How To Pack for a Cruise

Are you headed on a cruise vacation this summer? Lucky you!
Packing for a cruise can be more daunting than packing for any other type of vacation. With different kinds of trips, if you forget to bring a sweater, you can pick one up in a shop. On a cruise ship, you might be able to do the same, but it’ll cost a lot more. And if you’re plus size, you might not even have that option.

On a cruise, you’ll have so many activities available to you, and you need to be prepared for all of them. While keeping your suitcase light enough to avoid overweight fees on your flights to and from the ship.

Follow the Rules

You can dress casually during the day, but in the evenings, you’ll be expected to stick to a dress code, even on a casual ship. Your itinerary can tell you which dress code will be in force on each night. This can mean casual, smart casual, resort casual, or formal.

Check with your cruise line about what you’re not allowed to pack. You won’t be allowed to bring an iron – it’s a fire hazard. Wrinkle-release spray is a  good alternative, though your best bet is wearing fabrics that don’t wrinkle. And as we mentioned, they fold up to practically nothing, so they’re perfect for travel.
< h2>What Will You Be Doing?

On a cruise, you can soak in the hot tub, try rock climbing or relax in the onboard spa. If you want to try something sporty, then pack some activewear. If you’re plus-size and don’t want to risk that the bath won’t have robes in your size, bring a light, summer-weight dress from home.

Packing for a cruise requires being realistic. If you’re going to hit the onboard ice skating rink, then you’ll need long pants and warm socks. But if you fell and hurt yourself the last time you went skating ten years ago, are you going to try it on your cruise?

You’ll also be eating in fancy restaurants (or a formal dining room), seeing Broadway shows, and hitting the casino. Even on casual nights, you can’t walk into the dining room wearing shorts and a souvenir t-shirt. You’ll be on the water, but this isn’t a beach vacation. Packing for a cruise means bringing along cute clothes for every single day.

Wearing two or three outfits each day can lead to packing everything you own, plus a bunch of stuff you bought just for the trip. Don’t do it.

Make Your Clothes Multitask

If you wear certain clothes more than once on your cruise, then you’ll have enough to wear without packing everything but the kitchen sink.

It’s key to wear the same thing in different situations. You can dress up a dress for dinner one night, then wear it for a casual day of sightseeing with various accessories.



Or wear a dress for a casual dining night, add some sparkly accessories for a formal dining night, then once you reach your destination, wear it with comfy flats as you travel from the ship to a local beach.


Your shipmates won’t notice that you wore the same dress three times as long as you accessorize it differently each time. And if they do see, then you need to brush up on your small talk so that people will pay more attention to your dazzling conversational skills.

Bring on the Accessories

You can’t make your clothes multitask without lots of accessories. Plan which pieces you are going to wear with each outfit, so you don’t overpack. Scarves and jewelry don’t take up much room in your luggage. Shoes and purses are a different story. Pack a daytime bag and an evening bag, and that’s it. Try to be equally minimalist with shoes – comfy sandals can go almost anywhere, and one pair of heels should be enough. Only bring sneakers if you’ll be hitting the gym, or they’re you go sightseeing for shoes.

Beware the Sun

Whether you’re going to Alaska or the Caribbean, you’ll be spending time on deck soaking up the sun. Sunscreen is a must, but covering up is also an option. A weather-appropriate jacket that goes with everything else you pack will keep your suitcase light. And remember that there are neutrals besides black and tan – white, brown, gold, silver, navy, and blue denim all will compliment your entire cruise wardrobe.

The Plan of Attack

Approach packing for a cruise like any other project. Looking at your itinerary, list out how many outfits of each type you’ll need – sightseeing, relaxing on deck, formal dinners, quick casual dinners, and so on. Then plan each outfit, including accessories, mixing and matching as much as you can. Take notes or snap pictures – whatever you need to keep everything straight so you don’t wear the same dress to dinner two nights in a row.

And the most important thing to remember when packing for a cruise? Leave room for souvenirs!

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