What To Wear On Your Cruise and Other Ship Tips For Summer Cruisers

If you’ve not summer cruised before, think of your ship as a floating resort that often sails into port and use that as your ‘what to wear’ cue. Poolside, lazing on deck, on board activities, dining day and night, drinks with names you’ve never heard of and shore excursions to keep you on your toes…literally!
1. Plan – think about what you’ll be doing on board and off, day and night. Most ships will have a program of activities on offer so check it out. If you’ve booked land excursions, note those down too. Now you know what you have to cater for.
2. Dress Codes and On Board Etiquette – most cruises are relaxed affairs. Casual dress by day and ‘smart casual’ by night. Typically there is one ‘formal’ night in a week so ramp it up a little with a cocktail dress and jacket for the boys if you like. It usually doesn’t mean black tie. Etiquette guidelines are worth checking out too. For example, whilst it’s okay to be in your bathers poolside, it’s not okay to wear them throughout the rest of the ship. So swimwear cover-ups are a must.
3. Luggage Restrictions – generally it’s the airlines that impose greater restrictions than cruise ships so use those as your guide. One bag per person each under 23kgs with one small carry on piece each.
4. Laundry – all ships will have either a laundry facility where you can do your own, or offer a laundry service. Use it. Pack for a week then launder as you go. Pack your own small travel clothes line so you can do your smalls and light weight clothes in cabin.
5. Clothing Essentials – Versatility is the key. Pieces that can be worn during the day, then with a minimum of fuss, dress up for night will have you packing light and right.
* Kaftans and Tunics are the most versatile pieces, particularly knee length or just above. The perfect swimwear cover-up. Wear them like a dress; belted and tied, they become a top. Cool cottons for day and a couple of silks for night.
* Summer Dresses – one that makes you feel fabulous for evening and one that you wear all the time at home. Odds on if you love it at home, you’ll love it on holiday.
* Layering basics to throw under kaftans/tunics and summer dresses and create multiple looks. For day think cotton leggings (ditch the city synthetics, the humidity will make you sweat!), simple plain skirts and shorts. Tank tops rather than T-shirts because they can double up and layer under better. A cotton slip dress an absolute must. For night, take the length longer with wide leg pant or narrower if you have the legs! White or neutral tones work best as the will go with everything. Throw in a couple of fine cotton long sleeves to layer under or wear on their own if the weather cools down.
* For layering over kaftans and dresses, you can’t go past a well cut denim jacket. Denim goes with everything and screams relaxed summer. Take a more tailored jacket in white or an earthy neutral if you don’t do denim. Not a jacket girl? Then a simple fine pashmina wrap is the go. It will breathe in the heat and double as a go anywhere blanket; handy when in transit too or when the wind picks up on deck. Wear your ‘layering over’ option in transit, then you don’t need to pack it!
6. Footwear Must Haves – on board think stylishly sensible. Flat soles, not too high and non-slip. Metallic sandals are the most versatile option for day and night. So are ‘walk all day long’ wedges (espadrilles are fabulous). The heel give you maximum support whilst not compromising on style. For night, stash a sexier leather version. Leave the joggers for the gym and exercise. You many be on holiday, but there’s no need to stand out like a tourist. So 3 pairs of shoes should do it, tops, excluding the ones you wear in transit.
7. Accessories – pack as many as you can into a clutch that you’ll later take to dinner and drinks. Accessories don’t take up much room and they can transform an outfit from day to night brilliantly!
8. Swimwear – 2 pairs; one in the wash and one to wear.
9. Hat – a wide brim hat is a must. Look for a travel hat that will roll or fold and then spring back to life when you need it.
10.Rain Jacket – light weight, rain resistant, hooded anorak that rolls down to nothing. Handy in your day pack for those on shore excursions…rainy or windy.
Cruising is fun. Keep things simple and think ‘mix n match’ with versatile separates that will take you from day to night, from poolside to party with effortless ease. Less is definitely more.
Have a wonderful cruise!