Like packing for any holiday, packing for a cruise can be daunting. But getting the right mix of items for all your port calls, themed nights, and even time zones, and judge how much storage space you’ll have in your cabin needn’t be a hassle with these packing tips.

Women’s wardrobe basics

One of the most important things to remember is to pack clothes that don’t wrinkle as cabins do not have an ironing facility (it’s deemed a fire hazard) and using the pressing service can be costly.

You’ll benefit from bringing a couple of skirts, casual pants, tops and jackets to mix and match although probably best to leave the short shorts to one pair as most lines only allow you to wear these around the pool. The same goes for bathing suits although you can wear a cover up to the lido restaurants on more casual cruises, plus if you’re going to a tropical destination you’ll want some variety. If you know it’s going to be lovely weather, nothing’s better than a pretty sundress.

When it comes to shoes, you’ll want a pair of sandals, flats, dress shoes and sporty shoes because there’s a lot of walking to do both on the ship and in port. And stick to colours that match the clothes you’ve packed!

Don’t forget a warm jumper and a wind jacket for cooler nights – the wind can pick up in no time when you’re sailing the seven seas…

Men’s wardrobe basics

Slacks in the form of khakis or jeans, or casual walking shorts, are perfect to pair with a t-shirt or polo shirt during the day while on deck or in port, so pack a combination of each for different days.

Many cruise lines will politely state not to wear jeans in the more formal dining areas so it’s a good idea to bring some suit pants to team with a button-up shirt and perhaps a light jacket for cooler weather.

Don’t forget your bathers for the pool and some sports shoes, casual walk shoes and formal shoes. And keep in mind that often you won’t be able to wear singlets in dining venues, so keep them to a minimum to save room for your formal gear!

From smart casual to formal

Many cruise lines, especially the more luxurious are heading towards cocktail-style garb: think flowing dresses, silk pants/skirts and flashy tops; for men it’s the difference between a casual suit (pants, shirt and blazer) and a tuxedo.

Other lines continue the formal tradition and you may have a few occasions to dress up per cruise. On these nights, ball gowns are welcome as is the full tux.

If you don’t have a tux or don’t want to pack it, check with the cruise line to see if they have a rental service on board as you don’t want to feel out of place at dinner on a formal cruise line.

Don’t forget to pack some stylish shoes to match your formal gear or jewelry to dress up an outfit.

Consider ports of call

Bring a small backpack, sun cream, a hat, a water bottle, note pad, phone, correct currency, mobile phone and a fully charged camera with a spare memory card or film. On that note, don’t forget to pack your camera and/or phone charger before you leave home!

Be prepared for different customs. For example, in Europe your shoulders must be covered to enter churches so it’s a good idea to bring a shawl if you’re wearing a singlet.

More secret packing tips…

  • Leave some space in the suitcase for all the shopping you’ll undoubtedly do along the way
  • Bring travel-sized bottles of detergent (for washing undergarments in your cabin) and body wash (because you may get a suspicious-looking hand pump in your shower)
  • A travel-sized umbrella will never go astray

Nor will an international power point adaptor for your electrical goods.