I just retuned from an amazing trip on the Disney Dream Cruise Ship. It was a fabulous experience and I am so grateful that I could go with my family.
Before the trip, I did quite a bit of research to figure out how best to experience the cruise.
I had never been on a cruise before and wasn’t sure I’d ever get to go again, so I wanted to make the most of it.
And of course my goal was to be organized about the whole process too. I’ll sum up what I learned from others and what my experience was for you so you can pack for organized success!
First, don’t take too much! Let me say that again. Don’t overpack!
Our stateroom was more spacious than I anticipated, but you have to keep in mind that staying organized on a cruise or vacation requires the same set of rules as staying organized in your home:
1. You can’t stay organized with clutter
2. Having too much produces clutter!
So keep that in mind when packing.
The more you bring on the ship is that much more you will have to take care of and manage. And do you really want to be dealing with stuff instead of enjoying the activities and making memories?
My family went on the 4 day cruise to the Bahamas on the Disney Dream. I took seven outfits, figuring that I would wear one during the day and one at night. But what I didn’t think about is that for the sea day, you will wear normal clothes and maybe swimwear, depending on how much of a pool fan you are.
But for the port days, you’ll most likely be in swimwear most of the time, so a separate outfit for each day really isn’t necessary since you can wear clothes more than once. That way you can really cut down on what you bring.
Packing for Adults
Here’s what I took for me clothes-wise – A casual dress, 3 outfits with shorts, 1 outfit with a skirt, 2 extra shirts, two bathing suits, a pirate costume and of course undergarments (no commando style for me!) and pjs.
When I travel, I never take a lot of jewelry. I don’t want the hassle of carrying it around with me, nor the heartbreak of something happening to it in my checked luggage.
So I took only a few versatile pieces. For shoes, I only took beach ready flip flops and dressier slides.
I brought back just one shirt that I didn’t wear, so I planned pretty well!
Packing for Kids
For the kids, I took 2 swim suits and 4 outfits per kid, pirate costume, plus pjs and underwear.
I wish I had brought one or two more shirts for them because I let them have ice cream from the self-serve machines pretty much whenever they wanted.
There were ice cream drips and stains on shirts, especially for my littlest one since he wasn’t eating the ice cream faster than it was melting!
I’m a bit of a shutterbug, so having more clean shirts to choose from for better pictures for the evening activities would have been nice.
So in all, everything we brought for two adults and two kids fit into one large suitcase, a smaller carry on sized suitcase and a small duffle bag. Not bad!
Because I didn’t bring too much, I didn’t waste time sorting through everything in our room when our bags arrived. I was able to unpack, and immediately start enjoying everything on the ship, and boy is there so much to enjoy!
For the Pirate Night I made simple costumes for everyone.
I took a plain white t-shirt and cut off all of the finished edges in a ragged fashion and tied a red fleece sash at the waist.
Simple, and it didn’t take up a lot of room and was really comfortable to wear in the heat.
Each family member had the same costume, but the boys had an eye patch too. Made for a cute picture, don’t you think?
Bonus packing tips
I also brought huge Hefty bag slider bags (1.5 gallon size) for wet clothes for the last day since we didn’t have a veranda to speed swim suit drying.
You’ll be carrying off the ship anything you don’t pack in your bags and set out in the hallway the last night of the cruise.
So I was careful to pack just about everything except for the last day of clothes, pjs, and electronics.
How to Keep Organized
The secret to staying organized while on the cruise really begins before you set foot aboard!
A huge key to success is not only to not bring too much, but to also plan out each day and bring only what you need.
And then containerize everything to keep it all together.
I pretty much knew what we were going to be doing on and off the ship, so I planned accordingly and was pretty spot on with what I packed.
The only thing I brought too much of was sunscreen, but I prefer to be safe and bring extra because we are all so pale and burn pretty quickly if we’re out in the sun unprotected. I kept all of the sunscreen together in a large ziplock. No chances for leakage that way.
Keep like with like
Other toiletries were in small bags too. Device chargers, earbuds and the camera plug lived together in a small zippered pouch. Small pouches prevent small items from getting lost and literally keep everything together.
Keeping like items with like made it easy to unpack quickly, know where everything was each day, and then packing up to leave (sniff, my least favorite part) was a breeze!
Planning your trip
Once we got home from the cruise, I knew I wanted to go on another. And I’d want to be even more prepared. So with that in mind, I created the ultimate Disney Cruise Planner.
There were a few things that we didn’t get to do and if I had this planner, we wouldn’t have had to miss out.
Next time, I’ll use my handy planner to be completely prepared! See why this planner is exactly what you’ve been looking for to plan to most magical vacation ever!
Over to you!
Have you been on a Disney Cruise before?
What tips do you have to share?
Let me know if the comments!