Like any other holiday, you should pack clothes appropriate for the climate of the intended destination. Think of your cruise ship as a floating resort, so during the day you’ll be wearing casual comfortable clothes and at night more appropriate clothing is often required. When packing your clothes, you may want to leave out a spare change of clothes and carry them with you on embarkation day. After checking-in your luggage, bags are delivered to your room a little later however this may not occur for several hours after your board the ship.
On Board the Ship
On cruises that visit warm destinations, most guests prefer to wear shorts and t-shirts or similar attire during the day. Swimwear may be worn around the pool areas but it’s often frowned upon to wear swimwear in the restaurants – including in the casual indoor buffet areas. For cooler destinations, warm casual clothes are the norm during the day. Remember that the sea air may be a little cooler and possibly windier than on land. The sun can be harsh in the tropics, so remember to bring a good hat to protect your face.
At night, it’s often expected of guests in the dining rooms to wear smart-casual clothes at a minimum (including pants and a collared shirt for the gents). Ripped jeans, shorts and thongs are discouraged and you may be refused entry to the dining room if these are worn. Most cruise ships allow casual gear to be worn in the buffet area if you choose to dine there instead.
Some cruise ships feature theme nights and parties and this may include an island/Hawaiian night, white night, roaring 20s, country & western and so on. There will also be at least one ‘formal’ or ‘cocktail’ night and almost everyone on board goes to some effort on these nights. You should check with your cruise line if they will be hosting any theme nights for your particular cruise.
During port visits, you should wear comfortable clothes to match the climate and intended activities. If it looks like rain you may like to pack a splash-jacket or umbrella. You can also buy an ‘emergency poncho’ for a few dollars at the “$2 shops” at home before you depart – they’re useful and take up a lot less space than a jacket or umbrella. Sudden rain showers are common and often unpredictable in the tropics. If you’re participating in a shore excursion, you should bring clothing for the specific type of activity such as swimwear or walking shoes. Many islands in tropical regions have crushed coral mixed in with the sand on the beach. To prevent coral cuts and scratches, bring a pair of ‘reef walking shoes’ to protect your feet. They’re made of a wetsuit-like material and are invaluable if you’re in/near the water where there is coral around.
As you prepare for your port day, it’s important that you wear as little jewellery as possible while you’re ashore. Showing off your ‘bling’ should be reserved for formal night instead. A rule of thumb when in port is the less you look like a tourist, the better.
If you you’ll be visiting the inside of a church, it is often requested that you wear long pants or shorts that extend below the knees.