The Common Cruise-Packing Mistake That Could Ruin Your Trip, Per Samantha Brown

Travel expert and TV host Samantha Brown has many helpful tips for planning your dream cruise vacation. One piece of advice will keep the experience from transforming into a nightmare: Never pack all the items you need in your checked luggage. While minimizing the number of bags you bring can help maximize space in a tiny cruise cabin, Brown says you shouldn't risk it. On her website, Samantha Brown's Places to Love, she explains why you should resist the temptation to consolidate in this case: Your checked luggage may not reach you right away after boarding the ship.


Instead, Brown advises putting your essential items in your carry-on luggage. "Even if you can fit everything into one large bag, bring a carry-on or personal bag with a change of clothes, swimsuit, medications, essential toiletries and your travel documents," she suggested. By following Brown's strategy, you reduce your risk of going without crucial belongings for the first few hours (or days) of your cruise.

The luggage delivery timeline varies dramatically on cruises

"Nothing delays a vacation more than waiting for your luggage to be delivered. On a cruise, that might be around 5:30 pm and you've been on board since 2pm," Samantha Brown advised. Even if all goes according to plan, experienced cruisers know there are no guarantees when it comes to how fast your bags will make it to your cabin. Officially, cruise lines like Royal Caribbean don't announce the estimated delivery time window until after passengers board the ship. Plan ahead by assuming you may not have access to your luggage for a while.


While most people receive their bags with no issue, frustrating stories about cruise ship passengers forced to shop for clothes at ports and in the stores on board and borrow other essentials for the duration of the journey continue to circulate. While you'll still have to deal with the annoyance of not having access to all the items you packed, keeping your most important belongings with you in a smaller bag can prevent missing luggage from ruining your getaway.