Packing for a cruise can be a little different than packing for other types of vacations, and here’s why:
· Storage space in your cabin will be very limited. Packing light is always smart, but it’s truly essential for a cruise.
· The nearest shopping center won’t be very near when you’re out at sea, so be sure to pack your “must-have” items.
· Onboard laundry services are usually available, but for a fee. You can wash a few things in your bathroom sink and hang them on the retractable clothesline in your shower, but that really works only for small items.
With all that in mind, here’s a quick overview of what to pack.
For daytime, cruise wear has become more casual than it once was. Shorts, jeans, casual pants and skirts, t-shirts, and other everyday tops are usually fine for daytime; just be sure it’s all appropriate for the climate where you’re sailing. Bring a swimsuit and cover-up, and a little gym attire if you plan to use the fitness center. For cooler climates, pack some extra light layers. For itineraries that include religious sites, you may need clothing that covers your shoulders and knees, as well as a scarf or hat.
Cruise line dress codes have become more casual for evenings, too, but check with your professional travel advisor on guidelines for your ship. In general, shorts, jeans, and t-shirts with slogans may not be welcome at dinner; but, long pants with button-down shirts and casual dresses may be as dressy as you need to be. Of course, you’re welcome to dress up as much as you like; and many cruises have formal nights, when glittery dresses, fashionable suits, and even tuxedos abound.
We could devote an entire article to packing shoes for a cruise, but the main point is that they take up a lot of luggage space, so the shoes you bring should be versatile. For example, simple ballet flats and lace-up shoes can work for both day and evening; athletic sandals can be good for going to the pool and on a shore excursion.
Accessories. Bring a few accessories – jewelry, scarves, belts, bags – that can make the same outfit look different the second or third time you wear it.
Special note: Don’t forget the basics! It’s easy to focus so much on outer layers for day and evening that you forget to pack underwear.
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