I had similar fears and while I slimmed things down, I still brought too much. Between the 2 of us, we had 2 suitcases + 1 suit bag + 2 backpacks for a 7 day cruise on the Island Princess + 6 day land tour independently. [This includes a fair amount of camera equipment and space for souveniers.]
You don't want to be fumbling with the bags in the airport, the cabin, and on the land tour, so minimize. The key is planning on doing laundry during the trip. With a longer cruise, I would do the same amount of clothing and just plan on more laundry. Some do laundry in port. I found that I was waking up pretty early to watch scenery, so it was no big deal to have the laundry bundled the night before, and first thing the next morning get all of the laundry done with 3 simultaneous loads. By the time I was putting my clothes in the dryers, the laundry was in high demand. We then went for a nice breakfast and finished just in time to pick up our laundry. (Double check that the Dawn has self-serve laundry, of course) From now on, I plan to pack even less and plan on doing 1 big laundry session and 1 smaller one.
As mentioned, the evening-ware (Princess divide this into formal nights and smart-casual nights) is a dress code restricted to the dining rooms. I had late seating, and walked through the early crowd milling outside of the dining room while I was in jeans and t-shirt without flinching. In the dining room, it is mandatory. However, I would highly recommend you bring appropriate evening-ware Personally, I hated the buffet ... found it too oily, etc. We started thinking Princess called it the Horizon Court because the good food was just beyond the horizon. Others eat there all the time, so ... [Plus, I'm generally wary about buffets and particularly when there are concerns about Norwalk...but thats my own neurosis.] At any rate, some of the best dining room food (and dessert!) is served on formal nights. I'm willing to dawn formal-ware for a couple of hours for FAR FAR FAR better food. For 2 formal nights, I brought 1 suit, 2 white shirts, 2 ties, and semi-formal black shoes (so that my shoes could double with the suit and dockers for normal dinners). My girlfriend brought 2 dresses (both of a material that took up very little room) + 1 pair of heels (basically take no room) and she could have gotten away with 1 outfit if she really wanted to.
Smart-casual dinners (in the dining room ... again) is what I overpacked on. Dockers and a sweater work great. To mix it up, I sometimes did a button down shirt while my girlfriend wore a turtle-neck. No heels or nilons for women's footware on smart-casual nights (but it does force women into an extra pair of shoes). Both of us should have planned on reusing dinner clothes more than we did.
The other killer in packing is warm-wear. Don't get me wrong, you definitely need to do the layered-thing, but I could have done with 1 sweatshirt and fewer long-sleeve shirts that I put over t-shirts. Maybe my perception of this is off because we had a pretty warm cruise. Early monrings/evenings on deck/balcony I needed a long sleeve shirt + sweatshirt + fleece jacket + lined jacket. Otherwise, I didn't wear the sweatshirts at all, so maybe that skewed my beliefs on the number that of sweatshirts & long sleeve shirts I needed.
Post Edited (10-25-04 11:46)