How to Pack for a Cruise Vacation

IMG_1136 (1)If you have never been on a cruise before, chances are you have absolutely no idea how to pack for a cruise and you will end up packing every article of clothing that you own.  You want to be prepared for all types of weather, formal dining nights, the beach, the pool, and the gym.  Before I had kids and I had more room in our suitcases, I would absolutely over pack.  Then the kids came along and I was relegated to this tiny little suitcase.  You know the one that is just too big for the overhead bin on an airplane, but not quite big enough to hold a suit?  Thats what I have been using for the past 11 years.

You don’t want to bring too much stuff either because your room is about the size of a sardine can.  There is one closet with enough hangers for seven women’s dresses, and if you are lucky, two shirts.  There is a serious lack of drawer space as well, so you can understand why I would want you to pack lightly.

The first time that I went on a cruise I think I brought two suits, a couple of dress shirts, and two different types of dress shoes.  I saw that the boat had formal nights and I thought that dressing up was mandatory; turns out, it’s not.  While they don’t want you walking in to dinner with your camouflage shorts and confederate flag tank top, I’ve come to realize over the years that I can get away with just wearing a pair of slacks (I hate that word) and a button down shirt.  For me, that’s formal enough.  I don’t need to wear to wear a tuxedo… chances are I would just spill my baked Alaska all over my pants anyway.


I’ve always packed a couple of pairs of workout shorts as well.  I never know when my wife will finally be able to convince me to get to the gym.  To this day, after about 15 cruises, I still have never set foot inside the fitness center on a cruise ship… but one day I will, so the shorts come along.  The last cruise we went on I brought along four pairs of shorts, I ended up wearing one pair one time and that was to walk on the boat.  As soon as we boarded, I changed into my swimsuit and only took it off to go to dinner.  I wouldn’t say DON’T bring shorts, but don’t bring as many as you think you need.

You are going to the beach... how much stuff do you need?

You are going to the beach… how much stuff do you need?

The only things that I don’t skimp on are underwear and t-shirts.  I always bring enough for every day of the cruise.  I’m not a filthy slob.  Also I pack enough polo shirts for each night and three pairs of pants of differing colors, so that I look kind of fancy for dinner.  Throw in some toiletries and you are done.

Here is your seven night cruise “What to Pack List:”

  1. 8 T-shirts
  2. 8 pairs of underwear
  3. 3 pairs of pants
  4. 2 pairs of shorts
  5. 1 swimsuit
  6. 5 casual polo/button down shirts
  7. 2 “formal” button down shirts
  8. 1 pair of dressier shoes (although closed toes sandals work as well)
  9. 1 pair of flip flops
  10. 5 hats (I like to accessorize)
  11. Toothbrush and toothpaste
  12. Deodorant
  13. Shaving equipment

That’s it.  I also packed a football to play catch with on the beach… but that is obviously optional.  I actually had extra room and was able squeeze in a beach bag.

Now if you were to ask my wife what she packed… well that’s an entirely different story.



The Beginning
About Daddysincharge

After 15 years as a News Photographer in the fast paced world of television news, I am now knee deep in Legos and laundry as the stay at home dad to to little boys. It was my choice to stay at home, so don't look at me like I am some kid of freak show. We're all parents just trying to raise our kids the right way. Some might be better at it than others, but if our kids love us for who we are, who cares.

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