Every trip is different when it comes to packing since it depends on so many factors: the weather, the occasion (business/pleasure) and the destination. When packing for a cruise it can be a bit tricky, either because it is your first cruise and you are not sure what to expect or you are visiting different types of destinations during one trip and need something for each of them. Regardless of your cruise though, here are some tips to keep in mind as you prepare your suitcase for a fun adventure.
What is the weather going to be like?
When you go on a cruise in the Caribbean, you will most likely have sunny weather during your entire trip. But maybe you are boarding a cruise to Alaska and even though it might still be sunny, the temperature will most likely not be the same. As for a Mediterranean cruise the weather can be variable, depending on which season you are traveling. So it is important to have a notion of what the weather forecast will be at the destination you are visiting.
Tip: Layers are a good idea. This way you will be warm outside during your Alaskan cruise, but you can take some of them off when you’re onboard the ship. Also for warm weather cruises it is still a good idea to take a cardigan or scarf to wrap around you, because the air-conditioning aboard can be quite chilly at times.
Which destination(s) are on your itinerary?
The reason I ask is related to the first question, the weather, but also the dress code in those destinations. For example, you would pack differently when visiting European cities on a Mediterranean cruise than when you would for a trip to beach destinations in the Caribbean.
Pack casual, comfortable clothing like swimwear, sundresses, shorts and flip-flops for warm weather cruises. Shorts with a T-shirt or sundresses/polos can also be used for shore excursions. Make sure you also pack clothes that are appropriate for the sights you will visit, such as churches which sometimes require you to cover up.
Things similar for all cruises
Even on a cruise, it is still very similar to any other vacation; you will need the essentials like toiletries, pajamas, underwear, socks, jewelry, swimsuits, shoes etc. But you will have to make sure you pack for the fancy dinners and the formal nights if your cruise line participates in these. Check with your cruise line what the dress code is for these events as you don't want to miss out on the events just because you don't have anything suitable to wear. When it states business casual, they mean a fancier dress for the ladies and long pants with a nice shirt for the gentlemen. When they ask for formal attire, this is your time to shine ladies, from a cocktail dress to beautiful gowns. And gentlemen, this is the moment for you to get your suit or tuxedo out. (Some ships offer a service to rent a tuxedo aboard, but ask in advance for this.)
Tip: Make a list of the day-by-day itinerary and match up what you want to wear: informal, business casual or formal.
Important to remember, and this is a useful tip for every trip, but especially on a cruise: Pack an outfit and your swimsuit in your carry-on, as sometimes it can take a while before you get your entire luggage delivered to your cabin, depending on the size of the ship.
What would you pack for a cruise?