If you haven’t been on a cruise, we highly recommend you do – whether it’s with some family to escape the winter months, to travel and discover the world, or to go on spring break, cruises are extremely fun and you’ll always have a good time.
Cruises, however, are peculiar, because you are in a semi-confined space, and unless you opted for the Captain’s suite, the rooms will be smaller than you expect.
So, the one of your questions is – for all the activities I’m going to do…what size suitcase do I bring?
We’ll answers the hard question for you, so that all you have to do is get on board, unpack, grab your drink tickets, and hit the deck.
What type of luggage?
In our mind, there’s two different options to choose from: the garment bag, and the soft-case suitcase.
Both of these options provide you a few different ways to pack, and are designed to be more mobile and flexible than hard-shell suitcases – we’re not necessarily opposed to hard-shell suitcases, we just believe that a softer shell is better suited for cruises.
Garment bags are perfect for anyone packing solo, and depending on the size of the bag, you’ll have quite a lot of room to pack in any clothing, toiletries, and valuables you’d like to bring – with the added upside of taking up as little room as possible once you unpack.
While there are a huge number of things that are awesome about garment bags, one of the greatest is that they often fold, and will take up such little room once you enter your cabin, that you’ll forget it’s there until the cruise is over.
Garment bags can be made a few ways – they can be leather, canvas, or plastic, and will vary in size, price, roller ability, and durability.
Here, we’ll explore two different kinds that we believe are best for cruises.
For those of you who want to throw a few things together and get on the cruise, the duffel bag is the way to go.
Duffel bags are a great option for the solo traveller, because they’re simple, sleek, and can fit far more than you’d think.
For duffel bags, we recommend going for at least a 65 litre bag – this will give you tons of room for bathing suits, onesies, goggles and shorts.
Duffel bags are a great way to travel, but be wary of cheap, poorly made bags, as the zipper will likely break, and the strap will come loose or rip – spend a little extra, and get a heavy duty cotton or leather duffel bag, that will last you years.
The best duffel bag material in our mind is a heavy duty canvas, or nylon base – these are often designed as weatherproof and waterproof, so if it’s raining when you board the ship, you won’t have to worry about your belongings getting wet.
One of the added benefits of duffel bags is that they often zip down and out, so that you can pack more efficiently – as well, many of them have shoe compartments, so you can make sure everything is safe, secure, and organized for packing, and unpacking.
Fancy Garment Bag
Fancy garment bag is the term we coined for garment bags designed to bring nicer clothing, including suits and dresses – sometimes, you don’t know what to expect for a cruise, and you have to bring some fancier clothes “just in case”.
Suit and dress garment bags are great – they generally give you ample room for your clothing, but will also give you enough room for a couple of suits or nice dresses.
Suit garment bags are great for high-end cruises, where you want to dress to impress – many of them focus on anti-wrinkle lining so that you don’t have to worry about finding an iron on board, and have interior pockets to separate your documents from your socks.
Fancy garment bags either come with wheels or handles, so you’ll have the choice of keeping it simple with straps, or looking elegant with a beautiful handle and wheels.
If you do go ahead and grab a wheeled garment bag, make sure that the handle is long enough for you (companies that make them will have garment bag specifications), and that you have 360 spinner wheels – the spinner wheels will give you added mobility, so if you’re going through any tight spaces, you won’t have to carry it awkwardly.
As with everything, there is a downside to the suit garment bag - because of its design and size, you’ll often fill it right up, not leaving a lot of room for any souvenirs or pool noodles.
The next best option for a 7-day cruise is the soft-case suitcase – not a hard-case, and for good reason (hint: it’s all about being able to fit more).
Soft-case roller bags often come in pretty large sizes and can usually expand at least 1.5 inches, so being able to fit whatever you need in them is a guarantee – it’s also great to be able to squish under the bed or in the closet, because it is far more flexible than the hard-case luggage.
If you’re bringing an individual luggage for 7 days, you’ll probably want to go for at least a 24-inch suitcase, as it’ll give you enough room for all of your clothing, toiletry bag, fancy dress wear and shoes, and you also won’t have to worry about fitting any souvenirs into it.
If you’re travelling with two or more, we’d recommend going no less than a 30-inch suitcase (granted this meets the size restrictions) – try to avoid bringing sets, and bring a larger suitcase instead, so that you have more room in your cabin (and also won’t have to worry about checking more than one bag).
If you do need to bring a set because you have a McCallister situation going on (we hope you got the Home Alone reference), then we’d recommend that instead of buying a a couple of sets of three (they normally come in a large, medium, and small suitcase), you instead opt for three large suitcases so that you can stack them neatly on top of one another, instead of having suitcases strewn about.
Soft-case suitcases have such a wide variety of availability that finding one won’t be an issue – check out our recommendation however, and we’re sure you’ll agree that it’s a wonderful suitcase.
While we discussed a couple of different options for the garment bag, we dug a little deeper and have a solution that looks solid and reliable.
Many of you may have seen the minimalism documentary on Netflix, and this garment bag is perfect for everyone – solo travellers looking for comfort, or bringing a suit and dress.
Pakt One is a phenomenal brand that kept popping up on search engines around the world once the documentary was released – and for good reason.
The Pakt One is a 35 litre garment bag that is approved as a carry on for every single major airline, and offers some of the sturdiest features on the market – from YKK zippers, to metal feet, ensuring that it can take some rough and tumble without a hitch.
Pakt One is amazing because it opens up down the middle, with two mesh dividers separating each side, four mesh interior dividers, two zipper pockets for hiding valuables, and also comes with a tote bag for laundry or to use at the beach.
Not only is this bag meant for clothing, but it has ample room for shoes, a suit bag, and a laptop sleeve, so you don’t need to bring a backpack as well.
Pakt One is sturdy everywhere – from the adjustable shoulder strap, to what they call “420 D dobby nylon” that protects the outside, and the metal hardware that supports the inside; Pakt provides a lifetime warranty on all of its bags, so you can feel satisfied that you’ll have them forever.
In terms of style, the Pakt One is not only nice to carry around, but it’s nice to look at – it comes in black, grey, and navy, and so if you’re picking a colour to match the rest of your luggage, you definitely have some great options.
The only downside of the Pakt One as a garment bag is its price – at $325, it’s definitely not the cheapest garment bag on the market, but it is by no means the most expensive. There’s a reason we recommend it, and it is because the value of the bag far outweighs the price tag; if you’re looking for a bag to last you a long time, and travel everywhere with you, this is your pick.
A soft-case suitcase recommendation is definitely not easy, but I think we’ve come up with a great solution for everyone.
Our recommendation for the soft-case suitcase would be from Samsonite, and it is none other than the “Silhouette 16 Expandable 30 inch Spinner”
This suitcase is great for individual use, or if you have to pack for yourself and your significant other, or little one.
The Silhouette is made with Tricore Nylon, which means it’s rugged, and can survive being bumped, jostled, prodded, sat on, and the elements – basically, it’s unbelievably tough and resistant and can survive almost anything.
The Silhouette also provides 8 spinner wheels for maximum mobility, and an 8-tier system for the handle – which means you can have every level of comfort necessary when you’re entering the airport, and boarding the ship.
The Silhouette interior is essentially a work of art, with built in wire structure for garments to keep them wrinkle free, a beautifully lined interior, and, of course, the capacity to expand 1.25 inches – enough for everyone’s clothing and snorkel gear, but also enough room to grab a couple of souvenirs for your family members who weren’t able to go with you (for fear of sharks of course).
This suitcase also comes in two colours – obsidian black and evening teal; it may be not a variety of colours to choose from, like some of the hard-shell options Samsonite offers, but they are sleek and elegant styles that will compliment any other luggage you decide to bring with you.
Last but not least, the Silhouette is backed by a 10-year warranty, and comes in at $420 – that’s almost $500 less than the SRP, which makes this one of the most undervalued suitcases on the market.
Samsonite has always been a major player in the luggage world, and while this suitcase may have not specifically been tailored to cruises, it certainly has the capacity to be.
The Silhouette is one of the best in the market, and we highly recommend you go and pick one up.
Well, there you have it – all you need to know about bringing the perfect luggage companion on your week long cruise.
Cruises are a great way to meet new people, spend time with your family and explore lands you’ve never seen before – as well as eat great food, drink great wine, and dance the night away.
Choosing luggage shouldn’t be a priority for you when going on vacation, but taking a look at the different options available to you will save you time and money in the long run – the last thing you want is for your luggage to fall apart during your vacation, and shelling out your vacation dollars just so you can get your stuff back home.
The duffel and soft-shell recommendations we explored above will ensure that your clothing and belongings will be safe and secure, with added in reinforcement and amazing interior lining.
For whatever you think your cruise is going to have to offer, your best bet is to pack accordingly – so go ahead and take a look at the Pakt One and the Silhouette.
We promise you won’t be disappointed.