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Has anybody ever cruised on a 7 day with nothing but backpacks?


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Did you find it liberating?  Or did you regret it?  Because it is kind of a pain to paw through them looking for things, you're forced to unpack rather than leave some things in the suitcases. 

 

We're trying to make our upcoming cruise as fuss free as possible by going ultra casual, cruising is complicated enough as it is these days.  So I've purchased two large packs designed for long weekend type trips.  

 

I'm just curious what other people's experiences have been, because we still have time to change our minds, we're not leaving for a week. 

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Posted (edited)

Are you concerned more about the physical backpack or the  amount of clothes? I only travel with a 19" carryon and one small backpack. I only pack clothes for half the days. So, for a 7 day, I would have the clothes I wore onto the ship and then three more days of clothes. Clothes wise, you should be okay with less. Most ships have self serve laundry rooms. A few have ship laundry services.

Edited by cruizergal70
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No, I need options. LOL. 

When my daughter graduated she went to Europe for 10 days. One of the girls that went with her packed all clothes for the 10 day trip in a carry on. I couldn't believe it.

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Don't give my DH any ideas 😱

If you're on a ship with washer/dryers available, you could probably make that work.  As I understand it,

Mardi Gras does not have the self service laundry rooms.

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2 minutes ago, keywest1 said:

Don't give my DH any ideas 😱

If you're on a ship with washer/dryers available, you could probably make that work.  As I understand it,

Mardi Gras does not have the self service laundry rooms.

They offer laundry service for a fee. It's a small price to pay to save lugging around extra clothes. Just pack casual wear that can take a strong washing.

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I'm not really sure where you are going with this. Between any toiletries, sunscreen, beach wear, elegant wear, casual wear, foot wear, etc there is nothing liberating about not being able to have it. I find it more liberating to have my bottle of wine, snorkel, and anything else that I will need to not pay exorbitant prices for inferior products. We unpack and everything we have is there for the week. It really isn't a problem in the slightest.

 

If you want to move down to a carry-on, or share one or a larger suitcase with someone else, I have done that plenty of times. Some people absolutely overpack, and that I understand as a burden. 

 

Just be honest with us and tell us you want to save on luggage fees.

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I see no practicality in a backpack vs a suitcase unless you are hiking and camping. Or are perhaps walking to and from the cruise port vs driving or flying. Plus they're a royal PITA trying to find anything - its invariably at the bottom of the pack, and by the time you find it, you've messed up everything else.

And I don't find anything enjoyable or relaxing about having to spend part of my short vacation having to do laundry because my luggage would only hold a few days worth of clothes. That's just annoying.

 

For something as short as 7 days I might use a carryon suitcase if I was cruising one of the very casual mass market lines.  In which case it would take all of 5 minutes to unpack. But I dont cruise on those lines. So I would check my 25 inch suitcase, and take 10 minutes to unpack and not have to concern myself with laundry.

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We used to do just carry on when we did eight days in Jamaica, but after 911 and the change of regulations for liquids and the amount that you could pack in your carry on, we had to go with checked.

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Yes! ...incredibly liberating. Traveling light is definitely not for everyone, but, for us, it just feels good.

 

We were luggage toters up until my wife was inspired to backpack 17-days across the Greek islands in a land-based adventure last September. Since then, we've cruised twice (6 and 7-day) and done Vegas 3 times with just personal-sized backpacks that fit under a plane seat.

 

The key for us was to find clothes made of thin fabric. Linen suites me best in this regard. It's amazing how little space tightly packed linen actually requires. In addition to the essentials, I am able to pack 2 pair of linen shorts, linen pants, two long sleeve linen shirts, a short sleeve linen shirt, a couple thin cotton t-shirts, 2 swim trunks, flip-flops and still have room for a Nikon and two lenses in the backpack. I steam the linen out next to a hot shower as needed.

 

The only real drawback, for me, is the lack of additional footwear other than what I wear on the plane.  I honestly don't know how my wife does it, but she ends up with everything she needs including make-up and 4 or 5 dresses.

 

Give it a shot and see if the pros outweigh the cons for the two of you.

 

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I have brought just a 22" Jansport Boost backpack with three major compartments and two minor compartments for a 4 day on the Triumph 2/9/17, 7 day on the Glory 12/1/19, 5 day on the Valor 12/30/19, 5 day on the Valor 11/29/21, and a 4 day on the Valor 12/23/21.  I took a 2 hour Greyhound to New Orleans and walked from Union Passenger Terminal(2/9/17), Canal at St Charles(12/1/19, 12/30/19), and St Charles at Poydras(11/29/21, 12/23/21).

 

On the 7 day cruise, with the aid of a compression packing cube and rolling my clothes, I was able to fit in the main compartment: 7 2X t-shirts, 1 pair of size 14 jeans, 1 pair of 2X yoga pants, 1 3-piece swimsuit(pants, zipper vest with built in support bra, and mesh back undershirt), 1 2X dressy top, 1 2X coordinating dressy cardigan, 1 pair of black jeans(?), socks, bras, and underwear, in addition to what I was wearing.  I only brought the ASICS sneakers I was wearing.

 

I was wearing a jacket with inside pockets.  I had my passport, S8, boarding pass, cash for onboard and in port, and metal card wallet in those pockets.

 

In the outer compartment, I had a cord organizer with all of the cords and wall plugs needed for my electronics, S7, portable battery charger(10,000 mAh), pen, mechanical pencil, lead, and extra hair elastics.  I had a Quirky extension cord in the bottom compartment.  I had a portable battery brick(26,800 mAh) and an iPad 2 in the main compartment.

 

In the middle compartment, I had two paddle hairbrushes, a comb, two aerosol cans of Veet shaving cream, solid deodorant stick, and a 1 quart heavy plastic bag with an actual zipper(not Ziploc) with travel size toiletries with space left over.  There was also a gallon size bag with a pill organizer, one pill bottle, extra contacts, contacts case, travel size contact solution, small bottle of Aleve, and small bottle of fexofenadine in that compartment.

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I routinely travel with a laptop backpack + 21" rollaboard carry-on suitcase.  I got in the habit when doing one or two week medical humanitarian aid trips, as that way I could use both my checked bags for medical supplies.  It works fine for trips to warm places including Caribbean or Mexican cruises too, when you need mostly light-weight clothes.

 

Having only what I can carry myself is also good where there is no assistance with baggage, in the event of last minute changes in travel plans, and for quick getaways from the airport instead of waiting for baggage.

 

A vest or jacket with lots of pockets, like a ScotteVest, can also be very helpful.

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my travel backpacks open clamshell-like, not like the old backpacks that i'd use when backpacking up in the mountains.   I can pack them just like i pack a roll aboard suitcase.  I can carry it like a duffel bag with the handle or pull out the shoulder straps and use them,.   Even my one roller bag has shoulder straps should I need to go someplace not conducive to rolling.  

 

If you want take a look at one of the bags i have, look at the Cotopaxi allpa line.   And, eBags Motherlode bags are backpacks too.

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We have not cruised out of a backpack because we drive to the port.  If we were required to fly to a port, we would also cruise with the backpacks and not think twice about it.  I have used a backpack for up to 6 week long trips, with access to laundry facilities, and my husband for a much longer time span.  I second the idea about compression bags, as they do help with packing.  

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Posted (edited)

No.  We could not do it.  Having said since retiring we have each managed to travel extensively and for extended periods with  20 inch roller carry ons.

 

At first I also had a small backpack.  Stopped with that after two years.   It started with a size limitation on a safari in the middle of a seven month trip.  We decided to go with it.  It was challenging.  Now, we are thankful that we did.    

 

We typically only do last minute cruises while on independent land travel.  On some lines we just stick to the buffet on formal similar nights.   The big surprise....after ten years of doing this we meet more and more retirees who are doing the exact same.  Especially Australians.

 

If you can do it and are comfortable with it then good for you. Go for it and give it a try.  

Edited by iancal
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Posted (edited)

I think it makes sense to bring what you need to achieve the experience you want on a particular trip.

 

Some times a backpack is sufficient - other times its limitations impose extraordinary limitations on your activities.  Think about what you want to do, the folks with whom you will be interacting, how much time you will want to spend rinsing out your undies, etc.  

 

Some times  less is just plain less - other times it makes sense to plan (and to equip yourself for being able) to do what you want to do.

 

Travelling light is not always the be all and end all.

Edited by navybankerteacher
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I've made trips of this length and longer with only a non-wheeled carry-on bag that happened to have backpack straps, although I didn't use them. To be clear, I am not a minimalist who takes only one change of clothes no matter what; I pack for four days.

 

It's feasible with a backpack of similar capacity without making too many sacrifices, but it requires doing laundry periodically, whether in a self-service laundry room -- which not all cruise lines have -- or using the ship's laundry service, or by hand washing, which is what I've done. Hand washing is easier if you're traveling solo; two people sharing one bathroom have twice as much laundry but not twice as many sinks or twice as much drying space.

 

A couple of limiting factors: it is easier for a small person than a large one, although a large person may be able to use a larger backpack. Large or heavy shoes make it more difficult, and you might have to wear the largest, heaviest shoes on the travel days. And I have sometimes had to carry a blazer over my arm for the flights, because while it would fit in the bag, it made it too thick for airline sizers. On land trips in Europe, I did put it in the bag when going by train.

 

A bag that opens clamshell-style, like a suitcase, makes it easier to find things than does a backpack that opens from the top.

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Posted (edited)

Doing my sink laundry is just part of my getting ready for bed routine.  honestly, it doesn't take more than 5 minutes so I'm not missing out on anything.   Since my backpacks are clamshell, not top-load, I am not in any different situation than someone with a rollabord.  I'm packed and equipped to being able to do what I want to do on my travels without any restrictions.  

 

We all travel the way we want and need.  Some need less some need more.😉

Edited by slidergirl
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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, atexsix said:

Did you find it liberating?  Or did you regret it?  Because it is kind of a pain to paw through them looking for things, you're forced to unpack rather than leave some things in the suitcases. 

 

We're trying to make our upcoming cruise as fuss free as possible by going ultra casual, cruising is complicated enough as it is these days.  So I've purchased two large packs designed for long weekend type trips.  

 

I'm just curious what other people's experiences have been, because we still have time to change our minds, we're not leaving for a week. 

We've done several cruises with a carry in bag, one 14 days the other 10.  It takes some wardrobe creativity, but we have had no complaints.  A simple black dress or lightweith silk/wool black sportscoat can dress up a lot of scarves, or a few shirts. Layers are helpful, if somewhere cold, multipurpose shoes, like atheletic walking hiking shoes that might look ok in a formal setting.

 

Have fun.  Its your vacation. Similar to the lightweight linen comment, we find Icebreaker lightweight Marino wool clothes to be fabulously flexible and have a bonus of being naturally warm, cool when needed and bacteria resistent.

Edited by Pizzasteve
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Posted (edited)

I haven't checked a bag on an airline since 1999. I'm about to do a 8 day trip (1 before cruising+7 days cruising Alaska) with this bag as my only luggage. It fits under the airline seat. The photo here is from when I took it to Europe for a 22 day trip, through four countries. There are five outfits in that bag, plus all travel accessories, I'm planning on 8 outfits for my cruise packing. I did also carry a purse that was about the size of a hardback book.

 

I did 5 weeks in Canada in 2015 with just a 21L backpack, chose to swap away from backpacks to give me less of a "OH HEY IT'S A TOURIST" vibe as I've gotten older. 

 

My secrets are compression packing cubes, rolling clothes tightly, lightweight clothing that can be scrubbed in the sink if no laundry facilities are around and dries quickly, and a *lot* of practice at this sort of travel.

 

I was thinking of doing a live for my cruise, I might just start that next week and show my packing method along with a lot of other stuff...

IMG_20190530_184339838.jpg

Edited by MarySueSays
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It’s doable. Wear your heaviest shoes instead of packing them. 
Do pack a lightweight bag ( great one from IKEA) so you have something in case of purchases. 
Be organized-

watch u- tube videos on cruise packing with carry-on for ideas.

 

As I’ve gotten older, it’s more freeing for me to pull a carry-on than carrying a knap-sack, though I did use them up to 2 decades ago. 
 

I’ve learned with cruising, the quickest way to unpack once in your cabin, 

iS how I’m going to pack.

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I finally convinced Mrs. Dawg to fly to a AI vacation resort with only carry on bags earlier this year. For years we each had a checked bag for all our cruises and our land vacations. Of course the packing was not quite 50/50;1/2 bag was for me and 1 1/2 bags were for my 'Imelda'. 😉 She adapted quite nicely, and she managed to only take up 1/4 of my carry on space this time. She loved being first off the plane, first through customs, no waiting for the luggage (which always seemed to come out last on every flight we have ever taken together!), first into the taxi, first to check into the resort, first to our room and our private pool. She managed fine for nine days with a limited shoe collection, dress, collection, jewelry collection, swimsuit collection, etc. Sure, we had to plan a bit more and wash out some things but the advantages far outweighed the negatives even for my 'Imelda'. 

 

OP, you have already bought the backpacks, give carry on only a try. 

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My DB and SIL frequently cruise on Princess with only carry-ons if they don't need multiple layers of clothing (even to Alaska and Norway they only shared one mid sized checked bag).  Princess has laundry rooms on each passenger cabin deck with multiple washers and dryers ($3 a load IIRC) and free irons and ironing boards.  DB gets up early to work out in the gym and about every other day puts a load in the washer, changes it to the dryer as he returns to the cabin, and everything is done by the time he showers, dresses and has a bite for breakfast.  We, on the other hand, have free laundry on Princess and travel with too much luggage as he keeps reminding me!

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