Packing A Picture of A Woman For A Transatlantic Cruise
Cruising,  Tips, Tricks, and Hacks

What To Pack For A Transatlantic Cruise

We are taking our make-up Transatlantic cruise this coming April. What do I mean by a make-up cruise? This is the itinerary we were supposed to be on in April 2020, delayed by two years … Well, you know why. A Transatlantic, for most people, is a once-in-a-lifetime event. Don’t let worries about packing stop you from taking this wonderful cruise.

While the weather is generally pretty mild on the Atlantic in the spring, it can be unpredictable. So what should you bring with you? The good thing is, I already know what to pack for a Transatlantic cruise in the spring. I made my packing list two years ago. 

I put together a list to keep my luggage to a minimum, ensure I had all the essential items, and make the voyage as comfortable as possible. Note to all; my list is for those females traveling the Seven Seas…. I have never packed for a male. Have fun packing!

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How To Start Planning What to Pack For A Transatlantic Cruise In The Spring

Review your itinerary – What is the cruise length? On a Transatlantic cruise, your ship will take 6 – 8 days to get from continent to continent. In between points A and B, the ship will make ports of call in the Azores or Canary Islands. 

Know the weather in each of your locations; the temperatures will definitely vary. Where will the cruise ship depart from? What are your ports of call, and lastly, what is your final destination? Use this information to start packing for your cruise.

Cruise Ships In Port - What to pack for a transatlantic cruise

Spring is the transition season between winter and summer. That means temperatures can vary wildly on a transatlantic cruise depending on taking the northern or southern routes. Be prepared with layers that you can peel off or put back on as necessary!

With all the variations in weather, locations, and events, you might be anxious about fitting everything into your suitcase. Packing is a bit of an obsession of mine, and I have some great tips for you here. 

Travel Days – How To Be Comfortable And Get Some Rest On The Plane

Most transatlantic cruises start and end up by taking a flight from your home to the ship’s port and vice versa. These days are often the most exciting and stressful days of the trip.

To take some stress out of these travel days, getting rest on the plane is crucial. If you need a plan for this, check out my article “How to sleep on a plane.”

The good part of my “flight uniform” is that it encompasses many of the must-have items on my packing list below. When you’re wearing this outfit, you won’t have to pack it 😊

Smart Casual Sea Day And Port Day Outfits

When thinking about what to pack for a Transatlantic cruise, I factor in more Sea Days and fewer Port Days. But Smart Casual works pretty much the same for both. Jeans or khakis and a button-down or knit top are comfortable both on the ship and off.

Choosing a neutral color palette makes it easy for you to mix and match tops and bottoms. As a general rule of thumb, I try to pack two “tops” for each “bottom” when I travel, and they all should coordinate.

Women's Outfits

If your day in port will take you into museums or churches, a skirt may be more appropriate. Also, depending on the weather, a skirt will keep you cool while looking much more fashionable than shorts.

Use Accessories To Dress Up Your Outfits

When you plan what to pack for a Transatlantic cruise, the accessories you choose should not be your valuable pieces. There is a safe in your stateroom, but there is no way to replace your grandmother’s brooch. Please don’t bring it. Instead, bring well-made pieces that will allow you to switch up your looks.

Adding a scarf adds dimension and color and can dress up an otherwise plain outfit. In the evening, adding a necklace or bracelet will give a casual look just a bit more pizazz.

Since I always wear my iWatch, as many of us do these days, I bring a few bands along to change the look. You can pick these up for reasonable prices, and the watch takes the place of a bracelet.

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Casual Days: Poolside Lounging And Staying Fit On The Ship

With six to eight sea days in a row, you will likely spend some time on the pool deck. Sunning and hot tubs are terrific ways to spend time during Sea Days.

These are the days you don your swimsuit, put on your cover-up, and head out to grab a lounge chair. Or, if you are an introvert like me, hang out on your balcony.

When you get bored lying around, you can change into your shorts and a t-shirt and head up to the fitness center. You can take a pilates or yoga class or walk on the treadmill and enjoy the ocean flowing by.

Evening Wear and “Formal Nights”

On most evenings, a nice top and pair of slacks or skirt are perfect in the main dining room (MDR) and specialty restaurants. Your fellow cruisers like to clean up a bit for dinner, so shorts and loungewear are out. 

If you haven’t cruised for a while, you may be happy to learn that most lines have done away with “Formal Nights.” This doesn’t mean that dressing up is gone, just that it’s a little more relaxed. On many ships, the mode of attire on these special nights is now referred to as Evening Chic.

Fewer men wear tuxedos these days. Most opt for nice slacks, a button-down shirt, and a sports coat. But many women pack and wear full-on formal dresses. Getting dressed up for a special evening is all part of a cruise vacation.

The formal dress code may be gone, but the dining room and specialty restaurants request all guests to dress as you would for a fine dining restaurant on land.

Formal Night

Keep in mind that you will be more comfortable if you dress appropriately for the evening.

If you don’t want to dress up, you don’t have to. You can always choose to dine at the buffet or even indulge in room service that night.

Remember, there may be other opportunities on your vacation to dress up. An evening out on the town in port is always there waiting for you.

Hair and Makeup Tips

I am not a beauty blogger, and I am definitely a minimalist when it comes to hair and makeup. If you’re a first-time cruiser, you should know a few things. You are going to be spending a lot of time at sea. It is humid and windy at sea. Many of the ports will be warm, damp, and windy. These ports are by the ocean, after all.

Your hair will not behave the same way it does back home unless you live in a place with constant high humidity. 

Every single time I cruise, I fight the frizzies—just a fact of life. Ask your hairstylist the best way to handle your hair under these conditions. The best product I’ve found to help with this is “It’s A 10.” After that, It’s a must to have a good blow dryer and flat iron to tame the frizzies.

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During the day, I keep a hair tie and hat handy, and in the evening, I generally wear my hair down. It is fun to spend some time at the spa on the “Evening Chic” day and have your hair done in the salon.

 If you want to have your hair done on the fancy dress night, make the appointment early in the cruise. Obviously, it’s a very popular time at the salon.

For makeup, I keep to a minimalist look. During the day, a good moisturizer with a high SPF, a bit of waterproof mascara, and my favorite tinted lip balm. In the evening, I might add some eyeliner and a slight blush. 

Finally! Here is my list of What To Pack For A Transatlantic Cruise

I have to keep my clothing packing light because, as a writer/blogger, my other suitcase is filled with electronics. Laptop, tablet, Kindle, phone, camera, tripod, gimble, hot-spot, and all of the chargers that keep these tools of mine running.

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But here it is finally, the actual list you’ve been looking for throughout this article… What To Pack For A Transatlantic Cruise!

  • 10 – Tops
  •   2 Tank Tops (black or navy and white)
  •      2 T-shirts
  •      6 Assorted knit tops and blouses
  • 5 – Bottoms
  • 1 pair of “khakis”
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 1 pair of black pants
  • 1 pair of leggings
  • 1 casual skirt
  • 2 – Dressy Outfits
  •     1 dress for the formal nights
  •     1 fancy skirt and blouse
  • 1 – Bathing Suit
  • 1- Cover-up
  • 1 – pair shorts
  • 1 – Pashmina
  • 1 – Silk Scarf
  • 1 – Large “bucket-style” bag for flight and port days
  • 1 – Small wristlet for evenings (large enough to hold a cell phone)
  • 1 – pair athletic shoes for walking on the deck or treadmill
  • 1 – pair casual but comfortable shoes for walking in ports and around the ship
  • 1 – pair of more dressy evening shoes
  • 1 – pair of flip-flops for the pool or spa
  • 1 – Nightgown/Pj’s
  • 1 – Good Sun Hat
  • 1 – Pair of Sunglasses (I actually bring at least 2 as I frequently lose them)
  • 1 – Rainproof warm jacket with a hood
  • 1 – Sweater or cardigan (it gets cold in the theater on the ship)
  • Accessories rings, watches, earrings, and necklaces
  • Socks, tights, and underwear as needed (you can always do laundry)

Now You Know What To Pack For A Transatlantic Cruise

Gumby and Pokey are On Board

I’ve got you covered with this list of items. Now, are you ready to pack? This article has provided a good overview of what clothing options work best for the transatlantic passage.

Remember, you want to bring clothes that can handle a range of temperatures. Layering your tops and having a lightweight waterproof jacket is essential for the changing weather conditions. 

When it comes to formal attire, you can be fancy or simple and still fit in with the crowd. And don’t forget swimwear! Crossing the Atlantic Ocean takes six to eight days, so there’s plenty of time for swimming and hot tubs along the way.

Here’s a little secret… Knowing what to pack for a Transatlantic cruise means you now know how to pack for any cruise 🙂

VickieDe has eaten her way through more than 300 cities in over 40 countries. Learning along the way that food and culture go hand in hand. Read More

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