It’s not everyday that one packs for a holiday that involves lazy days by the pool, walks around cities, black-tie dinners, and excursions in conservative countries. On our recent cruise around the Med, we visited a number of cities in Italy, Greece, Croatia, and Turkey and came back to a formal dinner almost every night. Phew!! That’s a tall order for anyone. Add to that a fondness for packing light – the result is the ultimate packing conundrum 🙁
A few hours and some trial and error later, I have it all sorted. Here’s what you need to pack for your cruise holiday :-
#1 A Day Dress (or two?)
You’re going to be spending long days, walking around new cities and you want to be as comfortable as you possibly can. Opt for flowy dresses that are appropriate for exploring historic monuments, ramshackle buildings, lush vineyards, or whatever else the city might throw at you. My default look involves a floaty maxi dress, kohl-rimmed eyes, and tousled hair but opt for whatever makes you feel at ease.
Try packing day dresses in rich colours and opulent fabrics that can be dressed up with some pearl earrings and heels for the night. It’ll save you the trouble of changing on getting back to the ship. I wore this red maxi dress for a day out in Italy and just spruced it up for a black-tie dinner. Simples 🙂
Outfit Details :-
White Maxi Dress – Details of this entire outfit are included in our article on Pisa
Red Maxi Dress – ASOS
Sandals – Zara
#2 The Invincible Outfit
Now dresses are all well and good but you won’t spend all your days educating yourself about the history of a city, devouring local food, or lying in a golden field, counting clouds as the grass tickles your back (I highly recommend the latter – just don’t try doing it in a white dress like I did 😉 )
There will be days when you will be climbing hundreds of stairs to reach the top of a building, renting bikes to explore vineyards, or just learning cartwheels (never say never!). For those days, you need an invincible outfit – one that refuses to get creased, grubby, or boring. Of course you could resort to a pair of denims for this but where’s the fun in that?
I opted for a printed playsuit, a large clutch bag, and my favourite shoes at the minute (silver brogues – nom!) for a long and tiring day spent exploring Venice. The outfit saw me through a food tour, walking tour, sightseeing, and a trek to the top of San Marco Cathedral, so I can’t complain.
Outfit Details :-
Playsuit – Primark
Silver Brogues and sunglasses – Urban Outfitters
Clutch Bag – H&M (I used it in my first ever outfit post, which we shot in Slovakia)
#3 Formal dresses
All those sit down dinners can only mean one thing – you do need to pack a couple of formal outfits for special occasions and the Captain’s dinner, a cruise staple. Make sure you opt for fabrics that don’t need much maintenance or you’ll be scurrying around, looking for an iron at the last minute. We’ve written an entire article on Black Tie dressing, so hop over to that if you’re interested in perusing some more photos or curious about our outfits 🙂
My favourite part of a cruise holiday is the time spent sprawling by the pool and soaking up the sun. It’s ironic but these phases of idleness inspire me like nothing else – the mind is at its most productive when it has the space to disentangle from the rhythm of daily life. But I digress…
Make sure you pack a bikini if you’re packing for a cruise holiday – it’s a no brainer! If you’re a water baby and plan to spend your time hopping in and out of jacuzzis and pools, pack at least 2 or 3 🙂
Outfit Details :-
Ombre Bikini and bracelets – ASOS
Tribal Print Bikini – Accessorize
#5 Beach cover-ups
Swimwear isn’t allowed in dining areas on cruise ships, so it’s handy to have a cover-up at hand if you want to pop in to grab an ice-cream or a light lunch. I love tasselled kimonos and tie-dye kaftans – they’re the perfect accompaniment to mid-day cocktails (seriously!) 🙂
What’s more, they can double up as the top with a pair of jeans – perfect for those who like packing light!
Outfit Details :-
Tie-Dye Kimono – c/o Rosewe (Do you remember it from our post on Festival Fashion?)
White shirt dress – c/o Abadday
Black oversized vest – stolen from errr Vid 😉
Braid trinkets and armlet – Local market in Morocco
#6 Location appropriate outfits
Make sure you read up a bit about the places you will be visiting before you pack for your cruise holiday. A number of cruise ships dock at ports in Egypt, Turkey, Morocco, and Tunisia. The backless maxi dress you packed for a hot summer’s day in Italy or the short skirt you packed for Spain will definitely not work in any of those countries. And it’s important to respect the culture of the country that you will be visiting if you don’t want to stand out like a sore thumb. Research beforehand and pack appropriate clothes for the cities you will be visiting. I also love incorporating elements of local cultures in my outfits – homespun elements lend interest to the outfit and make exploration so much more fun.
Outfit Details :-
Trousers and top – Zara
Necklace – c/0 Boho Gypsy
Sunglasses – ASOS
Phew! That’s it. Some sunscreen and you’re good to go on your holiday.
This is our first Lookbook – did you enjoy it or do you prefer individual outfit posts? Leave us a comment below and tell us what you think 🙂
- If you’re curious about Cruise Holidays, check out all our articles on Cruises
- If you want some outfit inspiration or want to read more about dressing for conservative countries, I’ve spoken about it at length in The Ultimate Guide to Packing for Conservative Countries
- If you love bohemian and colourful accessories, you must see this compilation of my favourite accessories Ethnic Accents : Understanding cultures while travelling 🙂
18 thoughts on “Lookbook – Packing For Cruise Holidays”
too many cocktails lead to crooked sunglasses.. that ws funny 😉 hehe . I love the post simple & nice 🙂
It’s true Jili – alcohol does that to me 😉
I guess anything would look great on you. I love flowing dresses, but jumpsuits or playsuits are just not me. Lovely cheerful post.
Thanks Galina – Playsuits are really comfortable, you should totally try ’em sometime 🙂
I love it! Thanks a lot for the great post!
We used to work on cruise ships and since quitting we have been on one cruise as passengers. It was weird for several reasons; first of all the packing (before we just used the different uniforms for any event!) and secondly we had to get used to the chilling. Especially on turnaround day which used to be the busiest day for us. It was weird sitting on the open deck and sipping on a cocktail – not in a bad way obviously but just SOO different.
Well, we just decided that we will go on another cruise in February.
Happy travels guys!
Wow! How was it to work on a cruise ship? I’m always intrigued by the idea of being at sea for long periods of time – can imagine the craziness on turnaround day 😉
We truly loved working on cruise ships! You work long hours, 7 days a week for your entire contract which lasts on average 5 months. It is great to wake up in a different port every day, you get to work with many different nationalities both onboard and ashore and you meet interesting guests. I definitely got to see some places which I otherwise would not have had a chance to visit in my twenties.
The unconventional lifestyle makes it difficult to ever return to a “normal” life. So I guess we still are in the process of trying to find a way which works for us 😉
You just inspired me to write a post about our time at sea! Thanks for that!!
True that. I’m sure working on a cruise ship inspires wanderlust. Oh well ‘normal’ is over-rated anyway 🙂
Great post and tips! I’m definitely bookmarking this post for future cruise packing.
Thanks Valerie. Packing for a cruise can be so tricky – glad I could help 🙂
This is a fab post!
Your photo’s are beautiful,
Thanks for sharing ^__^
Pixee @ Humane Beings xx
Thanks a ton Pixee 🙂
I personally like maxi dresses the best. It works well with all kinds of weather, and then I carry a few cardigans as cover ups whenever needed. And finally I cannot do without my pajama style jersey pants (I wear them with sneaker wedges and a tee) and that’s perfect for road trips or anything that involves a lot of walking.
Hey Roxanne, good choice! I love my PJ style trousers as well. I always pack them for vacations 🙂
I adore that purple bikini – I am not sure I could pull it off, but it’s looks supercalifragilistic on you! x
Aww thanks Delia – you’re too generous 🙂
Handy collection of tips here – I think maxi dresses are the major thing missing from my holiday wardrobe!
I wouldn’t know what to do without maxi dresses Shikha – I love ’em (as you’ve probably guessed by now 😉 )