Getting ready for your summer cruise and no idea what to pack? Here's our packing guide to staying stylish on the high seas.
You can pack as much or as little as you want into your Cruise. A bit like your suitcase really.
Hanging out poolside, dining day and night, non-stop entertainment, drinks with names you've never heard before, and someone else doing all the navigating; cruising may just be the ultimate holiday.
Think of your ship as a floating resort, a destination itself, that occasionally sails into town.
1. Plan ahead
If you're like us you'll be so excited that you'll have read the cruise itinerary front-to-back, inside out and upside down before you set foot on board. You'll therefore be well briefed on what's likely to be happening both on board and off, day and night.
Note down the main points, and any land excursions you've booked. Now you know what you have to cater for in your suitcase.
2. Dress Codes and On Board Etiquette
Most cruises are relaxed affairs, and as a rule of thumb you can wear casual dress by day and 'smart casual' by night. Typically there is one 'formal' night a week, so be ready to ramp it up a little with your prettiest cocktail dress (and make sure the boys pack their best jacket).
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 airlines impose tighter restrictions on luggage than cruise ships, so space rather than weight is the issue when you're on board. As a rule of thumb you're allowed two 32kg bags per person, but in a small cabin less is definitely more.
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 and wash as you go. To save money and avoid waiting for your essential items to come back, pack your own small travel clothes line so you can do your smalls and light weight clothes in your cabin.
5. Clothing Essentials
Versatility is the key. Pieces that can be worn during the day, then be dressed up for the evening with a minimum of fuss, are your best friends when it comes to packing light and right.
- Kaftans and tunics are the most versatile pieces in your armoury, particularly knee length or just above. Kaftans really are the perfect swimwear cover-up: you can wear them like a dress, or belted and tied, they become a top. Choose cool cottons for day wear and a couple of silk kaftans 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 daytime think cotton leggings (ditch the synthetics – the humidity will make you sweat), simple plain skirts and shorts. Tank tops are better than T-shirts because they can double up and layer under better. A slip dress is an absolute must. For nighttime, take the length longer with wide leg pants – or narrower if you have the legs to make them work. White or neutral tones work best as they will go with everything. Throw in a couple of fine cotton long sleeves as base layers, or wear them on their own if the weather cools down.
- For layering over kaftans and dresses, you can't go past a well cut denim or neutral light cotton jacket in white or an earthy neutral tone. Not a jacket girl? Then a fine [pashmina] throw 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. A wrap or large scarf/sarong will also do the trick.
6. Footwear Must Haves
For on-board wear think stylishly sensible. Flat soles and not too high. Metallic or neutral leather sandals are the most versatile option for day and night. So are 'walk all day long' wedges (espadrilles are fabulous). The heel gives you maximum support whilst not compromising on style. For night, stash a sexier leather version. Leave the joggers for the gym and exercise. You may be on holiday, but there's no need to stand out like a tourist. So three pairs of shoes should do it, tops, plus the ones you wear in transit.
Pack as many as you can into a clutch that you'll take to dinner and drinks. Accessories don't take up much room and they can transform an outfit from day to night brilliantly! Just changing the colour of a necklace or scarf can breathe new life and freshen up a look instantly.
Two sets: one in the wash, one to wear.
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
You might never have to use it, but it's worth throwing in a light weight, rain resistant, hooded anorak that rolls down to nothing, for those on-shore excursions when it's showery 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.
When you are thinking Cruise, then ask the experts at Cruiseabout. Their consultants know the in's and out's of all things Cruise and are a one-stop-shop for any travel needs. Backed by the Flight Centre group, you're in great hands. Check out their Free Cruise Guide to start the ball rolling.
@ Sequins and Sand