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World Cruise....Packing for a World Cruise or a Grand Voyage

You have booked your World Cruise or lengthy Grand Voyage !

Now for the packing…

written by Joan Dann Travel

A World Cruise is an extraordinary adventure. Leaving home for 3-4 months at sea to go around the world on a World Cruise or GRAND VOYAGE takes some forethought on your part. As soon as you know you are going, start by making a list of things you know you should take. Then get out a suitcase and start putting things into it. Armed with current information from your travel agent, know how many formal nights that there will be (plus Special events just for the World Cruisers !) and also think in terms of the range of weather that you will have. Keep in mind the dress attire of your particular ship.

All the elegant evenings of a World Cruise ! Some World Cruises can host a couple of dozen Formal or special nights ! Also… "informal" and "casual" evenings will be part of the mix in the dining are sitting in such elegant surroundings and eating a wonderful 4-5 course meal (with incredible service) will want to look your best every evening ! Consider that this will be like a fabulous dinner party every night (plus a number of casual evenings where you may choose to dine in the Lido) ! One of the great things about cruise ships is that you unpack only once. Once something is in your closet onboard--you are set.

You certainly will not bring a different outfit for every formal affair so you need to “pack smart”. Many of the World Cruisers are given the extra amenity of two suitcases shipped ahead of time to the ship. Also….know the current baggage policy of the airline flights from your home to the embarcation port. Your Travel Agent will help you with this information. The ship itself will not have any problem with the number of bags you bring onboard for a World Cruise but you will want to know if your stateroom can handle all of this apparel ! (There are stories of guests who have reserved an additional stateroom just as their big walk-in closet. Some have put a bar over the bathtub and turned it into a closet--if there was also a separate shower.) The majority of us will want to be practical and will want milage from the clothing that we bring. The onboard laundry and dry cleaning is wonderful and may even be included in your cruisefare. This is also an important question for your travel agent.

Here are some of my thoughts...........

Most ships provide robes, beach towels (both on deck and if you are going ashore to the beach), slippers and hair dryers...all depending on your level of accommodation. Check on this for your particular cruise............and if they are provided then leave these items at home.....that's half a suitcase right there !

Take a nice WARM winter coat. You can wear this onto the plane so it does not take up valuable suitcase space. Also…you will need a variety of polar fleece jackets, rainwear, lightweight jackets. The range of seasons you will travel thru……as well as the chilly “crossings” of the Atlantic, Pacific, etc…… will want to be prepared. A Black flowy sweater wrap received great usage on my last voyage in the evenings and throughout the day. I also have a REVERSIBLE Polar Fleece COAT that is fabulous....not too bulky....great weight....and gives me TWO coats in one.

Shoes---There can be a carryon right there (they are heavy so I try to carryon shoes instead of check them ---since they are not weighing carryons as of this writing !). Good comfortable walking shoes for touring...casual shoes for the ship....flip-flops for the pool....several pair of evening shoes for all different to wear to gym, walk the decks or go to workout classes. I have SEVERAL pair of little glittery sandals or flats that weigh very little and are perfectly flat. Their uses are endless....including to the dining room at night. Wear the heaviest shoes on your feet as you travel from home to the ship.

Ladies----For "fine dining"-----Think thru all the wonderful evenings of dinners and cocktails beforehand. For Formal evenings….for a World Cruise….bring 2-3 long gowns may be the right number for you. (One should be solid black.) And in general with other dressy items…Think Black !! Black or cream flowy pants or skirts topped with several different jackets, dressy dinner jackets, big satiny tops or elegant "Toppers"..........if you pack separates you will have so much more milage. Bring several evenings handbags......a nice selection of jewelry........several different pair of dressy shoes..........several bright colored Pashmina-type shawls are PERFECT....a bag of different (& very lightweight) scarves to top black or white or neutral separates. This will give you lots of color over your basics and different little accessories to mix and match. These little things that do not take up much room but will make allllllllll the difference. Remember...........half the beauty of cruising is that you have these elegant evenings so bring lots of choices. Basically..........if you think you want it.........bring it. On a recent cruise, I brought 4 jackets with me of different colors and fabrics..........and really did not feel it was enough. In addition to dinner, we had lunch in the nice dining room three times, breakfast there twice and High Tea one afternoon. All worked over basic bottoms. (I love to wear my Navy Double Breasted Blazer over cream or white pants--I always feel so nautical !) For casual clothes, you will want fun things............maybe a wrap skirt......some comfortable jogger outfits to tour in....bathing suit (two or three for a World Cruise) and cover-ups (bright sarongs are great), flip-flops & fitness workout clothes. Cruises can be so romantic and you will feel so pampered, be sure to bring along a soft and silky robe and negligee as well. There will be so many days at sea……days of touring in all different climates……… will need plenty of nice looking casual separates. Be sure to bring a number of evening bags……a fun tote bag to carry around the ship as you go to lectures,etc……secure cross body bag with your money when you go ashore. Be sure to bring plenty of tops for evening----to put over white or black bottoms. "Tabletop dressing" as one designer calls it. A nice broad selection of a variety of colors and styles. So many of those colorful printed chiffon tops will roll up into nothing in your bag. Items that really travel well and roll up. On a recent World Cruise---I had 4 of these (wore them alot !), they rolled up into literally nothing in my bag. One gal, who became a great friend, had at least 30 ! She always looked so colorful. And those 30 scarf tops of hers didn't take anything in her luggage. Weightless ! One other gal that I kept seeing at dinner at different tables mentioned all of my tops one night. "You always have so many different tops in different colors ! I need more tops like this !", she said.....and she was on day #20 of her full 116 day World Cruise. Don't forget PLENTY of bathing suits. I am a great swimmer and just love the pools. The pool water on ships is particularly harsh and I literally threw out 3 suits at the end of a 68 day cruise. Also WHITE jeans, Black jeans and leggings will give you great milage.

Men---Quite Easy ! (Of course !) Tuxedo for the formal evenings.You may consider bringing two-three tuxedo shirts or two different sets of Tuxedo Stud Sets for variety. A couple of different patterns of bow ties and cumberbunds. White Dinner Jacket or a fun Blackwatch Dinner Jacket, as there is simply nothing more dashing than great looking dinner jackets. (Bring some variety ! Dozens of evenings in the same black tux isn’t much fun.) If you have Scottish heritage, bring your kilt ! You should have at least one good suit. Possibly a couple for a World Cruise. Don't forget the POWER of a NAVY BLUE BLAZER ! It can go over EVERYTHING and dress you up instantly. So....Navy or basic blazer and dress pants...dress shirts...several neckties....dress shoes.....khaki pants....knit shirts.....basic shorts....workout clothes...casual shoes...sneakers...flip-flops....bathing clothes if golfing ashore. Hawaiian type shirt for fun (there will be tropical theme evening deck parties) ! So much depends on the kind of cruise ship you are sailing. (By the way, Golf shoes as well as golf equipment can be rented.) Polor Fleece, rainwear and a warm coat. When you sail around the world---it certainly will not be all Caribbean weather.

More thoughts on Luggage and the airlines……..I suggest checking two bags with the airlines and carry-on one more plus a purse (as of this writing they are not yet measuring and weighing purses----that could change !). My husband usually carries on a garment bag (full of my dress clothes too). Bring some sort of granola bars or snacks, your meds, and reading material with you on the plane.....airport and runway delays are all too common and food is no longer served onboard as it once was. Also, I always carry-on my bathing suit and sarong and some of my evening clothing (a head to toe black outfit and black flats) in the carryon bag with me. If my luggage is lost, I will still have something to wear to dinner and can go to the pool ! (I do not find replacing a bathing suit at all easy !) Also...At the bottom of your suitcase should also be a collapsible bag of some sort to bring home purchases from your travels ! Cannot imagine that you will come home empty handed from seeing the world. Consider shipping a suitcase ahead via Fed Ex or the luggage handling services. Not inexpensive as a general rule....but oh so convenient ! More and more people are discovering this wonderful idea--and the prices are becoming more reasonable. You will hear stories around the ship on World voyages of passengers with 8-10 bags. I know that with my two HUGE bags plus my 21" carryon, I had several crew members say, "Is this all your luggage ?" as if I was traveling very light.

Other Good Basic tips.....

~ Pack a pad of Post-It notes to leave messages for your cabin steward (you will get to know him or her extremely well during your World Voyage !), family, and shipboard friends.

~ Have a large supply of one-dollar bills handy for tipping airport skycaps and porters at the pier. (At least $200 for a World Cruise. I also love crisp $2 bills. So unique and memorable. “The power of the $2 bill”, as I always say. Try it and watch the results !)

~ Don't pack photo film in checked luggage as new airport screening equipment could ruin it. Put it in your carry-on instead. Bring plenty of film, memory cards and Batteries--------in addition to every other new gadget you can think of. Invest in a new I-Pad and the newest phone.... and enjoy it !

~ One of my traveler friends told me about putting a rubber band around wallets in your back pocket will inhibit pickpockets. Some "ports of call" have large pick-pocket communities....unfortunately.

~ Toss a few empty plastic bags into your suitcase. You may need them later to pack dirty or damp clothes, opened toiletries. I also love zip locks of all sizes. Take plenty ! In hot ports, I take a fresh sandwich size and a wet cold washcloth from the stateroom with me ashore on hot days. One of those new towels to put around your neck to cool you off are fabulous.

~  Rain Gear ! On a recent --& very lovely--River Cruise it poured with rain for 10 days straight. The sun was shining as we we were leaving. It happens ! Don't forget rain proof shoes as well. (And after that trip I now always travel with a ziplock of Cold meds. Throat lozenges, cold and flu meds, etc.etc. It was three port calls in a remote part of the world before I found throat lozenges for a very sore throat.)

~ A collapsible extra bag or piece of luggage at the bottom of one of your bags. You never know what it will take to get home at the end of 3-4 months ! You will have purchases (if you are anything like me).

~Does your ship have male or female room stewards ? I know ahead of time and pop a few little gifts into my bag from my gift closet at home. I try to leave little gifts for them along the way. Just a little something for all they do for me all the time. Forget the ships gift shops for these gifts......and I always think that possibly purchasing something in port is a bit insensitive as most are not able to go ashore. So some little nice item that you thought of beforehand from home is best.

~ Tuck fabric softener sheets between garments as you pack to keep clothing fresh during travels.

~ Bring your own travel alarm clock most staterooms do not have them. Be sure to wear a watch on a cruise as well. Your daily schedule will become a well-worn piece of paper that is with you at all times.....chock full of great lectures, classes, events, parties, floor shows, Casino Events...etc.etc. Bring your own way to keep track of the time.

~A nightlight if you are used to one. Bring any little item that you find comforting at home for your new “home at sea”.

~ Pre-address stick-on labels for postcards to the folks back home & you won't have to carry along a bulky address book. Don't forget email addresses !! All ships today are "connected" and you may want to fire off a quick note to family and friends....maybe even forward photos to them....from the ship. Make a visit to your cell phone store and make sure you are set up for International calling on your cell phone. Also invest in a new “tablet” I-Pad or a laptop to take with you. You will want to stay connected and make the most of all of the new technology. Please allow some time to learn some of the new things available to you.

~Emergencies can happen...if they did you would want important info at your fingertips...A strong suggestion that everyone carry the following important items with them at all times on a vacation outside of the United States (this includes all cruises): Make two copies of your passport, driver's license, and credit cards before leaving home-in addition to your Cruise Documents, and Trip Travel Insurance. Leave one set of copies in a safe place on your ship. Leave the other copies of Trip Travel Insurance with a friend or family member at home. Also a good idea....

A laminated color copy of the front page of your passport A laminated copy of your U.S. driver's license (could be on the back side of your passport A credit card with at least $10,000 available credit Enough cash to resolve potential issues Complete contact information (including emergency contact information) Travel Insurance policy number, copy of the policy, and contact number for claims Any special medical instructions that would be mandatory in an emergency medical situation A way to reach your Travel Agent "24/7"---ask them for that number !

If the ship's purser holds your passport (which is sometimes the case, to expedite clearing the ship in foreign ports), carry the passport copy ashore with you. Also take another form of ID-----your Drivers License. You never know when you may wish to rent a car !

~ Binoculars ---lightweight, small ones..........particularly for Alaska, Hawaii, Europe, Antarctica ! If you are on a Luxury Ship---often these are included in your stateroom. Check in advance with your agent.

~A compact umbrella. I now carry one that is tiny--6" long--in a little carrying case.

~Your own insulated water bottle with carrying strap. Another great item to have in your tote to carry ashore. I fill with some on that non-stop ice cold water my Cabin Steward keeps constantly refreshing. Some ships have complimentary water.......others charge an arm and a leg for bottled. ALSO...I drink a mountain of ice water so I now travel with my tall insulated tumbler to use in my stateroom. Those little drinking glasses do not do it for me.

~A hanging Toiletries kit for the tiny bathroom. Limited counter space is always a problem so making good use of vertical space is a good idea.

~Bring along the $2. Bottles of Purell to supplement your handwashing regimen with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. It just might make the difference between a cruise you'll always remember and one you wish you could forget as the Norwalk Virus can be a concern. (Wash your hands often and use those sanitizers every chance you see them onboard.) I have one in my purse that goes ashore with me. I use it often. So often its the germs we pick up in an exotic country that we carry back onboard the ship.

~ Print business cards with your name, address, phone number, & email address to share with new friends. Having your cards handy sure beats hunting for pens & scribbling on scraps of paper to swap addresses. Fun, inexpensive, colorful cards can be ordered online. (Allow plenty of time to order and receive these !) We have used ours so many times. We have made such wonderful friends on these ships.

~Throw a little stack of cute Blank but colorful notecards into your luggage. You won't believe how many birthdays and anniversaries of your new onboard friends there will be----particularly on a long voyage. Nice to drop a little note at their door from you !

~ Leave any paperback novels you've finished for the crew library. You'll have more room in your suitcase and crewmembers will have fresh reading material--they will really appreciate this ! Consider purchasing a Kindle or E-Book....or downloading the necessary apps on your i-pad for your World Cruise. No need to lug heavy books with you any longer.

~ Don't forget to pack and USE your sunscreen. Why take the chance of a nasty sunburn ruining a great cruise vacation? Protect your skin from injury and aging. Throw in something for Sunburn too. People have a way of overdoing on vacation. I find it very expensive onboard the ships so take a couple bottles for your World Cruise. Everyone needs a Hat !

~ Check the balance of your on-board account before the end of your cruise----and frequently throughout the voyage.
Straighten out any discrepancies immediately (check your balance a couple of times during your cruise) and avoid a long line at the Purser's Desk that last morning after your final bill arrives. Actually, try to do the final late in the afternoon of the last night...try to beat the rush ! Many ships now have the ability to do this on the tv monitor in your stateroom. It is really quite easy and avoids those long lines.

~ Don't you all look gorgeous in your formal attire? Have a family portrait taken to preserve the memory. There's no obligation to purchase any photos you don't care for.

~Don't forget work out clothes. They say you can gain 2 pounds a day on a cruise ship from all the fabulous food ! "You come on as a passenger and leave as cargo." Bring your sneakers and get ready to sweat a little at a class or in the exercise room………….or walk the decks and take in the early morning sunrise or Tai Chi. (By the way, joining a daily or frequent exercise class will immediately give you a new group of onboard friends !)

~Don't wait until the last minute to plan your medications for your long voyage. I had to take enough of everything with me and my insurance company made me prepay 4 months of premiums. There was a fair amount of red tape. Plus my pharmacy needed time a couple of days to have my quantity needed. I certainly always have a little arsenal of over-the-counter meds when I travel as well for little issues that may pop up.

~and my all time favorite..........(depending on what type of trip, ship, elegance level etc etc)...........bring t-shirts or leggings you might want to work out in.......sleep in..........tour in...that you will wear and leave behind after you have worn them.......this will give you room in your suitcase for your wonderful purchases made while traveling....a little more room in a drawer at home for your new purchases once you return.

As I write this---you are possibly planning ahead to your World Cruise or Grand Voyage. For some--it is your first long voyage or World Cruise. It is truly an amazing experience. "Doesn't it get too long ?" was the question many asked me. No--is my answer. You settle in. It becomes your home. "Your home away from home"---as our Captain kept calling it on my last voyage. You make so many wonderful friends. The time simply flies.

Have a wonderful trip ..........Bon Voyage !........there is no better way to travel, in my opinion. I would simply love to hear from you !

Joan Dann can be reached via her website  and email her at .

Also visit......and sign up for the World Cruise mailing list...!%20Travel/greatexplorationstravel.htm 

She owns Great Explorations ! Travel and is a Cruise Expert....and a World Cruise Specialist and also a member of Ensemble Travel Group. She is also Co-Owner of Dann Men's Clothing & Dann Formal Wear as well as other upscale shops with her husband Dennis. For almost 40 years she has worked with the luxury customer ...their travels....their clothing...etc. 

Don't miss her article on World Cruises and how to choose one that is best for you ...

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