Skip to Content

How to Pack for a World Cruise Tips

How to Pack for a World Cruise Tips

How to pack for a world cruise – it’s a conundrum faced by any world cruise traveller. The difficulty for packing for a world cruise as opposed to other types of cruises is the fact it is much longer – some are over 100 days in length, and will take in a huge variety of ports and you will be packing pretty much for every season. So how can you pack for a world cruise? In this guide we will round up all our how to pack for a world cruise tips and tricks so you have an amazing voyage.

Important Note: This post may contain affiliate links which means if you click through and make a purchase I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

How to create a world cruise packing list

So when you are putting together your world cruise packing list there are a few things that you will be wanting to consider. These things are

  • Itinerary
  • the weather
  • the seasons
  • laundry
  • The types of tourist sites you want to visit
  • How many sea days you have
  • will you use the gym on board?
  • Where you can get supplies

Now you know the type of things to consider when putting together your world cruise packing list we will look at each in more details and offer advice for how to pack for a world cruise.

Note: This guide is a how to pack for a world cruise guide. It takes you through a step by side guide to help you really think about what you want to pack and what will affect your packing list that you may not have thought of. However we also have this what to pack for a world cruise checklist which goes through on a more item by item basis.

How to Pack for a World Cruise Tips

What Not to Bring on a cruise
What Not to Bring on a cruise

Best Luggage for a world cruise

Your luggage will be stored for a long time on a world cruise and will likely be kept in your stateroom (not on every cruise though). Therefore if you have to keep your own luggage with you, you want to make sure it won’t take up too much room in your stateroom.

We therefore the best type of luggage to have therefore is soft sided luggage which can be pushed most easily under your stateroom bed.

How you World Cruise itinerary affects your packing list

One of the great things about world cruise itineraries are that no two are the same. We have been on two and we have picked them based on how different their itineraries are.

Now the differences in the itineraries and the cruise ports affect the packing list because

Seasons and Hemispheres

You may change hemispheres which means you will change seasons. For instance if you start in Southampton or Miami but are heading to Australia or cruising the South Pacific you will find you experience the complete opposite season. Be sure to know how long you are in the opposite hemisphere and plan accordingly.

What type of ports and shore excursions you are doing?

It is amazing how two people can go on the same world cruise and have completely different experiences. This is largely due to the choice of shore excursions they plan to do.

Some people may decide to do more beach time, others might enjoy religious sites and cultural attractions while others may prefer to do more strenuous activities such as hiking or snorkeling.

If you are the type who want to experience more beaches then pack like you would pack for a Caribbean cruise and add more swimwear and beach covers to your packing list.

If you prefer cultural attractions and religious sites then make sure you have more modest clothing. Check out our posts on what to wear to the Vatican, what to wear to Italian Churches and what to wear to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque for more information on religious site clothing dress code rules.

And if you are a more adventurous cruiser you may have places like Machu Picchu on your world cruise bucket list. If you plan on doing more adventurous excursions your world cruise packing list should have more attire for this type of activity i.e hiking boots and gear, snorkels and accessories etc.

What countries are you visiting

Also consider the countries that you are traveling to. For instance for us a highlight of a world cruise was visiting the Middle East, in particular Egypt. However Muslim countries have strict dress codes i.e. Dubai dress code rules and Qatar dress code rules. Therefore you will need to add more conservative attire to your world cruise packing list for what to wear to Egypt and what to wear to the pyramids.

Also in places like Fiji there are dress code rules such as not wearing a hat due to cultural senstivies (you can read more about what to wear in Fiji here).

How many Sea Days does your itinerary have? And how do you like to spend your sea days

If your itinerary has a lot of sea days, i.e. when you are crossing the Atlantic you may want more loungewear on your packing list and things that work for around the lido deck and the pool.

But if you like to keep active on your sea days be sure to pack some active wear so you can go to the gym, enjoy some of the onboard exercise classes such as yoga that are usually offered or even for just doing some good old fashioned deck walking.

How many formal nights does your itinerary have

Each world cruise will have formal nights but the frequency of them will change from cruise to cruise. BE sure to check with your cruise line before travel to see how many your trip has.

Once you know how many you will be having decide if you are happy to repeat some outfits on formal night. Storage in staterooms is at a premium so you don’t want to use it all up by taking lots of different evening wear if you don’t have.

Think about how you could style your formal wear outfits differently with things like jewellery, shoes and pashminas so it looks different on every formal night but reduces how many full outfits you have to take with you.

World Cruise Laundry Tips

Unfortunately no one can go on a world cruise without having to do laundry. Whether that be you doing I yourself or using your the ships laundry.

The frequency you will to do laundry will affect how long your world cruise packing list is and will also affect the laundry accessories you need to bring with you.

When putting together your cruise packing list be sure to think about how often you want to do laundry and the type of laundry you want to do. For instance, if you take only things that need dry cleaning your cruise bill is going to soon rack up.

My top tip is to leave the dry clean only items at home or at least limit it to just your formal wear items.

I also recommend selecting your cruise fabric options carefully. Although linen is lovely, elegant and a very breathable and cool fabric I recommend leaving the linens at home. Linen is notorious for creasing and as you will not be allowed an iron in your stateroom you won’t want to have lots of items that need pressing before each wear. Cottons are a much more practical choice for on a cruise.

For more information on what not to pack for a cruise click here.

Also as cruise cabins are notoriously small, I recommend taking a pop up laundry basket with you to help keep your stateroom tidy between laundry days.

For a similar reason we also recommend taking a pop up extra storage clothes hanger for in your wardrobe. Because although stewards will bring extra hangers if requested there is never enough room in ships wardrobes in my opinion.

And my final tip relating to laundry is to take some gel capsules with you. Although cruise laundry rooms will have laundry detergent available for a fee I find it harsh on my sensitive skin and therefore always take a few with me.

Note about Laundry: irons and clothes steamers are firmly on the cruise prohibited item list and therefore should be left at home. For more information on what not to pack for a cruise check out this post.

For a full list of what toiletries to pack for a cruise check out this post.

Put together a cruise capsule wardobe

My number one tip for how to pack for a world cruise is to put together a cruise capsule wardrobe.

The main rules for putting together a cruise capsule wardrobe are:

  • only pack items that you truly love and know you will wear. If you are unsure leave it at home
  • everything you pack must work in two or more outfits. i.e. each top and bottom must work in at last two outfits.
  • Pack less clothes but get more outfits out of the clothes you pack

For instance pick shirts and tank tops that could be used during the day if you are at a religious site or at the beach but my styling them differently with some jewelry, a pashmina or a cardigan for evenings.

For more information on how to create a cruise capsule wardrobe for women click here. And here’s our favorite cruise wear for men.

Also as part of your capsule wardrobe I advise you to select your underwear very carefully. As you are trying to reduce the number of things you take. with you picking underwear in neutral color is more sensible as it will go with light coloured outfits and dark.

There is nothing worse than realising your black bra or bright coloured kickers are showing through your formal wear. Neutral underwear means you won’t have to think about what you are wearing when getting dressed.

For more information on how to put together a cruise capsule wardrobe click here.

The capsule wardrobe philosophy also extends to your accessories. Pashminas and cardigans should be in colors that match most of your wardrobe and your bag should be able to be worn with every day time outfit. I tend to go for a brown handbag as this matches more of my cruise outfits but choose what works for you.

However I do recommend that you the bag you choose is the cross body variety that is made to be anti theft. Cruise ports visit lots of tourist sites and tourist sites anywhere in the world attract pick pockets. Keep your belongings safe by having this type of bag with you.

Note: We want to say a big thank you to Tricia for providing information for this guest post for us.