Going on a cruise and not sure what to pack? Want to make sure that you'll have everything you'll need without carrying tons of luggage around and save on the hidden costs of carrying too much or too little?
Packing light and taking along only what you’ll need will save you money and hassle in the long run. Your overall trip will most likely include transits to and from your dock with flights and other ground transport. You don’t want to be dragging excess stuff around with you along the way, paying exorbitant prices for things you left behind or be hit with excess baggage fees at the airport before you even start your vacation.
Carefully planning and choosing your wardrobe wisely is imperative, as most ships require strict dress code adherence, charge an arm and leg for laundry services and if you find yourself having to buy stuff on-board because you didn’t pack it, prices at sea might shock you.
Daytime on board
Apart from when lounging by the pool or working out in the gym, short shorts, singlets and boardies are a no no. During the day, ladies should wear casual longer-length shorts, capri pants, slacks, jeans, casual skirts and dresses for indoor activities while guys can get by with khaki shorts and trousers, jeans, sports shirt or nice tee-shirt.
Appropriate attire will depend on what activities you have planned. If you’re heading out for a paddle, snorkelling, kayaking or other adventure, then casual clothing and swimwear is appropriate, however if you’re opting to explore the port town, sticking to the daytime on board dress code would be respectfully appreciated by local restaurants and shops.
Themed dress codes generally apply after 6pm on-board. These include formal and semi-formal evenings and some casual. The definition of ‘formal’ varies, but ladies can usually get by with something elegant or classy and not necessarily flashy. For men, some vessels have on-board tuxedo hire if the occasion so inspires, however bringing at least one of your own suit and ties will ensure you can comfortably scrub up without too much hassle and it is likely that you will need to. Dress code enforcement can sometimes be lax during the day, but it’s not unheard of to get turned away from restaurants and public rooms on-board during evening hours for inappropriate attire.
Though we’d all love to imagine a full schedule of perfect weather, it’s important to be prepared for an unanticipated splash of rain or breeze. Make sure to bring at least one jacket or sweater and, if required for your destination, gloves, scarf and hat. Packing a few light layers that can be mixed and matched rather than one bulky layer is a good way to maintain versatility in your wardrobe.
Shoes can take up a huge amount of bulk and weight in your luggage, so try to choose wisely, packing one pair of evening shoes than can be worn with all of your formal wear, one pair of sandals that can be worn casually, by the pool or walking around and one pair of sneaker for gym and active days that include lots of walking, etc.
Many cruise liners do not offer self-serve washing facilities and for those that do, you're likely to be spending a good chuck of your holiday time waiting in lines for access. Besides, do you really want to be carrying pockets full of change around on your cruise for the laundry slot machine?
Most liners do provide full laundry services, however this will cost you. Some services require that you pay an extra cost anywhere upwards of $120-200 upfront before you board in order to access laundry services while others operate on a pay-as-you-go system in which you pay for each item you have laundered. Larger items and garments made from delicate fabrics such as wool or silk are more expensive.
Packing a Scrubba wash bag can save you money, time and hassle on your cruise trip (or any trip for that matter). Not only will washing your clothes on-board be convenient and free, but you won’t need to pack as much and be able to reduce your overall luggage, avoiding excess baggage fees in transit (also see Airlines checking out on free check-ins and Heavy restrictions on heavy packing).
Furthermore, the Scrubba wash bag is gentle yet effective enough to use on even your most delicate items, including woolens, silks and formal wear. Just be careful about what detergents you use, making sure to use something appropriate for your fabrics. Click here to see our recommendations.