Ready for a little rest and relaxation? Looking to take some time away and set sail on a magical cruise? When most people think of cruise destinations, they think white sands, beautiful blue waters, palm trees, warm weather….. but what if your cruise is taking you somewhere a bit chilly? Maybe you’re longing to see the glaciers of Alaska, quaint towns of New England, or that bucket list cruise to Norway. In that case, what do you pack? Packing for a cold weather cruise can definitely be a little bit challenging, but never fear, we’re here to help you sort that out!
We recently sailed on the Disney Magic for our Halloween on the High Seas cruise. To keep it festive of course(we love a good theme), we decided to sail north to see all the fall beauty of New England and Canada. Because it was early October, we knew it was going to be cold, or at least chilly, so we basically stalked the weather app for weeks leading up to the cruise. Not only were we dealing with low temps, but also rain. Not ideal cruising weather, but we are from Ohio, and this is weather we are used to, so luckily, we already owned most of what we needed.
Aside from the basics that you would normally pack, here are some of our suggestions for the things you may be wondering about.
Packing Layers for a Cold Weather Cruise
Let’s be honest, whoever said diamonds are a girl’s best friend never met a great set of layering pieces for cold weather. Layering will be your absolute best friend on this type of trip, because not only do your clothing needs change during different times of day, but also because it will really depend where you are. Is it raining out? Then likely, you’ll be hanging out inside the ship, rather than lounging by the pool.
Grabbing your morning cup of coffee while enjoying the view? You’ll want to make sure you’ve got your sweatshirt or jacket for those chilly mornings. Headed off the ship to a port adventure? Bundle up buttercup, it could get cold or windy or rainy.
You see where I’m going with this. While we are always fans of packing layers for our trips, it is essential for a cold weather cruise simply because there will be a lot of different temperature sitautions you may be encountering. We love oversized sweaters, cardigans, lightweight tees and thermals for layering. We would even recommend bringing a pair of these for layering under your layers.
Packing Winter Accessories for a Cold Weather Cruise
Packing for a cold weather cruise means, well, packing winter hats. And maybe gloves and scarves. I remember our first day on our Halloween on the High Seas cruise at lunch talking to one of the other passengers we were having lunch with and she mentioned that she had read on a Facebook Group that you should pack winter hats and gloves. She laughed at the idea and I blurted out awkawardly, “I packed a winter hat!” Of course the whole table got quiet and we got to experience those lovely moments of awkward silence that happens when dining with strangers. But a few days later, she actually stopped me and said she wished she would’ve at least brought a hat.
My point? You’re on the ocean, its going to be colder than you expect. Even if you are used to cold weather, even if it says it’ll be 45 degrees and that’s not “cold” to you, it’s going to be colder than you think. Between that ocean breeze and nothing (i.e. trees, buildings, etc) to really shield you from the cold, you’re going to wish you had a hat. We would recommend brining along some gloves and a scarf while you’re at it, especially if you’re hoping to spend some time on the upper decks.
Packing a Coat for a Cold Weather Cruise
You didn’t really think you’d get away with not packing a coat, did you?! Where you are going will really determine what kind of coat you need, but we highly recommend at least one good, weather resistant coat.
We also loved having a teddy coat for onboard when we were up on the deck. They were warm and felt like wearing a robe. Who wouldn’t love that?!
Packing shoes for a Cold Weather Cruise
We are a little bit biased, but we practically live in Duck Boots for most of the fall/winter season. They’re comfortable, water resistant, and the fact that they’re also really cute when layered with boot socks is a huge plus. If you’re doing a nature excursion, you’ll want to make sure you have proper footwear for whatever type of conditions you’ll be in, and we love these boots for those type of situations.
Aside from that, who wants to be clunking around the boat in hiking boots? As much as we like to pack light, this was one trip we found ourselves with quite a few pairs of shoes. We brought fall booties for some of our nicer sweater outfits for dinner, and Converse or Vans(which we basically live in) for sea days when we were just lounging around.
A swimsuit…. wait, what?! Ok, ok I know. We are talking hats, gloves, winter coats and now swimsuits?! Hear us out. We personally didn’t use the pools or waterslides during our cold weather cruise, but we were surprised at how many people were! Between the jacuzzi in the adults only section and the heated pool, I was surprised to see how many people were using the pools. People love the waterslides on the Disney Cruises and don’t want to miss out, so even when it was cold and windy, lots of people were using it! There was one day in particular, when it was 60ish degrees and sunny and you would’ve thought we were in the Caribbean. The deck was crowded, there was a line for the slide, granted, it was still chilly, but apparently warm enough for the pools.
My point is that, if you’re going on a cruise, you may want to bring a swimsuit. It may get warm enough and you may regret not having one. And swimsuits are small enough to pack that even if you don’t use it, at least it didn’t take up too much room in your suitcase.
We are personally fans of CupShe and Amazon for swimsuits because they usually come pretty quickly, are available all year round and are easy to return if they don’t work out.
Packing for a cold weather cruise can be a little more challenging than your typical cruise, but with a little bit of planning, you’ll be ready for any kind of weather- and look great in the process. Happy packing!