So you are heading out on a cruise, lucky you. Lots of fun filled days ahead lazing around the deck just soaking up the sun. And as with any holiday there are a few things to consider before heading off and one of those things is how to pack for your cruise.
How To Pack For a Cruise
Your cruise line will send you information spelling out its dress policy for your cruise. The one thing you really must keep in mind is that cruise cabins are very small, so you have to pack smart.
Bikini Weather Ahoy!
For cruises to warm locations, be sure to pack a few favourite items of swimwear, as you’ll be spending quite a while poolside. Throw in a couple of cover-ups so that you can wander from your sun lounger into the nearest café or bar without getting completely changed – consider a loose fitting sun dress you can pull on over your head, or a sarong.
Dress Code Debacles
When you book your cruise, you should be sent through a fact sheet including the type of dress required on board. Some cruise lines won’t have any specific requirements and are happy for you to let it all hang out, whilst others will be a lot more specific and even have formal wear evenings on board. Make sure you understand the meanings of terms. The dreaded term ‘smart casual’ is the trickiest to master but generally means that you’ll be fine wearing tailored shorts, a skirt, dress or trousers along with short-sleeved shirt or blouse. T-shirts aren’t usually be acceptable for this dress code. Formal wear for women generally means an evening dress or a dressy trouser suit. Think about taking a smart shawl or wrap with you to guard against over zealous air conditioning on board.
Looking Ship Shape
There are a few specific items you’ll find handy on board a cruise liner that you might not necessarily take on a normal holiday. Pack some flat shoes with good grip for wandering about decks on a choppy day. On warm weather cruises, you’ll be spending quite a lot of your time outside, so include some typical beach items such as a couple of pairs of sunglasses and a hat or two to stop you ending up looking like a cooked lobster.
Sizing Things Up
Whatever you do, don’t pack that pair of trousers that you can only zip up lying down. Yes, we’ve all got a pair and yes, they do make us look slim, but be realistic: You’re going to be spending a week or more aboard an all-inclusive eating and drinking machine and those trousers will not fit you within a day or two of indulgence. Just leave them at home, enjoy yourself and shift the extra holiday pounds when you get back.
Don’t Over Pack
Cruise cabins are small. Even the most expensive ones. You will not thank yourself when you’ve brought too much stuff and have to walk over mounds of clothing to get to your bathroom every morning and then find yourself only wearing half of it. Plus, most liners have self-service laundry facilities and dry cleaning services on board, so you’ll be able to clean your clothes and get more than one wear out of them. Zip pack storage bags are great for helping you to pack light. Putting garments in these before stuffing them into your luggage will reduce the amount of space required by a surprising amount. Pack light and pack well.
Ready To Go
On major ocean-going cruises, you’ll be sharing your ship with possibly thousands of other passengers. Because of this, it can take hours for your luggage to be delivered to your cabin. With that fact in mind, do the sensible thing and include a change of clothes and swimwear in your hand luggage. That way, you can check into your cabin, get changed and maximise your time by the pool while the other passengers wait for their swimsuits to arrive!
Remember the basics
Despite the price tag on your cruise holiday, the majority of cruise ship cabins don’t come with simple things like alarm clocks. So if you need one to drag yourself out of bed in time for breakfast, then do pack one or make sure the one on your mobile phone does the job. Other essentials you might want to consider packing include clothes hangers, medication, batteries, ear plugs and power strips for charging your camera etc.
Keep documents safe
As for any holiday, Always pack your most important documents in your hand luggage, not in the suitcase you check in. Keep your passport, photo identification and cruise ship boarding pass on hand. You may also need certificates for vaccinations if you’re travelling to certain countries where it is required. Be sure to check in advance what form of identification your cruise company requires – surprisingly, with some cruise companies, a photocopy of your birth certificate might not be good enough!
A few well chosen accessories can transform an outfit. Take a simple silk top and pack in your suitcase a statement necklace, and maybe a scarf or a brooch – all little things that won’t take up very much room. Wearing the top on its own during the daytime and it’s just a simple t-shirt. Add a scarf for lunchtime and it’ll look like you’ve got changed. Dress it up after dark with the chunky necklace or the brooch and it will immediately become a piece of evening wear. Easy, effortless chic!
There are usually lots of options for onshore and on-board activities whilst on a cruise holiday. Have a look through the program beforehand and decide upon the types of things you’d like to do so that you can pack accordingly. If you’re sailing around Alaska for the Arctic Circle, for example, you might want some small binoculars for all the wildlife-spotting opportunities, waterproof footwear, several layers of warm clothing and socks, or perhaps you’ll need a tripod for your camera.
Your lingerie doesn’t have to be sensible and boring, but it ought to actually match the clothes you’re planning to wear. Don’t take a strapless top without packing a strapless bra to match and don’t take only black underwear when the main colour of your clothes are white and pastel! Lay everything out on your bed before putting it into your suitcase to avoid such wardrobe malfunctions.