What to pack

When you vacation with Cunard you’re not only packing for the ports you’ll visit on your journey but your time on board too. With that in mind, we’ve put together this handy inspiration guide to help you decide what makes it into your suitcase.

An ocean voyage is a chance to see the world in a way that’s unique from other types of travel. For one thing, your ship is a destination in its own right - additional to the ports you spend time in. Plus, if you sail roundtrip, you have the added luxury of unlimited luggage allowances – giving you the freedom to bring as many suitcases as you desire.

It’s a refreshing change from the traditional baggage restrictions that are typical of so many vacations.  But, with long days and nights at sea – as well as hours to explore on shore – knowing what to pack can create more questions than answers. But don't worry: if you’re new to Cunard, here’s a quick run-down of the essentials you’ll need to make the most of your vacation.

Sea days.

Days at sea with Cunard offer you time to explore your ship at your leisure. How you spend this time is entirely up to you. You might take a dip in the pool or relax with a book on deck. There’s also any amount of daily activities to join in – from fitness classes to wine tastings, and arts & crafts – as well the chance to enjoy Afternoon Tea between lunch and dinner.

As this time is leisurely, it’s important to wear clothes that you feel comfortable in. Shorts and T-shirts are perfectly acceptable, and we’d encourage you to bring swimwear so you can enjoy the pools, spa and whirlpools on your ship. If you want to use the gym, join an exercise class or run a mile around the deck, ensure you pack a pair of sneakers and whatever you normally wear to work out.

Swimwear isn’t permitted in indoor dining areas, so if you are planning to visit your stateroom’s main restaurant for breakfast or lunch, be sure to factor in time for a quick change in your stateroom. Alternatively, enjoy complimentary room service or a drink brought to you on your sun lounger as you while away the hours at sea.

Evenings on board.

Evenings on board a Cunard Queen exude a sense of occasion, but they’re also as relaxed as you want them to be. There’s no need to dress to the nines each night if you don’t want to, and you’ll find many areas on board where casual dress is welcome.

If you do want to make an effort in the evening you won’t be alone. The majority of guests traveling with us embrace the chance to switch to smart attire by night. This doesn’t mean you’ll be expected to wear a gown or dinner jacket each evening. Smart attire simply means a dress shirt and trousers, skirt and a top, or a cocktail dress. Essentially, choose something along the same vein as you’d wear to a stylish restaurant or the theater on a special occasion.

At least twice on each seven-night voyage we’ll host a Gala Evening, where we do ask that you observe an elevated dress code. Again, it’s your choice whether to participate in these evenings or not. Many of our guests choose to sail with us specifically because they look forward to these events.

Gala Evenings follow one of a few themes, with voyages of seven nights or more offering a chance to attend more than one. You’ll find many nods to these themes throughout the ship, so you'll want a wardrobe to match. Click below for our advice; whether you want to put on a show or give the theme a more subtle nod with an embellishment or accessory, the choice is yours.

Shore days.

Shore days are your opportunity to explore the ports included in your voyage itinerary. Your ship will dock for several hours – sometimes overnight – to allow you time to see the main attractions or embark on a shore excursion in each destination.

As it’s likely you’ll be covering a lot of ground on foot, comfortable shoes are a must. We’d recommend bringing more than one pair of walking shoes with you for your journey so you can alternate if needed. Some shore activities, such as hiking, may call for a specialist footwear so if you’ve booked any excursions ahead of time, make sure you’ve packed appropriate clothing options.

In some destinations, the weather may also change very suddenly so it’s always a good idea to pack a lightweight raincoat, umbrella or a warm jacket to ensure you’re comfortable while away from the ship. A backpack or tote bag can be helpful for carrying water and other items during port visits, particularly if you’re planning to shop on shore or head to the beach. And – of course – don’t forget your camera (and charger) so you don’t miss any photo opportunities on your voyage.

Destination dressing.

In addition to your on board attire, where you’ll dock on your cruise will also influence what you bring on board. Here’s a little look at some of the key destinations our ships call at, and what you should pack if you’re visiting these regions.

Alaska.

With unmissable sights like Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay National Park, a trip through Alaska’s Inside Passage is a true exploration of one of the world’s final frontiers.

Our Alaska season runs during the summer, when days offer up to 19 hours of light and temperatures are at their mildest. You could easily get away with shorts during the day, but consider bringing some warmer options for the evenings if you plan to spend time stargazing or whale watching on deck. A good pair of sturdy walking boots is also a must for exploring the majestic wilderness.

The Mediterranean.

With up to 300 days of sunshine per year, the Mediterranean is a popular destination for anyone looking for sun, sea and sand in Europe. The region is also filled with history, offering the chance to explore UNESCO World Heritage sites, famous artworks and beautiful panoramas.

To make the most of your time here, be sure to bring beachwear and loose-fitting clothing to help you stay comfortable in the heat. Cottons and linens are great fabrics for keeping you cool in warmer weather.

The Caribbean.

The islands of the Caribbean offer some of the most ethereal coastlines of anywhere in the world. April-June tend to be the hottest months, when temperatures reach an average 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) so dressing for the heat is essential. You’ll need little more than your swimsuit, flip flops and a cover-up if you plan to spend your time on shore enjoying a rum punch on the region’s famous white sands. Just avoid any clothing with a camouflage print, as some Caribbean islands forbid the wearing of camouflage by non-military personnel.

Norwegian fjords.

Norway’s spellbinding fjords, many of which are only accessible by water, give the impression of stepping back in time. Surrounded by verdant foliage and forested valleys, the piercing blue waters that dominate the landscape here shine with otherworldly intensity.

While summer heralds in warmer temperatures and longer days, the weather on a Norwegian fjords voyage can change in an instant. For that reason, layers are advised, along with a good waterproof jacket, and something to keep you warm at night while you’re scanning the sky for the aurora borealis.

Transatlantic Crossings.

New York and London are destinations blessed with unequivocal year-round appeal. Each with their own rich history and buzz, it is their breathtaking seasons that sees people flock all year round.

Seasonal temperatures vary dramatically, with winters welcoming rain and snow and summers conversely humid. Towering skylines mean mornings – even in June or July – can feel cool until the sun passes overhead, so it can be wise to wear a light jacket or jumper over shorter sleeves. A comfortable pair of shoes is essential for pounding the cities’ sidewalks, as it’s easy to cover a lot of ground in a day.

What not to pack for a cruise.

There are several items that we ask you not to bring on board our ships.

The on board electrical systems in your stateroom do not support high-current electronics. We provide lower current hair dryers in all staterooms and irons are available in our laundry rooms. Please do not pack your own iron as this will not be permitted on board.

We also ask that you don’t bring extension leads with you, unless they are accompanying essential medical equipment, such as CPAP and nebuliser machines. These will be checked for electrical safety along with your medical equipment prior to sailing. Surge-protected extension cords are not accepted in any circumstances, as they interfere with the ship's electrical distribution.

You may bring one bottle of wine or champagne on board to enjoy within your stateroom. You are welcome to buy alcohol ashore as a gift or souvenir, which will be held for the duration of your cruise, and returned to you when you disembark.

There are also a few items you won’t need to bring with you on your cruise, as these are provided, such as hair dryer, iron, and pool and bathroom towels.

See our list of prohibited items for further information on what not to pack.

Cunard's White Star Luggage Service.

Cunard’s White Star Luggage Service, provided by our partner Luggage Forward, is the perfect alternative to transporting your own luggage and is also the perfect option for those who choose to extend their travels pre- or post voyage.

Planning your voyage.

New to cruising.

Whether you are new to Cunard, or new to cruising in general, this handy guide will explain what to expect when you set sail on a Cunard Queen for the first time.

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What's included.

Well-appointed accommodations, fine dining, fabulous entertainment and outstanding service: it’s all included.

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Staying connected on board.

Find out how to stay in touch with your loved ones and get the best from your devices during your voyage, and browse our on board internet packages.

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Solo travelers.

Traveling solo can be a time of peaceful relaxation and escape, or a way to meet new people while exploring the globe. Discover solo staterooms, dining and activities with our guide for solo cruisers.

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