First, examine the itinerary:
* Make a list of the ports of call and the activities you plan to participate in at each.Will you be swimming? snorkeling? riding horses? walking tours? climbing ruins?
* How many days at sea?
* How many formal nights does the ship have scheduled, and will you be participating or eating at the buffet those nights?
* Check the seasonal weather averages. Are you cruising during hurricane season? Monsoon season?
For men: These days, formal nights are less so. Your guy can get by with a suit or sport coat with or without tie on the mainstream lines, or a suit on the premiums. Yes, you will sometimes see tuxes, but you will also see business and "Sunday best" in the main dining room. Specialty "signature" restaurants on premium lines do sometimes have stricter dress codes. For daytime, pack one or two pair casual pants and two pair casual shorts and three shirts.
For women: Ladies, a simple solid color dress is always a good choice for its versatility. Dress it up or down with accessories.Pack two pair of nice slacks with three or four blouses. On formal nights, pair slacks with a dressy top and a fancy scarf or some bling and you are all set. For daytime, two pair of capris or long shorts, two casual tops and a simple sundress work nicely.
Footwear: Shoes should be broken in and comfortable for a lot of walking, and ones which don't mind contact with sand and water - even the decks are frequently wet. You will also want a pair of casual sandals and a pair of dress shoes. Note: "flip flops" are often NOT allowed in the main dining room and never in the signature restaurants.
Sweaters: Even though it's warm and humid in the Caribbean or South Pacific, a nice lightweight sweater or shawl will be welcome in the ship's chilly dining rooms. Also, the breeze on deck can also be quite cool in the mornings and evenings. Proximity to water always brings extremes in temperatures.
Two bathing suits are a must, as are cover-ups. Onboard, you'll see people walking around in their cabin/spa robes over bathing suits all day, but dining in the restaurants will require clothes over your suit. A shirt for the guys and sundress are easy do's for this.
Towels are furnished poolside and for beach trips in port.
Windbreaker or light rain jacket that folds compactly to carry along with you "just in case".
Hat with brim to protect ears (don’t forget to include plenty of sunscreen)
Sunglasses - polarized are best. The sun bouncing off white sand and reflecting off of the water can be brutally blinding.
Waterproof wallet or document holder for your passport, ship ID card, a bit of cash. It should be pinnable securely to the inside of your clothes when swimming.
Toiletries - get a hanging toiletry bag. Shoes/accessory hangers work well, too. Cruise cabins have limited counter space (really, none at all), so hang everything! Shoe organizers have multiple pockets to keep your toiletries, jewelry, sunscreens, hair accessories, etc. Hang on back of bathroom door or on the shower's top edge.
Sunscreen! Use a higher SPF than you might at home. Trust me on this!
Refillable, collapsible water bottle with ring to attach to your belt loop or purse handle.
Dramamine or ginger if you are prone to motion sickness.
I hope you found this article helpful. I am happy to answer your cruising questions. Just drop me a line or give me a call!