After a few trips overseas, many of us probably have the packing basics down to a science. We pack lightly, select versatile items, and bring perhaps one week’s worth of clothing, which will be washed and re-worn (time and time again if on a long trip).
When we are packing for a style of travel we’ve never experienced, however, do the same basic packing rules apply? Or are there new rules to follow? Consider if you were going on a cruise for the time. Would you pack differently than you do for a trip on land?
Recently on Twitter we were asked by @Yaimani: “What should my packing list look like 4 a cruise (Mexico, Honduras, Belize)? #help #travel #cruise”.
While a cruise is quite different to the RTW travel or destination-specific packing some of us are accustomed to, many of the same rules apply – of course with a few unique twists for life on the sea.
Above all, remember that you are packing for life on the ship, and depending on the cruise, for various ports of call. While there are several scenarios to prepare for, packing relatively lightly is still a necessity. Unless you live close to the departure city, you will need to fly and adhere to airline luggage and weight restrictions. In addition, your cabin on the ship may be relatively small, so large bags may prove to be a hindrance.
Life on the ship
During the day, many cruise-goers spend their time by a pool, occasionally slipping away to one of the many dining areas. Pack two swim suits (so one is always dry), a cover up (required when walking to and from the pool), and non-slip shoes for those wet surfaces. Slip into nice casual clothing for dine-in options or if you choose to enjoy shows, casinos, or other ship activities. Are you a gym junkie? If you need more than a swim in the pool and walks around the ship, pack a couple of sets of workout clothes for the ship’s workout facilities (how about a Lululemon Ta Ta Tamer).
Depending on your cruise line, evenings may call for anything from nice casual clothing to formal wear. Review the expectations of your cruise line carefully to ensure you pack appropriately. If formal wear is required, consider bringing a cocktail dress with dress shoes (heels or flats) that can also be worn with more casual outfits such as sundresses, skirts, or skinny jeans.
If you’re prone to falling ill on the sea, check out these ways to prevent motion sickness and pack accordingly.
Life on the land
You are probably looking forward to the ports of call as much as the activities on the ship. Be sure to pack appropriately for days on dry land. Consider the climates of the port cities, taking into account the time of year. What activities do you plan to enjoy? Snorkeling or diving requires the same swim suit you had on board, and if hiking is on the agenda, pack an outfit that works for hiking and gym workouts on the ship. If foodie experiences top your list, wear the same nice casual outfits that you wore for non-formal evening meals.
Mix and match
A key to packing for a cruise is to mix and match articles of clothing, re-wearing items on land that you selected for the sea. Choose only a few bottoms, whether they be skirts, pants/slacks, or capris. Then, select nice tops that you can pair with any of the bottoms for interchangeable looks. Your head-to-toe look will vary every day, and you can still address the variety of dress code situations found on a cruise experience!
Check out these other cruise packing posts:
Have you ever been on a cruise? Where did you go and how long was the experience? Tell us your must-pack items or things you wish you would have left at home.