What To Pack For A Cruise Holiday

by - Thursday, September 19, 2013

A holiday on a cruise ship can take you from beachwear in the daytime to full-on glamour in the evening. With so much potential for costume changes, what’s a girl to pack? Here’s our quick guide on what to take when you set sail...

The daytime

The bulk of your cruise wardrobe will be daywear, and this should be casual clothing to suit the weather. Obviously, the destination you’re sailing to will determine what you take – for a Caribbean cruise, think bikinis, sunhats and sundresses, for example, while for a Baltic cruise think more layered clothing to keep you warm and cosy. Avoid taking too much however – many cruise ships feature a laundry service, so you can pack light.

Image by Leandro Chemalle, used under Creative Commons license

The evening

Evening dinners and dancing are what cruise ships are famed for. Most companies such as Thomson Cruises will offer guidance on the dress code for the evening, so be sure to check online before you sail. Usually cruise holidays feature a mixture of smart-casual and formal dining.


Think longer-length beach dresses or tailored skirts. You don’t need to go for a collar on the top half, but some cruise lines don’t allow items like jeans in the restaurant. In general, it’s always better to be slightly over-dressed than under-dressed on cruise holidays as on-board dinners are known for being quite smart affairs.


Formal nights such as a drinks party, or a captain’s dinner are an altogether more glamorous event. Think cocktail dresses, heelsand your best earrings. It’s an excuse to really pull out all the stops and glam up, so make the most of it! Lots of cruise shops have hairdressers and spas on board, so you can spend the afternoon pampering yourself ahead of the big night.

The essentials

Whatever your itinerary, there are some essentials you’ll need to take.

All-weather gear

It’s always worth taking along a shawl or jumper for chilly conditions – even if it’s not cold outside, on-board air-conditioning can sometimes leave you shivering. A light raincoat that you can roll up is also advisable.

On-shore clothing

Take along some comfortable closed-toe walking shoes for trips on shore. Remember that excursions could include religious sights, so you may need to cover up your legs and arms [the shawl comes in handy once more!]

Gym and spa

If your cruise ship has a gym, don’t forget to pack your workout gear, plus a swimming costume for any pool or spa facilities on board.

Finally, though shorts and vest-tops are essential for lounging by the pool, remember that sea breeze doesn’t mean you won’t burn. On-board products may be pricey so make sure you pack plenty of suncream and a good pair of sunglasses!

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