I was just reading Anne's article about anxiety-free cruising, and I wanted to pass along one of my tips that I haven't read anywhere else.
As you know, the secret of reasonable packing is to mix and match outfits while cruising. Consequently, a week or two before the cruise, I sit down and type out the days on board and the outfits needed (ones for touring, ones for on-board and dinner outfits).
Then, day by day, I plug in outfits with the ultimate goal of wearing items at least twice. Another great benefit of doing this is that you can plan your outfits so that you never appear in, say, the same pair of pants at dinner two nights in a row.
I then print out the list and throw it in the bedroom when I'm packing. I strive to put the clothes in order of appearance in the garment bag, working from Day 1 to Day 7.
Once on board, I take the list out and pull out my clothes (already on hangers from the dry cleaners) and place them in the closet "in order of appearance." The list then goes in a drawer or on a shelf for quick reference if needed. Voila -- unpacked in usually less than 15 minutes.
I know it sounds like the height of organization, but the big benefit is that once on board, I can just relax and leave my brain behind. It never fails, but once I'm on the ocean, all desires to remember anything are gone. Plus, I never have to deal with my partner asking, "What I am supposed to wear today/tonight?" I just point to the list.
Finally, to keep the system in place, when you disrobe, hang the pair of pants, coat or whatever with the fresh shirt or whatever for two days later. That way, you just grab and get dressed.
Hope this sounds like a good plan for some of you.