goes around the ship except for bare feet.  Also, ladies need to cover up their bathing suit.
Don't forget your sandals, sneakers, walking shoes, etcSome excursions suggest wearing water shoes.  Read the fine print of the excursion you purchased for helpful hints.
Note:  I find it to be very cold on the ship.  I always make sure to pack a dressy sweater and a casual sweater or jacket.

Wrinkle Release Spray.  You won't find an iron in your stateroom.  I am bringing some spray just in case we need to release some wrinkles from our clothes.
Note:   I don't have one yet but I am adding a portable steamer to this list as a reader suggested.  I think it's a great idea and will probably have one by our next cruise.

Toiletries.  We all have our lists of what we need to have in our toiletry bags.  I know I have mine.  I will say, though, that if you are not fussy about the shampoo, conditioner or body wash you use, you won't have to bring your own as there will be dispensers in the tiny shower in your cabin.  Also, you can leave your hairdryer at home.
Note:  The smaller ship and Barcelona hotel didn't have conditioner so I have added it to my cruise packing list.

Hangers.  There are usually 3 or 4 tiny drawers in the small cabins of the cruise ship but a decent size closet.  After we have used every hanger in the closet there is room left to hang more clothes but no more hangers.   I am bringing hangers on this cruise so I won't have to try to stuff my clothes into the small drawers and will throw the hangers out after I am finished using them.  The room the hangers take up in my suitcase is the extra room I can use for souvenirs!
Note:  We were on the smallest cruise ship we have ever been on, but our room had a few more drawers and a good amount of hangers.  We did use a couple of our own hanger though.

Foldable Travel Bag.   I have a bag that folds into a pouch when I'm not using it.  I use this as my carry on bag when I need to when I'm flying and it's a good size.  I'll pack this bag, folded, in my suitcase on our flight to Europe, then carry it on the plane, filled with goodies, on our flight back home. 

Travel guide.  I am using Rick Steves' guide to Mediterranean cruise ports.  There are maps in this book along with everything we need to know about most of the ports we be sailing into.  It also has information about the major cities you can get to from each port.  We have used this book to create most of our itinerary.  I am bringing it for the maps and to look over the chapter, in the evening, of the port we will be arriving into in the morning.

Vacation Journal.  I will bring a journal with me and try to jot down all the little details, every evening, about the trip while they are fresh in my mind.   It's fun to read these notes later and can be a helpful guide for a friend who is planning a similar trip.  To take notes during the day, I will use the Notes App on my iPhone.  The voice feature makes this way of taking notes much easier than carrying around the journal all day.

No matter how many lists I have made and how many times I have checked that I have everything, I know I will still leave the house feeling like I forgot something!


14 comments:

  1. Congrats on your anniversary and I hope you have a great time!
    https://ilvecchiomulinodellerocche.wordpress.com/2018/10/09/what-lies-beneath/

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    1. Thank you and we had a wonderful time on our vacation. We would love to return one day!

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  2. Such great information, we all can use this list. Thanks for sharing on To Grandma's House We Go!

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  3. Great information & things I wouldn't even think of! Thank you for sharing at Party In Your PJs!

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    1. Thanks Ann. Glad you found some things to add to your packing list.

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  4. I hope you had a wonderful time and a Happy Anniversary! Were you happy with the things you packed, did you need anything else, that you didn't pack, and how did the sim card work out? Thank you for sharing at Celebrate It!

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    1. Thanks Teri! I went pack to this post and made some changes. I actually needed conditioner that I didn't pack. We went to the store in Barcelona to buy some and I realized it was not going to be easy to buy some because I could not read Spanish! And yes! I will definitely be buying the sim card again for our trip to Ireland next year. It worked great!! I will be bringing a portable phone charger as my battery drained very quickly with google maps constantly on. (I just added it to this list.)

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  5. Congratulations and have a wonderful time. You are so organised! I just throw everything in and hope for the best. Thanks for joining us for the #dreamteam linky.

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  6. Our favorite way to vacation is to cruise. We live on the East Coast of the US so we love the Eastern Caribbean cruises.

    This is a great packing list and includes things I didn't think about before. Thank you for sharing!

    #SundayFeatures

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    1. We also live on the East Coast and our first cruise was to the Eastern Caribbean and we were hooked! So glad you found some info you could use from our post.

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  7. Just as a suggestion, I brought a portable steamer and was glad I did. Safe travels!

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    1. Thank you so much for your suggestion. I am adding portable steamer to my packing list!

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