What to wear on a cruise

Unless you’re a fortune teller, packing can be difficult at the best of times. If you’re like me and like to get dressed ‘in the moment’, it can be very challenging to predict what you will feel like wearing a week in advance. Add the dress codes many cruises request to this already fraught predicament and it’s enough to make you need a strong drink or a second holiday.

Drawing on my experience over two weeks on Holland America Line’s 14-day Far Eastern Explorer, the following four outfits will stand you in good stead as you sail the high seas, day and night.

Outfit 1 – Sailormade
A pair of white pants are a perfect staple for your cruise. Whether you prefer a stretch pant or jeans, white pants will go with almost anything. Pair with a navy tee, oversized sunglasses and gold sandals for daytime. For a smart casual evening outfit, wear with a wedge, a navy or black silk top and some striking jewellery. Match with a striped short or long sleeve top for a more nautical ensemble.

Outfit 2 – Naut-i-cool
Speaking of nautical, stripes have never been more appropriate than when one is at sea. A simple navy and white striped dress is a great option for daywear. Pair with sandals or simple street shoes such as white sneakers. When the wind picks up and the temperature drops throw on a neutral coloured knit jumper and voila, it looks like you’re wearing a skirt and top.

Outfit 3 – Wear the pants
A lightweight pair of printed or plain pants will save the day in more ways than one. They’re great for relaxing around the ship when the sun goes down, or if you go ashore in a country which requires modesty when visiting sacred sites. Choose a pair which drape well in a colour that you love. By avoiding black, you can create interesting outfits by teaming said pants with tees or singlets in neutral colours. Finish your outfit off with sandals, or opt for wedges for a more dressy look, and some fun jewellery.

Outfit 4 – Lifesaver
You can NEVER go past the LBD (Little Black Dress). Ever. Many cruise ships have a handful of formal nights scattered throughout the trip. While you may think a little black dress isn’t the most exciting option, it offers the perfect canvas to create your different looks. When chosen well, the LBD is extremely flattering and can be made to look very different depending on the accessories that accompany it. Avoid excess baggage by packing a good LBD with a few different statement accessories for each formal night. Opt for a beautiful scarf one night and then a statement necklace or earrings the next. By choosing an interesting heel in a neutral colour such as nude or a metallic you can get away with packing only one pair of formal shoes. Take an evening bag in a colour that will complement your other accessories to both break up the black and add interest to your outfit.

Voila – and Bon Voyage!

Written by SJ