Have you agonized over what you should bring on your trip at sea? I will walk you through the way I organize my packing to make it easier for you to visualize the outfits you’ll need on your cruise.
How is packing for a cruise different?
When packing for a regular trip you may only pack one outfit per day, pajamas for bed, and a couple of workout outfits. On a cruise, I consistently pack and wear 5 different types of outfits every day of my vacation.
Cruise outfit types
Knowing the type of outfits that you will need for your cruise will help you organize your packing and ensure you have enough clothes for each day of your vacation. The last thing we want is for you to not have enough pants to wear on your tropical getaway. I use these five categories to organize my clothes.
- Workout Outfits
- Day Outfits
- Dinner Outfits
- Evening Outfits
- Lounge Outfits
Stop right there. I know what you’re thinking. Don’t go telling everyone that Lady said you need five different outfits everyday and she gave you an excuse to pack in three huge suitcases for your cruise. Haha!
I have successfully packed all of these outfit types in one suitcase on multiple occasions. I’ve even gone almost one month in a carry-on suitcase on a trip that took me two weeks around Europe and one week on a cruise.
The different outfit types will help you organize your packing and shouldn’t be used as an excuse to over-pack.
Before we get into the different types of outfits I have a disclaimer. The number of items you will need in each outfit category will vary based on how much you sweat. If you’re like me and sweat a lot do not plan on wearing items more than once or even for the whole day. (And bring a lot of underwear so that you can use a fresh pair if you have to shower multiple times in a day)
As we get started with our outfits I will list the different categories in the order that I wear them during a typical cruising day.
1. Workout outfits
Why would you need yoga pants and a sports bra if you don’t plan on exercising in the gym aboard your ship? Don’t worry, I’ll get to you gym lovers in a bit.
I use my exercise clothes for two reasons: to eat breakfast and for adventurous excursions like zip-lining where you may be moving around a lot and will need clothes that provide great mobility.
If you like to exercise at home, you will most likely want to exercise during your cruise. How sweaty you get and how often you plan on exercising will determine how many workout outfits you would need to pack.
Yes, you could do laundry during your cruise (boooo!) but the lines are usually long and cost a lot to have your room steward do it for you.
I suggest having one workout outfit for every day or every other day you plan on exercising.
2. Day outfits
When choosing day outfits think about your cruise and what you may be doing for the day. How many days at sea do you have? What type of excursions are you going on?
*If these questions don’t make any sense don’t worry we’ll go over them in a future post. Sign up to the newsletter so you don’t miss the post and get your free cruise packing list.
My go-to outfit on a cruise is shorts and a cute tank top. If you like to spend your day wearing comfortable clothes, go for something light and airy.
A day outfit may also be a nice sundress and a cute pair of wedges. If you’re planning for a beach day or time by the pool opt for a swimsuit with a beautiful cover-up. These outfits are great for going shopping in town or lounging around on the cruise ship.
3. Dinner outfits
On cruises, you get an option to go to the nice dining for dinner instead of the buffet. This is also known as the Main Dining Room or MDR.
When I cruise with family, our only requirement is that we all meet for dinner to catch up on our day and celebrate together.
The dress code for most nights is smart casual but most people attend in basic casual outfits. Most cruise ships discourage beach attire in the dining rooms.
There are usually two formal nights on 7-day cruises where it’s nice to wear fancy dresses and heels.
My family has had lots of fun coordinating our dinner outfits by color or theme. On one cruise we took in October we were able to participate in a costume night where almost everyone in the dining room was dressed up in their costume of choice and it was so much fun to see all of the different passengers having so much fun.
Usually, my mom and I will coordinate our outfits by color for formal nights.
On a cruise I took recently, we were celebrating an aunt’s birthday and the color she chose for the family to wear was yellow. Our whole family dressed in or accessorized in yellow for the formal night and looked so good coordinating.
You don’t need to get as intense as we do but it is really nice to at least dress up for the formal dinner nights.
4. Evening outfits
After dinner, you have so many options for what you can wear. Usually, the shows happen in the evening. You can keep on your dinner attire and attend the shows but I like to change into something a bit warmer since the theaters tend to get cold.
Love to dance? You’ll probably need a great outfit for that as well. You can modify an outfit you had on during the day. Like switching out your shorts for a pair of jeans. Or use an entirely different outfit. Just make sure you have plenty of room to move and shake that groove thang! (There may or may not have been a 70s theme night on one of my more recent cruises.)
5. Lounge outfits
Putting on my loungewear means I don’t plan on leaving my stateroom for the rest of the night. My lounge outfits usually consist of pajamas and slippers. Pack something comfortable to lounge around your room with. Depending on the ship, robes can be requested.
These five categories of cruise outfits will help you stay organized while packing for your trip.
What do you want to know about packing for a cruise? Let me know in the comments below.