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Cruise Dress / Packing Recommendations for the best clothes for traveling on ships

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Old May 24th, 2010, 06:05 PM
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Default Packing Made Simple - Updated 24 May 2010

Everybody,

The question of what to bring on a cruise keeps surfacing so it's time to update it and put it where it's easy to find.

Here's my packing list for 14 nights aboard a Celebrity ship (3 formal evenings and 11 "smart casual" evenings) in a warm destination and an adaptation for ladies. Here are easy adaptations.

>> For seven-night cruises, cut everything in half, rounding fractions up. For cruises of other durations, adjust the quantities of "15" to one more than the number of nights of the cruise and the quantities of formal clothing to correspond to the number of such evenings scheduled by the line.

>> If the trip also includes a land tour or hotel stay, increase the quantities shown as "15" (or the value adjusted above) by the number of nights to be spent ashore.

>> For a cruise on a line that does not hold "formal" evenings, delete the items specific to "formal" evenings.

>> For a cruise to Alaska, add another sweatshirt and a winter jacket, hat, and gloves to each list.

>> For a cruise within Europe, reduce the shorts to one or two pairs for wear on days at sea. Also, for ladies, ensure that skirts for daytime wear ashore extend below the knee and that tops for daytime wear ashore (1) fully cover the shoulders and (2) are long enough to stay tucked into the waistbands of the skirts or slacks.

You also may want to modify my lists according to your own plans for activities, both aboard ship and ashore.

>> I did not include athletic clothing on the lists because i use the pool rather than the gym. If you plan to use the gym, you'll need to add suitable attire for your workouts.

>> I also did not include specialized clothing or equipment for activities ashore. If you are planning any hiking or diving trips, you'll need to add whatever you want to bring for those activities to the list. If you are planning to play golf, you'll want to bring your golf shoes even if you plan to rent clubs.

>> You may wish to replace my "bible and prayer book" with equivalent resources of your faith.

Okay, on to the lists.

GENTS

Wear to Ship:

* Polo or Golf Shirt
* Undershorts
* Pair of Slacks
* Belt
* Pair of Socks
* Pair of Dress Shoes (get polished at airport en route)

Pack in Carry-on:

* Tickets (Cruise and Airline)
* Passport

Pack:

* 15 Polo (or Golf) Shirts
* 15 Pairs of Undershorts
* 3 Pairs of Slacks
* 4 Pairs of "Dress" Shorts
* 15 Pairs of Socks
* 20-25 Handkerchiefs
* 1 Pair of Dress Shoes (Well Polished)
* 1 Pair of Moccasins (with Rubber Soles) or Sandals
* 1 Pair of Flip-Flops
* 2 "Hawai'ian" or "Island" Shirts
* 1 Waterproof Windbreaker
* 1 Sweater or Sweatshirt
* 2 Swimsuits
* 1 Baseball Cap, Sun Hat, or Visor
* 1 Dinner (or "Tuxedo") Jacket
* 1 Pair Formal Evening Pants
* 3 Formal Dress Shirts, Pleated, with French Cuffs
* 3 Cummerbunds or Formal Vests with Matching Bow Ties
* 2 Launtry Bags
* Toiletry Kit
* Electric Razor
* APS Camera and Film or Electronic Digital Camera
* 16-Day Supply of Medicines
* Bible and Prayer Book

LADIES

Wear to Ship:

* "Bra Top" (or Leotard)
* Panties
* Skirt or Pair of Slacks
* Stockings or Panty Hose, if Desired
* Pair of "Pumps"

Pack in Carry-on:

* Tickets (Cruise and Airline)
* Passport

Pack:

* 15 "Bra Tops" (or Leotards)
* 15 Pairs of Panties
* 3 Skirts or Pairs of Slacks
* 4 Pairs of Dress Shorts
* 20-25 Handkerchiefs
* 1 Pair of Evening Dress Shoes
* 1 Pair of Moccasins (with Rubber Soles) or Sandals
* 1 Pair of Flip-Flops
* 2 "Hawai'ian" or "Island" Dresses
* 1 Waterproof Windbreaker
* 1 Sweater or Sweatshirt
* 1 Sun Hat or Visor
* 2 Swimsuits with Wrap Cover-Ups
* 2 Formal Dresses with 3 Sets of Accessories
* 3 Bras to Wear with Formal Dresses, if Required
* 2 Evening Handbags
* 1 Evening Shawl, in case the dining room or the showroom is chilly
* Stockings or Pantyhose for Eveningwear, as Desired
* 2 Launtry Bags
* 4 or 5 Sets of Casual Jewelry
* Toiletry Kit
* Cosmetics
* Electric Razor, if desired
* APS Camera and Film or Electronic Digital Camera
* 16-Day Supply of Medicines
* Bible and Prayer Book

The pumps would certainly be suitable for wear on casual evenings so you can save the evening dress shoes for the formal evenings.

These lists actually provide one extra change of clothes in case of a mishap or a broken connection forcing an extra overnight stay en route home. My basic strategy is to shower at the end of the daytime activities, before dinner. On "casual" evenings, I'll don clean underwear, a clean polo shirt, and slacks. The next morning, I'll don the same undershorts and shirt with a pair of shorts for the day's activiities. On the evenings of the tropical deck parties, I'll don a Hawai'ian shirt then don a clean polo shirt the next morning. Likewise, on "formal" evenings, I'll wear the "black tie" outfit and don a clean polo shirt the next morning. A similar regimen works for ladies.

Now, there is one additional trick. Choose clothes that won't wrinkle (or at least that won't hold wrinkles) and that will pack compactly. Here are a couple examples.

>> A "speedo" swimsuit (gents) or a "bikini" swimsuit with a triangle top (ladies) generally fold much more compactly than other styles of swimsuits. Nylon/lycra swimsuits also fold more compactly than other materials, and they have the additional advantage of drying quickly so two are enough.

>> Some styles of underwear fold a lot more compactly than others, and it really does not matter what style of underwear you choose because your spouse is the only passenger who will see you in it. For men, "Eurobriefs" or "fashion" bikinis generally take about half the space of standard American "tighty whities" or boxers. For women, "g string" or "thong" styles generally fold much more compactly than other styles. You choice of underwear also can lighten your luggage by several pounds.

>> Fold your clothes neatly. Back when I was a naval officer, a sailor once told men that the "only" thing that he learned in boot camp was to fold his clothes in "equal thirds" each way. Our sailors have very limited locker space aboard naval ships so I figured that there must be a "madness to the method" if they put that much emphasis on folding clothes "just so" in boot camp. Thus, I decided to try folding clothes into "equal thirds" (sides in first, then bottom, then top, starting witth the front of the garment down) for everything that does not have creases. Sure enough, the garments came out considerably more compactly than when folded in the manner that my mother had taught me to fold them.

With regard to luggage, I find that the entire packing list fits into a standard "carry-on" (22" roller back) and a "two-suiter" (26" roller back) with capacity to spare. When flying, it's generally less expensive to check a second suitcase than to check a suitcase that's oversize or overweight.

Have a great cruise!

Norm.

Last edited by Rev22:17; May 24th, 2010 at 06:16 PM.
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Old June 12th, 2010, 01:13 PM
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Great advice
I'm a woman and don't bring half that stuff.
I'm packing vacation not the apocalypse. I guess everyone packs differently. I used to do business travel do I learned to pack light and the dress codes
If I forget something before I board the ship I know I can find will a CVS or target type store to get what I need in port.
No stressing on packing on vacation..


Alrana
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Old June 12th, 2010, 06:34 PM
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Old June 20th, 2010, 03:16 PM
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Just an FYI, depending on what ports you are visiting, you will probably NOT find CVS, Target, or anything like them. Hawaii, Alaska, and other US ports are obviously the exception.
And if you meant debarkation ports, trying to find the right kind of store in a strange city can be a real hassle unless you arrive a day in advance and don't have to worry about time. But, the items you might need to buy may not become apparent until you are well into the cruise. That is why I am a big fan of the packing list concept.
However, mine is very different from Norm's. I haven't owned a handkerchief in decades and if my underwear makes the difference in space or weight, I am so in trouble anyway! I also do not feel the need to worry about someone noticing that I am wearing the same black slacks with different tops for formal nights. And, like Trip, the shoes will be whatever I can fit onto my poor swollen tootsies. I take one purse suitable for dressing up. By sticking to a black based color scheme, I don't need or want multiples. For non-formal nights, I will often wear a plain, good quality tank top under a nice shirt. Then, the next day, I wear the tank into ports.
But, the idea of thinking out what to bring in advance makes good sense. Plus, I do it by imagining myself on the cruise. That's my version of a true cruise "appetizer".
Marty
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Old June 20th, 2010, 08:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colorcrazie View Post
Just an FYI, depending on what ports you are visiting, you will probably NOT find CVS, Target, or anything like them. Hawaii, Alaska, and other US ports are obviously the exception.
And if you meant debarkation ports, trying to find the right kind of store in a strange city can be a real hassle unless you arrive a day in advance and don't have to worry about time. But, the items you might need to buy may not become apparent until you are well into the cruise. That is why I am a big fan of the packing list concept.
However, mine is very different from Norm's. I haven't owned a handkerchief in decades and if my underwear makes the difference in space or weight, I am so in trouble anyway! I also do not feel the need to worry about someone noticing that I am wearing the same black slacks with different tops for formal nights. And, like Trip, the shoes will be whatever I can fit onto my poor swollen tootsies. I take one purse suitable for dressing up. By sticking to a black based color scheme, I don't need or want multiples. For non-formal nights, I will often wear a plain, good quality tank top under a nice shirt. Then, the next day, I wear the tank into ports.
But, the idea of thinking out what to bring in advance makes good sense. Plus, I do it by imagining myself on the cruise. That's my version of a true cruise "appetizer".
Marty
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 05:37 PM
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Marty,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You View Post
Just an FYI, depending on what ports you are visiting, you will probably NOT find CVS, Target, or anything like them. Hawaii, Alaska, and other US ports are obviously the exception.
Very good point, indeed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
However, mine is very different from Norm's. I haven't owned a handkerchief in decades and if my underwear makes the difference in space or weight, I am so in trouble anyway! I also do not feel the need to worry about someone noticing that I am wearing the same black slacks with different tops for formal nights.
Hmmm....

I guess next time I update this, I need to put the following sentence in boldface.

[quote=Me]You also may want to modify my lists according to your own plans for activities, both aboard ship and ashore./quote]

To be clear, I intend these lists to be a starting point for individual tailoring rather than to be "one size fits all" solutions. But if you have suggestions for specific adaptations, whether they be for another cruise line, for a specific destination, or for personal preferences that might be characteristic of a specific demographic, please do chime in!

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
And, like Trip, the shoes will be whatever I can fit onto my poor swollen tootsies.
Yes, do make sure that all of the shoes that you bring are comfortable. For ladies, "dress" shoes need not mean 7" "spike" heels! A nice set of pumps with a modest heel, so-called "kitten heels," or even some sort of fancy flat, would be quite acceptable even on the dressiest lines.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
I take one purse suitable for dressing up. By sticking to a black based color scheme, I don't need or want multiples. For non-formal nights, I will often wear a plain, good quality tank top under a nice shirt. Then, the next day, I wear the tank into ports.
Thanks for adding some very sensible suggestions for ladies on how to function with less! The practical reality is that less clothing means more space for souvenirs!

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
But, the idea of thinking out what to bring in advance makes good sense.
It is a necessity.

The biggest challenge of packing for a cruise is the fact that most of the time, it has to get there on our flights. Back in the days of the grand ocean liners, the so-called "steamer trunk" was standard fare. Today, I shudder to think what the airlines would charge to transport a "steamer trunk!" In all probability, the size would exceed the upper limits for oversized luggage so it would have to go as "air freight" instead, for which the airlines would charge by the pound. To fit what we need during the course of a two week voyage into the standard baggage allowance (for which the airlines' charges are still pretty nominal), compactness, light weight, and reusability are the essential elements, but these elements do require some degree of advance planning.

Norm.
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Old July 22nd, 2011, 05:53 PM
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Everybody,

I'm just moving this thread up to the first page so newcomers can find it easily.

Norm.
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