packing for a cruise

What Should I Pack for My First Cruise?

As many of my regular readers will know for the last few months I’ve been talking about my upcoming holiday to Norway. We’re spending a week aboard P&O’s Azura and cruising along the stunning Norwegian Fjords. This is our second cruise, you can read all about our first one here. We have waited fourteen months for this holiday and I am so glad it’s finally just around the corner. One thing I have been thinking about is the type of clothing I need to pack.

Unlike most holidays, when cruising you need a lot of clothing options because there are usually dress codes on board the ship. You also need to think about where you’re going. Many cruises go to several different countries, some with different climates and so I would say that when it comes to selecting you cruise clothes, layers are your best friend. We are away, as a couple, for seven nights and during the cruise we’ll be visiting four ports, have two full days at sea and two black tie events. There are also facilities such as a sauna, steam room, pools and a gym onboard and if you plan to use these facilities, you’ll need appropriate clothing too.

As a rule of thumb and in line with P&O’s guidelines, a 7 night cruise will typically have two formal nights and a 14 night cruise will probably have around four. This is a really helpful tip when you’re considering what to pack. The rest of the evenings will most likely be smart casual and during the day, the rules around clothing are pretty relaxed. You should consider the types of ports and excursions you’re planning to do whilst you’re away. If you’re going to be hiking, you’ll need layers, comfortable clothing and a decent pair of shoes. You might be doing more daring activities such as riding in a RIB boat or even Kayaking. Do your research on the places you’re visiting before you go which will really help when planning to pack.

The great thing about cruising with P&O and departing from Southampton is that there’s no baggage restrictions. You can take as many bags as you like on board however they do have a standard weight restriction for health and safetly. I love this because it means I can pack as many dresses as I like and plan my outfits on the day rather than in advance however it’s good to have an idea of the types of outfits you’ll need.

We’re taking 2 suitcases, 2 backpacks and a suit bag for two people which (I hope!) will contain enough clothing for the duration of our cruise. I’ve packed two formal dresses and several casual dresses for our black tie evenings. When cruising, the dresscode is typically applied to all area’s of the ship so it’s really important to find out from your cruise operator how many formal nights you’ll need to dress for. Swimwear is only acceptable attire in the pool areas so it’s important to back cover ups to have by your sun bed if you fancy a bite to eat. For men, a good suit, a couple of casual shirts, dark denim jeans, trousers and shoes are pretty much the staples for any cruise. Shorts and sports clothing is usually not allowed in the evening but fine for casual day wear. I really recommend taking a suit in a separate carry on bag.

Even though we know that there will be two black tie nights on board, we have no idea which days these are. The last time we went the first evening was a black tie which surprised me a little however now I’m prepared for the fact that our first night on board may be an occasion to dress up! The important thing to remember when packing clothes for your cruise is to select clothing that you feel comfortable wearing. Be bold and daring if you wish, be as glamorous as you want but make sure you feel comfortable in what you take. Also, do not be afraid to bring more than you need if you’re not flying, make use of all that baggage space.

Do you have a top cruising tip you’d love to share?

***This is a collaborative post***

packing for a cruise holiday #cruise #travel

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