What to wear on a cruise

Author: Kaye Holland

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Packing for any trip is never easy but a cruise holiday is more challenging than most as your average voyage often takes in several different ports of call. To this end, check out Virgin Voyages’ expert advice on everything you need to make the most of your next sailing.

So you’ve booked your cruise holiday, checked your passport isn’t out of date and researched your ports of call…now all you need to do is work out what to pack. Put the panic on hold: we’ve teamed up with Virgin Voyages’ to dispense five tips that will have you packing like a pro…

Luggage matters
Unlike airlines, there are no baggage fees for the luggage you bring on a Virgin Voyages’ cruise so, if you want to bring a couple of cases, you can. That being said, we recommend not going, ahem, overboard with the number of bags you bring so as to ensure a smooth embarkation.

Speaking of which, it’s worth pointing out that on embarkation day you’ll check in your luggage at the cruise terminal and it will be delivered to your cabin later that day. Our message? Keep any valuables (think laptops, travel documents, jewellery, and house keys) on you. Similarly, if you’re planning on heading straight to the hot tub or pool, it’s a good idea to keep your swimsuit in your hand luggage.

There’s no need to pack everything but the kitchen sink. Credit: Shutterstock

Sea days
Days at sea with Virgin Voyages offer you time to explore either Scarlet Lady or Valiant Lady at your leisure. How you spend this time is entirely up to you. Fitness fans will want to pack their gym kit as every day on board is filled with a range of complimentary fitness classes – from sunrise yoga and meditation to spin classes, HIIT workouts, and outdoor boxing.

Or you might want to treat yourself to a trip to Redemption Spa where you’ll need your bathing suit to be able to enter the Thermal Suite and take advantage of the mud room, salt room, sauna, hot and cold plunge pools, and heated marble hammam benches.

For all other daytime activities – relaxing with a book on deck, etc – casual clothes should suffice.

Planning on taking a yoga class? Don't forget to pack your yoga kit. Credit: Virgin Voyages

Shore days
When venturing ashore to explore, wear clothes you feel comfortable in but do dress for the destination. Case in point? If you’re visiting an Islamic country or city, be sure to dress more modestly than usual – always cover your shoulders when entering mosques and avoid wearing tight or overly revealing clothes.

Secondly, keep the weather in mind. Sailing to cooler climates such as the Norwegian Fjords or Alaska? Layers are advised along with a good waterproof jacket. For warmer destinations including the Caribbean and Mediterranean, cottons, linens, and loose-fitting clothing are the way to go.

And wherever you are setting sail to, comfortable shoes are a must – as are sun cream, sunglasses, medication, a travel adaptor, and your camera.

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Evenings on board
Nights on board Scarlet Lady and Valiant Lady are whatever you want them to be. Our advice is to be the best version of yourself – for us, that means lots of sparkles and sequins but, if a relaxed style is more your thing, that’s fine too. And don’t worry about packing multiple outfits: no one cares if you wear the same thing more than once.

What you will need to pack is something red to wear at our infamous Scarlet Night which happens throughout the ship one evening on every voyage. To see what we mean, you’ll have to experience it yourself, but trust that there’s never been a more perfect opportunity to show off your authentic style.

You’ll also need a pair of pyjamas if you’re planning on attending our legendary PJ party (held on the first night of a Virgin Voyages’ sailing and highly recommended!)

Scarlet Lady is the first ship from Virgin Voyages. Credit: Virgin Voyages

What not to pack
There’s no need to pack everything but the kitchen sink: things you can leave at home include bathroom and pool towels, irons, and hair dryers – you’ll find these in your cabin.

Don’t overfill your wash bag either – shampoo, soap, and body lotion are all provided – and (attention all Brits) leave the travel kettle at home. We know that our British sailors are fond of a good cuppa, but kettles are banned on ships for safety reasons – as are candles and extension leads.

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About Kaye Holland

Kaye is a London-based wordsmith who has written for a range of publications including The Times, The Independent, The I, Culture Trip, The Sun, and ABTA among others. In June 2022, Kaye joined the Real Response Media where she looks – together with Lucy Abbott – after the World of Cruising website. Want to get in touch? Kaye can be reached at: [email protected]