Heading out on a luxury cruise this year? Christopher Legard, Managing Director with menswear specialist Joseph Turner, shares what you'll need to pack to look stylish on board.
With exotic climates, mystifying dress codes and multiple destinations to contend with, it can be tricky to know exactly what to pack for a cruise. If you're holidaying on a luxury ship this year, then there are few things you should bear in mind as you pack, including how to dress for the weather, how to make sense of the dress codes, and what not to wear on board. Just read on to learn everything you'll need for your trip — including the surprising items you should leave at home.
Dress up for formal meals and entertainment
Almost all luxury cruise ships will have a smart dress code for evening meals, so do your research and find out if your ship has any requirements. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be decked out in expensive clothes at all times: rather, most ships only require that guests dress tastefully, without flashing too much flesh. That means that vest tops, caps, shorts and jeans may not be permitted in some areas after a certain time, so find out whether your ship has any dress codes, and pack accordingly. This CruiseCritic guide to dress codes on different cruise lines will tell you which dress codes apply to which ships.
On many luxurious ships, formal dress is required when dining in the main hall or any of the speciality restaurants. For many people, dressing to the nines for your evening meal is all part of the fun, and it certainly adds to the sense of occasion, so make sure to pack a few tasteful, celebratory outfits for the evening. When dining onboard, men should stick to smart trousers or slacks in a dark or neutral colour, paired with a formal shirt and a classic tailored dinner jacket or blazer: this should be smart enough to suit most dress codes. Finally, remember to complete your look with a pair of boat or dress shoes.
Be aware of on board dress codes during the day
Dress codes aren't just for the evening, either. On many ships, passengers may still be expected to cover up while in certain areas of the ship during the day, so bring something to cover your swimwear when walking to and from the pool. Outdoor bars or buffets may allow diners to wear their swimming shorts, but for hygiene reasons, you should still cover up with a shirt or T-shirt when queueing for food. Bear in mind that many cruise ships don't allow bare feet anywhere other than the poolside, so make sure to bring some slip-on sandals.
Depending on the ship in question, you might also want to avoid wearing anything too garish or brightly coloured during the day. On many luxury cruise liners, the passengers will tend to stick to understated colours: think relaxed chinos and cotton shirts in colours like navy, beige or white. You don’t want to look out of place, so it’s probably best to leave any touristy T-shirts, baseball caps or Hawaiian shirts at home.
Research the climate in each of your destinations
A cruise involving multiple destinations could mean you experience drastically different weather in just a matter of days, so prepare for every eventuality by researching the climate of each place you will visit. Remember that many countries can experience extremely varied weather conditions during certain seasons, so you may need to pack clothes to suit hot, cool, wet and dry weather, all for the same trip. Many tropical climates will also experience a storm or hurricane season: for instance, if you're touring the Bahamas during the late summer or early autumn, then you're more likely to encounter heavy rain and high winds. When in doubt, opt for clothing made from linen or cotton blends, as these will keep you cool when it's warm, but will dry off quickly if you're caught in a shower.
Holiday-Weather allows you to find the average temperatures and weather conditions for any given month for any destination in the world, so take a look before you pack your bags. And remember, wherever your cruise will take you, you'll definitely want to bring a pair of sturdy walking shoes or trainers for exploring on foot.
Pack as lightly as possible
One of the great things about cruise holidays is that you often don't need to travel by plane to reach your destinations, meaning you can avoid baggage charges and restrictions. But, that doesn't mean you should overpack. After all, you don’t want to bring so much luggage that you can hardly store it in your berth.
If you're travelling for longer than a few weeks, remember that many cruise-lines will offer laundry or dry-cleaning services onboard, so you can wash and reuse your outfits over the course of your holiday. On a lot of luxury ships, passengers will also be provided with bathrobes, slippers, alarm clocks, and toiletries, so you can often leave these out of your suitcase. Certain cruise lines, will even provide guests with personalised pyjamas, so contact your cruise operator to find out which extras your ship will provide.
If it's your first time on a luxury cruise liner, it can be difficult to know what to pack, especially if you're going on a long trip with multiple destinations. But, there's no need to worry: as long as you do your research, pack for the weather and follow the dress codes, you'll be able to relax and enjoy your trip in style.