(54) What to Wear on a Cruise

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(54) What to Wear on a Cruise

Don't be intimidated when you look at the cruise brochures with glamorous couples decked out in formalwear or frolicking by the pool in elegant designer swimwear. In reality, you see a mixture of everything when it comes to cruise attire. First-time cruisers typically over pack. To defend against guests with seven bags for a seven-day cruise, airlines and cruise lines impose baggage restrictions per passenger. Don't panic.

If you choose cruise attire wisely and pack smart, one large upright suitcase per person and one carry-on bag should be enough for a seven to ten day cruise. Follow these guidelines to be well-equipped and well-dressed. Your only excess pounds will be the ones you gain with all the wonderful cruise cuisine!

  • Formal nights (usually one to two nights on a seven day cruise) require a tuxedo or dark suit for men and formal/semi-formal dress for women. Typically , only about 40 percent of male cruisers wear a tux, 50 percent wear a dark suit or sports coat and tie and 10 percent stand out from the crowd in leisure shirts. You can rent a tuxedo onboard if you wish. For women, a long/short elegant black dress or black silk pants go anywhere. A striking brooch or beaded shawl can make the same dress look “new” for several wears and it's easy to pair glitzy tops with silk pants for a smart evening look. (Note: if you're “allergic” to formal attire, you can avoid it entirely by choosing alternative dining such as the casual buffet, pizzeria or room service on formal nights.)
  • Bring an evening wrap. Show lounges and the dining rooms can be chilly. Since evening wear is often bare-shouldered, a classic black silk or beaded shawl is an elegant and warm touch.
  • For casual evenings, choose collared shirts and slacks for men and a sundress or nice pantsuit for women. Dress like you are going to a casual, (but nice) restaurant at home. Shorts are not allowed in the main dining room for dinner.
  • Daytime wear runs the gamut from funky to fabulous and tacky to terrific. Cruises are a great chance to show-off pretty sundresses or tropical print shirts and shorts. Start with several pairs of shorts, slacks and tops in coordinated colors to mix and match. Don't load your bag down with T-shirts. Buy a few great destination T-shirts along the way to show off when you get home.
  • Choose easy care clothing. Take advantage silks, knits and undies that can be washed and hung on the shower rod or retractable shower clothesline to dry and need no ironing. (Don't pack an iron! If you must iron, there are irons and ironing boards in the ship laundry rooms. On the same note, leave the hairdryer at home. There's one in your cabin.)
  • Go easy on shoes. They take up way too much room in luggage. Choose double-duty shoes. Pack one pair of dress shoes or sandals for formal wear and smart casual dinners, a good pair of walking shoes for strolls around the promenade deck and shore excursions and a pair or two of snappy sandals for poolside.
  • Take two swimsuits. You won't have to don a wet suit, if you decide after a morning swim to jump in the spa in the afternoon. Swimwear cover-ups are required in interior public areas of the ship. For maximum use, choose a cover-up, like a sarong, that doubles as casual wear.
  • Skip the bathrobe. Enjoy the luxury of fluffy terry robes provided by the cruise line. If there is no robe in your cabin, ask your attendant for one. If the cruise line doesn't provide a robe, a swimwear cover-up doubles as a sleep robe.
  • When cruising in cold climates, think layers rather than bulk. Pack silk long johns, medium-weight knits and a good windproof, waterproof Gore-Tex jacket. Don't forget gloves and a warm knit hat that covers the ears.
  • Leave heirlooms at home. Pack



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