Australia is cold and wintery right now and is experiencing a bitterly cold season.
So we’re thinking that either a cruise, or a trip to a warmer destination like one of the Pacific or Caribbean Islands, the Mediterranean, or maybe even S.E. Asia, might just be next on our agenda. We loved when we cruised Haiti and that area and we also visited The Bahamas a couple of years back too.
But when it is chilly, wet, freezing cold, and dreary, and Adelaide Hills have just experienced snow (a very rare event), it is hard to think that these now lily-white bodies, might soon be in the sun.
It is even harder to decide what to pack.
So prior to embarking on our next leg of travels, I thought it’s time start packing for a tropical or cruise vacation. For some folks, this packing process can be overwhelming.
But no need to worry, read on, as I’m here to help!
Usually, cruises have no limit on baggage, so you don’t have to pack lightly if you don’t want to, but if you have a flight to get to the cruise, then baggage restrictions need to be considered.
Cruises also do not allow irons, so make sure your clothes are easy to care. Generally, I try never to travel with any clothes that require pressing. I’m not wasting hours on domestic chores when I can be having fun in the sun, or out socializing.
Prior to your vacation, start putting aside your favorite items you wish to pack once they are laundered. There is nothing worse than finding your favorite top in the bottom of the laundry pile the night before you are due to travel. And who wants to do washing when they are meant to be relaxing? This is taboo!
I like plain colored clothes or items that mix N match and items that can be easily folded or rolled, that then spring back to form – with very little, or no creasing.
I’d suggest selecting an assortment of clothing that is lightweight too.
Dress to impress
Rarely is there more than one formal evening on a cruise, so the need for a plethora of evening clothes is now eliminated.
I find more and more cruises are no longer requiring you to wear a cocktail dress, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to if you feel like ‘frocking it up’. But now is the time to start hunting for that perfect outfit for the Captain’s Dinner event.
Dress respectfully on shore
I also find that day excursions also need to be considered, as depending on the clothing, you will require a more sensible attire and one that covers adequately according to your location.
For example: If you are going to a traditional Fijian village, knees and shoulders should be covered to gain the respect of the elderly ladies in the village. You might not see this as a big deal, but should you wish to snag a bargain at the markets, you may gain a better deal if you are respectfully dressed. Hats and caps should also NOT be worn in the village, as it is disrespectful to the chief.
Do your research, so you are dressed respectfully on shore if required.
If you do wish to wear a stunning pair of shorts, then just pop a lightweight sarong, a wrap, or a pair of pants into your handbag to pop on easily if needed.
I’d pack 3 pairs of shorts to wear on deck, by the pool, & in the cabin.
Then I’d add 2-3 pairs of walking shorts that are a little longer (with pockets for land excursions).
Trousers and Jeans
I personally find I rarely wear jeans, but some people like a couple of pairs. Go for the stretch kind if you do, and make sure they are not too thick.
Personally, I love the loose Bali / Harem style trousers that are in fashion now and pack a couple of pairs for tropical wear. They’re great for a cooler day or evening wear, and should you find you ever have insects biting, or a bad case of sunburn, these are perfect to cover up.
One pair of trousers for smart on shore excursions is also great, and ideal to wear when embarking and disembarking.
Don’t forget a pair of sweatpants for jogging around the deck or wearing to the gymnasium too. If you are quite athletic take 2 pairs, or add a knee length pair.
Short Sleeve Tops
You can never have too many tops. I refuse to be seen photographed in the same item two days n a row, and tops are usually thick. Remember you can layer, so why not throw a few in.
I’d pack 4 – 6 T-Shirts or tops for day wear, and 3 neutral colored tanker singlet tops which are also ideal for semi-sheer evening tops.
I tend to layer, so I’d add another 4 shirts or tops suitable for dinner and nightwear.
Swim Suits are a must-have on any tropical vacation. If you are a fuller figure, go for a couple of one piece and a pair with a built-in skirt top can hide the top of your legs. I found in places like Brazil, and most of Europe it didn’t matter on your body size. Everyone dons the bikini. Make sure you pack two or three pairs so you have choices according to your mood, confidence, and those on board the cruise, or where you are on vacation.
I’d also pack a sarong or wrap. Most resorts and definitely the dining rooms on cruises don’t allow swimwear to be worn alone but will allow a covering dress or sarong to be worn.
Jackets, Blazers & Long Sleeves
A great nautical look is the Blazer, and can very chic with rolled up sleeves and a pair of tailored shorts for going ashore.
I’d also add a lightweight rain jacket. We purchased a bicycle style to take with us that folds down to palm size, and two of them tuck neatly into my handbag.
I’d add a Jumper / Sweater, Sweatshirt / Windcheater, a Cardigan or lightweight Poncho or Throw, as the guest lounges on cruises and also in resorts can sometimes have the air-conditioning set low at times.
Deck and pool area clothing and Cover Up Dresses.
Many items are great for day wear by the pool, or for a more steamy night drinking by the deck-side bar.
Then add a couple skirts.
For evenings, a couple of stunning strappy mid or long dresses and a wrap should suffice, with a nice plain pair of heeled shoes. A combo dress is also perfect such as a rear full-length ruched evening dress that is shorter at the front.
I usually go for black, as I find it the easiest to color up with accessories, but if you have a stunning tan, why not be ‘light up’ the dining room with a red or yellow dress. Heads will turn as you enter the room and capture everyone’s attention.
For those who ‘don’t do dresses’, you could pack a trouser suit with a smart waistcoat for that tuxedo look. This can still be very alluring.
Scarves. A couple of designer scarves can be great to change the look of an outfit you wear more than once.
Sunglasses. A pair of sunglasses is a must.
Beach & Shopping Bag / Basket. Try to get a style that is perfect for the pool, and for going ashore for a days shopping.
Shoes. I’d try to pack 2 pairs of sandals or flat shoes that work for walking and casual wear. These may be slip-on – whatever is your style.
Then I’d add 1-2 pairs of all-purpose heels that work for the day and most evenings.
Don’t forget your sneakers / athletic shoes if you wish to go to the gym, run or walk the deck.
I personally always take to many of these, but I like dressy/casual flip-flops (or ‘Thongs’ as Australians; and ‘Jandals’ as New Zealanders call them). These need to be worn to the pool, as bare feet on deck isn’t permitted.
Hat or Cap. A broad brim hat is ideal to keep the sun off your face. If that isn’t your style, then why not try a cap with a brim? A red sunburnt face on day-one can ruin your dinner look, and not only for an entire cruise, but also damages your skin. Who wants a bad case of sun or wind burn on the first day, and then has to hide under a book for the rest of the cruise?
Not me, so make sure you pack sunscreen, and lip-screen.
Listening Ears & Talking Lips.
I found I was rarely in the cabin on a cruise, tucked away in a hotel suite, or a resort room! Why would you hide away when there is a cruise ship full of interesting people to chat to? So pack that pretty lipstick, so you have your talking lips looking perfect.
Head to the pool or bar, join in some events and meet people.
If you are single or a couple wanting to make new friends and are on a cruise, make sure you sign up to the tables designated for those who wish to mingle and enrich their lives by getting to know others.
Make sure you pack your ‘listening ears’, as there will be a fun story told if you wish to listen.
Everyone has a story, so leave that timid personality at home, and be bold and beautiful.