Cruising fashion

Jo Haywood looks at what clothes you should choose to take on a cruise.If your idea of packing for a cruise is to upend your wardrobe into a suitcase the size (and weight) of a Ford Mondeo, you might want to have a rethink before you set sail....

For one thing, the boat might not actually make it out of the harbour if you don't. A cruise is more than just a holiday, so you need more than just your usual holiday clothes. Shorts, sarongs and a pile of Tshirts are fine for your average get-away, but you need a more varied capsule wardrobe for a voyage on the high seas. But the emphasis should still always be on 'capsule' rather than 'wardrobe'. Even when you are going on a cruise, you still have to choose. Even though many cruise ships have loosened their dress code policies in recent years, you still need a wide range of clothes. Before you pack, it's important to familiarise yourself with your cruise itinerary. This will give you a good general impression of what clothes, accessories and shoes to pack. In general terms, a cruise usually involves three broad style themes: formal social, smart casual and active sporty. Day wear can mean anything from swimsuits, shorts, T-shirts and jeans depending on where you are going. You'll need little more than a sarong if you're touring the Bahamas, but it's wise to add a wrap or two and even a light windbreaker if you're navigating the Med instead. Contrary to popular belief, you don't need a different dress for every formal evening occasion. Learn to use your accessories wisely and you will save a lot of space. If you follow the basic principles of packing - fashion and function - you won't go far wrong. Don't pack anything unless it goes with at least three other items in your case. It might be your favourite designer skirt, but if it can't be mixed and matched with three tops it shouldn't make the cut. By packing smart, you can take away a lot of the stress associated with cruise wear. And, even better than that, you'll have more room for all those lovely souvenirs.

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