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What to Pack for a Cruise

Plus-Size Suggestions for Cruises

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Packing for cruises used to be a herculean endeavor, with a maximum of 350 pounds of luggage taken on board! When cruises were getting streamlined in the '20s and '30s, women still carried hat boxes, shoe boxes, wardrobe trunks, and heavy, non-wheeled suitcases filled to the brim with evening gowns. Women today have it so much easier, and these plus-size friendly tips are sure to leave you with a honed, complete suitcase for traveling by boat.

1. Evening Gown

One evening gown should be brought on the cruise, preferably in a style that can be dressed up or down with ease. A mid-length, cocktail-style dress will get you through any of the commerical cruises. If you will be on a pricier cruise, bring one full-length gown.

2. One Sophisticated Hat or Hairpiece

I'm not saying that you should tote your biggest straw hat on the cruise, but having something to protect your face and chest is advantageous. I recommend a bucket hat that stays firmly on your head in a gust of wind, or a headband of your choice to dress up outdoor ensembles.

3. Swimsuit

If you like sunning and swimming, don't forget your swimsuit! A bathing suit is a traveling essential, because you never know when you are going to run into a spa or pool when on vacation. If you'll be traveling worldwide, a one-piece suit is best to bring, simply to avoid looking overexposed in more conservative countries.

4. Exercise Gear

Cruise boats have gyms on board, and a lot of us are really into working out! Whether you are circling the decks or on the treadmill, don't forget to bring one change of exercise clothes, including a high-quality sports bra.

5. Lightweight Blouses

If you like variety when you travel, then get your variey from your tops. Jeans are heavy, but lightweight blouses in chiffon, silk, and lace are all smart choices for the (luggage) weight-conscious cruise enthusiast. If you pack patterned and solid pieces, you can also wear them to casual night functions. Don't forget that these pieces can be easily hand-washed in the middle of your trip, too.

6. Shorts

One or two pairs of dark-colored shorts are enough to last you during a trip, without a doubt! For the plus-sized figure, you might want to try tap shorts, which are longer and looser than the average short.

7. Smart Shoes

By "smart shoes," I mean "shoes that aren't so heavy that your bags go over the weight limit." Shoes that tend to be lighter are slim heels with lightweight skin, slip-on sandals, rubber flip flops, and booties. Avoid knee-high boots, chunky heels, full running shoes, and gladiator sandals. If you are active, consider lightweight running slip-on shoes, which are lighter than running shoes.

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