With more than 40 cruises and 15 years selling cruises for www.7seascruises.com, I've learned how to pack for a 7-night Caribbean adventure in 15 minutes. Follow my tips and you can, too!
Swimwear – forget about how you look in your swimsuit and just pack it. Unless you are completely anti-water, you’re going to want to wear it to the hot tub (late at night when no one is looking?) or to walk those soft sands on a private beach day.
Swimwear Cover-Up – you’ll need it for lunch; you’ll want it when the sun is too much to take.
Sunscreen – sure, you have a lovely tan, but unless you live by the pool in Hawaii or Puerto Rico, you’re not prepared for the sun’s rays bounced off white sand, a pool and an ocean. Be smart; apply often.
Cool clothes – the Caribbean is hot year round. You will be, too. Wear your lightest shorts, shirts, Capri pants, sundresses. Bring enough for a fresh outfit every day. Yes, you will see people wearing the same raggedy shorts and t-shirt every day, but no one wants to get too close to them after the first day.
Formalwear – Before you get too excited, let me assure you that you don’t need a tux; you might not even need a dark suit. You will need long pants (dress slacks or even khakis), a dress shirt. If you’re sailing Holland America or Celebrity, a suit is expected. On the other lines, a sport coat would be nice. For women, a dress (long or short), or evening pants and a sparkly top is appropriate for formal nights, although you can wear an evening gown or glittery cocktail dress. On other nights, a sundress looks about right. Shorts look out of place in the dining room at night, any night.
Hat – baseball cap or straw fedora or floppy straw sunhat, your choice, but the sun is blistering in the Caribbean.
Sweater or shawl – For as hot as the sun is by day, many cruise ships compensate by turning the air conditioning to “max” in the evening. You might not need it, but if you’re wearing a sundress, it might feel good.
Camera – Don’t miss that pod of dolphins following in your wake. Frame a beach shot between palm trees. Capture your travel companions at their most relaxed. Just please don’t view every sight through your lens.
Sunglasses – Squint lines are not pretty.
Book – Even if the last book you read was The Scarlet Letter back in high school, pick up something that looks interesting and bring it along. It’s nice to stretch out in a deck chair on the Promenade deck and read, even if you spend most of the time just staring at the endless ocean. And on long sea days, it’ll keep you out of the casino.
Sensible shoes – Five-inch stilettos and wooden decks do not mix, especially when decks are freshly washed or splashed with pool water.
Sense of humor –Your warmest smile can make a huge difference to a crew member. (Remember, you’re on vacation---but they’re not). Relax and have fun.
Expandable tote bag – Some people manage to acquire a lot of stuff on a cruise. If you’re one of them, and you’ll be bringing home those 3-for-$10 t-shirts, colorful pareos, photos, liquor, native paintings, onyx chess sets, silver jewelry from Sergio’s in Cozumel, etc., etc., bring along a tote bag to carry it all!
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