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Bein' Stagey Theatre Travel

Packing And Preparing For Work On A Cruise Ship

It’s the 3-day countdown, and the inevitable chore of packing for working on a cruise ship is upon me…

Last time I went away to do a cruise ship contract with Disney, I packed terribly!

I packed bed sheets, brand new bottles of every toiletry in existence, packed all my gifts and photo frames, and under-packed clothes – I ran out of clothes within the first week!

Hence, I had to buy a whole new wardrobe whilst away, resulting in an unhealthy addiction to Lulu Lemon and dodgy backstreet stores in Mexico and had to buy a second case at the airport on the way home to accommodate all the souvenirs that I’d picked up along the way.

So, this time, I intend to pack smart! And here are my tips on how to do so…

My top tips for packing to work on a cruise ship…


The first and foremost of basics. You kind-of need clothes to be socially acceptable…

As performers we need lots of rehearsal clothes, so pack all your Lulu/Nike/Sweaty Betty (whatever it is you like to wear) and stuff it in with priority. Your rehearsal clothes will probably double up as gym attire and ‘lounging-around-your-cabin clothes’ too, so they’re very important.

Have you got more than one pair of trainers? Pack a maximum of two! And pack your favourites, cos otherwise you’ll constantly wish you’d packed them…

A major boo-boo I made last time, was I barely packed any nice clothes because I assumed we’d be constantly in rehearsal clothes/costumes. WRONG. You will have plenty of nights where you’ll want to dress fancy, and plenty of boozy nights at the crew bar that you’ll want your leather trousers and crop tops for – pack ’em all! (But on this note, only pick things you really like; if you haven’t worn it in the last 6 months, you aren’t going to wear it.)

And ladies, on the note of heels… Just take a second to think: ‘Will I be able to wear these stilettos on a moving ship without being medically debarked?’ If the answer is ‘probably no’, then maybe save them for your return to dry land.



You know that really cute block of letters that would look so ‘Pinterest-worthy’ in your cabin? Or that gorgeous photo frame your best friend got you for your leaving gift?

Well, I hate to break it to you, bezzie, but it ain’t coming with me this time!

You will buy so much stuff while you’re away to decorate your cabin with, that you will give away at ‘Trash for Treasure’ at the end of your contract.

While sentimental things seem nice when packing, once you are away you won’t need them, you will barely notice them, and they will take up too much case space on your return that you will probably throw away things that you wish you could hold onto.

Save yourself the pain, and leave them at home – you can buy similar when you’re away that you won’t mind giving away/getting smashed going through customs.



Bulk buying your favourite face cream and giant bottles of shampoo may seem like a good idea at the time, (“I mean, what if they don’t have Tresemme in Canada? It is a foreign country after all!”) but believe me when I say that other countries have pharmacies and general stores. And more often than not, you can buy exactly the same products that you use at home! Who’da thunk?!

You will save so much room in your case, and so much weight for your baggage allowance, by just buying your toiletries when you get to your destination.

If you want to ensure you have the basics for your arrival (in case you don’t have time to go to a store straight away), stock up on the mini bottles from the likes of Superdrug and Boots (as pictured above). They are so small, they barely take up any case space, and you can usually buy them on a ‘3 for 2’ deal, which is perfect for your shampoo/conditioner/body wash combo!

In regards to make-up, the easiest rule to go by is ‘if you don’t wear it on a daily basis or on a normal night out on the town, you don’t need it‘.

The same thing applies – you can buy anything new when you’re at your destination.



I’m sorry, I really am, but no matter how cute your pet is, or how well they fit in your case, you can’t bring your pet.

Best of luck trying to get them through customs…



In the midst of all the excitement, don’t forget your essentials(!) like your passport, flight itinerary, and visa documents etc.

It would really suck to get to the airport and realise you’ve forgotten the most important things.

Put them aside about a week before you’re due to fly just so you have peace of mind that they’re all there and ready to go. And maybe check that your passport is in date, the second you get your contract offer…it can take a long time to get a new passport delivered.

Oh, and if you’re British, Cadbury’s chocolate does count as an essential. As do Yorkshire tea bags. You can buy them abroad but it costs more and I swear it’s fake; it doesn’t taste the same. So stock up on those bad boys before you go. I recommend you dedicate approximately 1/5 of your case to chocolatey goodness.

Once you pack, it means it’s really happening, so enjoy the excitement and get ready to have the time of your life! Working on a cruise ship is an experience like no other. Check out my blog about the realities of living on a cruise ship here to ‘know before you go’.

See you on the other side!



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