We just finished our twelfth cruise -- eleven on Princess, and one on Disney (our first cruise ever!). You'd think we wouldn't bring the wrong stuff, and yet we did. We're getting better, but these are things we brought and didn't need on this Transatlantic cruise (the list might be different for a different type of cruise):
A lidded Starbucks coffee cup. In the past, it seemed like this would be helpful, so that we could easily get more coffee than just a small cup in the buffet and take it safely to wherever we were sitting. I think on some ships this might still be good, but it was a waste of space for the Royal Princess, and conceivably the other ships in its class (the Regal Princess, the Majestic Princess), where we had no problems getting all the coffee, tea or whatever we wanted and weren't actually spending time in places with no coffee/bar service. It also might reflect our change in drink preferences from coffee/tea to club soda, but that's another issue.
The wrong kinds of clothes. The last transatlantic cruise we were on, in 2014, it was cold. We didn't swim or use warm-weather clothes from the time we left Venice until Ft. Lauderdale. This time, we assumed it would be the same. WRONG. It was HOT. Pete is a little better at being ok in long pants when it's hot than I am, but I was woefully unprepared for warm weather. Besides the matching t-shirts I've spoken about before, I had ONE short-sleeved, not-dressy shirt, and only one pair of shorts that were not to work out in. I had long pants, yoga pants, a sweatshirt, etc. but not the clothes I needed. I think in the future I need to have more variety and less volume of each type of clothing.
Too much of the wrong kind of toiletries. I may be in the minority, but I always think I'll do more when I'm on vacation so I bring sparkly moisturizer, fun nail polish, more makeup than is reasonable and that kind of thing. I almost never use it. It sits it my "kit bag," and I bring it all home again, unused.
Two swimsuits. I don’t know why I do this, but I invariably bring too many swimming options. This time I had two swimsuits plus various other swim gear (like rash guard shirts, etc). I WILL use this stuff on a Caribbean cruise, but not on a Transatlantic where we’re not swimming every day. I suppose if I had a Thermal Suite package I would also use the extra swimwear, but with no spa package and few options to swim outside the boat, I know I will only use one suit and will only rarely go into the pools. Depending on the temperature, I may not go in at all.
A largish speaker for our room. A small one that is easily tucked into a small space would definitely be better. We are huge fans of 1940s music by Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and the like and we thought the option of having music in our room would be fun and romantic. In fact, we never used it. The speaker we brought was about the size of a rolled-up tshirt. I would rather have had the extra shirt.
A laundry “basket” that sits on the floor. I realized on this cruise that a plastic bag would not only do this job, but actually worked better because it had handles and could be hung from the clothes rod. My laundry pop-up takes up a fair amount of room. A sturdy, largish plastic bag from Target or another generous retailer, very little.
A different dress for every night of Princess’ “smart casual” dining. Who is going to remember what I wore? I have about ten dresses (in various sizes) that fit this category and I really only need two or three, plus a good pair of black pants and a few tops for them, plus one good black jacket – that way I can mix and match and no one will realize I’m doubling up. Invariably I take too many dresses and bring one or more home unworn. I’m still learning that less is more.
Fountain pens. This may sound silly, and I may be the only person in the world who takes a fountain pen along on a cruise … but I am a fountain pen geek and can’t bear to be separated from mine. This goes for wonderful journals and notebooks, too. Generally I take one or more of them and then cart them back home unopened. I LOVE this stuff, and I suppose a VERY small amount might be ok, but I overdo it. I know pens are small, but notebooks are not. A little goes a long way.
I’m thinking through the things we DIDN’T have that we wanted: I’ll post that next! We’re off in three weeks on our next adventure, so I really need to streamline this packing!