Packing for a cruise-Venus or Mars

My husband and I are getting ready to go on an Alaska cruise. We’ve done this cruise before and we’ve done a few other cruises. Even with experience, preparing can be stressful and time consuming for both of us–but how we spend our time is very different.

Like most folks in the Northwest our daily life is casual–with a range of fashion from jeans to khakis. On a cruise people are expected to dress for dinner. Most cruises even have “formal” nights–usually about two per week.

During the day folks are on a level of casual a few degrees above my usual jeans and sweats. Plus, we’re going to Alaska in May–so cold, wet weather is likely. Put this all into the mix and I’m heading for the mall before I start packing.


I spent a full day at the mall, with a friend who gave her opinion on each outfit I tried on. My husband thought about buying some new hiking shoes, but never got beyond the thinking stage.


Formal Nights

The view from Mars: Must remember studs to go with tux.

Venus weighs in: Two formal nights requires two dresses. Each dress must have appropriate jewelry, shoes, hose, purse and wrap.

Don’t forget foundational garments–a bra that helps the girls fill out the low-cut neckline and something to slim the middle (or in my case something that minimizes the bouncing and jiggling of the blubber).

Smart Casual

Him: five nights of smart casual requires one sports coat, one pair of slacks, two shirts, two ties. The same black shoes that go with the tux.

Her: five outfits–two dresses, two slacks, three shirts, plus shoes, jewelry, bag and wrap to go with each outfit.

Day wear

Him: jeans, shorts, swim trunks, sandals, one t-shirt.

Her: jeans, shorts, bathing suit, casual slacks, 4-5 shirts.


  • Gym wear–I could easily gain a pound-a-day on this cruise if I don’t work out every day. My husband will eat twice as much and still avoid any weight gain with a stroll around the deck after dinner.
  • Hats, gloves, coats, socks and shoes. You guessed it–my pile is twice as high as his.
Anyone detect a pattern here? Why do Airlines have the same weight limits for male and female bags?

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