How did that Cruise Wardrobe Work?

It’s been so long since the last post that you probably think I fell off the face of the earth. In reality we were traveling for several weeks, then on a 14 day cruise, visiting our son in Philly and being sick.  The day we got off the cruise ship, both Kevin and I got some type of illness.  Now, two weeks after the cruise ended, we still have a fatigue that seems impossible to shake.

After bragging about the small volume of cruise clothing I tucked in the bottom of my backpack for our recent trip, it only seems fair that I publicly evaluate the plan.  The following are my thoughts, but first a few photos for proof:

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LBD with silk shawl
Silk top, black shawl and LBS (this is my favorite)
LBD with a tube of petal trip basted onto the neckline.

1.  When traveling on land for two weeks, I was incredibly grateful to only have a small bag of formal cruise wear at the bottom of my backpack (aka suitcase).  At each hotel it stayed in the bottom of my bag and I didn’t even look at it until we got onto the cruise ship.

2.  I still smile with delight as I think of our cruise-mates struggling with two suitcases apiece, each nearly the size of a small car.

3. The number of pieces of formal clothing was perfect for four formal nights on the ship; a lbd, a long black skirt, 3 sleeveless tops, 2 silk shawls, one pair of sparkly flats.  In fact I didn’t need one of the silk tops for a formal night.

4. The amount of wrinkling was not insignificant, however after hanging the clothing most of the wrinkles fell out.  Thankfully the ship has a laundry service which was only necessary for the lbd which is made from a poly-rayon-lycra blend.


I didn’t mention that Kevin packed in a similar manner.  Naming it “a suit-in-a-bag”, he packed a Lands’ End wool blazer and pants in a zip-lock bag.   When he hung the pieces, they hardly had any wrinkles.

Kevin’s “Suit-in-a-bag” and me in ruffled tank and LBS (long black skirt)

Packed and Ready to Go

2600 cubic inch back packs and a small day bag for each

In the recent days, our conversations with friends and acquaintances have been something like:

Q.  “How many suitcases do you pack for being in Central America for 2 months?”

A.  “One”

Then the long sigh.

As long as you asked, the above photo reveals the answer for me. As you can imagine, Kevin’s packing list is quite different.  Sometimes it would be much easier to be a guy.  Since you can’t tell what the clothing items are,  I’ll follow with a list.  I should also tell you that prior to this photo I had packed my bag twice and still had too much to fit, so I needed to re-think some items.  Here’s where I landed:

  • 2 pair zip-off pants (one zips to shorts and one zips to Capri length)
  • 2 travel skirts
  • 2 button down travel shirts
  • 3 sleeveless shirts
  • 2 short sleeve shirts
  • 2 very lightweight long sleeve t-shirts – one will double as pj top
  • pj bottoms – lightweight cotton
  • wide brim hat
  • undies and socks
  • toiletries
  • toed sandals and flip-flops
  • Fleece zip-up for layering and doubles as a pillow
  • Goretex jacket
  • Camping/packing towel
  • huggies – great for a quick clean-up.  Also double as a stain remover.
  • sunglasses
  • books
  • cards
  • Travel Scrabble (thank you, Shaun)
  • iPod and iPhone – don’t plan to use international service however)
  • Earings – one pair.  Will be easy to purchase locally made jewelry
  • Camera and USB cable, of course
  • Electrical adaptors
  • A few granola bars
  • Crystal Light lemonade packs – for when I’m tired of water.

There are many more small items but this is a good start.


My small bag is a 17″ Ameribag.  It has lots of zippers and in future photos, you’ll see that it has a wide strap, it wears well on my front, and often my arm is on top of the bag which adds some level of security.  It’s not a sure bet but is certainly better than carrying a hand bag.  This is the second one I owned and personally, I wouldn’t travel without it.  In addition I’ll wear a lightweight moneybelt for my passport and one charge card.