I’m all packed–but I have a question…

Last year I was pleased as punch to finish packing for my river cruise and weigh my single bag (a 25-inch Eagle Creek Tarmac that’s about eight years old) and discover I was at 28 pounds total, bag included.

My goal this year was the same–but I didn’t make it. Everything’s still fitting in the same bag but because this is an ocean cruise on a big boat, not a river cruise on a little boat, my packing mantra changed a little bit. Of course, as I write this, I’m sitting in Sacramento Airport, waiting for the flight to take me down south where I’ll meet Mom. That means we don’t have our “leaving for Europe” flight until tomorrow so I have time to reconsider my “heftier” packing this year and leave some stuff at Mom’s place…but I’m still debating what to remove…

So what made my bags heavier? Ummmm….clothes I’m not certain I’ll need.

My travel “comfort” items are pretty much the same as they were for last year’s 14-hour flight day so that didn’t change and my carry-on is about the same (except for a nifty new bag, but I’m jumping ahead of myself). For that complete list, see here.

And for clothing, I kept to the same basic concept I had last year: basics accessorized with scarves to switch up the look a bit. Here’s last year’s list, for comparison (and in-depth notes about what worked and what didn’t).

Here’s this year’s list of “I’m sure I’m gonna take these” (because, yes, I have been asked!):

  • Pants: Two black, one beige. Here’s what’s different this year, though. I am absolutely not bringing any ankle-length or cropped styles of pants. Sure, they looked cute last year while we traversed many of Europe’s rivers. But the cuteness didn’t extend downward to the icy-blue feet and toes I sported along with these shorter pants. I was chilly last year in many ports and, not having brought pants long enough to wear socks with, my tootsies suffered. The unseasonably cold rains last summer in our ports didn’t help matters any. I’m not making that mistake this year!
  • Three pairs of wool socks. Don’t laugh. Do not. I wear them all fall and winter at home and this trip I want to have warm feet. So there.
  • Tops: Layering is the key again. One beige tank, three Sahalie tops (turquoise, white, black), a cute bias-cut three-quarter sleeve tunic (thanks, Mom!), Mountain Hardware Canyon short-sleeve shirt (blue) and a long-sleeve Pima funnelneck tee from Orvis (merlot, but no longer available so no link, sorry). That’s it. I’m hoping the other 929 passengers on the Viking Star will not notice it’s the same old tops, recycled (no worries, there is a free laundry on our deck). Scarves should help, huh?
  • Sweaters: One lightweight polyester tunic-length sweater from Macy’s (black) and, here is my splurge, the most gorgeous and colorful reversible (!) long swoopy sweater. It’s packed in my luggage now but I’ll come back later today and add the link and maybe a photo. It will go with anything. Except plaid; yuck.
  • Skirt/dress ExOfficio Maxi Travel Skirt. Well, truthfully, I’ll probably only wear it as a dress once–it’s one of those convertible numbers with a really wide waistband that can be pulled up to become a dress—without straps. I planned on wearing it with my sweater over the top, but, still, I don’t really relish the idea of accidentally having the top pulled down. But it’s a great skirt! And, in case you wondered, that is not me in the photo in this dress…
  • Shoes. I have wide feet (but, as my daughter-in-law kindly puts it, I wear my chubby feet well) so the first thing I consider every time I travel is my shoes. This trip finds two repeat pairs because they just worked so darn well last year: Jambu Blossom flats and my Cobb Hill “Paige” flats. Both come in wide andI  can wear either of these with or without socks (did you know I have cold feet?). This year I’ve also added a third pair of flats (yes, black like all the rest; but you know I’m not going to have to worry about matching things, don’t you?): Clark’s Unstructured No-Loop pull-ons. Leather uppers (it looks like we’ll have our share of rain this time around), available in wide, really comfortable (I already had them in brown before this trip was even a twinkle in Mom’s eye) and, as my husband says, they even look kinda European. My final pair of shoes are a pair of Cobb Hill Aubrey sandals. A little bit of heel to make the skirt/dress look nicer at night–but do I really need them??? Will I be hopelessly out of style wearing black flats to dinner every evening? And, even if I do, maybe it’s worth it not to have to pack more stuff.
  • Bathing suit. Okay, I’ll link it, but your mileage may var when you try it on. Don’t you hate shopping for bathing suits??? But there are two “big” pools, on the Viking Star, including the infinity version, plus one in the spa area (and the Snow Room–how “cool” is that?) so I must have a bathing suit this trip. And that means a cover-up, too. More to pack…
  • ScottEVest Sterling jacket. Removable sleeves make it a vest, oodles of pockets make it work great for travel and it’s heavy enough to serve as my jacket when I’m chilly. Here’s my full review of this (yes, I know its’ pricey) jacket. For travel, this one is a no-brainer for me.
  • Raincoat. Last year I used a backpacking rain jacket but, while it’s very light and it packed up no bigger than a handkerchief, I checked the weather for our ports and it looks like rain is going to be part of our lives in the Baltic area (and Norway–gee, it rains a lot, there, it seems) so I’m bringing a dedicated raincoat by Patagonia this time. And it’s in fuchsia! Mom will certainly have no trouble spotting me on a grey, rainy morning in Helsinki.
  • Scarves. Three in various color palettes. I like to tie them in different ways; by the end of the first week on last year’s river cruise, I had been asked by four other women to give them a scarf-tyinig lesson. I’m truly not that good at it; just persistent. And I haven’t strangled myself. Yet.
  • Underneath it all. Three pairs of quick-dry panties by ExOfficio; ’nuff said. And I’m packing long underwear for this trip. Merino has proven to be my friend for layering, so I’ve tube-rolled my Icebreaker leggings and a beige Icebreaker undertank. I am definitely not going to suffer from chilblains this year. In fact, should the Star take a detour to the North Pole, I’ll likely be the only passenger fully prepared.
Now, here’s where I am really not certain: Should I pack my running/exercise shoes and the accompanying t-shirt and skorts I use when I work out? None of the other shoes can really do double duty for a jog around the ship or time in the exercise room and I don’t really want to exercise in my “daily wear” clothes. This means I have an additional bundle of clothes to stuff in my suitcase. They fit, but it doesn’t leave much room for extra purchases along the way.
Mom says she has room in hers for anything (small) I might buy. But, still, I’m not sure. Will I really find time to exercise? This is a port-intensive itinerary and I’m wondering if I just have good intentions but reality (and the appeal of afternoon tea and scones) will result in no onboard visits to the gym.
Your input?

6 Responses to I’m all packed–but I have a question…

  1. Karen Enlow says:

    I always “think” I am going to exercise while on vacation and occasionally I do BUT if I was flying I might toss in the clothes (depends on where I am going) but I would either wear the exercise shoes or leave them πŸ™‚ Oh who are we kidding here? Ditch the exercise clothes…realistically you would probably not use them enough to make it worth your while to pack them! I have been on 4 or 5 cruises and have never bothered to exercise….to much else is going on!

  2. Azulann says:

    I would scrap the tennis shoes and work out clothes, unless you exercise every day in a gym as part of your daily routine. You will find new daily habits on board. Walking the decks can be done in your other shoes.
    I would include a pair of slippers. I love wearing my slipper in my cabin after a long day touring. My feet swell. Also a pair of flip flops for the spa and pool area.
    You have great wardrobe for your trip. I always wear thin wool socks in different lengths, even in the Med. in my walking shoes.

  3. JS says:

    I ocean cruise all the time. On any cruise I take that is 14 days or shorter, I skip the gym and its associated clothing requirements. Just enjoy the cruise and IT is port intensive. I’m getting ready to disembark after 50 days. Enjoy tea time rather than the gym!

    Also, you don’t need a coverup since your bathrobe will work great and that’s what 99% of the other passengers wear to/from the pools and spa. I wouldn’t bother bringing your sandals either since the four evening dining venues (The Restaurant, World Cafe, Manfredi’s and Chef’s Table) are all casual. I find The Restaurant to sometimes be very cold, especially when the gangway is on Deck 2 so do make sure you have a cardigan or something to wear over your clothes if you are cold ON the ship. Likewise, Deck 1 (and The Living Room) can be quite chilly when the gangway is in it.

    Slippers will be provided with your robe and you can wear those to the pools/spa if you don’t want to pack flip flops. (I always pack flip flips, though, to wear in the cabin and to the pools.)

  4. san says:

    amazing resources, all. that said, I would still bring the workout clothes and shoes, you never know when a skort might be converted to another use (especially with a lovely long Norwegian sweater and some tights with your shoes!), AND you never know when you might need a short break to simply sweat it all out on an elliptical and leave it behind, in whatever country you might find yourself in πŸ™‚

    personally, I don’t worry as much about flip-flops as I do about a pedicure (lol), and to each his own πŸ™‚

    miss you two already. as does Jax. we’re watching squirrels in the trees, and projecting ourselves into the ports you’ll soon find yourselves in… might have to buy some salmon! much love and hugs to you both!

  5. Marla says:

    I know this is come ng to late, since you’re already sailing, but I spent every evening dancing in the lounge (with your mom) and a dressy pair of shoes and a few skirts were a must for me. As a post Viking traveler I’d say ditch the work out gear you know your going to walk your legs off along with any extra mocha chino’s everyday… there’s your workout! that and all the dancing at night

  6. Maxine says:

    My goodness, I do not own brand name shoes, jackets or swimsuits.

    My wardrobe came from Macys, Steinmart,, Penney and some have traveled many previous trips with me in other years. I am questioning if it qualifies me to be on this cruise????

    As long as my bathing suit still fits, and my shoes can dance the night away, I am good to go. My old jewelry is polished and looks as good as most new stuff in the shops on this ship, so I am one happy cruiser!!!!

    I wear my BitFit wrist band (gift from Sandy) that counts my daily steps and tells me how many calories I have burned. No need for fancy work out equipment.

    Having so much fun.

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