Like cruise ships themselves, appropriate cruise clothing varies widely. When packing cruise clothing, it's important to take into consideration the cruise line, the length of the cruise, and its destination or destinations. It's a good idea to ask a knowledgeable travel agent for clothing suggestions as well as reading cruise literature and brochures for ideas as to what to wear while cruising. Finally, it is always a good idea to find out more about local standards in the ship's ports of call.
Different cruise ships and cruise lines each have their own ambiance and standards of formality. For example, some dining rooms on some cruise ships require that diners always wear formal or semi-formal attire at dinner and may ban shorts or tank tops during breakfast and lunch. Other ships have more relaxed standards. On longer cruises, passengers can usually expect at least one formal night, and the cruise ship may actually have its own tuxedo rental service that supplies evening wear for such occasions. Other cruise lines operate on a strictly come as you are basis.
The selection of cruise clothing should take into consideration the ports of call. On an Alaskan cruise, passengers will want to pack warm things, while a Caribbean cruise dictates lighter clothing, though passengers would be wise to consider the season in which they will be traveling. If the cruise ship has a swimming pool or the ship will be visiting places where swimming is a possibility, swimwear, flip flops, and a cover-up are good things to bring along. Passengers should also pack appropriate footwear, particularly if they will be participating in long walking tours or hikes. If the cruise ship has a fitness center, exercise clothing and shoes are in order.
When packing cruise clothing, passengers should consider cultural differences in the areas in which they will be traveling. For example, some destinations frown on people wearing revealing clothing in town and may forbid people wearing such clothing from entering houses of worship or cultural monuments. For this reason, women may want to pack a jacket to be carried in a tote bag while in port. This can be worn over sleeveless garments in places that mandate modest clothing. Finally, cruise passengers should pack clothing appropriate for their trip home. The cruise ship may be sailing in warm seas, but if it's cold at home, summery dresses and shorts will make for a cold ride from the airport.