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Headed on a much needed break from the cold weather? Unless you’re a fan of winter adventures, January through March are great months for a tropical cruise—or warm-weather getaway.
Whether you’re looking to swim with stingrays on a South Pacific cruise or lounge around the pool at a Maui resort like Montage Kapalua, packing the right gear makes all the difference.
When it comes to tropical cruises or getaways, it’s what you pack not how much you pack that’s important. Tropical packing essentials keep you cool, protect you from the sun and keep humidity from ruining your gear.
Clothing essentials for a tropical cruise
On a warm weather cruise, I pack items that keep me cool and comfortable for outside activities like shore excursions or dining on deck. However I also bring outfits for evenings inside the ship where the air conditioning adds a chill to fancy dinners or formal nights.
This article is about the tropical getaway essentials that I pack. If you’re looking for inspiration on clothes for formal nights or dressing for evenings on a luxury cruise ship, I show you how in cruise wear for women over 50.
When it comes to tropical cruise wear, I look for products that do double duty. What’s on my must-have list? Take a look.
Yes, I visit the gym—and walk on deck during our South Pacific cruises. Plus I need a comfortable pair of shoes for active cruise excursions.
I prefer to leave my good workout shoes at home. First, I don’t want them to get too dirty for the gym from walking around ports. And, second, they are too hot and heavy for tropical climates.
I solved my problem with the purchase of these Sketcher shoes. They are sturdy enough to make-do as a gym shoe, plus the stretch knit is completely breathable. And they look so cute with black or white shorts or crop pants. Of course a good pair of sandals is also a must.
A lightweight, open-weave sweater, paired with taupe Chico’s travelers is dressy enough for a night in the restaurant or wear it with white crop pants for a tropical night on deck. And, for deck parties in hot, humid climates, I enjoy wearing an off-the-shoulder top with white pants—much cuter than open shoulder tops where just a circle of shoulder shows on each arm.
Where do I find tropical clothes for boomers? I shop the summer sales at Chico’s to stock up for the next year’s tropical cruise for two reasons. One, shopping summer sales saves me money. Two, if I wait until November to shop for February’s tropical cruise, there won’t be any tropical clothes in the stores except for expensive resort wear.
Isn’t this the cutest hat?I found this packable Scala hat at a gift store in Yachats during our Oregon coast fall trip. It’s so cute that I bought two—the white and beige one pictured, plus a tan version of the same hat. Scala packable regain their shape after being packed in my luggage—check for the latest Scala hat styles on Amazon. And, with a UPF 50+ rating, they offer much-needed sun protection.
Of course you need more than clothes to outfit a warm weather cruise. From prescription snorkeling mask to tinted sunscreen, I’ve shopped so that you don’t have to spend your time researching what to bring.
Tropical Cruise Gear Shopping List
Would you rather purchase tropical cruise essentials all in one place? This Amazon shopping list makes it easy for you to buy what you need. To stay cool, protected from the sun and comfortable on tropical cruises, these essentials are a must.
This stylishCoolibar UPF Mylitta womens travel shirtis a fantastic idea if you're planning a trip to a hot and humid destination. Along with its sophisticated, yet laid-back style, the UPF 50+ button down shirt has mesh ventilation panels under the arms and along the sides as well as a subtle mesh back for extra ventilation. You'll definitely want to wear it on tropical hikes.
He needs to stay cool and protected, too. Roadbox men's long sleeve shirt has UPF 50+ sun protection and a rashguard. Because it's Dri-fit, your boomer guy can wear this shirt while snorkeling or swimming and be dry before the shore excursion returns to the ship.
You'll find Scala hats in a wide variety of styles. But I like this one for the UPF50+ rating. The big brim, inner drawstring and cotton material are an added bonus that will keep you cool and protected from the sun.
A waterproof tote bag is so convenient on a tropical getaway. Use it as a travel bag or for a shore excursion to the beach. If you do take this striped tote bag to the beach or boating, it even comes with a handy smartphone dry bag. The side pockets are great for carrying an environmentally-friendly water bottle.
Sick of making a mad dash to find a bowl of rice for your water-logged phone? Carry this Waterproof Pouch with you to avoid that dreaded situation. It also let’s you keep valuables safe from the splish-splash of boats or when out at the beach. Comes in a pack of two, one for you and one for him.
What a cute beach cover up! I have a love-hate relationship with bathing suit coverups. I could never seem to find the right one until I discovered this stylish Ekouaer beach cover up. With 20 colors, including patterns, which one will you choose? Comes in plus-size, too!
If you've admired our underwater photos from snorkeling in Rangiroa, get this camera. The Olympus TG-4 is the waterproof camera that we use (and we've owned several other brands that leaked after one cruise).
Sea sickness can really ruin an otherwise fun day at sea—I can tell you all about that. Anti-Nausea Sea Bands are my first line of defense against seasickness. Don't forget to wear them on those shore excursions with bouncy boats!
In the tropics, the sun is extra bright. Boomers, especially, need to wear sunglasses with polarized lenses that have strong UV protection. The RB4101 Jackie Ohh sunglasses do just that. By the way, I wear these sunglasses. Unfortunately, they don't make me look like Jackie O.
I wear SkinMedica tinted Total Defense Sunscreen every day, even when I'm not on a tropical cruise. It goes on smoothly plus a small amount goes a long way. The tint gives a small bit of color to my face. I highly recommend SkinMedica products.
By now, most of us know the importance of protecting our skin from the harsh effects of sun damage. However, as travelers, it's not always easy to carry around a heavy bottle of sunscreen, much less get it through TSA screening for carryons. These individual Banana Boat Travel Sunscreen packets are just perfect for when you don't have access to a larger bottle of sunscreen. Keep some in your purse!
I've worn Coppertone Sport for years and can attest to the fact that it doesn't wear off in water. Plus Coppertone Sport doesn't clog your pore. If you're checking a bag for your luxury tropical cruise, pack this sunscreen. Although it shouldn't leak, I always pack items like this in a sealable plastic bag, just in case.
There you have it—0ur tropical cruise gear essentials. Of course we’ll be adding to the list as we find more must-haves for your next warm weather getaway.
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