Getaway Bag

Packing for Your Cruise Vacation

Fashion may be fun, but it can pose a challenge every day as we stare listlessly into full closets. Now imagine the difficulties of choosing what to wear for an entire week before it even begins! Packing for a vacation can unsettle even the most confident fashionista. But don’t fret—we’ve packed your bags for a cruise vacation.

First rule of thumb: do not pack more than will fit in cruise cabins. While they are efficiently designed for maximum storage, there is still a limit to what these cabins can hold. Be judicious when choosing what to pack and consider items that have multiple uses.

This law of prudent packing is actually getting easier to follow as most cruise lines abandon their mandatory formal nights and give way to a more casual atmosphere. It means men do not need to bring tuxedos or even suits, although a jacket and tie are still recommended if you plan to dine in some of the more elegant specialty restaurants.

For daytime, pack bathing suits, casual shoes (bare feet will not be allowed in restaurants), cover-ups and shorts for long days on the pool deck. After all, you are on vacation, so comfort is key.

When you leave the ship for excursions, walking shorts or casual skirts and sundresses for women are perfect. Of course, if your excursion includes kayaking, snorkeling, biking or some other activity requiring specific accessories, be prepared. A jacket or light layers are also recommended as weather can turn cold or windy, or to cover bare arms when visiting European houses of worship. Of course, if you’re cruising in Alaska or another cooler climate, you will need more layers and even a warmer jacketHats are practical to protect from sun or rain, but they can also be a stylish accoutrement. Finally, consider a foldable duffel or day pack that can be used during shore excursions and then for souvenirs (or even dirty laundry) on the way home.

Resort casual is the most common dress code for evening; pack the clothes you’d don for a nice dinner or theater outing at home, like a floor-length dress. However, if you enjoy dressing up and want that opportunity on vacation, go for it!  There will be a wide range of fashion on display among all the passengers.

Most passengers are not going to leave home without their smart phones and tablets these days, but remember to check foreign and onboard roaming charges before you turn them on mid-trip. Of course, wifi packages vary greatly on ships, so check on costs before you leave home.

Most cruise lines have a What to Wear/Pack section on their website you can consult before you pull out the suitcase, but keeping it simple is the best advice of all. Remember, this is a vacation that is supposed to help alleviate, not add to, your stress levels!

Roni Fishkin is the Marketing Director of Mann Travels which, with local ownership in Charlotte, has been serving travelers with personalized service for more than 35 years. 800-343-6266