When you’re packing for your first sea-bound holiday, the clothing you bring along can present a bit of a conundrum. Do you dress to chill, or should your sartorial selections be more on the formal side? Cruise lines have their own dress codes to make things easier, but be mindful of your off-shore excursion attire too – a three-piece suit probably won’t serve you well in the tropics.

You don’t want to look or feel out of place when you’re on holiday, so comfort is the order of the day. To help make things easier, we’ve devised a handy guide to make your packing a bit more prudent when it’s time to set sail.

Things to consider:

  • On cruises where the weather will be hot, keep your daytime outfits light, breezy and comfortable. Light, good quality t-shirts, tank tops, and linen shirts will help to beat the heat. Men, team them with casual chino shorts for that smart French Riviera vibe, while floaty skirts for women make warm weather looks a breeze.
  • Swimwear is best kept to the top deck and pool areas. Elsewhere on the ship – in certain eateries, for example – you’ll need to cover up, so keep something handy for when you’re finished taking a dip.
  • Prepare for unexpectedly cold days by packing a jacket, or a light fleece if you don’t have much space left in your suitcase.
  • Mixing and matching is an easy way of making your clothes go further. If you like to pack light you’ll know this already, and if you can wear things that can be dressed up in the evening but in a more laid-back manner during the day, then bonus points! If you’re going to over-pack, do it with things like underwear. You can never have too much underwear.

For Men:

For a tried-and-true cruise look, base your wardrobe around items such as khakis, polo shirts and a crisp button-down Oxford or two. Versatile, smart and effortless, anything else you add here is a bonus.

Shorts of all kinds are a good idea. Whether it’s chino versions, swim shorts or ones for the gym, you’ll need them throughout the day when things heat up. Smart casual during excursions gives off a good vibe, and if there’s a beach, well, you know how to dress for those.

For evenings, leave the tux at home and pack a regular suit if you feel like it. The formal nights on your cruise may require a suit, but it’s not a given, so check your cruise line’s dress code before you pack. Otherwise, dress pants, a shirt and tie will do just fine.

For Women:

Stay on the comfortable side of things with shorts, light tops, casual skirts and sundresses throughout the day, both on and off the ship. Super casual beach looks will do the trick for active excursions, too.

For formal eveningwear, go for cotton dresses over ball-gown grandeur. ‘Resort casual’ works fine here, which is basically code for “something you’d wear at a nice restaurant”. With that rule of thumb, you can’t really go wrong with your post-6pm style.

Pack an extra evening outfit or two, so you have some variety for when you get your glad rags on.

On your feet:

Flip flops and canvas shoes are your go-to through the day; anything that’s lightweight, breathable and is going to keep you comfortable is essential. For the men, a good pair of boat shoes is a cruise classic, and paired with shorts, there’s never been a more casual get-up sailing the seas.

When you’re off the ship, go for trainers or some solid walking shoes if you’re planning on racking up some distances when the ship is in port.

In the evening, women can take their pick from sandals, flats or heels (though nothing too drastic if you want to avoid going overboard in more ways than one). For men, boat shoes are fine, but dress shoes smarten things up. If you’re looking to hit the dancefloor at a club or a class, dress shoes and flats are the way to go, just make sure they’ve got a flat bottom for ease of movement.

For more information on what to bring along on your cruise, take a look at our packing guide, here.

Now you’re dressed to impress, head over to our homepage to check out our amazing selection of cruise deals. Alternatively, give us a call on 01 536 0938 and our friendly team will help you find your perfect cruise package.


About Author

Belinda Goodman

Cruise 1st veteran Belinda has a passion for travel, especially cruising. She has worked in the travel industry for over 20 years, including a 3-year stint working on cruise ships as a croupier. Belinda regularly writes for the Cruise 1st blog, with a focus on company news and advice for first-time cruise travellers.

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