Cruise's offer great vacation escapes anytime of the year. This summer I ventured aboard a luxury liner for a 7-day sailing adventure to Mexico. When you take a trip many of us tend to over pack. In my case I decided to be “super prepared, " as I call it, for anything that might come my way. After all you never know if you'll get carried way and end up on Gilligan's Island, so I had to bring everything I own of course. In true Colin style I brought enough luggage to sink the ship, thankfully their where others on board less prepared then I, so that did not happen.
When planning for your own cruise, first consider where your ship is going and what their brochure says will be happening on the ship. Obviously, if you are going to Alaska you are not going to pack shorts and polo shirts. Likewise, if you are going to an island don't bring a ski coat.
For arguments sake, let's assume you are going to a warm climate. Step 1: Read the brochure sent to you by the cruise line. Step 2: Read it again. Chances are you will need looks that fall into one of three categories: casual, informal and formal.
Casual means you should pack polos, shorts (not short shorts that you wear to clean your house), jeans (that are appropriate and fit well - trust me when I say overly tight stomach bearing is OUT), a skirt or three (again not so short someone can tell you just came from the spa), button down shirts or blouses and please don't forget to bring something to wear over your bathing suit. Be a considerate cruise guest and remember it is not cute to walk around half naked. Also, remember to think about the excursions you will be going on. Again, read the information you have been sent. Some excursions require bathing suits, walking shoes or pants. You want to make sure you are dressed comfortably and able to enjoy your day.
On a ship, informal is a bit different then at home. It tends to refer to your dress in the evening only. On most ships men are asked to wear button down shirts, slacks, in some cases blazers and also at times a tie is required. Women are asked to dress in a dress or slacks and a blouse.
On formal nights it's your night to look as glamorous as you like. Men are asked to wear tuxedos. Yes, that's right a proper tuxedo. Please don't worry if you don't own one. Many cruise lines rent them to guests. I know most guys think a rented tuxedo is cheesy. In most cases the ships have high-end designer tuxedos that will make your mate swoon when they see you. On a side note, if you regularly cruise or attend formal events more than four times a year, you should consider purchasing a tuxedo. Women, on these nights, should consider fancy cocktail dresses or gowns. Bring that special dress you have been waiting to wear and enjoy being seen in it.
Lastly, cruising is still every bit as exciting as it was years ago. Present yourself well; play nice with others and most of all have an amazing trip.
Editor of Reader Relations & Trends