So you are going on a cruise? Awesome, you are going to have a blast, but if you are anything like me… or the other 99% of women, you are probably already wondering what you should pack. I totally get it, if it’s your first cruise, as it was mine recently, packing can seem like one big mystery guessing game. Are cruises a “no shoes, no shirt, no problem” sort of place or a “no shoes, no service” kind of deal? Fear not, I have lived and learned for you, and now know the ten clothing items every girl should have in her cruise bound suitcase… unless you are going on an Alaskan cruise, then you might want to swap your bikini for a parka. Here are 10 things to pack for a cruise that you probably forgot about!
I live in a super cold state so when I get the chance to pull some of my bikinis from the depths of my closet, I tend to overdo it. So when I packed for my Caribbean cruise, I brought upwards of ten bikinis… I wore all of them, and some of them twice. So take my word for it, bring on the bikinis. From lounging on the sun deck, to swimming in the pools (plural), to port days spent exploring tropical beaches, cruises are full of bikini opportunities so it’s hard to over pack them.
I would just put maxi dresses, but I know some people love a short sundress and either way, the point is that you will wear a lot of casual sundresses on a cruise. For me, these were my go to for lunches, afternoon shows, or just mid-day walks around the ship. It isn’t exactly a no-no to walk around the ship in your bikini, but you will probably feel a little weird if you go to a super classy champagne bar to order a glass of bubbly, and you are the only one without a shirt.
I bring tennis shoes with me wherever I travel, but that’s because I am a tiny bit addicted to running and can’t go a whole vacation without squeezing in an early morning jog or two. But most people wouldn’t think to pack tennis shoes for a cruise, but you absolutely need them. Many cruises have a lot of fun activities on-board like zip-lining or even rock climbing, and the first thing they will require you to have is closed-toed shoes, and pumps are not going to cut it. Not to mention, many things in your port stops will also require active shoes. I went ATV riding in Jamaica and drove a scooter around Cozumel, Mexico, both of which I would have missed out on if I didn’t bring the right type of footwear.
I know this sounds like a vague category, but it is because it can mean many things. You will spend every night on the ship, unless you miss your port boarding time, and surprisingly to me, sundresses don’t transfer over to night on a cruise. While there are usually only one or two formal nights per cruise, most people change into semi-casual wear when the sun goes down. This can mean anything from silky mini-dresses to fancy rompers. For me, I loved wearing flowy pants with nice breathable blouses, but you do you, just know that a cotton dress with a wet bikini probably won’t cut it past 7 p.m.
As mentioned before, there are usually at least one or two formal nights on a cruise. This means as formal as you want to go… I saw whole families in tuxes and floor length gowns, so feel free to go for it if that’s your thing. If you don’t love formal attire, just bring one nice dress that you would wear to a wedding and you should be fine.
This is one of the items I wish I had brought more of. Because you are spending a lot of your time in the sun and in a swimsuit, having beach cover-ups are key. It is so much more comfortable to walk from your sun-chair to the bar when you have a kimono or see through dress on rather than sporting your rather tiny bikini.
I am one hundred percent a jean shorts kind of girl. They are pretty much the only type of shorts I own, and when I packed 4 pairs of them, I thought that would be enough… I was wrong. I went through shorts like no tomorrow. I threw shorts over my bikini bottoms every single day. I wore them on excursions and all around port towns… basically they are good for everything day-time related so pack a lot of them.
They are easy to pack, comfortable, and you will wear them every day. The only thing I will say, is consider packing a nicer pair of sandals to wear with dresses, my friend did this and she had a much easier time dancing late into the night.
I like a cute top as much as the next girl, so when I packed for my cruise, I took the opportunity to bring all of my favorite summer tops… I didn’t wear them. What I ended up wearing, and needing more of, were cotton tank tops. I’m an active girl, so every chance I had to do something like rock climbing, zip lining, river tubing, or bike riding, I did it. And flowy tops just don’t work for those kind of things, so if you are an adrenaline junkie like me, you may want to bring a couple casual tanks.
I know this one is no fun, especially for me since I hate bras in general, but try not to forget to pack the right bras. I just packed the bra I use in day to day life, but that was a mistake. A cruise usually has you wearing things like fancy dresses, silky tank tops, and such, and you might want to consider what sort of bra will go with those things, otherwise you will end up going all natural… but hey, it’s vacation so go for it.
Can you think of any more things to pack for a cruise? Add it in the comment section down below!
Hi, I am Nancy Strahan. I recently graduated with my BA in English Literature and am working to gain experience in the writing/content creation business. I was born and raised in Alaska and I love it here. I am pretty much an outdoor and adrenaline junkie, so if it is crazy or in nature, I'm there. So, naturally all things camping, backpacking, and adventure related are my favorite topics to write about.