The Art of Packing for a Cruise: How to Pack a Capsule Wardrobe for a Hot Climate

The Art of Packing for a Cruise: How to Pack a Capsule Wardrobe for a Hot Climate

The Art of Packing for a Cruise: How to Pack a Capsule Wardrobe for a Hot Climate. Here is how to pack for your cruise step by step.

Does anyone like packing? I don’t! I really do not enjoy it, but I do it a lot so I have become a good packer.

So, you have booked the cruise and are so excited to go on vacation, but then you have the dreaded task of packing for it! What do you pack for a cruise? Here I am going to walk you through it as there is an art to it.

How to Pack a Capsule Wardrobe for a Hot Climate

I pack especially for cruising most of the time, so I am going to share with you, the essential items you should bring and what you can leave at home.

Most women bring way too much with them when they vacation, and then they end up wearing the same old things or what they feel comfortable in.

How many times have you shopped for loads of clothes, shoes and accessories before you went away and then either not packed them as you didn’t have room in your luggage or you didn’t feel comfortable in the new dress you bought? Any hands up?

When you travel it’s best to pack a capsule wardrobe if you are cruising, staying in a resort or even backpacking. It is better to bring less than more so you have space to bring back a souvenir or two.

The Art of Packing for a Cruise- How to Pack a Capsule Wardrobe for a Hot Climate with free packing checklist

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The Art of Packing for a Cruise: How to Pack a Capsule Wardrobe for a Hot Climate

Step By Step Guide:

  • Get the right luggage. If you start with a heavy case then you already taking less with you! So, get a lightweight case, with wheels and one that you cannot go over the airline weight restrictions (always check your airline website to see what their weight restriction is, as they do differ). My suggestion is to buy a lightweight, wheeled, medium-sized case. My favourite brand that I personally use is Eastpak.
  • Invest in packing cubes they are a game changer when it comes to packing. They come in all different sizes so you can organise all your clothes, which makes it a lot easier when you get to your destination. Also, I like to use them to organise my clothes in drawers in the cabin/hotel room. It is much easier to pack and keep yourself organised. Then you can pack your underwear together, tops, dresses, jeans, etc. If your luggage is opened it looks neat and tidy.
  • Always check the weather before you go. Does it get cold at night? Is there any chance of rain? How hot does it get?
  • Are you going to any sites that require a certain way to dress? Some countries require to cover up in temples, churches, and cathedrals and sometimes it is a custom that women do not show their shoulders and knees. Always best to check first so you are not surprised.
  • Pick out the colours you like to wear. Then narrow it down to four or five colours. For example black, navy, white, beige and coral. Pick colours that can be mixed and matched to make different outfits. Don’t bring items of clothing that do not go with anything else unless it is a dress for a formal night.
  • You are going to need outfits for; joining the ship, breakfast and dinner, formal nights, tours/beach/walking around the city/town and leaving the ship.

The Art of Packing for a Cruise: How to Pack a Capsule Wardrobe for a Hot Climate

Pick Out Your Clothing:

  • 3 Pairs of trousers (e.g. jeans denim/white & smart black trousers)
  • 2 Pairs of shorts/2 skirts (e.g. beige/navy/white)
  • 1 Casual dress (e.g. navy/coral one that goes with scarf or cardigan)
  • 7 Casual tops (e.g. navy/white/coral)
  • 5 Smart tops (e.g. black/coral/white)
  • 1 Smart dress (e.g. navy/coral)
  • 1 Long-sleeve shirt (e.g. lightweight in white)
  • 2 Formal Dresses (e.g. black/colour and easy to pack)
  • 2 Vest Tops (e.g. white/nude/navy)
  • Sweater/Cardigan (e.g. navy)
  • Gym Tee and leggings (if you use the gym)
  • Bikini/Bathing Suit
  • Over up
  • Sleepwear
  • Flip Flops
  • Hat
  • Beach bag
  • 1 Pair of Heels (Nude)
  • 1 Pair of Ballet Pumps (nude)
  • 1 Pair of Trainers/Walking Shoes
  • 1 Pair Sandals (Flat)
  • Formal clutch bag
  • Scarves
  • Handbag
  • Backpack
  • Knickers
  • Bras
  • Sports Bra
  • Socks
  • Tights
  • Trainers socks
  • Lightweight Jacket/Rain jacket
  • Umbrella
  • Jewellery (that goes with everything)
  • Watch
  • Belt
  • Sunglasses & Case
  • Plastic bag – good for laundry

Get your Free Packing Checklist by clicking here to make packing easier


The Art of Packing for a Cruise: How to Pack a Capsule Wardrobe for a Hot Climate

  • Once your capsule wardrobe is selected, roll all tops and small items of clothing and place into the packing cubes. It is amazing how much more you can squeeze in. Fold all dresses and trousers and lay them below the packing cubes.
  • One thing to remember when cruising there are washing machines and laundry service onboard, so if you are doing a longer trip or want to wash some of your clothes, you can.
  • Stick to a colour theme so you can mix and match, for example, my colours are black, navy, white, beige, and coral. This makes it so much easier to make lots of outfits and takes the hard work out of dressing when on vacation.
  • Shoes, I love shoes, but not taking my whole collection! So, my advice is to choose a colour that goes with every outfit. I wear nude patent shoes, high heels and flats and I have a matching clutch bag that goes with everything. Pack lightweight trainers or walking shoes. Leave the wooden wedges at home!
  • Only take jewellery that goes with all of your outfits, but a necklace can change the look of an outfit as does a scarf.
  • Hairdryer and straightening irons or curlers, take travel size or lightweight and remember your brush, comb and clips.
  • Beauty products, do not bring full-size products unless you are going to use all of it like sunscreen and after-sun lotion. Always buy travel-sized products or decant them into 50 ml or 100 ml bottles or jars. There are so many empty bottles you can buy in all shapes and sizes now it is easy to decant and label. But always remember to label before you wash your hair with your face cream!
  • Take products that have multi-uses.
  • Make-up take just what you normally use and empty your make-up bag of make-up that you only use occasionally as you will probably wear less.
  • Remember your camera and charger, tablet and charger, phone and charger, earphones and plug adapters.
  • A tip for getting more in your suitcase is to pack it, then stand it upright and leave it to settle for at least a few hours. Then open it and squeeze in more.
  • Label your luggage with a luggage tag and also put a copy of your tag inside your luggage just in case it comes off.
  • Use TSA-approved locks if travelling to the USA.
  • Weigh your luggage with luggage scales.
  • Get your Free Packing Checklist by clicking here to make packing easier.


Here are some cruising products from Amazon you may find useful on your next cruise. To see more, have a look at my Amazon shop page and click here.

The Art of Packing for a Cruise for a Hot Climate - Lucy Williams Global

If you enjoyed reading this article you may enjoy Top 23 Packing Tips for Cold Cruise 

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Happy Cruising!


  1. theclutterboxblog
    January 19, 2018 / 8:23 pm

    I added a few things from your list to my packing list! I am always updating it and checking it. I love having packing lists, it makes everything so much easier! I still need to invest in packing cubes though!

    • lucywilliamsglobal
      January 24, 2018 / 1:58 pm

      Thank you, glad you found it helpful. I even use my lists every time I travel as then I keep organised! Highly recommend the packing cubes, I cannot travel without them!

  2. January 20, 2018 / 12:59 am

    I haven’t gone on a cruise in awhile and that was a long time ago. If I went know I would need to follow these steps to efficiently do it.

    • lucywilliamsglobal
      January 24, 2018 / 2:26 pm

      Glad you found these steps helpful for your next cruise.

  3. Shell
    January 20, 2018 / 3:53 am

    Those packing cubes sound like a lifesaver! I travel a lot so I will definitely be picking some of these up! Thanks for the tip!

    • lucywilliamsglobal
      January 24, 2018 / 2:27 pm

      I can’t travel without them from a weekend away to a long trip.

  4. Marjie Mare
    January 20, 2018 / 3:54 am

    Great tips for packing for a cruise which is less stressful than packing to flight.

    • lucywilliamsglobal
      January 24, 2018 / 2:28 pm

      Thank you very much! Hope you can put them into practice in the future.

  5. January 20, 2018 / 12:16 pm

    Such a great post with amazing tips! I’m longing to go on a cruise – maybe someday!

    • lucywilliamsglobal
      January 24, 2018 / 2:32 pm

      Thank you very much! I hope you get to go on a cruise in the future as they are so fun!

  6. January 20, 2018 / 3:14 pm

    I saved this list for my spring and summer trips– it is so thorough and comprehensive. Thanks for the post!

    • lucywilliamsglobal
      January 24, 2018 / 2:31 pm

      So pleased you have found this list helpful! Have a lovely vacation.

  7. Stephanie
    January 20, 2018 / 8:55 pm

    These are all such wonderful ideas! I’ve only really cruised in the Caribbean and lived in Florida most of my life, so luckily I knew the climate well. I never realized how chilly it would get in the evenings on deck though! I also do as you said and have a lot of the same colors…. all of my dresses (both formal and informal) have black in them so I only have black shoes and accessories. It makes packing for anything much easier!

    • lucywilliamsglobal
      January 24, 2018 / 2:30 pm

      It can get cold at night on deck! Having a colour theme is the way to go on a cruise, as it makes dressing a lot easier!

  8. thevelazquezhouse
    January 20, 2018 / 11:45 pm

    Great tips on packing for a cruise! I hope to be able to plan on sometime this year 🙂 We do tend to travel but I usually find myself packing for a flight rather than a cruise.

    • lucywilliamsglobal
      January 24, 2018 / 2:25 pm

      Thank you! I hope you make it on a cruise this year.

  9. January 21, 2018 / 3:53 am

    We plan on going on a cruise soon and I will for sure come back to this list. Great tips on what to pack.

    • lucywilliamsglobal
      January 24, 2018 / 2:11 pm

      Have a fantastic cruise and happy packing!

  10. loveyoumoretoo
    January 21, 2018 / 4:42 am

    This is great! I love warm weather cruises and always seem to forget one or more things. This is great for new cruisers and experienced cruisers alike.

    • lucywilliamsglobal
      January 24, 2018 / 2:10 pm

      Thank you! Enjoy your next cruise!

  11. January 22, 2018 / 1:35 am

    i get so lost packing for trips, especially when weather’s unpredictable! will be saving your great tips for packing for a cruise =)

    • lucywilliamsglobal
      January 23, 2018 / 2:06 pm

      Thank you very much and I hope these tips help you on your next cruise vacation.

  12. January 22, 2018 / 7:16 pm

    Ironically enough, I was just talking to my girlfriend last night about doing a cruise. It’s definitely on the list of things I would be interested in doing. It sounds like such a lot of fun. And you put a ton of great information about things to consider when I do go. thanks!

    • lucywilliamsglobal
      January 23, 2018 / 1:59 pm

      How funny! Cruising is a fantastic vacation onboard and ashore. Now you have the ideal packing list when you go!

  13. January 22, 2018 / 7:50 pm

    I love cruises but haven’t been on one in a while. I love your packing tips and I need some of those packing cubes!

    • lucywilliamsglobal
      January 23, 2018 / 1:57 pm

      Thank you very much! I highly recommend the packing cubes, I can’t travel without them.

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