A good clothing plan is an absolute essential. You don't want to have to buy any emergency clothes once you're on the ship because of your poor planning. Attire aboard a cruise ship is generally pretty casual, but this doesn't mean cut-offs and flip-flops in the dining room. Meal time is generally sporty casual on most cruise ships. There may be some formal dinners, so check ahead of time to find out the dress code for them and for the dining room in general. Tuxedo requirements aren't as common as they used to be for formal dinners; a nice suit will usually do. Many ships have tuxedo rental services onboard anyway, in case you don't already own one. Keep in mind that it's not a requirement to attend the formal functions. Women don't need to wear evening gowns; generally anything dressy will do.
Here are a few more packing tips:
- If you're a couple, split your bags with his and hers clothes. That way if one of your bags is lost, you're both temporarily covered.
- Bring your first evening's dinner clothes in your carry-on bag. If there's a delay in getting your checked bags to your cabin, you're all set for dinner.
- A good set of walking shoes for port is a good thing to have.
- If you're sun sensitive, bring your big, floppy sun hat and become "that" person.
- Don't just pack tank tops and bikinis. The insides of cruise ships are usually extremely air conditioned and you'll want some warmer clothes.
- Limit your jewelry and nice watches. You'll become a target for thieves in port and sometimes even onboard.