...to the CruisePlanner Frames Page

About a week before departure,
consult  USA Today  or  Wunderground  for the weather forecast.  Just remember to prepare for the unexpected ( I needed that sweater when I was out on the windy Atlantic at midnight doing the Macarena at the pool party ). 

By the way... Hurricane, Shmurricane   Don't worry, they don't go there.

From the Transportation Security Administration

What To Know Before You Go

Special Needs

Need Help?


Check with your carrier for luggage fees.

Check your cruise brochure and airlines for luggage weight limits.  Try not to take too much because there may be a time when you'll have to carry your own luggage (going is not too bad--returning with an extra 50 pounds of gifts could be cumbersome).
  • Durable cloth expandable bags with lots of pockets give you the most space
  • Try to limit your bags to one suitcase and one carry-on per person, and one garment bag per couple.  You may have more luggage on your way back
  • Pack all liquids in Ziploc bags
  • To prevent wrinkling, pack items individually in dry-cleaner bags or between layers of tissue paper
  • Pack little stuff inside big stuff to save room
  • Carefully mark each piece with your name and business address and affix your cruise line tags as directed
  • Locks or straps are strongly recommended. Try the Austin House Tamper Gard ... Each tag is individually numbered and when sealed, cannot be refastened. If the seal is broken, then the luggage has been tampered with. For use with zippered luggage. Single use only. Twelve tags in four assorted colors.

Here are some additional tips to reduce and eliminate any issues caused by the new security screening:
  • Consider what personal items you may be packing, keeping in mind that they may be embarrassing if your bags are inspected. 
  • Put personal belongings in clear plastic zip-top bags. This will reduce inspection time as the TSA screener will not have to handle individual items. 
  • Use Eagle Creek's Pack-It System of Folders, Cubes and Sacs. These keep items such as socks, toiletries, underwear, jewelry, and shirts organized within your bag and make it a snap to repack if your bags are searched.
  • Spread out books and documents within your baggage; do not stack them on top of each other. The sheer bulk of such items may lead to a manual inspection. 
  • Wait to wrap your gifts. Be aware that wrapped gifts may need to be opened for inspection. This applies to both carry-on and checked baggage.
  • Pack shoes, boots, sneakers, and other footwear on top of other contents in your luggage, as these are most likely to be inspected. Be sure to place them closest to the wheels to balance your bag and keep it from falling over.
  • Do not put film in your checked baggage. Some baggage screening equipment will damage undeveloped film. All film should be kept in your carry-on bag, preferably in a film-safe container.
  • Avoid packing food and drink items in checked baggage. Items such as chocolate bars and cheese can look suspicious in x-rays and may lead to manual inspection. 
  • Be aware that items such as wooden matches, bleach, spray paint, firecrackers, lighter fluid and certain batteries are banned even in checked luggage. The TSA website site offers a complete list of Permitted and Prohibited Items.

Checked baggage allowances change from time to time.  Click on the links below to get current information (while you're there, see if any fees apply for checked luggage).

Carry-On Bag Size Limits vary for each carrier:

  • American:  23 x 13 x 9 or 45 linear inches ... 40 lbs.
  • Continental: 45 linear inches ... 40 lbs.
  • Delta:  22 x 14 x 9 ... 45 linear inches . .. under 40 lbs.
  • Northwest: 22 x 14 x 9 ... 45 linear inches
  • United: 22 x 14 x 9 linear inches ... 45 linear inches
  • USAir:  21 x 16 x 8 (under seat); 24 x 16 x 10 (overhead) ... 45 linear inches ... 40 lbs.
  • AirTran55 linear inches


Your agent or the cruise docs will inform you of what kind of dinner attire is expected when dining in the main dining room.  Tuxedos are not required, but many gentlemen do wear them.  Suits and ties for men and cocktail dresses for ladies is always appropriate.  Tuxedos and accessories can usually be rented.  Simply call or fax down the measurements they ask for in the brochure, give them a credit card number, and it will be waiting for you in your stateroom when you arrive.
RCI suggests the following dinner attire:
 3 / 4    5
 6 / 7
 8 - 13
 14 / 15
Casual Nights
2 / 3
3 / 4
4 - 9
11 - 12
Ladies:  Sundresses or pants and blouses
Men:  Sport shirts and slacks
Smart Casual
Ladies:  Dresses or pantsuits
Men:  Jackets and ties
Formal Nights
Ladies:  Cocktail dresses
Men:  Suits and ties or tuxedos


On the mass market lines, think of it this way...

Formal night  wear what you would wear to an awards banquet,  high school prom, or very ritzy restaurant

Semi-formal night  wear what you would wear to a nice restaurant for Easter brunch,  or to celebrate your promotion to assistant buyer for widgets.

Casual night   you are taking your wife and kids to dinner at Outback,  Bennigan's, or Steak and Ale.

The first night people will often wear what they travelled to the ship in--especially if they are still waiting for the luggage to get to their cabin :)

Thanks to Jeffrey Bennet Smith (as posted in r.t.c.)

Country club casual is along the lines of...

izod type collared golf shirt
khaki pants
topsider type shoes (without socks if you REALLY want the country club look)
and perhaps a blazer thrown over the whole thing, but maybe not, depending on how cool it is.
What's it's not...
no suit and tie
no jeans or shorts

Thanks to Kate in NY (as posted in r.t.c)

Do not break in a new pair of shoes on a shore excursion...
...It could ruin your week 

Your basic daytime attire would be similar to that at a smart land-based resort.  You'll need just a few comfortable casual things for daytime.  Select  mix 'n' match clothing and remember you'll probably buy yourself a few T-shirts along the way.  Comfortable shoes are an absolute necessity.  The type of clothing you will need depends on the weather and the general mood of the cruise.  Some cruises will be on the formal side while others will have few dress requirements.  If you are dragging out some old comfortable favorites, try them on in plenty of time to alter, repair or replace them.  Try to respect that many religious buildings cannot be entered unless you are properly covered.

Essential Carry-on Items:

  Cruise docs
  Airline Tickets
  Passports, visas or other required ID (keep copies in case of loss)
  Completed embarkation forms 
  Medications, motion sickness aids
  AND a photocopy of your doctor's original prescription, along with the pharmacy receipt.
  • Be sure to keep your pills in the original container you got at the
  • pharmacy. (The label will allay any suspicions on the part of Customs officers, and might well be a lifesaver if you were to fall ill or be injured, and unable to speak to ambulance or hospital staff).
  • Small children can be given some sort of decongestant cold medicine about 30 minutes before flying.  This'll clear their sinuses a bit, and help with those awful ear popping problems. (Thanx, Scott & Jane)
  Money, traveler's checks, plastic
  Valuable items
  Keys (luggage, car, home)
  Film...in a ziploc for hand-inspection.  (Since the airport security scanners are using stronger, smarter methods these days, it has been reported that photographs from film which has passed through security have turned out hazy.)

Packing for the Really Casual Cruiser:

  Cruise docs
  Passport or other required ID

Packing for Ladies:

Print just the Ladies' list

  Magnifying makeup mirror & case/rack
  Skin care items (moisturizer, hair remover, razor)
  Personal hygiene care, deodorant, tooth brush, toothpaste, mouthwash, floss
  Nail care items (clippers, file, polish, remover, KrazyGlue)
  Hair care items (comb, brush, shampoo, conditioner, spray, gel, shower cap)
  Clear nail polish for nail (and hosiery) repair
  Hair accessories (scrunchies, clips, bands)
  Scarves, Belts
  Jewelry (necklaces, chokers, bracelets, watches, earrings, pins, rings)
  Hats, caps, visors
  Shoes (formal, tennis, walking, sandals, water shoes) but not too many 'cause they're heavy to carry.
  Underwear (don't forget the strapless bra)
  Pantyhose, sport socks
  Nightwear (pajamas, gowns, robes)
  Sweater or light jacket
  Workout clothes, wrist/headband
  Dresses or pantsuits

Packing for Men:

Print just the Men's List
  Shaving items (razor, blades, cord, cream, after-shave, styptic pencil)
  Shirts or polos
  Sweater or light jacket
  Workout clothes, wrist/headband
  Shoes (formal,deck, tennis, sandals)
  Dinner attire (suit, shirts, ties, slacks, sport coats)
  Tuxedo and accessories
  Jewelry (watches, tie tacks, studs, necklaces, rings)

Special list for Jim and Candy:

  Nasal spray
  Shoe horn
  White socks
  Leave the bedroom slippers
  2 sport coats
  Hair cut 1 week prior to cruise
  Shaver brush
  Mechanical Pencils
  Colored Markers
  Can lids
  *dam Hats

Packing for Children:

Print just the Children's list
  diapers (if available onboard, are costly)
  "The Blankie"
  Quart-sized ziploc bags and a travel-sized can of Lysol for dirty diapers
  Trial-sized hand sanitizing gel for diaper bag (for island excursions when washing your/his hands isn't an option)
  A bottle brush & trial-sized dish detergent for washing sippy cups
  Sun hat
  Swim diapers (last few items thanx to Jamine)
  booster seat aid (strap to hold child in just in case the one on the chair you get at dinner doesn't work)
  BIBS  (thanx, Susan)
  Help me out here
  port-a-crib (cruise lines will try to have one there, but better safe with it under the bed than sorry with baby IN your bed!)
  waterproof pads for toddler's bunks (sheets get changed daily--mattresses don't!
  baby sunscreen
  baby wipes (thanx, Anna)
  baby aspirin or Tylenol
  infant thermometer
  antibiotics/drops for ear or eye infections (yucky foreign water) (thanx, Laurie)
  Benadryl (for rashes)
  Baby Cold Medicine (thanx, Lisa)
  baby shampoo (cruise lines have BIG people's kind)
  backpack stuffed with coloring books and crayons (to occupy those long hours on flights or in airports/lounges awaiting disembarkation)
  favorite stuffed animal
  sipper cups
  juice boxes for excursions
  inflatable swim aids (don't take up room in suitcase, but are essential)
  travel games (magnetic or self-contained)
  game boy
  kid's books
  night light and extension cord
  spiral notebook for journal/diary
  cheap one-time camera for the things that are important to them 
    Makes for a much more fun cruise when the little ones are happily occupied and provisioned!  Last 15 items are courtesy of Randy Mathews 

Proper Planning for Children Makes Traveling a Breeze

...courtesy of Tipworld

To keep your baby and other passengers happy while traveling by plane, try these ideas: 

* Give the baby something to drink during take-off and landing.  This will minimize discomfort to ears when cabin pressure changes. 

* Take your car seat if you can and strap in the baby. This can be much more comfortable for you and your little one. 

* Pack distractions. A new toy or book is a great idea. 

* Use a backpack for essentials to keep your arms free while moving through the airport. 

* Remember to pack for emergencies. Delays will cause you to need more diapers, and a change of clothes. 

You may even want to schedule the flight around a time when the baby usually naps. That way, you may get some time to relax yourself!

Seasonal or Alaska Packing:

Think layers.  You can always peel them off as the temperature rises.  To prepare for temps from 40s to 90s, add:
Print just the Seasonal list

  Long underwear
  Turtle neck shirts
  Long sleeve shirts
  Heavy sweaters
  Insulated vest
  Lightweight jacket with removable lining
  Mid-weight, water/windproof jacket
  Heavy hooded jacket
  Waterproof raingear
  Waterproof shoes or boots
  Hat that covers your ears or scarf (wind kicks up)
Peter Berlin has some excellent advice (MSWord format):
Alaska Packing Advice


    Packing for Everybody:

    Print just Everybody's list
    Sun Stuff

      Tan lotion
      Sun glasses (and extras)
      Hats, caps, visors

    Power Stuff

      Batteries & charger
      Power strip (for multiple chargers and turbo hair dryers) thanx to Patti
      Current converter,
      extension cord
      Cameras (flash, video, panoramic, underwater) film and batteries

    *ography Stuff

      Digital camera, battery charger, cables & extra chips
      Camera, batteries, film
      Underwater camera
      Camcorder, battery, power cord

    Medical Stuff

      Glasses, contact lenses (and extras), solutions
      First aid materials
      Seasickness remedies
      Glasses repair kit

    Electronics / Appliances

    2-way radios
      Walkman & phones
      razor, curling iron, hair dryer
      steamer, iron
      LED alarm clock
      Nite light
      Coffee & travel coffeepot

    Tote Stuff

      Fanny pack, tote bag
      Ziploc bags for wet or leaky stuff
      Extra fold-up luggage or bags for the goodies you bought
      Old totebag you don't care if you lose


      Swiss Army Knife
      Reading / Writing Stuff
      Cruise line brochure
      Books, magazines
      Journal, Notepad or Laptop
      Writing materials, address book or labels
      Sporting Goods
    See Delta's regs
      Telephone calling card
      Water bottle for excursions
      Sewing kit, tweezers, scissors, lint brush, safety pins
      Room deodorizer
      Luggage locks
      Tip envelopes already filled out
      $2.00 bills are good for unusual tips
      Snorkeling equipment (so you know whose mouth was there last...)
      More money, less clothes
      Electrical ties for luggage
      Ziploc bags
      Maps (you'll find generic maps in your cabin)
      Coupons for car rental or dining onshore
      Small reclining beach chairs
      Clothespins (for curtain-gap-closing) thanx to Susan B.
      Duct tape
      Scotch tape (if you have an outside cabin you curtains never fit completely together
    so the sun does come in very bright and early.  Taping the curtains together gets you
    some extra shuteye!  It also works great for a quick hem job...see more tape tips below)


    Using tape, you can survive almost any emergency at sea:

     1. Repairs the hem of your dress
     2. Tape the curtains closed to keep out the sunlight
     3. Make your own lint brush
     4. Keeps extension cords out of the way
     5. Emergency hinge repair for your camera
     6. Keeps long shoelaces from tripping you on the treadmill
     7. Make sticky notes out of the ship's stationery
     8. Belly button lint remover
     9. Tape bingo cards to the table in rough seas
    10. Keeps your eyelids open to stay awake for the midnight buffet
    11. Foils the pick-pockets at Martinique
    12. After too many midnight buffets, make your own girdle (does anybody remember what a girdle is?)
    13. Use as a *mute function* for the noisy kid at your table
    14. Tape yourself to the toilet during rough seas
    15. Do-it-yourself bikini wax
    16. Garters to keep your stockings up (inside joke)
    17. Instant hand cuffs
    18. The rowdy kid in the cabin next door... tape him to the wall
    19. Makes a great strapless bra, it lifts and separates
    20. Done correctly, it can be used as a contraceptive device

    Becca  <-----didn't even mention taping the door key to my forehead cuz I can't ever keep up with those darn things.

2-Way Radios

From George in NY:  We have been using them for a couple of years now and they are great BUT since so many now use them I would recommend that you not be cheap in your selection. Good ones are not inexpensive. This year I made a similar suggestion to a friend traveling with us. The other traveling companions and ourselves use Motorola Talk abouts which were in excess of $100 a piece when originally purchased. Our other friends found radios that looked very similar and offered one the most important features, multiple channels, and the alledged same 2 mile range for $50 a pair. As usual you get what you pay for. Although they looked the same they did not operate anywhere near the quality of our radios. Often they could not get through. Good quality is more important now since, again, many now use these onboard, and quality filtering electronics and so forth will make them much more valuable to you.

Things You Shouldn’t Forget to Check Before Traveling

You’ve been planning this trip for months, and now you’re finally ready to go. Hold on a second though. Before you open up that door, double check to make sure you’ve covered all of these areas.

Home Security
Be sure that every single window and door is locked before embarking on your journey. Purchase timers so that the television and lights go on at certain times of the day. Additionally, set your home alarm and have signs in the windows and lawn letting people know there is an alarm present. Many alarm companies also offer fire protection in which the alarm signals a call to the fire department. You also don’t want your home to appear empty or to be empty. Have a trusted family member or friend come over every single day to check on the house, collect mail and to be alert to any dangerous signs.

Pet Arrangements
Who is going to be taking care of your pets while you’re away? Perhaps you are boarding them. In that case, call up the boarding facility the day before to ensure that they have your reservation. It goes without saying that you want to pick a facility with an excellent reputation. It’s unlikely that you’ll leave dogs home alone, but you may do so for other pets. Ask a trusted family member or friend to come over each day to take care of the pets. Leave a list of instructions for the person, and make sure that he or she understands the importance of not letting the pets get out of the house.

Necessary Documents/Tickets
One of the worst moments of travelers’ journeys is when they arrive at the airport only to realize that they have forgotten their tickets. As soon as you sit down in the car, be sure that these are still on your person. Checking in the house isn’t enough because you could easily misplace them between your kitchen and the car door. This same rule applies for licenses, passports and any other documents that you need for your trip.

Luggage Restrictions
You also don’t want to arrive at the bus stop or airport to discover that some of your items are simply too large. All types of public transportation have rules and regulations available to the public. If you don’t see this information listed on the establishment’s website, call to ask. There are also a number of items that you are not permitted to bring on certain modes of transportation. For example, you’ll likely have to bring travel sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner with you. Containers with more than a certain amount of liquid are generally not permitted on planes.

All of these preparations can make a person anxious to travel! However, once you’ve covered all of them, you can rest your mind knowing that everything has been taken care of. You’ll soon be on the road or in the air, and you’ll know that a trusted person will be checking up on your house and pets every day.

© 1996-2012  Candy Brock