So you’ve booked your cruise!
Now on to thinking a little more about the details about your first cruise… including what to pack!
So, when it comes to what to wear, what types of things should you think about?
With cruises offering lots of different activities – formal night, sea days, shore excursions – some of it will also depend on what it is that you’ll be doing.
So, what types of things will you be doing during your cruise?!
What to think about for your cruise packing list when it comes to what to wear on a cruise vacation?!
There are affiliate links below. You should totally check out some of the cruise ideas. And you might be able to find some cruise outfits for 50% off here, some cute bikini sets on sale here, and some cute one-piece swimsuits here. See cruise formal outfit ideas too.
Also see possibly the most popular item specific for a cruise – these tags for your cruise luggage.
And also see these packing helpers to help you pack better and maybe even go carry-on only.
Things to think about for your CRUISE!
1. BEACH or POOL!
Well, let’s start with the most obvious for a Caribbean cruise.
Whether it’s spending time at the beach on one of the Caribbean islands…
Or it’s on the open deck in the middle of the ocean on the cruise ship…
You’ll want to make sure to think about what you want to wear and when!
Beach outfit ideas:
- Sight and sounds lace-up bikini
- Court and spark fresh leaves bikini
- Seaside gale falbala high-waisted bikini
- More bikini sets
2. You WILL be walking a lot on the cruise ship!
If you are cruising with any of the major cruise lines (like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, or Disney), you will be on a BIG ship.
Even the smallest cruise ships on any of these lines are big.
Especially the first couple of days of your cruise as you continue to find your way around the ship (and get lost), you’ll be walking a ton.
You’ll be going from your room to the lido deck, pool, sports deck, dining room, and many other parts of the ship.
Oh, and if you make it to the pool and realize you forgot something? You’ll be walking back and forth and that could be a long walk.
So what does this mean for what you need to wear?!
Making sure you are wearing comfortable shoes or sandals is a MUST!
Travel sandals – for women and for men – are versatile and can work out on a cruise – both for walking around on the ship and when you’re out in port too if you’ll be going on some kind of walking tour.
So put it on your list of what to pack for a Caribbean cruise.
3. What do you want to wear on sea days?
No matter where you’re going, you’ll likely have at least one sea day, if not more.
How you will be spending your time on these days at sea during the day might mean you want to pack extra clothes.
You’ll want to look at the individual cruise ship that you’ll be cruising on to see what kind of activities you can do on board the ship on sea days.
Then you can think about what kinds of clothes you want to wear for each of the activities.
Maybe you’ll want to spend some time by the pool, or maybe you’ll want to spend your time just lounging around on the open deck taking in the ocean views.
Or maybe you’ll want to do some rock climbing, mock body boarding, or ice skating. (Hello Oasis of the Seas!)
Or maybe you’ll want to play some basketball, volleyball, walk or run on the jogging track, go down the waterslide, or go for a yoga class or spinning class indoors.
A cruise vacation can be so much more than just laying around on the cruise ship or beach all day, if you want it to be!
These activities might mean bringing an extra shirt, an extra pair of shorts, or your running shoes with you.
4. Evenings at sea can get chilly
If you’ll be out on the open deck past sunset, you might want to wear a light jacket.
Being out surrounded by ocean with no sun out, the wind can make it a little chilly.
So if watching a movie under the stars on the big screen is on your list of things to do on a cruise, or you want to play midnight mini-golf, or you just want to be outside to star gaze, it could be helpful to pack a light jacket or an extra long sleeve shirt!
5. What do you want to wear on cruise formal night?
Almost every cruise will have at least one formal night.
Some cruises will have 2 formal nights depending on how long your cruise is.
Dressing up is required if you’ll be eating in the dining room.
Cruise formal outfit ideas:
- Classic glam off-the-shoulder bodycon dress
- Air of romance maxi dress
- Off-the-shoulder cocktail dress
- See more cruise formal wear ideas
Walking around the cruise ship around dinner time, you’ll see that most people are dressed up.
On cruises with 2 formal nights, you may see more people eating in the buffet area instead of dining rooms on the second night.
So if one formal night is enough for you, you won’t need to think about 2 formal cruise outfits, and it’s possible that you can choose not to eat in the dining room on the second night. (Or you can choose not to dress up at all during your cruise and eat from the buffet on lido deck both nights.)
This is among the things to know about your first Carnival cruise formal night anyway.
See the official recommendations for what to wear on formal night for each of the cruise lines:
6. What do you want to wear on shore excursions or when in the cruise port?
There are lots of different types of activities to do in any given cruise port.
If you’ll just be on a sightseeing bus with stops here and there, you probably won’t need to pack anything extra for your cruise aside from your normal clothes.
But if you’ll be doing some more adventurous activities, it might mean packing a bit extra.
If you have snorkeling planned, you’ll also want to consider what to wear snorkeling.
So be sure to take a look at what kinds of shore excursions are available at the islands your cruise ship will be headed to.
Or take a look at the best things to do in general if you’ll be exploring the cruise port on your own.
Either way, there may be some extra things that you might want to pack so you can be dressed appropriately!
For a day in port:
7. What do you want to wear on the flight to your cruise departure port?
And finally, if you’re flying to catch your cruise, don’t forget to think about what you’re wearing before you step foot onto your cruise!
This can be a little bit of a dilemma in both winter and summer when you’re flying to a Caribbean cruise!
In the summer, you’re flying from hot weather to hot weather, but the plane can be cold!
In the winter, you could be flying from cold weather to hot weather, and do you really want to be carrying around a winter jacket with you once you reach Florida or your other cruise home port?
For summer cruises, the important thing to keep in mind when flying is that planes can be cold, and you might want to wear something a little extra.
The shorter your flight is, the more you might just be able to put up with it, and it might not even get too cold for you.
But it can be a good idea to wear the warmest clothes you’ll be bringing along on your cruise, instead of packing them. A light jacket can be a good idea anyway, since cruise ships may also get a little chilly.
You may also consider just throwing a pair of wool socks into your carry-on luggage and put them on when you get onto the plane if you start to get a little cold.
For winter cruises from a cold climate, you may also want to just put up with a little bit of a cold as you’re walking from your car into the airport, instead of wearing your heavy down jacket.
If you’ll be keeping your car parked at the airport while you’re on the cruise, maybe leave the jacket in the car so you’ll have it when you return.
A packable down jacket can also be nice in these situations! (You might be able to find one at Costco if it’s in season.)
HAPPY CRUISE PACKING!