How to Pack Light on Your Ocean Cruise

How to Pack Light on Your Ocean Cruise

Although the Coronavirus has adversely affected worldwide travel and tourism, ocean cruises will continue to be popular among vacationers everywhere. If you’re planning a trip sometime soon, one of the first questions you’ll likely have is – How should I pack light?

The Less Luggage the Better

Understand that you’ll need to plan for three distinct stages of your holiday, but it is possible to pack light and travel with minimum baggage. For starters, you’ll need comfortable wear for the flight to and from the port where your cruise will depart and arrive. Next, you’ll need some stylish lounge and formal-casual wear for the resort-like conditions aboard the ship. And, finally, you’ll plan for the ports of call, where you’ll go exploring. Choose versatile pieces that you can mix and match, complete with accessories to dress up or dress down, depending on the time of the day and occasion. 

Pack Light for your next Cruise
Pack Light for your next Cruise
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Length and Destination of the Cruise

Of course, the wardrobe you need to put together will be according to the length of the cruise and the destinations you’re visiting. Cruises vary from a minimum of three days to as long as two weeks. If you’ve booked a world tour, that’s going to be a different matter, with your travels lasting from 60 to 100 days, touching anywhere from 30 to 60 ports. 

Further, you could be visiting ports where the weather is warm and needs light summer wear with hats and sunscreen. Or, you could be traveling to colder places like Scandinavia, Alaska, New England, and Canada. Here, you’ll need heavy jackets and winter wear. There’s no single packing list that fits every cruise, so pick the strategies that apply to you.

T-Shirts and Hoodies

T-shirts and custom hoodies are incredibly versatile garments that can be combined with various other pieces. You can pair a smart white tee with a pair of shorts or pants, sandals, a floppy scarf, and a wide-brimmed hat for an afternoon of wandering the ship, checking out the many activities. You can also use the tee to top off your swimsuit if the sun is too hot. A t-shirt with waist shorts is also perfect for a bingo game, cooking class, or playing arcade games with the kids. But, if you’re going ice-skating, you’ll need warm hoodies to layer on other winter wear. Add a smart belt to your white tank top and jeans with a light shrug, and you can pull off the semi-casual look. 

Cruise food
Cruise food

Using Jewelry and Accessories for a Formal Look

If you would like to dress up for a formal Captain’s dinner or visiting the casino, remember to add a couple of lightweight blouses in solid colors. Mix and match with dark wash jeans and add jewelry and accessories. Remember not to bring anything valuable, but a pair of long earrings or a pretty necklace can make a simple outfit look dressy. Include a formal bag or throw on a pair of jeweled ballet flats for an extra special touch. Vacationers who intend to check out the delectable meals served on the buffet may want a few more pieces for formal attire. To elevate your formal ensemble with a touch of elegance and vintage charm, consider accessorizing with a stunning vintage ring. The intricate details and unique craftsmanship of vintage rings can add a timeless allure to your outfit, making you stand out at any formal event.

Stoles and Wraps

Do pack in a couple of lightweight stoles and wraps. Although the interiors aboard the liner are typically temperature-controlled, you might want to step out on the deck for a stroll in the evenings. Even if you’re traveling in tropical waters, the nights can get cooler. Having a stole or a wrap along will keep you warm. A formal wrap is also great for dressing up a simple dress and adapting for a more formal do. Pick up a shimmering fabric or with fur or pearl trimmings. Alternatively, go with a lace shrug that adds style to the simplest of outfits.

You need at lest 2 swimsuits in your pack
You need at least 2 swimsuits in your pack

Shoes and Sandals

Pack in soft-soled, comfortable shoes for wearing on the cruise when you’re exploring or walking around meeting people. Or if you’ve signed up for a show at the planetarium. Flip-flops and sandals are also must-haves when you’re lounging beside the pool and could get your feet wet. If you intend to go on walking tours at the port of calls, you’ll need sturdy walking shoes or sneakers to navigate all kinds of terrain and shop to your heart’s content. Do pack in a formal pair of high heels to enhance that pretty cocktail dress you’re bringing for a black-tie dinner. 

Pack Light – Accessories to Match the Activities

Many cruises offer you the opportunity to indulge in adrenaline-packed adventures. You could sign up for the zip lines, try go-karting, or check out the F1 simulator to experience the thrill of the world’s best race tracks. Or, consider indulging in the trifecta of a zip line, bike, and ski lift for the ultimate thrill. While the administrators on board will help you with the necessary protective gear you need, get your own women’s motorcycle gloves to keep your hands protected from the risk of injury, 

Accessories to Match the Activities a Must-Have in the Light Pack
Accessories to Match the Activities a Must-Have in the Light Pack

Pack Light but at least 2 Swimsuits 

Any experienced cruise vacationer will advise that you bring at least two sets of swimwear, along with at least one sarong wrap, though a long t-shirt is also a great choice that can be used in other parts of your day if you don’t go for a swim. 

Getting Laundry Services

As long as you’re trying to pack light for the cruise vacation, one of the most important questions you’ll have will be about getting laundry services on the ship. Know that each ship and cruise has unique service options and charges. It is always advisable to inquire beforehand about the possible costs of getting your things washed and dried. Some ships may include laundry services in their packages, while others may have the appliances on board for the passengers to use.


Having discussed in detail the essentials of your vacation bag for an ocean cruise, let’s talk about the essential accessory of all – makeup. With the right colors, tones, and eye makeup, it is possible to transform a simple black dress into ultra-sexy couture with people stopping and staring. The same dress can become casual attire with pouting glossy lips and light flat shoes. 

Packing your wardrobe for a cruise vacation should be just that – an exciting prelude to a glorious holiday where you’ll make port for a few short hours at each destination before moving on to the next. Bring just the right kind of flexible pieces that keep you comfortable all through the cruise but have the potential to transform into an excuse to have fun in an instant. 

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