Packing for a Cruise - Checklist
September 2, 2012
Before actually enjoying your cruise, you still have to go through the tedious task of packing. But unless you’re a grizzled cruising veteran, it’s not easy to figure out what you need. Here are a few suggestions on how to pack for a cruise anywhere.
Bring comfy pants, shorts, casual skirts and/or sundresses; you’ll need these pieces for indoor daytime activities. Outdoor daytime activities would likely involve wearing swimsuits, T-shirts, shorts and pool cover-ups.
Evening outfits are a bit more different. Cruise ships have daily dress codes, which are in effect in public areas starting 6pm. On a seven-night cruise, there are usually at least two casual evenings and two formal nights, and a few semiformal events in between. A formal night means women would have to wear a long or short evening dress or a smart pantsuit.
There’s a bit more leeway in men’s attire. Jeans, khakis or shorts work during daytime indoor activities, but don’t be too casual when going to shore. T-shirts work, but the best option is a sport coat on top since it can be combined with almost anything, like a polo or round-neck T-shirt, and can be worn anywhere except formal nights.
On formal nights, men have the option of wearing a business suit or tuxedo. Bring at least one, with matching shoes to boot.
Don’t forget to bring at least one pair of sneakers, which can be used for a trip to the gym or any of the cruise ship’s fitness/sports facilities. Sandals are also necessary for daytime casual. For formal shoes, make sure it matches what you’re going to wear.
For tropical cruises, pack a sweatshirt and rain jacket—you’ll need these when ashore and the weather isn’t very good. For cruises to cold destinations, bring an even variety. Even trips to Alaska or South America would need a bathing suit and T-shirts, but never forget your gloves, hats, fleece jackets and cardigans. You’ll need several that match with your other clothes, so that you can layer on different combinations.
Naturally, you shouldn’t forget your favourite gadget of the moment. Pack it in a tote bag or backpack, along with a camera (which is a must), sunblock, smartphone, perhaps a book or two, chargers for your devices, and an alarm clock. Do NOT bring your own liquor; cruise ships want you to buy drinks from their bars. If you plan to drink alcohol, bringing a corker or bottle opener would be handy.
The cruise ship would most likely provide you with shampoo, conditioner, soap and other toiletries, but you can bring your own. You can even throw in a hair dryer. Never forget to bring enough medicines and at least two copies of prescriptions. If you plan to shop in ports, bring an extra bag or two. And binoculars are a must.
How to pack your stuff
- Put your vital travel documents, medicines, eyeglasses, camera, makeup, laptop and mobile phone in your hand-carry bag, not the checked baggage. Include a change of clothes and maybe even a swimsuit, in case your luggage doesn't arrive immediately.
- Make sure you have photocopies of your travel documents and prescriptions.
- Put heavy items in the luggage first before the delicate ones.
- Turn your jackets inside out and put them in cleaning bags before putting them in the luggage. This prevents them from getting soiled and wrinkled.
- Put bright and distinctive tags on your luggage to make them easy to recognise. They're also less likely to be taken mistakenly.
- Pay attention to your luggage's weight while packing. If you have a scale, use it. Airlines have a weight limit (usually 50lbs). If your luggage goes over the limit, you have to pay extra.
- To prevent your pants from wrinkling, place them in the bottom of the luggage and let the legs hang over the edge. Next, put in the rest of your outfits (remember, lighter, more delicate clothes belong on top). When all your clothes are in, place the pant legs over the stack.