Best bag for cruise holidays as guests warn ‘don’t bring suitcases’

“Don’t bring suitcases,” might sound like an odd warning when you’re packing for a cruise holiday, but according to a former guest that is exactly the advice they would give to others. Sharing to the Reddit forum r/Cruise, one holidaymaker explained why she and her husband never take suitcases, and what they opt for instead.

“Don’t bring big suitcases. They are just painful for everyone,” the cruise guest urged. “Pack everything in carry-on size bags, even if you are going to check them, and bring shoulder bags that fit inside them so you can nest things.

“They fit under the beds better and you can store your dirty clothes in them as you are done wearing them. Makes packing and keeping the room neat much easier when you do it as you go and bring less, to begin with.

“We got two of us through three formal nights (different clothes each night too!) and fourteen days of cruising in two carry-on size bags, and two shoulder bags.

“We sent one bag of laundry out to be done because I didn’t want to do it in the sink. The snorkel gear was a fifth bag, but we checked that one.” [SIC]

Of course, before you start packing all of your bags, it’s best to check how much luggage your cruise line permits. For example, for MSC Cruises, customers are permitted up to eight pieces total for all passengers in the same cabin.

Meanwhile, Carnival says customers travelling on shorter cruises lasting three to five days are only permitted one bag per customer, and no more than two items of luggage on cruises lasting six days and over.

Some cruise lines also set out specific weight and luggage dimensions which customers need to be aware of. And if you’re flying to your cruise departure port, you’ll also have the airline luggage rules to contend with.

Fitting all of your belongings into carry-on bags might seem like a challenge, especially if you’re prone to overpacking, but there are some handy packing hacks that can help you make the most of the space you have. We have a full guide to some flight attendant-recommended packing hacks here.

How to fit up two weeks worth of clothes into your carry on

Flight attendants often share their tips and tricks online with passengers eager to make the most of their luggage allowance. Posting to a Reddit forum under the username Phxflyer, an anonymous passenger shared a tip a cabin crew member had offered them.

According to the passenger, the cabin crew member had recommended always rolling your clothes. In fact, this hack works so well, it could allow you to pack as much as two weeks’ worth of clothing into a carry-on bag.

“Definitely roll your clothes,” the Reddit user explained. “I can get between 12 to 14 days’ worth of clothes in a carry-on rolling bag if I roll, slightly less in the winter. A flight attendant told me about it and I’ve been doing it for a while now.”

Best carry on luggage items for cruises

Our editors have picked some of their favourite hand luggage and carry-on items based on online reviews, however before you purchase any of these for your next cruise, make sure you fully understand the luggage allowance set out by your cruise line.

Though this hand luggage item doesn’t have wheels, it has been recommended as a great option for those who have limited luggage allowance (it’s accepted by Ryanair). The bag has been rated 4.5 out of five stars by Decathlon customers.

This Hayayu expandable bag can be zipped up to fit with Ryanair’s luggage allowance, measuring 40 x 20 x 25cm, or expanded to measure 45 x 36 x 20cm for airlines that allow for a slightly larger allowance. 

The 5 Cities carry-on measures 55 x 35 x 20cm and is approved for Ryanair Priority boarding and easyJet Plus. The bag has been rated by customers four out of five stars. 

The Cabin Max suitcase, measuring 45 x 36 x 20cm has been described as the “perfect fit” for passengers travelling with hand luggage on Jet2, TUI and easyJet. The bag has been rated 4.6 out of five stars on Amazon.

Rimowa’s original cabin bag is a sturdy option, made from aluminium and features TSA-approved locks that can be opened by security during airline baggage checks without causing any damage. The popular luggage item has received a score of 4.2 out of five on Trustpilot. 


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