Cruise Wear

If you’re like most travelers, packing for a trip, any trip, can be a pain. But add water, wind and waves virtually 24 hours a day and it can be more than just a pain to pack. If you’re feeling confused about what to pack for a cruise, there’s hope. If you keep a handful of basics in mind while packing for your cruise vacation, you’ll end up with the appropriate cruise wear for whatever type of cruise you choose.

Types of Cruise Wear

In general, there are three categories of cruise wear: casual, formal and informal. Most cruise documents will indicate how many evenings, if any, will fall into the any of the three categories. Casual cruise wear or sports wear is comfortable clothing that can be worn whether you’re shopping ashore or hanging out onboard your ship during the day. Casual wear should include everything from swimwear and t-shirts to shorts, sandals and comfortable walking shoes.

If you’re planning on purchasing souvenirs such as t-shirts during your cruise vacation, save yourself some space—pack one or two tees and use your souvenirs as cruise wear throughout your trip.

Not to be confused with casual cruise wear, informal cruise wear generally refers to evening attire and it may vary depending on the cruise line. Informal cruise wear may include dresses or skirts for women and a sport coat for men. Informal cruise wear is much dressier than casual but not as dressy as formal wear.

Formal wear can be as simple as little black cocktail dress or as elaborate as a sequined gown. For men, formal wear translates to “tuxedo.� In some cases a dark suit will be appropriate. If you don’t own a tuxedo, most cruise line will have shop where they can be rented.

Cruise Wear Etiquette

Depending on the type of cruise, formal and/or informal wear may be optional, meaning, the cruise may offer restaurants or venues that are entirely casual or formal—so you’ll have your pick. If you plan to stay on the casual side throughout your cruise vacation, simply pack comfortable clothing. If you prefer to visit the more formal venues or attend “formal� nights, pack several dressy or formal outfits for your cruise vacation.

Overall, for women, taste is the key as well as for men. If there is a dress code, do your best to adhere to it and try not to wear attire that may be offensive to other passengers. This means, wearing too tight micro mini-skirts or sweats to dinner—any dinner—may not be appropriate.

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