7 Pieces To Pack for Your Next Cruise Vacation

Sunny days, thrilling performances, and international excursions are all waiting on the horizon for you to enjoy. But you’ll first have to get through prepping for your trip. Packing everything you need for a multi-day stay on a cruise ship can sometimes feel overwhelming.

Most cruise ships have shops on board where you can pick up anything you forgot. However, they tend to be quite expensive. You’ll want an array of solid staple pieces in your luggage that will keep you comfortable regardless of activity and weather. Here are a few must-haves you won’t want to leave home without.

1. Look Amazing in a Shapewear Swimsuit

If there’s one thing you don’t want to forget on a cruise, it’s your swimsuit. Finding the right suit can be challenging for many people. The fabrics and style of many swimsuits make it hard to hide trouble spots. Luckily, a shapewear swimsuit has built-in compression to accentuate your curves while you lounge or dive in.

In addition to having a tummy-controlling panel, these kinds of swimsuits come in fun styles that include ruffles, skirts and other flattering features. If beaches or time poolside is your focus, you may even want to get a couple of different styles.

2. Pick Up a Cute Cover-Up

You’ll want to pack a cover-up to help you transition from the swimming area to other parts of the ship. cover-ups come in dozens of different styles and colors. You might want to include more than one in your suitcase.

A tropical-print sarong works great as a casual cover-up. These can go from your room to the poolside to the top deck. You could wear a playful sundress as you pick up a drink or some food from the buffet. Choosing a swimsuit in a neutral color, such as black, gray or navy, makes it easier to wear any cover-up that catches your eye.


3. Include a Smart Casual Outfit or Dress

Cruise lines have relaxed their dress codes over the years. However, you usually can’t stay in a swimsuit and a cover-up the whole time. Most major cruise lines still require you to wear specific types of clothing at various times. For example, some dining rooms may require semi-formal attire to maintain an elegant atmosphere. You may be required to wear smart casual clothing and shoes to access the dining hall and other areas of the ship.

For the most part, smart casual is defined as being a step above what you would wear on the weekend at home. For instance, a pair of nice shorts and a button-up top or flowy blouse would fall into this category. Dresses and skirts also give that slightly dressier vibe that enhances the ambiance at dinnertime.

4. Smooth Out Your Silhouette With a Sculpting Bodysuit

Not everyone feels comfortable going au natural under a thin sundress. Shapewear for women comes in many different styles that fit discreetly under your clothing, giving you an extra layers with some added shaping. Adding shapewear to your clothing list gives you a way to make sure you look amazing and feel confident.

There are many different kinds of shapewear. Some people like to wear briefs or leggings to support their thighs and glutes. Some people love the feel of a lacy bodysuit. Still, others love the feel of a sculpting bodysuit or shaper shorts that look amazing under a dress. No matter where you’d like to feel supported, you can find shapewear to help you feel like a new you on your cruise.

5. Check the Itinerary for Themed Nights


Every cruise line has a distinct personality that the crew often highlights by hosting special themed nights. Formal nights have long been a common staple. In recent years, cruises have introduced themes such as white-out parties where everyone wears clothing in this neutral shade. Decade-themed music events are also common, along with glow night dance parties. Checking out the itinerary beforehand will help you know if you need to pack your favorite pair of disco pants or a sizzling hot white dress.

6. Bring a Light Shawl or Cardigan

Unless you’re cruising to a place known for its colder weather, like Alaska or northern Europe, you’ll find that most days are warm and sunny on cruise ships. However, even cruises to the Caribbean can get chilly once the sun goes down. A light shawl or sweater can help you ward off the chill as you watch the sunset.

7. Top It All Off With a Sun Protection Hat

Whether shopping in a port or lounging on deck, spending time in the sun is a major part of cruise life. Considering that 90% of skin cancers are basal cell or squamous cell carcinomas that frequently appear on the face, it makes sense to do all you can to protect the upper part of your body.

The ideal sun hat should have a brim of about 3 inches, which helps shade your ears, nose and scalp from the sun. Hats made from tightly woven materials are the best for blocking UV rays. Some are even made from UV-blocking fabric. And be sure to always apply high-SPF sunscreen.

Start Creating Your Cruise Vacation Packing List

Dreaming about the possibilities that a cruise offers is half the fun. It’s never too early to start making your packing list. Having everything you need to fit every event on your itinerary will make you feel relaxed and prepared. Now that you know what to pack, it’s time to create a checklist of everything you need for a perfect cruise vacation!