Cruises can be hella fun. They’re easy to book, with itineraries already planned and activities galore to pick from on and off ship.
But when it comes to packing for a cruise, it can be super confusing. Smart casual? Formal? What exactly does either of those entail?
Check out my guide on what to pack for a cruise, including a few options that you can shop for right from the post!
Pool + Beach Wear for a Cruise
If you’re headed out on a cruise in the Caribbean or Mexico, the number one item to pack for a cruise is pool and beach wear!
Pack at least 2 swimsuits (one to wear while the other is drying from the day before).
From there, loose layers to throw on top of your swimsuit so that you can go from pool or beach to lunch or shopping is key.
Think flowy dresses, caftans, button-up shirt dresses, slip-on shorts, etc.
Day Outfits for a Cruise
Whether you’re out at sea or at port headed to an excursion, it’s likely to be hot given that you’re sailing the Caribbean or Mexico regions.
Pack light colors and loose layers to keep comfortable. Fabrics like cotton and linen will be your best friend.
Go through your list of excursions and activities to determine if you need any special outfits, like long pants for hiking or exercise gear for yoga classes.
Casual Evening Wear for a Cruise
Not all evening activities or meals will require formal wear, so go ahead and pack your favorite dress or cute top and jeans for night time.
It might be breezy and cooler than during the day, so you might want to include pants or long sleeves depending on the weather forecast.
Otherwise, a wrap or jacket can keep you warm.
Formal Evening Wear for a Cruise
Formal wear is where many people seem to panic when deciding what to pack for a cruise.
Many cruise ships require more formal wear for select events and dinners. Just to be on the safe side, pack at least 1 formal evening outfit, such as a floor length dress or jumpsuit.
More than likely, a cocktail dress will do, so don’t feel that you have to purchase an expensive evening gown.
If you’re not sure whether your cruise requires formal wear, the safest bet is to pack a solid colored maxi dress.
When paired with the right accessories, a solid colored maxi dress can easily be dressed up (heels + costume jewelry) or dressed down (flat sandals + minimal jewelry).
Even if you don’t end up having any formal wear events, a maxi dress can be dressed down for daytime activities or a casual dinner.
Accessories for a Cruise
Pack a hat and a pair of sunglasses to keep the sun out of your face.
If you’re planning on a lot of sporty excursions, a baseball cap might be best over a fedora or floppy straw hat.
The right kind of jewelry can change an outfit, so pack some fun pieces that can dress up a plain dress or make jeans and a tee look extra cute.
Finally, you might want a small purse or clutch for evenings, but a larger bag for leisure time at pools or for excursions.
Shoes for a Cruise
Last but not least, nearly every lady’s favorite: shoes.
If you’re the minimalist type, you could likely get away with a pair of plain flat sandals in a neutral color and a pair of sneakers.
But you’ll likely want a few extra pairs: flip flops for the pool, heels or wedges for the evening, athletic sneakers for workouts, canvas sneakers for excursions, and so on.
Think about the activities you plan to do aboard the ship, as well as on shore excursions to help narrow down the number of shoes you pack.
What will you pack for a cruise?