No, I am not going to discuss Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’ fashion sense. Going on cruises — you know, aboard a ship — is more than just a vacation. This is a time when dressing up is a must especially in the main dining hall and night socials. Though many cruise ships have loosened their dress code policies, there are still premier lines that keep the old dressing up traditions. It is a good thing, too, because most people who go on cruises are people who want to break the monotony of their lives. Dressing up gives them an opportunity to break from their routine and lets them get the most from their cruise vacation. Dressing up is not really a problem, it is the packing that frustrates many. By many, I mean us, women.
How many times have you tried to shut and zip up an overflowing suitcase only to be denied at the port or airport because your luggage is at least 20 pounds overweight? Dressing up on cruise does not mean that you have to pack your whole wardrobe. Cruise fashion means smart and practical packing. Being stressed out because of too much luggage makes us look haggard even in our best evening dress. Before you pack, it is important to be familiar about your cruise’s itinerary. This gives you a general idea what clothes, accessories, and shoes to pack. Since the itinerary and dress code of the cruise is usually printed with the brochure, you should have no problem with this. If you like to be sure, call the travel agency that promotes the cruise. In general, cruises often require that you attend three kinds of activities: a formal social, smart casual affair, and a casual/sporty activity.
Since you won’t be spending the day locked up in your cabin, remember to pack good day wear aside from your stilettos. Day wear can mean anything from swimsuits, shorts, t-shirts, and jeans depending on wear you are going. Bahamas cruises certainly merit good swimsuits, sarongs, and other breezy wear. If you are thinking of a Scandinavian tour, hiking boots, jackets, hiking clothes, and gloves are must-haves. Bring sweatshirts, wraps, or lightweight windbreakers for sudden changes in temperatures.
Nighttime aboard on the ship usually involves socials that require dressing up. If your itinerary specifies several strictly formal events, just bring a formal dress or two and key pieces of jewelry. There are dresses that are designed to function in multiple ways: asymmetrical, tube, halter, or with straps. You could buy and pack one of these and save on luggage space. Your staple black dress is fine as long as you change the accessories that go with it. Wraps, shawls, earrings, and necklaces are good additions to your outfit. If you prefer pantsuits, bring a pair of versatile dress slacks and several tops to go with it. Cruise Diva editor Linda Coffman actually advises concentrating on the waist up. People hardly notice what pants or shoes you wear as long as they notice change on your tops and accessories.