As I’ll be boarding Regatta for the Oceania Club reunion
cruise in September, can you blame me for already thinking about packing?
Others anticipating an Oceania Cruise often ask me for packing tips, so here
are my Top Five on what to pack. Five more tips on how to pack will follow soon. I hope you find them helpful, and please feel free to share your own tips here
1. Country club casual dress can be tailored to suit your
For me, an Oceania Cruise is an opportunity to explore my
wardrobe. I confess that at home I’m one of those awful women who can often be
found in sweatpants. What can I say? It’s the uniform of a writer. But when on
vacation, I embrace the country club casual lifestyle of an Oceania Cruise and
bring out all the fun, stylish and neglected outfits in my closet. During the
day I wear casual, comfortable clothes for exploring — khakis and cotton tops
or even comfortable skirts and sundresses. Shorts are also fine for excursions.
If we’re at sea, I may spend the whole day in a swimsuit and cover up. Once the
day’s adventures have concluded, I usually shower (twice in one day — how
decadent!) and dress for dinner. In my “normal” life I rarely dress up, so I
love the chance to wear a cocktail dress to dinner every night.
For those of you who feel that ties and gowns have no
place on a relaxing vacation, Oceania Cruises really is “Your World. Your Way.” If the thought of changing clothes in the middle of the day does not excite
you, it’s easy to wear day-to-night outfits instead. A sundress or khakis can
be dressed up for dinner with evening jewelry and a nice wrap. Gentlemen often
need only add a sports jacket to be ready for the Grand Dining Room. And if you
prefer to stay in shorts, simply dine at the Terrace Cafe. You can wear
dressy shorts and casual shirts even in the evenings. So feel free to pack a
wardrobe that suits your tastes, whether that means one cocktail dress for that
special night at Polo Grill or a cocktail dress for every night of the week.
2. Pack comfortable shoes for exploring.
Once I’ve assembled the perfect outfit for an excursion
ashore, I’m often tempted to complement it with some strappy sandals. Do not
fall into this trap. When exploring a port, if you intend to do much walking,
you’ll want to wear comfortable, supportive shoes. Many European cities have
cobblestone streets, which add to the enchantment but can also take a toll on one’s
feet. On one trip I decided to wear thongs —cushioned thongs, but thongs nonetheless — to wander about Messina. The next
day I found myself hobbling around Rome with a terrible shin splint.
3. Some ports may have a dress code.
While the onboard ambiance is relaxed, be aware that some
destinations do have dress codes. For instance, in Turkey there are many places
where shoulders and knees must be covered. Women must cover their hair before
entering the Blue Mosque, so if you don’t want to use the wraps provided, be
sure to pack a scarf. Oceania Cruises is very good about alerting you in
advance to such dress codes so that you can plan accordingly.
4. Don’t skimp on the essentials.
As you’ll be traveling at least 12-14 days, ensure you
have plenty of sunscreen, facial cleanser, hair products and other toiletries
on hand. Travel-sized toiletries may not suffice, even for the men. While you
can purchase products overseas, they are often more expensive, and many of us
don’t want to be trying out a new brand of lotion in the middle of a vacation.
The ladies may also want to pack an extra eyeliner. It may be difficult to tell
if you’re near the end of one, and once I broke off a brand new eyeliner the
first day of a cruise, forcing me to cruise the Baltic with undefined eyes. For
the men, brand loyalty may not be a concern when it comes to toiletries, so you
can rest assured that Oceania Cruises’ ships stock many essentials in their
boutiques. If you somehow manage to forget and/or lose your shaving kit, as my
husband has done on more than one occasion, you won’t have to go unshaven your
entire vacation. Unless of course that’s how you prefer it!
5. Don’t forget your passport.
This one seems obvious, but if I don’t mention it,
someone will point out that I forgot the most important tip of all. Oceania
Cruises usually collects all guests’ passports when they board and holds them
for the duration of the cruise to expedite customs procedures. So the good news
is that you don’t have to spend every minute of your vacation keeping track of your
passport. But you do have to pack it, and while en route to the ship, be sure
to keep it in a secure place.
One of the most wonderful things about Oceania Cruises is that they think of everything. If you forget to pack your umbrella, you’ll find one waiting for you in your stateroom. And if you then forget to take that umbrella with you on the day that it rains, the ship’s staff will ensure you receive a dry welcome home. So enjoy anticipating your cruise as you pack, and don’t put too much pressure on yourself.