We have been back now for a couple of weeks and have had some time to get back into our normal routine. As I discussed during the cruise, I plan to continue posting on various lessons learned and other insights Judy and I picked up regarding world cruising. The first topic I will tackle is packing! What to take, what not to take.
Here we go
PACKING FOR A WORLD CRUISE
What to pack for a 4-month cruise! When you first start to think about such a long cruise, the thought of packing can be a little intimidating. We can make if a little simpler by breaking down the chore into various categories.
Over the counter medication
Computers and accessories
Let’s dive into each one a little deeper.
Think of a world cruise as a string of 14-21 day cruises. One difference is that you will likely experience more changes in climate. World cruises all spend a lot of time in the tropics where it is hot and humid, but many will also spend some time in the Mediterranean or the North Pacific where it will be much cooler. Here is a list of the various categories you need to plan for:
Daily clothes for sea days
Daily clothes for warm weather ports
Daily clothes for cold weather ports
Daily clothes for dinner
Clothes for Gala nights
Foul weather clothing
Theme night attire – World Cruises will have many theme nights and balls. About a month before the cruise, HAL will send you a booklet with the dates and themes for all the various special events. Now you will have time to shop accordingly. Most people did little more than wear green for St Patrick’s day, or red for Valentine’s day but there were probably 25 to 50 people who brought more elaborate costumes. For other themes, the ship would provide a hat or a mask or something to wear. The Black and Silver Ball and the All White theme had higher than normal participation. A list of the theme nights for the 2016 cruise can be found HERE.
Here are some points to ponder when thinking about your approach to clothing.
• Decide how often you want to do laundry or how many different outfits you would like. Some people are comfortable rotating thru 2 pairs of jeans while some women brought a different dress for almost every day of the cruise. Evening.
• I would start with your experience on a 14-day cruise and then adjust for different weather possibilities and your personal tolerance for repetition.
• If you are handy with spreadsheets, you can build one that has the itinerary for your cruise along with three columns, day, evening and temperature. Using this spreadsheet, you can fill out the clothes you will wear for each day.
• Err of the side of taking less. There are plenty of opportunities to buy more clothes if you realize you need more.
You will need to have a 4-month supply of all your prescription medications. The term most insurance programs are familiar with is called “Vacation Override”. Start your conversation with your insurance company and your doctor to see if this is going to be easy or hard. This is something that you don’t want to put off to the last minute, but I haven’t heard of anyone not being able to reach an accommodation. If your medication requires special handling or involvement by the onboard medical team, get your travel agent and HAL involved sooner rather than later. We use Tricare Express Scripts and we were able to get everything we needed in advance. Be ready to spend some time on the phone and some people in the insurance companies may be new and not understand all the options. Start early and be politely persistent.
Over the counter medication
The ship has very limited amount of OTC medicine. Ships medical will have more, but it will be very expensive compared to what you can buy it for at your local drug store. Bring enough to deal with one typical cold or similar episodes.
Lotions, creams, make-up, razors. toothpaste, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, shampoo, hair color. Keep track of what you use during 1 month while at home to gauge what you should bring on the cruise. If you aren’t picky about the brands, you will be able to buy more of all of these items during stops at your more modern ports.
You certainly won’t go hungry on a cruise ship, but if you have to have a special treat e.g. Snickers Bars, a certain brand of peanut butter, gum, candy etc, then you should bring your supply from home. Certain items you can pick up at many ports – Snickers bars for example, but other items may be harder to find. Many ports prohibit taking food ashore. We always pack something like fig bars or equivalent which are in sealed wrappers that can come in handy during a long bus ride. I enjoy popcorn and even brought an air pop popcorn popper, but I discovered that the Wajang Theater puts out dozens of small popcorn bags during the daily movie. Bring a Rubbermaid tub with a sealed lid and you can grab some popcorn from the theater and keep it fairly fresh in your cabin.
Cabins don’t have many electrical outlets. In addition to the single North American plug at the desk, there are two extra plugs at the desk which can be available to use with minimal effort.
Next to the standard 110-volt North American outlet on the desk, there is an 220V outlet made for European plugs. Most all electrical devices can use either 110 or 240 volt outlets. Bring an adapter for the European outlet and you can use it for many of your electrical devices. Be careful with anything that heats up – curling irons, hair dryers etc. Some can handle dual voltage but many cannot. Those that can usually have a switch to select the correct voltage.
The DVD player under you TV is plugged into a separate outlet. We never used this player so I unplugged it and freed up another outlet.
If your room doesn’t have a refrigerator, if might still have electrical outlet that you may be able to reach.
Bring enough chargers and cables to support keeping all your devices charged.
Adapter plugs for any country where you will be travelling overland will come in handy
We used a portable power bank to help keep our iPhones and iPads charged while on longer shore excursion. There are many products out there, but this is the one we used: Intocircuit 15000mAh 4.8A Dual USB Portable Power Bank with SmartID Technology, Gray ,available from Amazon.
If you enjoy certain games – bring them! Don’t forget your dominoes, Mah Jongg cards, Sudoku books, Crossword puzzles. Be sure to download any games for your iPhone before you leave.
If you like to knit or crochet, bring enough projects to keep you going for the 4 months.
If you are buying a new camera for the cruise, be sure to leave enough time to learn how to use it before you leave. Learn how to use the fill flash and how to take pictures under low lighting conditions and situations that are backlight. Bring an extra battery and memory card. If your battery goes bad, these can be hard to fine – bring a spare.
We used the following cameras on the cruise and were very happy with them.
Computers and accessories
Since I was blogging, I brought more computers and accessories than the average person. Here is what I was using:
CANON PIXMA iP110 Wireless Mobile Printer With Airprint(TM) And Cloud Compatible – Printer is wireless and uses a rechargeable battery. We used it to print out photos to share with friends. Small and light.
Epson Perfection V39 photo Scanner – Very small and light scanner – doesn’t need to be plugged into an electrical outlet. Gets all its power from the computers USB Port
HooToo TripMate Elite Wireless Travel Router, USB Port, 6000mAh External Battery (HT-TM06, Not a Hotspot)
– This allows you to share a single wifi login with multiple devices. Handy on the ship. It also has a power bank which can be used to charge iPhones etc.
A more detailed check list is HERE including what I took but wouldn’t take again and items I forgot to take.
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