Maybe you’re one of those guys who jokes that he could pack for a trip in 5 minutes. And maybe you could – but what would you forget? A packing checklist is a good place to start in thinking about preparing for a cruise. While no list is universal, a good list has the basics and will spur you to mentally add or subtract things specific to your needs and wants. This list is aimed at men packing for a 7-day cruise to someplace warm and sunny, like the Caribbean.
In order to get the most wears out of the fewest number of clothing items, men should start packing with a few core pieces in neutral colors. Since this is a cruise to a warm weather destination, packing 2 or 3 pairs of neutral colored shorts is a good start. Neutral colors include black, brown, tan, and navy blue. Pack a pair of jeans, too. They might be needed for an excursion or on-board activity, like roller skating. Add 1 pair of casual pants for every day wear or informal lunches, dinners, or drinks where shorts might be too casual but a shirt and tie is too much.
Then, select 5 shirts. Try and make sure that each shirt goes with at least 2 pairs of shorts or pants. Mix it up among t-shirts, short sleeve button-downs, and polo shirts. Add a long-sleeved shirt too, for casual wear, perhaps a henley or button-down shirt, depending on your personal style. This should have most men prepared for just about any activity, from bingo to basic sightseeing.
Some additional pieces are needed to cover dinners, which tend to be a little more formal on a cruise. Three button-down shirts and three ties should get most men through a 7-day cruise, along with 2 pair of dress pants. Pack a sport jacket or blazer and 1 suit; this will cover the semi-formal and formal nights on most cruises.
Pack underwear, pajamas, and a sweatshirt in case you get cold. Assuming that most of your time is spent in sneakers, you’ll need 5 pairs of socks; if you’re more of a sandals guy, you might be able to get away with 2 pairs of socks. Remember to pack at least one pair of dress socks to go with dress shoes and a suit!
Add 2 bathing suits. You’ll have one to wear while one dries. You can use one of your tshirts as a coverup at the pool or beach. But don’t forget the sunglasses, cap or hat, and flip flops.
Pack 4 pairs of shoes: sneakers, sandals, dress shoes, and casual shoes (like Dockers or boat shoes). If you plan on using the gym on your cruise, pack gym clothes, too.
Bring a backpack. This can be used as a beach tote and also during excursions; you may want to carry some water bottles, souvenirs, or other items. And finally, check the forecast – you may need an umbrella and jacket.
Once you’re packed, write down an inventory of everything in your suitcase. After your trip, make notes about what you actually used and what you didn’t. How would you revise your packing list for next time? Save this slip – sticking it in your suitcase is a good idea – and use it as your custom packing list for next time you take a cruise.