Norwegian Cruise Line's Getaway, photo courtesy of NCL

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Getaway, photo courtesy of NCL 

Old style cruising

Old style cruising

Used to be that bringing along a tuxedo and gown on a cruise was the norm. Now, it seems, that ship has sailed. People want to relax on vacation, which means men don’t want to put on a suit.

Freestyle cruising… that’s Norwegian Cruise Line’s motto. It’s your vacation. You should have the freedom to enjoy it on your terms. Dress up or down. No argument there. I don’t need to wear a gown when I’m on vacation, especially now that airlines charge me to bring anything more than a carry-on! Heck, I was a member of the carry-on club before they were charging fees. After a few times having my luggage arrive a few days after my own arrival, I learned my lesson. Keep it simple. No need to bring your closet along on vacation. I’m looking for clothes that do double duty. I can wear them while I’m lounging at the pool, or lining up at the buffet.ProductReview

Some cruise lines still have formal nights where men are expected to wear a dark suit, or even a tuxedo. Not so when you’re freestyling. Norwegian has no formal dress code. “Nice” jeans work for dinner and for lunch multi-functional resort wear is the way to go. I’ll be heading off on a Norwegian “freestyle” cruise in a couple months with two of my dearest childhood girlfriends. Three ladies sharing one cabin is another argument for keeping the luggage to a minimum. Plenty of people can make it through a 3 day weekend with just a carry-on. I’m hoping to make it through a week long cruise. Here’s how I plan to do it:

Duffield Lane cover-up takes cruisers from beach to the buffet.

Now, cover-ups take you from beach to the buffet.

Tunics

While there is no dress code, I am a middle-aged mom. I’m not going to be cruising around the ship in a bikini. I need to be covered up, but covered up with style. So, I’ll be bringing along tunics and cover ups that I could wear throughout the day. I love these cover-ups from Duffield Lane that can take me from the pool to the casino to almost any one of the ship’s 28 restaurants or nearly 20 bars. Note that some of the nicer restaurants, such as Le Bistro and Cagney’s, do have some rules, such as men being required to wear slacks.

My must have sun hat! photo courtesy of Coolibar Clothing

My must have sun hat! photo courtesy of Coolibar Clothing

Hats

I plan to spend a lot of time sitting by the pool with my book, so I can’t cruise without my sun hat. I love that Coolibar has hats that are packable and made with a special sun-protective fabric. I’ve ruined many a hat by not packing it right, so I’ve got my own tips here:

  1. Place a layer or two of clothing on the bottom of your suitcase.
  2. pack your hat Crown upwards, not facing down.
  3. Fill the crown with tightly rolled-up socks/underwear, so it’s nice and firm.
  4. Fill around the hat with your clothes.

Shoes:

My go-to pair of flip flops, a pair of sneakers and a pair of heels to dress things up. Voila, I’m all set!

A good looking tote that doubles as a beach bag is a cruise must have.

A good looking tote that doubles as a beach bag is a cruise must have.

Purse/Beach Bag Tote:

My Vera Bradley bag is perfect for getting me from the airport to the beach. It’s large enough to hold my laptop when I travel, and once I’m in port, it’s large enough to hold my beach towel. On embarkation day, since it may be hours before I get my luggage delivered to my cabin, I always include everything I might need for a relaxing few first hours in my trusty tote bag. For me that means a bathing suit, cover-up, book or iPad and my phone. For you, it might mean bringing important meds as well.

Toiletries:

I’ve already checked and my ship includes shampoo, conditioner and body wash, but no lotion or toothpaste. My cabin also comes with bathrobes. So I know exactly what to pack. Make sure you know your ship as well, and it’ll be smooth sailing!