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Packing for Rick Steves tour plus cruise

I am preparing for my first Rick Steves tour. I can manage carry-on, with one complicating factor--We will be returning home from the tour on a cruise ship. I don't know how to combine cruise ship "smart dress" with a Rick Steves carryon. Has anyone done this? do you pack a suit or blazer (I am a guy), or do you sit out the more formal dinners and events? has anyone brought extra luggage on a tour? Thanks for any advice.

Posted by
419 posts

Which RS are you taking? Some change hotels more often that others. Also, it’s not mandatory to take carry on. It’s a matter of what you can manage on your own. Up flights of stairs in the event of no elevator; walking several blocks on cobblestones from the bus to the hotel.

Posted by
9762 posts

I suppose you could also take an extra “cruise” suitcase and then leave it in deep storage on the bus (for as long of the tour as you have the bus, for which a key question is as KD posed above, which tour are you talking about). For the portions of the tour (if there are any) before and after you join the bus, you would just take your extra suitcase with you and stash it in your room.

Posted by
7379 posts

For your situation (and I’m a very light packer), I would do as Kim suggests. Make one of them something like the Cotopaxi 35L, so you are only handling one suitcase with wheels on the streets. Keep the roller in the tour bus storage, and you won’t have to constantly be dealing with the extra clothes as you would if bringing one large suitcase.

Something to check, first: confirm what people on your cruise will actually be wearing. You may not need the suit jacket after all.

Posted by
770 posts

If your budget allows, consider a luggage shipping/delivery service. We have used them under the same circumstances—extended travel (but not a RS tour) prior to a TA, with great success. You actually find it in your stateroom when you board. We usually use Luggage Free, but there are others.

Posted by
23411 posts

We have done a land tour and a cruise many times. Probably our most frequent pattern. The cruise is the vacation within the vacation. When we added the cruise we add one single, carry-on size rolling bag primarily for the additional shoes and clothing for the cruise bring our total bag count to three carry-on.

A couple of decades ago I actually packed a tux and shinny shoes. Not today. Cruise ships have become extremely informal unless you are booked on one of the very high end ships. See many people dressed in a nice golf shirt at "smart dress" night. Generally a black sport coat, a white shirt and two ties is all that I add. Wife adds a bit a more, additional shoes, etc. but it all fits in the third roll on. We just drag the third bag along and it is a bit inconvenient.

Posted by
8582 posts

A blazer can be versatile. You can use it on the tour too, and who cares if you look better that way. I would hate to have to bring a suit just for what? a couple of dinners on the ship?

Yes many people bring extra stuff on the tours (or end up with more than just a carryon after buying souvenirs). It's not a crime as long as you can manage it yourself.

Posted by
2456 posts

What cruiseline ? unless it is Cunard, I wouldn’t pack any special clothes

Posted by
4974 posts

Cruise ships have become extremely informal unless you are booked on one of the very high end ships.

Very true. We do cruises on a fairly expensive line with just a carry on. Our only consessions to "dressing up" is what some call "business casual", or "smart casual", or maybe "smart dress". Women can look very smart and chic without fancy gowns and all the "formal" attire. A man can get by with dressy slacks, dressy shirt, and, if required, a light weight blazer.

Check with the cruise line to see what exactly is meant by their "smart dress".

Posted by
8491 posts

First of all, there is no rule that your bag must be carry on size, only that you can manage your bag yourself. I tend to bring a carryon sized bag which I check and a smaller bag which I carryon.

Don’t worry about formal nights, most of the ship simply looks nice and goes on as usual. If really concerned, just eat in the buffet on formal night.

Posted by
4972 posts

If your tour is rather circular , could you go to the last hotel and leave a bag? I've seen folks do this. Good luck!

Posted by
2145 posts

Several options — There are no “restrictions” on checking a bag. We’ve also left a bag in storage at the hotel and collected it at the end of the tour (depends on logistics, of course). As mentioned, leave a bag on the bus.

Posted by
4223 posts

We were on a tour with a few couples where the tour was just one part of an extended trip. They had extra suitcases that stayed in storage under the bus for the duration of the tour.