Packing for a sail-away holiday can be quite a confusing process. How many shorts are too many? Will I need a suit? What SPF should my sunscreen have? So many questions, so little answers. Thankfully, we’ve devised a little checklist for you to use when you’re packing your bags for the next voyage out at sea.
Before we continue, you should know the number one rule about packing for a cruise getaway: It doesn’t hurt to have more of the same thing. When in doubt, it’s best to just pack it in, because unlike a rendezvous in Italy where a suit store is just around the corner, you’re in the middle of the ocean without a convenience store or a friendly old tailor.
First item on any mens cruise wear packing list should be a classic pair of swim shorts. Something in a navy color is preferable, because black looks too clumsy and any light color is a recipe for disaster after a swim. These striped shorts by Michael Kors are the perfect cruise partner, because they’ll look nice on you in the sea, as they will when you’re walking through the streets of Santorini, Greece.
Polyester swim shorts, $95, Michael Kors at neimanmarcus.com.
Next, an essential part of mens cruise wear is a pair of sunglasses, so you’re kept looking cool all the time. If you’re not sure what to bring and you don’t want a haul of sunglasses with you, then go for a classic aviator frame. It’s timeless, stylish, and wraps around your face the best so your eyes are well protected from the UV rays.
Leather-rimmed aviator sunglasses, $504.17, Cutler and Gross at oki-ni.com.
Nothing embodies the endless appeal of nautical chic quite like a linen shirt worn on a yacht. Pay attention to the type of linen that’s used in your shirt, however, because while all men are created equal, not all linen fare the same. Make sure your shirt isn’t too sheer, and check that it fits you like a regular shirt would. If you find yourself at a party that requires a suit, at least your linen shirt can do double-duty without fitting sloppily.
Linen shirt, $230, Vilebrequin at nordstrom.com.
Suits don’t exactly strike you as the first thing to pack on a cruise, but it’s always good to have one stowed away in your luggage. After all, you never know where you might find yourself so it’s best to be prepared. Our advice is to stick to a wheat-colored suit in a linen-blend material. The material makes it easy to care for, and keeps you well ventilated in a tropical environment.
Slub wool, silk and linen-blend suit, $2,005, Canali at mrporter.com.
If you’ve got a suit, then you’ll need a tie. A knit tie will serve you well, and the reason is simple. If you’re following our guide, you’d have a linen shirt and suit folded into your luggage. A seven-fold tie is going to look jarring on you because it automatically suggests formality; and when you’re decked out in a linen suit, “formal” is the last thing you’ll want to have. A knit tie suffices in keeping you well dressed without looking stuffy.
Knitted silk tie, $115, Gitman at nordstrom.com.
Next on our list of mens cruise wear to pack is a pair of espadrilles. It’s fairly obvious why we’ve put this as an essential item to have at all times – you can slip these on comfortably in the day or for an evening engagement, without having to resort to walking around in ugly flip-flops.
Suede slip-on espadrille, $580, Prada at neimanmarcus.com.
For when the sun starts beating down on you, it’s always a good idea to keep a panama hat with you to give yourself some temporary respite. Find one that fits you well and has a wide-enough brim to keep your neck from getting sunburnt. If your straw hat gets wet, stuff the hat with newspapers and run it under a hairdryer that’s set to low.
Straw hat, $75, Tommy Bahama at amazon.com.
Yes, as part of mens cruise wear pack a tuxedo with you. Imagine this: you’re on a cruise and there’s a dinner to attend – one of those formal, hob-nobbin’ type of things. What are you going to do without a tux? As cruises and yachts begin to host more black-tie events these days, don’t be caught out at sea with nothing but a luggage of t-shirts.
Slim-fit wool and mohair-blend tuxedo, $4,500, Berluti at mrporter.com.
Having already mentioned the hat earlier, it’s essential that you sort yourself out with a sunscreen you can trust. We recommend the Avail Body Lotion with Sunscreen from Aesop for a variety of reasons. Firstly, the SPF50 is just enough to block out the UV rays from doing skin damage to you, while you get a nice tan going. Secondly, the moisturizing base of the lotion will keep your skin hydrated and supple throughout the day. No one should have to look like a tanned leather couch, least of all you.
Avail Body Lotion with SPF50 Sunscreen, $41, Aesop at aesop.com.
Finally, grab a diving watch with you before you head out to the docks. The sporty design of a diver’s watch is engineered to keep time in an optimal state, despite being in an environment as trying as the sea. With humidity and salt content in the seawater coming into play, a reliable diving watch will go the distance with you.
S500 Supermarine Automatic Watch, $5,400, Bremont at mrporter.com.