I am writing this post to try and help those of you out there who might be new to cruising, or even those of you who might have cruised before, but, like to make a little list of things to start gathering before your cruise. I will include what I usually put in my Carry-On bag, my Must Haves for on the cruise ship, and I’ll even include a section with some packing tips & tricks. 🙂 I’ve implemented these little helpful hints on our cruises that up to this point have been to Alaska (4 times w/3 more in the queue), Hawaii, and Canada & New England. 😉 So enough chattering from me, let’s jump right in and get started…
I’ll begin with showing you my carry-on bag and what I normally will keep with me on our journey on the jet, or even in the car. Then, once at our destination, I’ll have the bag with me if I want to take it on excursions and so forth.
This is the bag that I used for our Hawaii and Canada and New England trips and it worked like a charm, it is a Vera Bradley’s Campus Backpack in Midnight Paisley. I’m sure I looked like a girlie-girl carrying this through the airport and beyond, but, I didn’t care…I’m pretty comfortable with myself and don’t really care what others think. 🙂 I love Vera for its versatility, structure, and usability–I have searched for something that better suits my needs to no avail; I have made my way back to my old stand by in my Vera.
I put all of my Captain’s Circle Pins on it too–I’m such a geek! lol
So let’s see what will be in my Carry-On. 🙂
My 13″ MacBook Pro–We loaded some movies onto this and it became the holder of 1000’s of pictures that we took.
My earphones to use on the plane or in the car…
My Kindle Paperwhite — Here is a link for the case:
A wallet with cash, credit cards, and our passports…
It also has a little chain attached; pretty if I want to use it on the ship to carry a lipstick, tissues, etc… with me to dinner…
One of these pocket folders that will hold our cruise documents and travel insurance papers. I’m taking the other two folders in my checked luggage as well, I will use them to store our Princess Patters and any other info I collect from the ports etc…to be used in future blogs or possibly any Scrapbooks I might get the urge to create…
Here is a little video I just made with the folders that I just ordered and will be using on our next cruise:
I always bring a little notebook to be utilized for journaling and taking notes about wherever we are at any given moment in time. I am a stickler for facts being correct…
A little catch-all bag (Vera Bradley medium cosmetic bag) with possible necessities for the flight…
A crossword puzzle book and a few pens; I love doing crosswords, it gives my brain a work-out. 🙂
Okay, so that about does it for my Carry-On, I’m betting I throw a couple of other things in there as well, but, let’s move on to a few things that I always take with me on a cruise.
“My Must Haves”:
***These are, as the title suggests “MY” Must Haves–I realize that they might not be everyones***
First of all, I was just shown these wonderful luggage tags specifically designed to hold Princess (and other cruise lines) luggage tags. I ordered these from Amazon.com here; they just arrived and they are so very thick and nice, I know they are going to work really well.
I take Clorox wipes, and the first thing I do when I get to our Stateroom is wipe down the door knobs, light switches, desk area, tv remote, sink, toilet, balcony railing/chair arms/table, etc…Can’t be too careful. 🙂
I take my own shampoo. I LOVE Princess Cruises, but I do not love the shampoo/conditioner that they have on their ships. Their’s is housed in a nifty pump dispenser hanging in the shower (they also have shower gel…it’s not bad), but, it makes my hair go FLAT–I’m a Southern girl, I do not like flat hair. 😉
Here is what I’m referring to…This is the pump duo that was in our Mini-Suite on the Star:
So I take this shampoo with me, this is my every day go-to brand…
Two bars of soap, yes, I take my own soap…I like it much better than the shower gel they provide.I also bring travel sized shower gel and lotion…A little hook <~~link~~ to hang around the towel rack in the shower. It will hold my shower cap…lol…I know, sounds silly, but, I have color treated hair and I do not wash my hair every day, so a shower cap is a necessity for me. 🙂 (OH brother, I feel like I’m baring my soul here…LOL). 😉Disposable shower caps…Aren’t they purdy? 😉 😉While we’re talking about the bathroom, let me show you this cute little toothbrush holder that I found online…Love it! You can find one here:I also bring hand soap, I do not like having a bar of soap sitting on the sink at all times–one of my little quirks (I have many obviously…lol)…This room spray is the BEST stuff! Just to let you know, there are no exhaust fans in the bathrooms on the cruise ship, so I find that having this “odor eliminating” room spray makes it a bit more pleasant to exist in our space..at times…ahem, you get my drift. 😉
*****Just to let you know I used to have a picture of a surge protector here, but have recently found out that you are not allowed to use one on Princess ships…Here is the blurb from Princess’ safety information that you can find in your Cruise Personalizer (Go to your “My Princess”, then to “Print Boarding Passes”, then scroll down to the “Safety PDF” link). And I quote:
“The use of extension cords fitted with surge protection devices are prohibited in staterooms. The use of non-thermostatically controlled kettles and water heaters, together with the use of irons, is not permitted in your stateroom; please do not bring this type of equipment with you.”
When I find a viable option, I will post something in here…For now, I’m planning to take a regular extension cord, or power strip with no surge protection–I definitely suggest taking *something* because there aren’t many outlets available in the Staterooms.*****
I hardly ever need to take Tums…BUT…I always need to take them on our cruises. The food is so different, richer, and there is so much of it that I invariably over-eat and need a little relief…
A flashlight is nice to have, even in a balcony cabin–I just feel more secure knowing that we have one in one of the bedside tables just in case the lights go out for any reason…We carry a travel 1875 hairdryer with us…It would take me 20 minutes to dry my hair with the hair dryer that they provide (hung on the wall at the desk area beside the bed).Now, I know that a lot of people baulk at the thought of doing laundry while on vacation, but, I find that doing just a little bit makes me feel better–I hate to see piles of dirty clothes just laying on the floor (of the closet of course), and I like to save myself a little time when I get home. So yes, I do do laundry while on board…don’t judge…;) That said, it isn’t cheap to do laundry on board, it costs $3 to wash and $3 to dry—in tokens. Then, if you don’t take your own detergent and dryer sheets, you have to spend more $$ to purchase them out of a vending machine type thing that also requires tokens. OH you retrieve the tokens from the token vending machine that is in the laundry room using your cruise card as payment.
(Here is the laundry room on the Star Princess):
It is free to use the irons and ironing boards:
Can anyone say “cha-ching cha-ching” though? I take tide pods, and Downy dryer sheets:
Did you know that the walls in your Stateroom are metal? Yep, they sure are, so I take a couple of clip magnets to be used to hold…oh, I don’t know, that day’s Princess Patter for instance…
I purchased a package of large clips, they can be used to hold your beach towel on your chair, or possibly to hold your curtains shut (especially in Alaska when it hardly ever gets dark) If you’d like some for yourself, here is a link:
Binoculars…is a thought…We don’t usually take them because we tend to use the zoom lens’ on our cameras:A pair of scissors…One never knows when one might need to cut a tag off of something, or a string…A sweet little sewing kit…
A pop-up laundry basket…This will easily fit into the closet in the stateroom…I’ll put a Downy sheet down into it to help with any ‘interesting’ smells..;)
A first-aid kit…A portable suitcase scale…Handy to have so that you can switch things from one bag to the other to try and distribute the weight sufficiently. Zip-lock bags of varying sizes…A tip another traveler gave me just recently. I can see me using these for a variety of things. 🙂
Dramamine and Bonine just in case of really rough seas–we’ve never gotten sea sick, but, I always take them just in case. I’ve also heard folks speak about “Queasy Beads”, but, I am not in the know about them, I’m sure you can Google them though. 🙂
I love this little (3.25″ x 0.5″ x 2.75″) travel clock, it works like a charm! I am one of those people who, if I wake up in the middle of the night, I want to be able to see what time it is. I found this on Amazon here, it is a Marathon Atomic travel alarm clock with an auto night light feature.
I purchased a lanyard when I was on board this last time, and I found that I loved using it! The gentleman at the counter in the Sundries shop punched a hole in my cruise card for me:
Cameras and Tech’y’ Stuff
Here are our cameras, and these are definitely my very most important “must haves”:
We just purchased that sweet little Sony video camera for this trip. In addition, we’ve got a couple of zoom lens’ that usually go along with us..Also, don’t forget your download cord.
My hubby just purchased a 256 gb SSD (solid-state drive) and he has been loading movies onto it for us to watch on the laptop on the plane.
He said that he *might* take an external hard drive as well (1T) just in case we really do go crazy with our picture taking and need another place to store them…We will also be taking this device charger–It will charge anything with a USB cord attached, great to have on the plane especially if there is no place to plug in…You can find one here:I love to have this little camera around my neck as I walk around the ship–I probably look a site, but I love to have this with me to catch anything that might meet my fancy to photograph.
AND, I take my Selfie-Stick…LOL…I can hear you chuckling now! BUT, I love to take pictures of us as a couple and it is easier to accomplish that task with a selfie stick…Here we are on our last Alaskan cruise…Can I just say that I am married to my soulmate…We’ll be married for 34 years come May…I love him more now, than the day we said “I Do”…so blessed and lucky to have him…:
Packing Tips & Tricks
Now, let’s move on to some new packing tips and tricks that our daughter Christin provided for me…in the form of MANY Christmas presents. My goodness, she spoiled me ROTTEN; she did her research on YouTube and came up with some great options for me to use when I go to pack!
Here is what she gave me:
The first item is called an “Eagle Creek Pack-It Folder” organizer…Here is a link for a YouTube video demonstrating how it is used. 🙂
Here is how I put this envelope to use; I had upwards of 25 tops in that envelope:
Next, she gave me this “Shacke Pak” Packing Cube Set with laundry bag. I have a YouTube Travel Channel and I have created a video where I show you how I utilized my packing folder and cubes on our last cruise. Here you go if you like to take a look:
And here is what my suitcase looked like after utilizing that envelope and packing cubes:
IF those wonderful gifts weren’t enough, she spoiled me even further and gave me a couple of awesome “Thirty-One” bags…With my initial embroidered on them…what?!! SO nice. ***THANK you Christin for ALL of your gifts!!*** Here they are:
This one is for make-up:And this one is for jewelry:And…The gifts kept coming:
Pill boxes…I can use one for my carry-on and one for in the large suitcase…
I will actually not use this nice little carry-on kit <~~similar~~ for the things in my carry-on bag as I don’t have that many fluids to carry with me, but, this will come in really handy on the night before we disembark the ship. As most of you who have cruised before know who don’t self-disembark (meaning some carry their own luggage off of the ship), your luggage is retrieved from outside of your door the evening before you leave. I will use these bottles to put shampoo and my hair gel in, and whatever else I’ll need for my morning routine on the last morning on the ship.
OH I also will carry this extra bag a Vera Bradley Weekender Carry-On Bag in my smaller suitcase and will utilize it as a carry-on bag for the plane trip home. It will hold our dirty clothes from the last day on board, our morning toiletries, and anything else I find that I need to stick in it for our trip home.A couple of last thoughts…
First, excuse my awful nail polishing job–lol–but I wanted to show you that I always take my nail polish in a separate plastic’type’ bag…JUST in case something breaks in the plane. I take a larger bag for my perfume and any other full-size breakable items that I take with me…I will usually wrap them in paper towels or a bit of bubble wrap so that they are padded.And last but not least, I always bring a cross body purse to take on excursions…This time I’m bring a Vera Bradley Mailbag Crossbody.
I took this sweet little “Petite Double Zip Hipster” purse with me on our last cruise, it worked beautifully for our excursions. I purchased mine in red, unfortunately, at this moment in time, they do not have the red available. But that link will take you to the colors that are available from Amazon (which I find to be less expensive than the Vera site…usually). 🙂 Here I am carrying this bag:
And here I am with Chris’ look-alike…bwahahaha…JUST kidding. 😉 🙂 We had a good laugh with this fella though:
All righty, that about does it for now…OH wait!! I *JUST* remembered something!! I also take a little kit of cold meds, pain reliever, etc…It is much cheaper to have that stuff already with you than it is to buy it on board. They do have a small “Sundries” shop on board all Princess ships though…Here it is on the Star Princess:
ANYway, I hope that this little post will help you when start to ready yourself for your upcoming trip. I know that my must haves are not the same as your must haves, but I’m hoping that mine spark a thought of something that you might not have thought of or realized that you might need. 🙂
Until next time, y’all take good care! ❤
PS–Here are a few links to some of my cruise blog posts:
This is the first post in my Alaska series, there is a link at the end of each post that will take you to the next post/day of the cruise. I include tons of pictures, information about and links to excursions (from our latest trip to Alaska and also from past trips):
Alaska: Voyage of the Glaciers – Southbound
Here is a link to my Hawaii blog series, again, there is a link at the end of each post that will take you to the next post/day of the cruise:
Hawaii Cruise: 15 Night Roundtrip Out Of Vancouver–Star Princess
Here is a link to my YouTube video of me narrating and giving a detailed tour around our Stateroom on the Star Princess:
And 3 more links…Some of you ladies like to see my wardrobe choices for our cruises, so here are a few links, one for Alaska, one for Hawaii , and one for Canada and New England showing you my choices:
Alaska Cruise Wardrobe Choices (1)
Alaska Cruise Wardrobe Choices (2 and most recent)
Hawaii Cruise Wardrobe Choices
43 thoughts on “Cruising: What’s In My Carry-On, My Must Haves, and Packing Tips & Tricks”
I love this, you’ve thought of EVERYTHING! What a great post, and so useful for anyone going on their first cruise or even a checklist for regular cruisers! So much information about the priciness of on board amenities, the lack of exhaust vent in the cabin bathrooms, the metal bulkheads–great stuff!
Also, love love love your backpack. Quite distinctive, so easy to spot and hard to lose.
And I just KNEW that you were someone who would take all the touches of home (your own hand soap, for example).
Just one thing, you forgot to mention the door wreath–surely you have a special wreath made for your cabin door? 😉
Thank you so much Liz!! ❤ There is so much information flying around my head right now, compartmentalizing it and writing it all out actually helped me to hone in on what I still need to gather. lol Thanks about the Vera bag…I got that for a great price and it really is such a nice (and yes distinctive looking) bag. AND LOL about that wreath…trust me girlie, IF I had a way to carry a wreath with me and get it on board, I would definitely be creating one right now. 🙂 ❤
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About four years ago I made and printed a little postcard size sign for our Door. It has Snoopy and Charlie Brown (I LOVE THEM) going off on a cruise. I printed it on magnetic card and it has been on every cruise since. It sits happily on the front of our cabin door and it sure makes it easy to identify our cabin very quickly when heading ‘home’ on the ship.
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Love it. The scariest part is that I relate only too well to your ‘must have’ list right down to many photos. My Mum is 87 and suffering Alzheimer’s but I have found that when we get home she relates much more to lots of photos that she can look at than to words. I also take lots of little bags with ‘stuff’ in and mostly see through bags of various sorts so that I can see what is in them easily. You did mention dirty clothes on the floor of the wardrobe …. I take a tiny little pop up laundry hamper that I put into the wardrobe with a ‘smelly doovy’ in it for our dirty clothes. Takes up no room at all in my suitcase, but sure makes it easy on the cruise.
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Ooooooops, Sorry ….. May I add a ‘must’ for the carry on case. A PHOTO OF YOUR SUITCASES either on your phone or printed out. Printed out is better because you can hand it over should – heaven forbid – they have gone missing. It is much easier for airport staff to locate lost suitcases if they can recognise them from a photo. Nope, I’ve never needed to use this, but I do know people who have. An easily identifiable luggage strap around the case is a great idea too. It is like travel insurance … never travel without it 😀
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Thank you so much for all of your GREAT ideas Helen!! I am definitely going to take a picture of our suitcases, I have never thought to do that! LOVE that magnet idea too!! How cute is that?!!! Hmmmm, my creative wheels are turning!! And I’ll be shopping for that pop up laundry hamper and “smelly doovy” <~~Exactly what *is* a doovy btw? 🙂 😉 🙂 The pretty strap around the suitcases is an awesome idea as well…AND, I'm SO SORRY to hear about your Mom and that she is suffering with Alzheimer's. My Mom did respond to pictures too and she loved to listen to me talk…I know she didn't understand what I was saying, but, she looked at me and smiled so prettily as I yammered away (her speech was the first thing to go with her…she was such a well-spoken lady too…I hate Alzheimer's). My heart and love go right out to you sweet lady! ❤
Definition of Smelly Doovies …. Usually just some FeBreeze sheets (I think probably similar to what you have mentioned) Years ago I found some little slow release pods for laundry hampers that were brilliant, but I bought them in Melbourne (Victoria, Australia) and I looked for them again when I came home to Queensland but could never buy them again. I don’t even know what brand they were, but basically just whatever releases some pretty smelly to negate the dirty clothes smelly 🙂
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Just got off a cruise a couple of weeks ago. I took poo-pouring for the bathroom. It worked wonderful.
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I saw that in our local Kirklands store Vicki. 🙂 SO glad to hear that it worked well…I might have to go and pick some up for our trip. 🙂 Thanks a bunch! 🙂
Helen…Thank you so much for that definition of a “Smelly Doovy”…I do think that, as you mentioned, my Downy sheets will serve the same purpose. 🙂 I’m still going to go and find that pop-up laundry basket though…genius idea, genius I say!!
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Thank you for this! First cruise ever coming up in July (Alaska)! I have found your blog very entertaining and helpful! Linda (in Iowa)
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Awww, thank you so very much Linda!!! I’m excited for your upcoming Alaskan cruise; a breathtakingly gorgeous place. If I can answer any questions that crop up, don’t hesitate to reach out. 🙂 Thanks again for your sweet words! 🙂
Hi Arlynn, Firstly, thank you for all the great info in your blog. I too take most of these little trinkets, however, you have given me more ideas for our next cruise. I love the magnet idea. I take bunting and an Australian flag to hang up in the cabin and usually can’t find anything to hang them off. I will certainly be taking magnets next time. I always take garment washing bags for my smalls when washing in the laundry. I find they not only keep them together, they also stop them from being pushed out of shape in the industrial machines. I also put my delicate tops etc. in them for the same reason. The last time we travelled, Sept 2015 to the states, I had a copy of our passports in with the usual paperwork for the cruise. You never know, and hopefully you will never have to worry, when you may misplace your actual passports. One one of out trips to the states, we were just arriving in LAX and had gone through Customs, I had dropped my husband’s passport un-beknown to me. We were travelling to San Francisco and needed our passports to board our next flight. You can imagine the feelings we had when we couldn’t find it. This was the start of our holiday……Oh boy!!! We did find it however, some very honest person handed it in to the staff at the exit gate. Phew……. We also bought a special backpack from E-bay for our photo equipment. They are lightweight and can carry more than your photo gear. Like you, I love taking plenty of photos of our trips. I also found a purse pack for all the SD cards for the camera. I haven’t received it as yet, but it was quite cheap and versatile for any size cards. I hope you have a wonderful cruise and look forward to seeing how you went. Our next cruise leaves from our hometown – Brisbane Australia – and comes back to Brisbane. We are on a 42 day cruise to China & Japan in March 2017. I’m gathering all the little bits and bobs now when I think of them, so I can be prepared. Cruising is certainly the life…… HAPPY CRUISING!!!
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Hi there Kay…First, thank goodness there are still good people in the world and that that good samaritan found your hubby’s passport and turned it in…that is an amazing story!! I know you were totally and completely relieved. Phew is right. 🙂
Thank you so much for telling me how you use your bags…awesome ideas!!! And I LOVE that bunting idea…I could very much get into decorating up our stateroom like that. 🙂
Pictures are so important aren’t they? Thanks for all of your tips about the SD card holder and such, I’ll go on a search for sure. 🙂
China and Japan sound wonderful…Sigh…And I am just like you, I start collecting little things as I see them. I think the planning and preparing is so much fun. 🙂 I might try to write a few blogs while aboard heading to and from Hawaii. 🙂
Happy Cruising to you too!!!!
Hi All–This little blog entry is growing–I’ve added a few things that I had forgotten and a few other things that folks had suggested to me here in the comments and on a couple of Princess Cruises Group Facebook pages. THANK you all for your help, I think this little ditty will help a bit when folks go to pack for their cruises. 🙂 ❤
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Arllyn Wow so informative and wonderful ideas. We have been on 5 cruises out of Australia all in warm climates so this Alaska cruise is going to be awesome. We have picked up a few good ideas from blogs love the magnet ideas for putting your itinerary and tour tickets up on the cabin walls. We carry a can of Glen 20 to spray in the cabin and non spill coffee cups for in the cabin…. We are thinking of Alaska in May sailing out from San Fran…well I will carry on with your blogs gives me something to read while I do my treadmill… Thankyou for sharing your thoughts an ideas.
Thank you so very much for your sweet words Carole! Your ideas are fantastic too!!:) Trust me, Alaska will not disappoint. 🙂
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I was led here by the wonderful stateroom video you posted in the Princess Facebook group.
What a wonderful blog , and so useful to see the pictures as well. Some helpful tips there for me to try on my cruise from Brisbane later this year.
I’m really looking forward to reading your trip reports and all the other sections.
Thank you so very much for your sweet words about my blog, I’m so happy that you are finding it helpful…:) 🙂 I’m working on the 2nd installment covering our first 5 sea days, I will definitely be adding more pictures of around the ship and beyond. 🙂
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I have enjoyed following your blog. We carry similar items as must haves! I include a travel size Fabreze, in case a hotel room smells and/or to manage laundry smells. We just cruised on the Crown and then the Island and took magnets for the first time. We had the kind that are small hooks. We use the same laundry pop-up bag as you, and it was always leaning and falling over. I hooked one of the handles to the magnet and slid it up the wall in the back corner of the closet to help keep it upright. It worked great. Also took a hanging organizer and hung it on the wall with the magnets. It was so helpful keeping the clutter organized and off the desk. Our room steward was fascinated with our system. I also appreciated seeing your packing system. We used small packing bags this time and I can see the value of the larger packing bags as well.
Hi Dee…Thank you for your sweet words, and thank you also for your wonderful tips and tricks!! I really think those nice Stewards appreciate cruisers like you and I who are crazy organized…Our little fella chuckled at us too. SO, so nice. 🙂 Regarding those packing cubes and that envelope…OMGosh, they are awesome, I couldn’t believe the amount of clothes I was able to fit into them–and for a 15 nighter (Hawaii, RT out of Vancouver) especially…I was thrilled! We are going to be going on a 7-day this Fall, packing for that will be a breeze. 🙂 Thanks SO much again girl!! ❤
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Reblogged this on Country Craft Corner and commented:
And one more reposting here in my Cruising Series. I’ve slimmed this one down a bit too and I’ve added links to many of the items pictured. 🙂
Great advice! We just got back from a transatlantic cruise. It was fabulous! Crossing the Atlantic was magnificent. We were in England, France and Germany.
Going to remember the magnet clips!! and we love taking the extra outlets!!
ALL GREAT TIPS!!
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Hi Nancy!! I *just* today saw your blog post about your transatlantic crossing, I can’t wait to hear all about it and see your beautiful pictures! 🙂 Thank you so much for your sweet words about my tips and tricks. 🙂 🙂
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What a great blog. But how the heck do you keep your luggage under 50 lbs to fly? I must show this to my husband who thinks I take too much stuff. 😊 Thank you.
Hi Toni!! Thanks for your sweet words…I’ll tell you, the secret is to spread all of your stuff out throughout however many suitcases you take. Also, a great tip is to invest in one of those suitcase scales, that way you can keep a good eye on things when you’re repacking to go back home. 🙂
This is a real lengthy planning for a trip, good for you, White House or Pentagon should learn from you. Have a good trip, and may our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all the time.
Thank you for your informative blog. We have cruised twice before and have booked to go to Alaska from San Francisco June 7 2017 and are very excited. I’ve been watching you tube videos for a friend flying overseas for the fist time and I notice that everyone puts little things like head/ear phones into a little purse. great idea.
Hi Merewyn…Thank you so very much for your lovely words!! If I can be of any assistance to you in the planning process for your Alaska cruise, don’t hesitate to reach out. 🙂 🙂
I use plastic pill cases for my earrings – depending on size of the pill case, the larger ones will easily hold some bracelets and necklaces. Easy to put in your purse or carryon bag for flights.
Hi Rose Mary—-Great idea!!! I love that! 🙂
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