The adverts on are TV already: book your 2024 summer holiday now! Not that I mind watching images of sun-soaked beaches or glorious European castles, of course, and the change in weather has me dreaming of warmer climes and holidays, too.
Increasingly, cruise holidays are becoming a popular choice and for an ever-widening cross-section of people. Disney Cruises from Southampton, for example, are specifically designed to appeal to families with young children, not a demographic who would traditionally have considered a cruise. And the list of popular destinations is interesting. I spotted this article in Good Housekeeping which listed our top ten cruise destination searches during 2023: Norway topped the list, followed closely by Italy and Spain.
If you’re thinking of booking a cruise, I have a few tips for you. Not all cruise lines or cruise holidays are the same and a little advanced planning will help ensure you don’t spend your whole holiday worrying about whether you’ve packed the right things!
What to pack for your cruise holiday?
Dress-codes, in-cabin facilities and activities all vary between ships and cruise lines. Take something as simple as ironing or laundry services: some ships have self-service launderettes on board, some only have the (paid) housekeeping laundry service. Many seem to have banned irons (including travel irons) as they are a fire hazard (where they are available, make sure you take a cotton tea towel to iron through to protect your clothes from whatever the last person left stuck to the iron!).
Then there’s the baggage-limit presented by flying to join your ship. If you’re leaving from a UK port, you will be able to exploit the (almost) unlimited baggage allowance that cruising offers. However, if you’re flying to your departure port, you will be limited to whatever your airline’s luggage limit is. That can bring a whole new dimension to your packing.
Making the most of your carry-on bag is another great tip. When boarding your ship, you will usually leave your baggage in the terminal and walk on with just your bag – and it could be a few hours before your cases are brought up to your cabin for you. Most cruise ships seem to operate an informal dress code for dinner on the first day out, so you may not need to squeeze an evening dress into your handbag. However, planning the contents of your carry-on bag to get you through your first day without your other cases can be a real asset.
My essential cruise tips
The packing essentials for any cruise should include:
- Something to change into that meets your ship’s dress code for dinner
- A simple first aid kit, and your own medications
- A light jacket, cardigan or pashmina that can get you through unexpected weather
- A waterproof jacket in case excursions encounter rain
- Comfortable shoes (whether you’re spending your time on- or off-board!)
- Sun and insect protection
- Chargers for your devices; check if you will need adaptor plugs on board
Of course, this list is also a useful prompt to ask your cruise line what their onboard conditions are. For example, many check electrical items (like multi-plug extensions and adaptors) for surge protection, as this can be a hazard on board. Anything that is confiscated will be returned when you disembark but better to know the limits in advance!
Help in planning your cruise wardrobe
If the idea of packing for a cruise is putting you off, the good news is that I can help! Typically, I offer help and advice on:
- Shopping for your cruise: help with covering your ship’s dress-code and the activities you’ll be enjoying.
- Utilising your existing wardrobe: you may already have your cruise outfits; I can help you plan them.
- Capsule wardrobe planning: how to get multiple looks from the least combination of clothes.
- Tips on packing and storing your clothes so that you and your wardrobe arrive looking your best.
- Make the most of your carry-on bag so your first day on board is smooth sailing.
- Planning for the weather: from departing in English weather to arriving in Alaska or the Caribbean, I can help make sure your wardrobe will cope.
- Colour and style consultation: if you’ve never been colour- or style-analysed, this essential service can help get all your wardrobe planning off on the right foot.
Whether you’re a first-time cruiser, planning your first fly-cruise trip, or are a seasoned traveller departing from a home port, my advice can help make your holiday.
Find out more about my cruise wardrobe planning services here.