What to Pack for a Caribbean Cruise

Clothing for your formal nights, casual nights, shore excursions and days at sea

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Caribbean Cruise
What to Pack

Which clothes to pack for a Caribbean cruise is simpler than your think. Your 2 most important considerations are comfort and practicality.

Before deciding what to pack, do your homework first to narrow your focus and eliminate the urge to throw things in the suitcase at the last minute for “just in case.”

 * Make a list of every day's port of call and the activities you plan to participate in at each.

* How many days do you spend at sea? That requires almost no wardrobe. You can spend the entire day in a bathing suit if you wish.

Now that you know your itinerary, you can get down to serious business. Remember, most people don't dress or look like the models in cruise advertisements.

There's no need to break the bank on clothing for a cruise.  Save your money for fun things to do at the different ports you'll be visiting.

Most things you need are in your closet. Basics are best for both men and women.

For men: Slacks and a polo-style shirt are great attire for a  man at dinner and the shirt can be worn the next day with shorts.

The only night men need a coat and tie is the formal evening, which varies between 1 and 2 nights depending on the length of your cruise.

For women: Don't limit yourself to dresses and heels because you may regret it. Dinner wear is actually fairly simple. For daytime, bring a pair of light slacks and a pair of black slacks with blouses or tanks. Formal night is whatever you want it to be but slacks with a dressy blouse are fine.

Footwear: A must have item are black walking/tennis shoes.  Both for men and women. Yes, even on formal nights.  Ladies, trust me, in rough seas walking can be tough and you don't want to be in heels. Who's going to look at your feet anyway?  

Besides, cruise ship dining rooms are rarely located on the same floor as your cabin. You may have to climb stairs and walk from one end of the ship to the other.  Be comfortable. You're on vacation.

Sweater: Even though it's warm and humid in the Caribbean air conditioners can make dining chilly.  A good investment for a woman is a nice light-weight black sweater.  My traveling companion has one that's been all over the world.  It literally can be stuffed into a carry on bag and pulled out at a moment's notice to dress up in with casual slacks.

Two bathing suits are all you need to carry on board.  One to wear while the other one dries.

Cover ups are important to remember but towels are furnished poolside and for beach trips in port.

Snorkel equipment is usually included with shore excursions. But if you want to go off on your own, bring your own gear.

Lightweight rain jacket, just in case liquid sunshine decides to dump on you. Some rain jackets fold into themselves to make packing easier.

Clothes to Pack for a 7-Day Cruise

Walking shorts: 1 per 3 days paired with 1 T-shirt or polo shirt per day.

Casual lightweight slacks: shorts are not allowed in some cathedrals and for horseback riding.

Jeans for horseback riding

Tennis shoes (Black and white)

Sandals for days at sea and walking on the beach.

Bathing suit with cover up (T-shirt works fine)

Rain jacket

Hat with brim to protect ears

Small backpack or fanny pack

Sunglasses, ideally polarized with UVA protection

Sunscreen

Shampoo (wash your clothes in the sink and use the hair dryer to help dry)

For Evening Wear:

Women:

1 dark dress slacks

1 light dress slacks

Black slacks with coordinating tops

1 dressy outfit

Men:

1 pair dark dress slacks with jacket and tie

2-3 pair casual slacks

1 collared shirt for every evening (polo shirts work well)

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