The Best Kind of Clothes to Wear on a Caribbean Cruise

Know what to pack to make your trip more enjoyable.

Photo: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images

Your trip to the Caribbean is right around the corner! After saving and planning, you're finally going to take some time off and enjoy the tropics. But it's not every day you go island hopping, so what exactly do you need to pack? While you're cruising, you'll enjoy many different activities, from hiking and snorkeling to hanging by the pool and enjoying rich meals.

On Board: Daytime

While you cruise to your destination, there are likely to be several days at sea. During such days, you'll spend your entire day and night on the boat taking advantage of the many activities the ship has to offer. Most cruises are very casual during the day -- shorts, a t-shirt and sandals are appropriate. Choose footwear with rubber soles to help avoid slipping on deck. It is also a good idea to carry a light sweater or jacket with you because it can be cooler than expected on the water.

On Board: Evening

Many cruises have two levels of dinner dress: smart casual or formal. For a dining room or evening described as smart casual, ladies should wear a dress that is more formal than a sundress but less formal than a gown. Other options are slacks with a blouse or fancier top. When the dining room or event onboard is described as formal, women are required to wear a cocktail dress, gown or dressed-up pantsuit.

Onshore: Sightseeing

One of the simplest and most fun things to do at your port of call is simply to walk around the town sightseeing. But you don't want to find yourself hot and uncomfortable an hour into your adventure. For a day experiencing the local scenery, shops and restaurants, wear comfortable walking shoes or sneakers with socks. Wear lightweight cotton or linen dresses or shorts. There's a reason linen is a popular fabric in these areas: it's casual, chic and very breathable.

On Land: Activities

Depending on your cruise line, there will be dozens of different activities available at the various ports of call during your trip. Because you're visiting the Caribbean, be prepared for water activities such as fishing, snorkeling, jet skiing and much more. It's a good idea to research the activities you're interested in ahead of time and pack accordingly, but a good basic assortment of items includes a bathing suit and cover-up, straw hat, rubber sandals or flip-flops, and rash guard. Most other equipment, such as snorkels and fishing poles, can be rented.

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