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Packing Light for a Seven-day Cruise

by Taffy on 27/01/09 at 2:58 am

Packing list and ideas in preparation for a cruise.

If you are looking for packing help you are on your way to a  great vacation! Congratulations!

What to pack and how much can be a daunting task. 

First, start by stuffing all your favorite clothes into one or two suitcases.  Now shut your suitcases.  Were you able to close them securely?  Good for you!  Give yourself a nice pat on the back.

Now, open your suitcases and put half of your clothes and shoes back in the closet. Now take out another 1/3. 

I’m serious.

Do it now.

Now you are ready to pack for your one week cruise!  With a few cruises under my belt I can help you pack light and still have fun.  

7 Day Cruise: (for Alaskan cruise, layer. More at the end)


The first and last nights on board are usually casual. First night you might still be waiting for your luggage and the last night you will be packing your luggage.  Casual can mean capris or slacks, blouse or shirt.

There are usually two formal/dressy nights. Do not stress about tuxedos or gowns unless you REALLY want to wear them.  Pant suits, nice slacks or skirt and blouse will work as well as a dress.

Pack: one dress, one shawl/sweater, dress shoes.

If you would rather wear pants/skirts pack:  two blouses, pair nice slacks/skirts, dress shoes/sandals. (No one will notice your shoes or pants during dinner because they will be hiding under the table.  No one will notice what you are wearing unless you are the bride who wore ALL white everyday, every outfit on our last cruise.)

Tip:  One night I wore my black pants with a blue blouse.  The next dressy night I wore the black pants again with a white blouse.  I wore the same black sandals both nights. 

For the men: Slacks, 2 collared shirts, sports jacket, two ties.

The other dining nights are ’sports casual’.  

Pack: 3 casual pants, 3 shirts, shoes

Tip:  We usually wore part of our casual dinner outfit the next day. One night I wore tan slacks, white shirt and slip ons.  The next day when I got off the boat I wore jeans, the white shirt from the night before and gym shoes.

TIP: Don’t wear shorts or swimsuits to the dining room.

Swimming:  If you intend to swim while on board or on shore take 3-4 suits.  The humidity keeps the suits from drying quickly. A cover up and flip flops/water shoes are good for walking from your room to the pool or walking on the beach. 

If you want to work out (why do that on a vacation?) pack: work out shorts, tshirts, gym shoes, socks. 

If you want more casual attire on board while at sea pack: 2 shorts/capris, 2 tshirts, sandals

Tip: Pack clothes that are loose fitting.  After 7 days of eating everything you want, your waist tends to expand a tad. Don’t be alarmed! This is a normal phenomena! 

Tip: Like to shop? You will probably buy more clothes on shore or on the ship. So packing light before you get on your trip is a good idea!

So your packing list might look like this:

Hat/visor & Sunglasses

Shirts-2 dressy, 3 casual, 3 t-shirt

Sweater or shawl (dining rooms get chilly), sweatshirt

Pants- 1 dressy (or skirt), 3 casual, 2 shorts or capris, exercise shorts

Dresses- 1 dress

Socks and underthings

3-4 Swimsuits, coverup

Shoes-Dressy, gym, casual, watershoe, flipflops

(I know! Shocking! A woman packing only 5 pair of shoes! Really, you don’t need more.  My friend took 20 pair (one suitcase) and didn’t wear 15 of them).

Accessories-Belts, jewelry, etc

Try to color coordinate your wardrobe so you need to take fewer accessories.

What to pack now that you have your clothes ready? I’ll write more later! :)

First Time Cruise Help 1

First Time Cruise Help 2

Your First Cruise

15 Strange Items to Pack for a Cruise

Top 10 Questions to Avoid Asking on a Cruise

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Liked it

Jo Oliver

Apr 30th, 2009

I have the same shoe prob- must pack at least 20! lol.

Great job. Love the inserts of light humor with very useful info. Well done.


Jul 5th, 2009

I recycle my clothing on a cruise but this list requires it a little too much and no offense or anything but that is a little to much for me…kinda disgusting!


Nov 20th, 2009

My husband and I didn’t go in the casinos or anywhere there was smoke. So wearing a shirt just to dinner the night before and then on a shore excursion the next day wasn’t bad. And when in the Caribbean we were in swimsuits a ton! So that took care of a lot of clothes! :)

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