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  • Writer's pictureCruise Dreams

How To Successfully Pack Clothes For A Cruise

Updated: Jun 27, 2019

Packing light on cruise ships is becoming easier to do, as for the most part, cruising has become more of a casual, laid back vacation, even on more formal lines. Black tie dinners are becoming a thing of the past, and with many cruise lines having laundry facilities on board, it not only allows you to pack less, but have less luggage to keep track of and less dirty clothes to take home as well. If you’re planning on taking a cruise in the near future, these guidelines can be used as a reference of what you’ll need to pack successfully.


Daytime: Comfortable walking shorts, jeans and sundresses are suggested, especially ones that can double both as an outfit to wear to lunch, as well as a pool coverup. Not only does shorts work well while on the cruise ship during the day, but often during on shore excursions as well.

On Shore: Typically, your cruise will advise you on weather and clothing suggestions before you depart, as well as the morning of. Rules of what to wear vary depending on where you’re visiting and personal preference, however, if it’s warm weather, casual clothing is appropriate.

Evenings: Your cruise ship will assign daily dress codes that take effect in public rooms and restaurants from 6 p.m. onward. Depending on the length of stay on your cruise line, you may count for up to two formal nights, a few semi-formal occasions and a couple casual evenings. Resort casual is the most common dress code to play it safe, having elegant attire but not too upscale. A simple maxi dress or jeans with a nice top works wonderfully and requires minimal effort.

Amenities: While staterooms and suites vary by ship, all guest rooms should include soap, a 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner and a hair dryer. Not only should you not have to worry about packing these, but towels to lay out by the pool are also provided, and many cruise lines offer bathrobes as well. Simply packing your makeup (if applicable), a brush, and a hair straightener or curler should suffice.


Daytime: Similar to the women’s guide, shorts are pretty versatile and can work on most weather-forgiving days at sea. Packing athletic versions can be convenient, both to wear while working out and while exploring inside activities while nicer versions including jeans and khaki shorts, can be worn to nice daytime dining.

On Shore: Anything too casual can be considered disrespectful in many ports of call, so limit the tank tops and scruffy jeans depending on your destination. When exploring in restaurants and shops, nice shorts or jeans and a short-sleeved shirt is ideal for the most casual locations.

Evenings: While tuxedos are becoming extinct by cruise ship travelers, business suits are still strongly suggested, if not required. Having a suit and tie, or a nice dress shirt paired with a blazer works wonders for those fancy evenings, especially when dining at onboard alternative restaurants such as those found on Celebrity Cruise Ships. Pairing your outfit with a nice pair of shoes genuinely can make or break an outfit, so make sure to pack at least one formal pair!

Amenities: While cruise ships often provide soap, shampoo/conditioner, body lotion and body wash, prepare to pack your own shave cream and hair products if necessary. On board, these items will be for sale, but often at a higher markup.

Whether you’re going on a charter cruise, group cruise, reunion travel, or traveling alone or with a companion, this clothing guide should come in handy with how to pack for your time at sea.

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