You've booked your dream cruise and the countdown is on! It's time to fine tune your holiday wardrobe and perfect your cruise packing list. But just what does a travel wardrobe look like for a holiday that has it all?
Go For Cruise Wear That's Wrinkle-Resistant
DID YOU KNOW - Because of fire safety regulations, cruise ships don’t provide irons in staterooms (cabins) or allow you to bring travel irons or steamers.
Ships usually have self-service laundry rooms with irons for passengers to use but these work on timers and there may be only one or two for the entire ship. So choose wrinkle-resistant fabrics - this is where stretch jersey fabrics come into their own! With 4 way stretch and excellent recovery, they're wrinkle free and don't require ironing.
CRUISE FASHION TIP #1: Use a hard shell suitcase when packing for your holiday, especially if you’re flying to your embarkation city. Softer shell cases compress under pressure, like the pressure of hundreds of kilos of other people’s luggage in the baggage hold! A suitcase with a solid case will ensure that extra weight does not crush the clothing inside.
If you favour natural fibres, you’ll have to work a bit harder to get your cruise outfits looking good once unpacked. Go for a compromise and look for fabrics that blend natural and synthetic fibres. Or better still look to some of the more eco-conscious fabrics such as Lyocell or Tencel, which are much more wrinkle-resistant than similar lightweight fabrics like silk or rayon.
CRUISE FASHION TIP #2: Steam from a hot shower can help to de-wrinkle clothing. Hang your creased clothes on the retractable washing line in your cabin's bathroom, turn the shower up to the maximum temperature and close the bathroom door behind you as you leave - the creases will drop out!
The first port of call is embarkation day - the day you’ll board the cruise ship. As the first day of the cruise holiday for all passengers, embarkation day dress is typically a casual affair. For women, this might be short sleeve tops with cropped pants or shorts, or a sundress. This is your first day on board and there’ll be lots you want to explore, so it’s important to be comfortable - that includes your footwear!
Cruise lines employ photographers to take photos of passengers enjoying their cruise holiday, starting from embarkation day. If you’re going to want an embarkation day photo as a memento of your holiday, make sure your outfit is one you'll want to look back on.
Just like when checking into hotels, cruise ship cabins or staterooms, aren’t usually ready for you to access until mid-afternoon and checked luggage might take a while longer to arrive. So think about your outfit with any activities you may want to enjoy on embarkation day in mind.
For example, if you'll be wanting to hit the pool or spa, it’s a good idea to have your swimsuit handy. There will be changing areas accessible in public areas but you might want to consider wearing your swimwear under your clothes.
CRUISE FASHION TIP #3: As your stateroom might not be available until later in the day, take a waterproof bag and a change of underwear in your embarkation day carry-on bag for when you’re ready to change out of your wet swimsuit.
What To Wear On A Cruise - Sea Day Cruise Wear
Depending on the duration of your cruise holiday, there'll be at least one or two days where you'll be at sea all day. This will be when you get to really indulge in all of the on-board facilities and activities available. Consequently, these will be your most casual days, dress wise.
A swimsuit and pool slides are essential. Be sure to pack two bathing suits, one to wear while the other is drying. Cruise ships tend to have a 'shoes and shirt required' dress code when passengers are not on deck and by the pool so have a cover-up and slip-on shoes handy to move about the boat in, and casual clothing options to wear for activities, shopping and dining.
Short sleeve tops are perfect for casual cruise wear. Look for semi-fitted cuts that skim rather than cling to the body. L&F's tops are tailored to glide over the body and won't grip like T-shirts can. In bamboo jersey, these tailored tops take on a wearable luxury and are lightweight, thermo-regulating, and moisture wicking - great for hot and tropical climates.
What To Wear On A Cruise - Shore Excursion Outfits
Keep your port stops front of mind when packing for your cruise holiday. Be sure to have destination-appropriate clothing so you can make the most all the sightseeing opportunities on offer.
Many European cities for example, have cobbled streets so choose footwear that's suitable for uneven surfaces.
If your shore excursions are beach-based, then your on-board pool and casual wear will work perfectly.
For city explorations, keep comfort and practicality front of mind. A wide-leg pair of pants allows for effortless style, looking chic in a city location while still allowing for ease-of-movement.
CRUISE FASHION TIP #5: Be mindful of the dress codes of different cultures you might be visiting. It's worth having a poncho or scarf close to hand for additional coverage when visiting more sensitive locations.
What To Wear On A Cruise - Evening Cruise Wear
Offering both casual and formal dining options, you can pick and choose how dressy you want your cruise evenings to be. Typically cocktail dress codes are as formal as most cruise ships get but it is worthwhile checking the requirements of the dining rooms on board before you leave to ensure you're keeping all your options open!
A classic little navy or black dress will see you through most situations. Eveningwear perfect with fine shoes and glossy jewellery, and adaptable for casual dining with paired back accessories, these classic dresses make versatile companions.
Take at least one cocktail dress for formal dining or gala events. Have some fun and play up to the glamour of a cruise holiday! Look for opulent textures like velveteen or metallic finishes.
Eveningwear separates offer multiple outfit possibilities. Using only a handful of styles, you can re-create looks night-after-night. Think cocktail pants and dinner jackets, cami tops and shimmering skirts. There's a world of potential!
Cruise Wear Packing List
This travel capsule is based on a 7-day cruise so if your cruise is longer, simply multiple it by the number of days you'll be at sea.
3 Plain Tops
2 Decorative Tops
2 Pairs of Pants
1 Skirt for day/casual dining
2 Pairs of Shorts
3 Dresses for daywear/casual dining
1 Light Jacket
1 Classic Dress
1 Cocktail Dress
2 Evening Separates
1 Poolside Cover-Up
Day bag - to hold drink bottle, sunscreen, book etc.
1 Pair of Comfortable Shoes
1 Pair of Slip-on Shoes for Poolside
1 Pair of Sandals
1 Pair of Evening Shoes
For more tips on handy things to pack on your cruise, check out shouldbecruising.com
L&F customers love L&F for their cruise holidays...
"Feeling very special tonight dressed for a celebration event sailing out of Split, Croatia, and I’m thrilled to be wearing the Chrissy Top in Antique Xanadu. Had so many compliments! L&F, evenings just got better!"
Share more of Susan's cruise adventure in Susan's European Safari.