The Pros and Cons of Packing Cubes for Cruise Vacations

The Pros and Cons of Packing Cubes for Cruisers

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Should You Use Packing Cubes for Cruise Travel?

If you’re going on a cruise, you’re probably thinking about what cruise outfits you need to bring and how you can best pack for your cruise.

You may be even be wondering if you need packing cubes…

Am I right?

It seems like everyone is recommending packing cubes these days.

However, while some cruisers swear by them, others have their own system and claim that packing cubes just aren’t right for them. 

In this post, I’ll be going through the pros and cons of packing cubes for cruise vacations

Packing Cubes 6 x 4

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My own packing cube story

Before I get into the pros and cons of packing cubes, so you can see if they’re right for you, I’d like to share with you my first experience with packing cubes.

I was NOT a huge packing cube fan just about a year ago.

I’d seen videos on YouTube about the joys of packing cubes and people in cruise Facebook groups were recommending them. I knew so many cruise travelers loved them!

So, I went on amazon and I bought a pack.

“But, which ones?” I thought.

If you’ve ever checked Amazon for packing cubes, then you know there are literally dozens to choose from! Different brands, colors and sizes. Oh my!

Well, I bought a pack of 5 packing cubes in grey, and pretty much looked for the least expensive, as I figured they were kind of all the same.

Being totally honest, when they arrived they were smaller than I imagined and seemed so flimsy. As I tried to pack in one, the zipper broke.

Thankfully I bought my packing cubes from Amazon, which meant an easy return and refund.

Needless to say, I was really NOT a packing cube fan at that point.

However, since so many experienced cruisers swore by them and many on my Life Well Cruised Facebook Page encouraged me to try packing cubes again, I did just that for my last cruise.

Now, I’m an over-packer and have always had “my own system” (it all fits!!), so I wasn’t sure how useful they would really be… for me.

However, I have to admit, there was an appeal to feeling more organized and efficient, so I was willing to give packing cubes another shot!

Spoiler alert – I LOVED them and found them very useful!

However, I did find some pros and cons to packing cubes, as I can see why they aren’t necessarily right for everyone.

I also have a few cruise packing cube tips, based on what I learned, which I’ll share with you today.

The Pros of Using Packing Cubes for Cruise Packing

cruise packing packing cubes
Getting cruise-ready with packing cubes!

Great organizational system

This might be the best reason to use packing cubes! They really do help to keep you organized. 

Some people keep all shirts together, then all shorts together, and so on. Others create outfits for each day and sort it this way.

This method seems to be especially popular for those cruising with young children, as you pack your kid’s evening outfits all in one place if you like, which can make life a bit easier for Mom or Dad, as everyone is getting ready for dinner and just “knows” what to wear.

Packing cubes can be a space-saver

13 t-shirts fit in this packing cube

Packing cubes fit way more inside than you’d imagine. I actually fit 13 t-shirts for my son into one small size packing cube (for reference he’s a men’s small). Lightweight summer dresses fit in effortlessly as well.

Several packing cubes can fit in your luggage, however you’ll probably want a few sizes so that they can fit together like a puzzle.

Some compression abilities

The packing cubes that we bought on Amazon (link to Amazon) had some compression abilities, while also being partially made of mesh, which made them breathable.


Recommended: Packing cubes set (verify price on Amazon – link)

How to use Packing Cubes Most Efficientlly for a Cruise
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Perfect for use in a pre-cruise or post-cruise overnight bag

If you’re heading into the cruise port a day or two ahead, which is highly recommended, then you’ll want to pack an overnight bag.

We actually stayed in florida a couple of nights before our cruise,and one night after, and two things that were lifesavers were:

1.Packing cubes


2.This hanging toiletry bag (available in 3 colors on Amazon)


I literally cannot say enough about how much I love this toiletry bag by Royal Fair (Amazon link). It’s the perfect size, has 4 removable see-through pouches, hangs on a bathroom hook, and folds into a super cute bag even if you wanted to carry it on it’s own.

We used it both pre and post cruise during our hotel stays, as well as on our cruise and it was the BEST. THING. EVER.

toiletry bag and overnight bag
Our packing cubes and toiletry bag made our carry on bag so organized!

Packing cubes are available in several colors

Using various color packing cubes for different family members or people in the cruise cabin can help to keep your items even more organized.

This way, even when unpacking, everyone knows which stuff is theirs. I’ll definitely be buying one more set before our next cruise for this reason.

Recommended: Packing cubes (Amazon link – check sizes and colors available)

Ease of unpacking on your cruise

We’ve never unpacked quicker than this past cruise – somehow the packing cubes just made everything see more visible and manageable.

Another cruise packing (or unpacking) tip is that you can keep some items within the cubes and place them directly in the drawers or a shelf.

It just keeps cruise clothing items organized, and also is a time saver for unpacking once in your cruise cabin, as well as for when the sad day comes when it’s time to pack up to disembark from your cruise.

Recommended: 21 Essential Things to Pack in Your Cruise Carry-On

The Cons of Using Packing Cubes for Cruise Packing

It may be more time consuming to pack for your cruise

If you’re using packing cubes for the first time, you may find that it takes more time to pack things into your suitcase.

I can imagine with time and practice, it will get easier and faster. However, my experience was that I needed some time to “organize” my stuff before it was ready to go into the cubes.

Plan to get the right sizes to fit your cruise outfit packing needs

There are actually a few packing cube sizes, and getting them too small or too big, won’t be very helpful. 

As a suggestion, consider buying one or two variety packs of 6-10 cubes, where you have “all sizes”. Then add to it with a set of 3-4 large cubes or even extra large depending on your packing needs.

Small sizes were great for underwear and socks and bathing suits. Medium sizes were perfect for t-shirts, shorts and light dresses. Large and extra large sizes were best for pants, jeans and long sleeve shirts and sweaters.

Packing Cubes - why they're great for cruises PIN
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Shoes didn’t easily fit into packing cubes

This was probably about the only packing cube “con” for me. Since I’m always pretty well packed for a cruise (that’s a nice way for me to say I bring everything but the kitchen sink), I always had my packing methods to bring several pairs of cute shoes.

I usually like to place my shoes in between certain clothes with heels wrapped, or place socks in other shoes to retain their shape. Some shoes were placed against the sides of the luggage. Basically, I found ways to fit all my shoes in, as well of those of my family.

Now, using packing cubes to pack our shoes wasn’t impossible, but it did force me to be more creative. Just a heads up ;-).

Alternatively, there are packing cubes and bags for shoes, but I don’t have the extra room in my suitcase for those. If you do, that’s probably your best best.

Packing cubes weren’t great for big sweatshirts and hoodies

Since sweatshirts can be bulky, we found these didn’t pack that well into the packing cubes. Instead, we placed these on top of the cubes before we closed the suitcase, and that worked fine.

cruise luggage and packing
Cruise luggage – packing cubes kept this organized

Ways to Pack with Packing Cubes – for efficiency and to keep clothes wrinkle-free

There are some methods to using packing cubes to fit more in, as well as to reduce wrinkling of items

1. Roll method

Rolling t-shirts, flowy tops and dresses before placing them snugly into the packing cubes seemed to fit more in, and items came out with very little wrinkles.

2. Stacking method

Stacking a few pairs of shorts or pants together and placing them in one packing cube works well. More can fit in that meets the eye, so pack and press down a little to fit more in each cube.

3. Shoe trick

If you’re already a light cruise packer, you can keep your shoes in a packing bag, which often comes with the packing cubes sets. However, if you’ve got a pretty full suitcase, you’ll have to be more creative when packing your shoes.

Some shoes can fit on the outer edges of your luggage, however heels and shoes that “squish” don’t do very well in that spot.

My little shoe packing tip is to open up and cube and try and fit your heels or other shoes against the inside wall of your packing cube. I make sure there’s some fabric leaning up into the heel, to avoid breaking.

I usually do a quick wipe of my shoes ahead of time just to make sure the bottoms are clean, even if they are “indoor” shoes.

Recommended: How to Pack Light for a Cruise

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Which packing cubes are most recommended?

I loved the 2 sets that I bought on Amazon, one by Gonex (set of 9) and the other by Evatex (set of 4).

Others may be great too, but I haven’t tried them. Checking reviews on Amazon should give you a good idea.

I bought 2 sets as I wanted to try 2 brands that got great reviews and came highly recommended on Amazon. The pricing on both is reasonable, and I found often even has a small discount.

You may want to check for your favorite color. I was pretty boring going with grays and browns, but my next set is going to be more colorful!

Below are both brands that we’ve tried and found worked well and were durable and of good quality. Price, size and availability may differ so it’s worth checking. 

1. Gonex Packing Cubes set (Amazon link)


2. Evatex Packing Cubes set (on Amazon)

Recommended: Evatex Packing Cubes (verify price on Amazon)

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Recommended: 25 Most Popular AMAZON Cruise Essentials

Recap: The Pros and Cons of Packing Cubes (for Cruise Packing) 

Ao, after this past cruise I can honestly say that myself, and my husband and son, are definitely packing cube converts.

I loved them overall and appreciated feeling organized, even when I had a lot of stuff. It was also really easy to find things, as things were all in one place.

It was even nice, as a wife and Mom, not to be asked to find things for everyone else. I’m not sure why, but this inevitably happens, lol.

What do you think – will packing cubes help you with your cruise packing? If you’ve used them before, please share your tips in the comments below.

Happy Cruising!!

Ilana xoxo

P.S. If you found this helpful, please don’t keep it to yourself ;-). Please share on Facebook or PIN to your favorite Pinterest board (share buttons at the top). Thanks so much!

Read more:

25 Cruise Essentials Most Popular on Amazon

21 Things People Forget to Pack for a Cruise (and regret)

30 Cruise Cabin Hacks Every Cruiser Needs to Know

Let’s connect:

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  1. Anonypilgrim
    January 30, 2020 / 7:02 pm

    I agree that they’re fantastic. I was using the “bundle” method before. I would spend an hour on my knees in front of my suitcases layer mine and my husbands clothes. Using eBags packing cubes helped so much and sped up my packing process. The rectangular ones are perfect for shoes (at least they fit my size 9 1/2). Although they won’t fit my husbands shoes.

    • January 31, 2020 / 4:40 am

      Thanks so much for the tips, especially about the shoes! So glad to hear that the packing cubes work so well for you!


  2. Claire
    January 31, 2020 / 2:36 pm

    We just went on a cruise on the Norwegian Joy. I was really glad our items were all packed in packing cubes because apparently the new ships don’t have drawers in the rooms, just shelves. The cubes helped to keep things organized because I could stack the cubes on the shelves and didn’t have to disturb everything when trying to get to something on the bottom.

    • February 3, 2020 / 4:19 am

      That’s a great point Claire. The cubes definitely help to keep things organized. I hadn’t thought of stacking the cubes, but that’s a great idea!

      Thanks for sharing 🙂


  3. Wendy Munro
    January 31, 2020 / 5:28 pm

    I have used them on quite a few cruises and love them I use the smallest size to roll up my underwear and put it in there then I just take the cube out but it in the drawer and reach in the cube each morning for clean underwwear!!! I use another cube to pack every day tops and another one for fancier night time tops and they roll up nicely to fit in the cubes and come out unwrinkled love it I am a great fan of them

    • February 3, 2020 / 4:17 am

      Thanks Wendy for the great tips and for taking the time to leave a comment. It’s great that items seem to be less wrinkled in them too 🙂


  4. Margaret
    February 2, 2020 / 5:05 am

    I LOVE packing cubes! And I’ve converted EVERYONE I know!
    FYI I pack shoes into a plastic bag: it keeps them from dirtying anything else, is cheap, and there’s no weight. Having empty packing cubes to collect the dirty clothes makes coming home and unpacking simple too.
    We had to open our cases at immigration in Hawaii once and the officers commented with delight at how pleasant our cases were! (in comparison to what they normally saw!!!) (pleased me no end 😊) I cannot/choose not to travel ANYWHERE without packing cubes – they are the solution to EVERYTHING!

    • February 3, 2020 / 4:14 am

      What great tips Margaret! Thanks so much for sharing!

      Nice to know packing cubes have worked so well for you – love the funny story lol 🙂


  5. Christine Ravely
    June 21, 2021 / 12:47 am

    I love packing cubes but haven’t talked hubby into using them! I save shower caps from hotel stays and use them o n my shoes. I also use one small bag to pack my formal things, like shoes, 2 tops, one pants and jewelry. I keep my formal stuff easy with 2 dressy tops that go with one pair of pants. We have 2 cruises coming up that we drive to and from, so I can also put those tops in a hanging bag. You can also use one pack to put at the top of your suitcase that is packed for the night before hotel and the morning of boarding. Including a pack of night creams, day creams and eye creams. Plus whatever else you need, including underwear and outfit. You don’t have to dig thru your bag finding what you need. Keep the dental stuff at top, too. I even have a permanent last night of cruise bag with makeup and creams, even a lash curler! Just make sure you use a quart bag and travel creams, etc.

    • June 29, 2021 / 4:31 pm

      Great cruise packing tips Christine! As you mentioned, packing cubes aren’t for everyone. I’m loving them for keeping things organized in particular.

      Thanks for sharing!


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