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View Full Version : I need help w/ packing because we're surprising the kids


bellebud
07-15-2011, 10:04 AM
We're sailing first time DCL on the dream in Nov (3/4 night b2b). We live in NY. We have a conference to attend in Orlando Fri/Sat right before the cruise (this is why I even decided to do the cruise, since we'll be there anyway).

DD11 and DS9 think we're just going to the conference (medical conference where dh/dd/ds are the patients), and maybe/maybe not a beach day after (this is what we're telling the kids so I can get some extra packing done in front of them), then right back home to NY. So to the kids, we're packing for a long weekend, but in reality, I need us all to pack for a long weekend, then a 7 day cruise (but secretly!!)

We're going to drive to the Port Sunday morning, not telling them (they'll have no idea we're not driving to the airport, unless we pass it and they notice). Hopefully they'll see The Dream and we'll tell them then. But however it happens w/ the surprise, it will all be good.

SO, we always do carry-on luggage only when we travel. We can of course change this (but we really prefer carry ons only).

I was reading the packing cubes thread, and while I see the organizational benefit, I don't see any space benefit.

Then I was thinking of shipping a box to the ship, but you can only ship one smallish box it seems, so that won't help much. I also don't mind having to purchase little things on the cruise or at my hotel in Orlando, like sunscreen, etc, to help w/ packing less. And the ship provides soap and shampoo, correct? So I can leave that off the list too.

I know they have do-it-yourself laundry facilities on the ship, but I don't want to miss any fun time while doing laundry, and w/ these 3/4 day cruises, we'll practically be in a port everyday. I could do the service laundry and just suck up the price as part of wanting to surprise the kids.

AND the FE exchanges. I signed us up for both cruises. The kids will love this! DD11 would kill me if she's not a part of the making of the gifts, so last night I told her the disney freaks on mommy's disney board are doing a gift exchange just for the fun of it, and I signed it up. She thinks we'll be mailing each other the gifts at some point (I'll probably tell her it's for xmas). So she can totally be in on making the gifts, I just can't do very personalized gifts that say "the dream sailing" or anyone's cabin numbers, etc. But that's ok.

My other problem is making the FE itself. Of course I want our cabin number on it, in hopes it doesn't get swiped. I can't think of any good excuse to tell her so she can help me make it. Anyone have any thoughts? Do people put their first names on the FE's for each pocket? She's actually the crafty one (better than me), so while I'm sure I can manage something, I'd really love her help!

So, packing ideas, and making the FE idea...

any help/thoughts would be very appreciated!

AmandaRG
07-15-2011, 10:13 AM
If you are planning to do an FE for just these cruises (with the cabin # on it) then you might want to just do a tote bag, rather than a full-blown FE. She can think she is decorating it for fun since you guys will be in Orlando and won't be able to see the mouse. You can put first names on there and take a paint pen with you (in a sealed bag) to put the cabin # on it.

As for packing, depending on what you plan, you will be in bathing suits a good bit. It isn't too bad doing laundry. I just took it to the laundry room, started the washer and set a watch to remind me when the cycle finished. The dryer took two cycles, so it was just a matter of stopping back in to start it up again, then fold the clothes. Not a big deal when I did it in March.

Good luck and have fun!

Anal Annie
07-15-2011, 10:18 AM
First, my DS14 would not be so observant on what I was packing (or not packing). I always make piles in a spare bedroom to get started. You have the advantage that you're going in Nov. so it's not like you'll be pulling clothes that they're currently wearing. By Nov. I would think their summer stuff is out of sight / out of mind.

There is a HUGE advantage to using the packing cubes in carry-ons - that may be their BIGGEST advantage IMO. It is because of the packing cubes that we can now go to FL for a full week in carry-ons only. I could never do that before. I do not do laundry on vacation...esp. when spare time is short.

Note that when we did the FE exchange on our last cruise I ended up needing to pack one whole carry-on of JUST FE stuff. And we had as much or more to bring home. So depending on the size of your FE group you may find yourself needing more luggage space than usual.

bellebud
07-15-2011, 11:33 AM
If you are planning to do an FE for just these cruises (with the cabin # on it) then you might want to just do a tote bag, rather than a full-blown FE. She can think she is decorating it for fun since you guys will be in Orlando and won't be able to see the mouse. You can put first names on there and take a paint pen with you (in a sealed bag) to put the cabin # on it.

As for packing, depending on what you plan, you will be in bathing suits a good bit. It isn't too bad doing laundry. I just took it to the laundry room, started the washer and set a watch to remind me when the cycle finished. The dryer took two cycles, so it was just a matter of stopping back in to start it up again, then fold the clothes. Not a big deal when I did it in March.

Good luck and have fun!

OH, I love the fabric pen idea on a tote for our FE to put our cabin number on after we board the ship! Thank you!!


First, my DS14 would not be so observant on what I was packing (or not packing). I always make piles in a spare bedroom to get started. You have the advantage that you're going in Nov. so it's not like you'll be pulling clothes that they're currently wearing. By Nov. I would think their summer stuff is out of sight / out of mind.

There is a HUGE advantage to using the packing cubes in carry-ons - that may be their BIGGEST advantage IMO. It is because of the packing cubes that we can now go to FL for a full week in carry-ons only. I could never do that before. I do not do laundry on vacation...esp. when spare time is short.

Note that when we did the FE exchange on our last cruise I ended up needing to pack one whole carry-on of JUST FE stuff. And we had as much or more to bring home. So depending on the size of your FE group you may find yourself needing more luggage space than usual.

can you explain to me the advantage of the packing cubes for space saving reasons?

good point about the FE gifts... I'm planning on doing small items to give away, but I hadn't thought about bringing home all the goodies we'll get. Thanks for bringing that up.

mmouse37
07-15-2011, 11:36 AM
Maybe for this trip switch to regular suitcases....sounds like that way it may ease some of your space concerns.

MJ

smootenloopers
07-15-2011, 12:41 PM
How about packing a suitcase and shipping it ahead to your hotel? Some shipping companies will ship luggage or you could go to a box store to get an appropriately sized box in which to put the suitcase.

Beth D
07-15-2011, 01:01 PM
You or DH could pack a regular size suitcase with all the "surprise" items like FE gifts and beach/cruise wear, and just tell the kids that it contains extra things you need for the conference. :rolleyes1

hopeful1
07-15-2011, 01:21 PM
Like a PP said...you spend a lot of time in bathing suits. We definitely overpacked as usual We did use the laundry facilities on board and it was an easy way to come home with clean clothes...

smeecanada
07-15-2011, 03:27 PM
As far as driving to the Port. There are some really nice beaches over there that you could say that you would like to see. Maybe say you would like to see a bit of the Coast, visit Ron Jon's or something like that.

I'd take an extra suitcase filled with cruise stuff, saying it's for the conference.

MomsOf2boys
07-15-2011, 03:39 PM
You can also get away with a little more of the packing help by suggesting that everyone bring an extra outfit in case of the Florida daily terrential downpours and an extra one or two good outfits because if you eat at this one restaurant that everyone is suggesting, it is dressy. That will allow you to get one extra outfit as well as 2 nights dressier clothing for dining. I have not done back to back cruises, however, from what I have read, many do laundry on that day as you can basically have the laundry room to yourself. Just a thought. That way you can easily pack enough for the cruises.

sherreis
07-15-2011, 03:42 PM
Have fun with the surprise! One of my favorite memories is when we surprised our 2 DS with a trip to WDW a few years ago. We didn't surprise them till we got to MCO. It was easy to pack cause we went in October, after summer clothes were no longer needed here. Instead of putting shorts, t-shirts, sandals, etc. away, I put them in a plain box that I kept in our closet.

You don't need to put your stateroom number on your FE. A lot of people use the same FE from cruise to cruise. I know I am using the same one for our Dream cruise next month.

Great idea about the gift swap. My kids would believe that one for me-- they know how much time I spend on the DIS so it would make sense. Last cruise, I had an extra suitcase for our FE gifts and used that to bring stuff home along with what we bought. This cruise, I don't plan on doing much shopping so I won't need as much space.

I agree with the other posters-- just check 1 bag of luggage and say it is stuff for the conference.

Have fun!!!! :thumbsup2

CoolHandsGirl
07-15-2011, 03:57 PM
There is a HUGE advantage to using the packing cubes in carry-ons - that may be their BIGGEST advantage IMO. It is because of the packing cubes that we can now go to FL for a full week in carry-ons only. I could never do that before.

Totally second using the packing cubes - they are amazing for giving you more space in your carry-on bag as everything stays so nicely compressed (and less wrinkles from shifting around). Because they're usually at least partially constructed of a solid material, there is the added advantage of once they're packed, your kids won't particularly notice what you've put in them - and are less likely to figure out that you seem to be taking way more stuff than you'd need for a long weekend. :thumbsup2

shelleyr25
07-15-2011, 04:12 PM
I agree with the above poster in saying that you really do not need as much as you think you do. All of us were basically in bathing suits with cover-ups for the girls and t-shirts for the boys for the whole cruise. At night it was khaki shorts and polos for the boys and capris/shirt or sundress for the girls. Everyone wore their bottoms (shorts/capris) more than once. What we wore on the plane ride down we wore back up again.

Anal Annie
07-15-2011, 04:21 PM
can you explain to me the advantage of the packing cubes for space saving reasons?

They just save space. Tell ya what, you try packing the following in a traditional manner & see if it will fit into basically a backpack size bag (15.5"x12"x6") which is the inside dimensions of our international size carry-on that we're using this summer for Europe. Try packing this: Mens clothing - 1 pair of Docker type slacks, 1 pair of convertible zip-off (cargo style) pants or similar size pants, 3 pair of cargo shorts with the bulky outside pockets, 1 mens bathing suit, 4 large T-shirts, 2 Polos, 4 pair of boxers AND a small toiletry bag. Remember, it has to fit in a space that is only 15.5"L x 12"W x 6"H (and not be a jumbled up wrinkled mess.) This is what I was able to pack for my DH in one of these ittty bittty bags with cubes.

Then try packing 17 of your summer tops and measure how much space the stack takes. If it takes up more than 12.75" W x 17.5" L x 3.25" H then you're using more space than what a large cube would use. (You could even just measure how big a stack of folded laundry is that has that many shirts/tops in it.)


This is what 17 of my summer tops/shirts looks like when they're in a large packing cube:
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a1d838b3127ccefd331bf7444a00000040O08Qbs27Ju5cA9 vPgQ/cC/f%3D0/ps%3D50/r%3D0/rx%3D720/ry%3D480/

http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a1d838b3127ccefd33b8a604d200000040O08Qbs27Ju5cA9 vPgQ/cC/f%3D0/ps%3D50/r%3D0/rx%3D720/ry%3D480/