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Do you remember the old style of luggage with 4 tiny wheels and a leash to drag it behind you? If the bag in question was soft-sided and happened to be somewhat over-packed, that whole pull it effortlessly behind you idea went quickly out the window! I don’t even want to talk about the duffel carry-on with the shoulder strap that you honestly thought would saw through your neck by the time you got to the gate! How did we ever manage without the pilot bags and spinners that are so common now?!
Still, with all of the options available, what type of bag is best for taking on a cruise? Is there a weight limit or number of bags limit on cruises? What other things do you need to consider besides how big the bags need to be to hold everything you want to take with you? Let’s find out!
Most cruise lines do have luggage limits and restrictions on the number of bags and the weight of the bags. Most come in at 2 bags per guest at no more than 50 pounds (23kg) per bag and this matches most airline allowances so it makes sense. Carnival and MSC were the only lines that gave physical dimension specifications and we’ll get into the reason for this later.
Hard Sided or Soft Sided
The size of the bag matters when you’re checking in as most must fit through a security x-ray machine. The size of the bag also matters after you’ve unpacked and you need to stow the empty bag somewhere, generally under the bed. While hard sided bags may offer greater protection of the contents from damage, getting 2-4 of them under the bed might prove to be a challenge depending on the type of cabin you have booked.
The most important factor in my opinion is what type of wheels the bag has and the comfort of the length and grip of the handle. I have a scuba dive bag that has a short handle and when dragging it even my 5”-shorter-than-me wife has to stoop uncomfortably to pull it behind. There are arguments to be made on spinner type wheels vs. the dual in-line skate type and personally I like spinners for carry-on bags but prefer the smoother rolling of the dual skate type wheels. Our current bags are nearing the end of their useful lives after dozens of international trips and we’re considering this bag as a replacement option.
The whole idea is to have a great time and not be stressed out, so some other options like these easy to use TSA 311 bags and packing cubes to make sorting out or finding specific packed items easier can be useful. My wife and I have found that it’s best to be entirely self sufficient with our bags if possible. You never know when you might have to cover a few blocks to get to your taxi. – René
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