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How to Pack for Your Cruise

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A salty breeze blowing through your hair, far-off places waiting to be explored … your Windstar cruise is just days away and it’s hard to think of much else. Except for how to pack for your cruise, that is. What will you wear on board? How should you prepare for the shore excursions? Do you need a guidebook?

Our alumni cruisers recently provided their tips on our Facebook page to help you get the most out of your voyage, and we thought we would share those with you here in addition to giving a few tips of our own.


Fan Mary Nagy Youngman says, “No Godzilla bags for us — my husband and I travel with one carry-on each – Windstar is such a great yacht you don’t need all the fluff and a million shoes — just some shorts,  a couple of capris, a couple interchangeable tops, one swim suit and a couple pashmina shawls, some great costume jewelry and one extra pair of shoes — and you can go almost anywhere! Can’t wait to pack again for another voyage.”

We couldn’t agree more. Aim to bring a few sets of tops and bottoms that can be mixed and matched so you get multiple outfits out of a few items. Be sure to bring light clothing that can be layered on or removed as the temperature changes. Don’t worry about dressing up unless you want to—Windstar is a luxury cruise line, but we don’t want formality to get in the way of true escape. Windstar’s laundry package makes it easy to travel light and enjoy the feeling of freshly washed and pressed clothing every day from our professional laundry.

Other items to consider are two swimsuits so you have a back-up suit to wear while the other dries; appropriate footwear including a pair of sandals, everyday shoes, and good walking shoes; and potentially some workout attire, as there’s nothing more relaxing than yoga on deck at sunrise.

We also received a great packing tip from fan Suzanne Ferrio who says, “We travel light —carry-on only. Definitely able to do this on a Windstar cruise with their resort casual attire, but I still always seem to return home with things I didn't use or wear. So, after our most recent cruise I created a reverse packing list — I wrote down each item I actually used as I unpacked it. Now when it comes time to pack for our Barcelona-Rome cruise next year I can use this list and know I’ll have everything I need and no space wasted on things I’ll never use.”


Besides your everyday toiletries and medications, we, along with Michaela Murray-Nolan says, “practically the only thing Windstar doesn’t supply is a camera to take amazing photos on, off, and of the ship!”

Don’t forget your charger and extra batteries too. If bringing an electronic reader, we also recommend downloading your favorite deck-side books prior to embarking on your cruise.


ID, travel documents, foreign currency, and credit cards (don’t forget to warn your card company that you’ll be traveling)

Now that we have the basics of how to pack for your cruise out of the way, fan Kelly Barrett Nuccitelli says, “I think the most important thing to pack for a Windstar vacation is the willingness to be whisked away on an amazing luxury adventure! Bring your ‘happy shoes,’ whatever those may be, and be ready to embark on an experience to remember!”

We recommend bringing an empty travel bag/backpack for the souvenirs you pick up when you dock. Whether your shore excursions take you to the traditional lace shops in Venice or the open markets in Istanbul, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to pick up souvenirs.

Get something special for your special someone. Bring a romantic gift for your partner and surprise him or her on a special night at sea. The memories you make on your voyage will last a lifetime, so make it count.

Fan Pat Mueller made a very thoughtful suggestion when she said, “I always pack as much as I can for the crew. There are so many crew members working tirelessly behind the scenes. Bringing gifts for the crew quarters is a great way to extend your thank you and it has been so rewarding. Packing Wii games, karaoke supplies, video games or sharing your favorite CDs, corporate gear i.e. hats, t-shirts, etc. takeover my luggage. The crew appreciates your thoughtfulness so much. What I pack for myself seems incidental. The extra effort to think about what you can pack for the crew will make your sailing extra special and warm your heart again and again. I feel like the Windstar crew is my extended family!”

Also pack an outlet for your inner artist. There’s nothing like fresh air and time off to get your creative juices flowing. Come prepared with a sketchpad or poetry notebook. And why not bring a journal to record your thoughts and observations about the trip?

Sight-see like a pro. Read up on the land excursions you’ll be taking in advance so you can be sure to make the most of your time on shore. This will also help you pack appropriate clothing and footwear. And don’t forget your binoculars. You never know what you’re going to want to view off in the distance.

Whatever you do, just don’t forget to pack your sense of adventure!

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What are some things you can’t live without on a vacation? If you have any personal packing tips share them in the comments.

  • Joanne Hunt

    Although you may be traveling to a warm weather destination….there is the fact of air conditioning in certain public spaces although Windstar is much kinder in this regard than larger ships. Ladies still pack a shawl or summer sweater.

  • Sarah

    Plan your clothes and shoes and then put half of it back!  Laundry service is wonderful and worth every penny.  My husband and I each had a carry on plus we each had a roll on,  Didn’t have to check the luggage at the airport or wait for luggage to arrive in our cabin.  This was for the caribbean but we’re packing for Europe now and I’ve learned my lesson about packing less rather than more!

  • http://twitter.com/VacaVlog Tim & Charlotte

    Planning what to bring on a cruise is actually more important than most trips.  If you forget something you could be out of luck, at least until your next stop.  They don’t sell everything on board.

  • PeggyBailey

    Is there room in the cabin to store a hard suitcase? Room under the bed or closet?

    • http://www.windstarcruises.com/blog Windstar Cruises

      Hi there, thanks for your question! There is 32 cm of height beneath the bed, so if your luggage has less width than that, you should be fine. Looking forward to seeing you onboard!


      The Windstar Team

  • JEK

    Traveling with a friend. Is it possible to have bed as twins?

    • http://www.windstarcruises.com/blog Windstar Cruises

      Hi there, thanks for your question! All of our rooms have queen beds that can be converted to two singles upon request at the time of reservation.

      Best, The Windstar Team

  • Ivywinick

    Packing is a challenge, comfort shoes are important and non-skid on the boat. Knowing the liggage satorage is very helpful. Looking ahead to smooth sailing

  • Jane

    We will be aboard Windsurf in Aug on the Baltic cruise – very excited about the whole trip but need some insider tips on the appropriate dress code for attending  the ballet in St. Petesrburg? We are “first time cruisers”so any hints/tips will be greatly appreciated!
    Many thanks, Jane & Phil

  • Steve

    Hi, we’re booked on the Greek Isles & Turkey sail later in the summer, onboard Wind Star. Really excited. I’d like to know what plug types are used onboard. We’re British and will need to buy adapters, I guess. But which ones? Is it the US two prong type? Advice welcome. Thanks. Steve

    • http://www.windstarcruises.com/blog Windstar Cruises

      Hi Steve, we’re excited to have you with us! For both the Wind Star and the Wind Spirit, the yachts are equipped with standard 3 prong U.S. outlets. Let us know if you have any additional questions!

      The Windstar Team

  • Adebe

    Does anyone have information about bicycle renting in Kotor?

  • http://www.windstarcruises.com/blog Windstar Cruises

    Thanks for your question! If you book our Classic Italy & the Dalmatian Coast voyage, you will be on the Wind Surf which has a limited quantity of bicycles for rent in the ports: http://www.windstarcruises.com/blog/2011/06/i-want-to-ride-my-bicycle/

    Additionally, our Destination Manager and Fitness Team onboard can provide information to help you navigate the ports.

    We hope to see you onboard!

    The Windstar Team

  • Frances

    How easy is it to be catered for food allergies/intolerances. We’ve booked a Sept cruise and I don’t want to be awkward 

  • Steve b

    Are there bikes available for the st. Maarten cruise

    • http://blog.windstarcruises.com Windstar Cruises

      Hi Steve,
      Yes, there are bikes on board that you can use when we are docked.
      Enjoy your cruise!

  • Rose Mary

    Does the new windstar pride allow for triples? Rose Mary

    • http://blog.windstarcruises.com Windstar Cruises

      Hi Rose Mary,
      Star Pride does not offer triples, only double occupancy is available. Let us know if you have additional questions.

  • gammasusie

    Can anyone share any great shore excursion experiences on the Panama Canal trip…..Costa Rica to Colon, Panama?

    • Shannykatt

      We had a great time on the Titi Zipline tour. The chocolate farm tour is great if you like learning about the all of the plants in Costa Rica. We wish we’d had time for Manuel Antionio and the beach. I thought it was going to be a vacation of reading and relaxing and it was the exact opposite with so much to do each day.

  • http://blog.windstarcruises.com Windstar Cruises

    We have excellent shore excursion options created to highlight the region of Costa Rica in our Passage Through Panama voyage. Currently we do not offer tours to Los Campesinos Reserve, but we offer similar excursions to Manuel Antonio National Park. Our full list of offerings for individual itineraries can be found on our Hotels & Tours page here: http://windstarcruises.com/HotelsTours.aspx

    Additionally, our Vacation Planners are happy to help with additional questions by calling 800-258-7245.

  • http://blog.windstarcruises.com Windstar Cruises

    Hi Josephine – The voltage on Star Pride is 110AC (one outlet) the others are 220; special converters are needed (it’s French outlets where the adapter needs two round pins). Guests are encouraged to bring their own travel adapters as they are not available on board. For your convenience, there are also hair dryers in each stateroom.

    • Josephine Castronovo Graham

      On privious windstar ships, I used my hairdryer and blew the circuit out. What is the maximum wattage I can use for a hair hot iron that i use? Thanks. Josephine

      • http://blog.windstarcruises.com Windstar Cruises

        Hi Josephine – With the 110 voltage outlet, a standard hot iron should not be a problem to use on board. We’re looking forward to welcoming you on Star Pride soon!

  • John Pas

    Can you share details around the laundry service? When are items picked up and dropped off (e.g. 1-day)?

    • http://blog.windstarcruises.com Windstar Cruises

      Hi John – There is a one day turnaround for laundry. To have items pressed, we ask that they are sent in before 9 a.m. and our on board team will have the items back to you the same day.

  • Michelle Jacobs Wallace

    It was suggested to bring gifts for the crew. How many should I bring and can you give me some suggestions? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • http://blog.windstarcruises.com Windstar Cruises

      Hi Michelle – Gifts are not expected. The crew receives a $12 a day gratuity and you are welcome to add an additional tip at the end of the voyage. We’re looking forward to welcoming you on board soon!

  • grandmadarlene

    I always save those clothing items that are near the end of their LIFE. Then I throw them away as I go. That way I have plenty of room for those souvenirs

  • Meg

    Are there hair dryers in the suites?

    • http://blog.windstarcruises.com Windstar Cruises

      Hi Meg – Yes, for your convenience there are hair dryers in each stateroom.

  • mrsgladd

    Would like to take a cruise but travel single. Are singles welcomed?

    • http://blog.windstarcruises.com Windstar Cruises

      Hi there, thanks for the question! Single occupancy of a stateroom is 175% of the published per person stateroom/suite cruise fare.

  • Aruba Rich

    Does windstar also provide hair dryers?

    • http://blog.windstarcruises.com Windstar Cruises

      Hi Aruba – Yes, for your convenience there are hair dryers in each stateroom and suite.

  • Mary

    Is there a self-service laundry on board or does all laundry have to be done by the staff?

    • http://blog.windstarcruises.com Windstar Cruises

      Hi Mary ,

      We do not offer self-service laundry on board. We do offer laundry service as part of an on board package, and our crew will have your items back to you within a day.

  • Linnette

    Cruising out of Barcelona and going over the day before. Any tips on where to stay for one night and how to get to the pier?

  • Sue R

    We are traveling on the Wind Surf on 10/2 from Venice to Athens. Do you still allow cruisers to bring their own wine to dinner & pay a$15 corkage fee?

  • Sue R

    Does the Wind Surf still allow cruisers to bring their own wine to dinner & pay a $15 corkage fee?

    • http://blog.windstarcruises.com Windstar Cruises

      Hi Sue,
      Corkage fee for wine brought onboard is $17.50 + 15% service fee. Let us know if you have additional questions!

  • FaymousLorna

    I’m not a strong swimmer but want to enjoy swimming in the ocean from the sports platform. Does the Wind Surf provide floating devices?

  • FaymousLorna

    Correction to my previous post… should read “floatation” devices.

    • http://blog.windstarcruises.com Windstar Cruises

      Hi Lorna,
      Yes, there are life jackets you can use when swimming off the water sports platform. There is also a big floating mat, so you could even stay on that and not even get in the water!

  • The_Hiking_Guy

    No one told us that you could not have evening dinner on deck or in the restaurant, unless you had pants. Travel agent actually told us beforehand that slacks or khaki pants were not a requirement aboard ship. This kinda ruined an otherwise nice experience, since we were limited to room service every night aboard ship.

  • Valerie

    I will aboard for the Athens to Venice cruise from 10/13 to 10/21. Any sense of what the weather will be? I’ve been told to pack for both warm and cold weather. Also, will there be bikes to borrow from the Windsurf on this trip?

  • Val

    Hello – we are sailing on Windsurf – Oct 29th – Silician Splendor. What are the plugs on that ship? Need to know what adapters to bring. I notice below, for another ship you mention France plugs – are they the same as the Italy plugs? Also is an iron allowed on board , a small travel iron? thank you for any info

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