I have written a lot of posts for this blog.

But I don’t ever think I’ve gotten as many requests for a blog post topic as this one.

And I am so happy to write it.


Not to be all about myself—but I TOTALLY PACKED PERFECTLY.

I had worn almost every single thing I brought.

The shoes were perfect.

The amount of dresses and cover-ups and workout gear and earrings and sleepwear (even down to the nightgown) were all perfect.

I had prepared for this for almost two months. I researched and planned and thought about all the events and even walked through the outfits and the excursions and what I would need for different events and today I’m so happy to share it all with you. It’s a mixture of high low. Some of the dresses I splurged on (I’m looking at you purple linen dress) and some were super affordable.

And I put it all together to help me (and anyone else who might need it) to know what to pack for the next cruise.

// black caftan/swim cover-up // gold statement earrings // sunglasses // gold flip flops //

Okay—before we get started on the actual outfits, let’s talk through some of the basic principles I used to pack.

  1. I tried to make sure everything could double up to be something else. For example, this black cover-up/mini caftan that I’m wearing here in this picture? I wore it as a dress on the excursion and it can also double up as a cover-up by the pool.
  2. I would bring at least three swimsuits (with matching cover-ups if you are feeling wild). It’s so hard to wash them out between wearings and you are usually wearing a swimsuit at least once a day (if you are heading to a warm weather destination).
  3. I planned on changing three times a day and that worked out to be almost exact. Some days I wore a work-out outfit, a casual dress, then a dressier dress for dinner. Somedays I would wear a swimsuit, a casual outfit and a dressier dress for dinner.
  4. Make sure you check with your cruise to see what theme nights they have and plan accordingly if you want to get dressed up for those. I’m not really a theme night person, but we did have a “white night” on the cruise, so I packed a long white dress.
  5. I also planned on some long dresses and some shorter dresses to mix and match what I was wearing.
  6. Don’t forget to take accessories and shoes into consideration.
  7. And lastly, just as a reminder—here are 21 essentials (in addition to my outfits) that I would bring on the cruise.

// polka dot swim dress //



I thought I’d get this out of the way at the beginning. Me in a swimsuit on a national blog. That takes courage my friends. Extra courage with a little more boldness on top.

(total aside: this tan is TOTALLY FAKE. I did it myself and you can see all my tanning tips (and what I use) here.)

But here’s the thing. I had to share because I LOVE LOVE LOVE this swimsuit.

Or swim dress.

I got it in three different colors but I like the blue and white polka dot the best. It is full of tummy control and structure and has so much support. It’s made by Land’s End and it’s chlorine-resistant and has underwire. I’ve gotten several questions—I did not get petite (because I wanted the skirt to be as long as possible–LOL)! Also–my suit didn’t have the option to choose a cup size so I just went with the existing cup size on the suit and it fit well. As a reference, I’m a 36 DDD.

You can see it here.

I also got it in the Paradise Aqua Gingham (which looks so good with a tan).

And the Navy/White Jacobean Mix.


I knew there would just be a couple of days we’d be on the ship and able to go to the workout room.

I packed two of these (my GO-TO leggings) that I’ve mentioned a few times (just a few).

You can see them here.

I brought one long sleeve workout top from Walmart and then? I brought two of these shapewear tanks.

They are my latest favorite find. They look like tank tops, but they have compression panels in the front and back so they look amazing as a layering piece when you are working out or with sweaters, too.

You can see them here.

// similar white midi dress // flower flats (they are a splurge) //

Long dresses

I brought two long dresses with me on the cruise and I thought that was the perfect amount.

One of the dresses I wore was a midi dress with white eyelet that I bought last year on clearance at Tuckernuck. I found a similar dress here.

The flower hibiscus shoes were a splurge and are now sold out most places.

I found a few in stock in a few sizes here.

And I found them in pink (a little more affordable) in a few sizes here.

I also brought with my the PERFECT cruise dress. It was such a splurge. I saw it around Christmastime and treated myself.

You can see it here but it’s almost sold out now.

I also found this beautiful linen embroidered dress that comes in lilac, too. It’s a splurge as well, but look at the detailing on the embroidery.

And I also thought this would be the prettiest dress for dinner on a cruise.

// short pink dress // shoes (old Jeffrey Campbell) // earrings //

I wish that I would have taken more pictures of my outfits.

I’m thinking as I’m writing this post that I didn’t plan this very well.

If I was a true fashion blogger, I would have been posing in every outfit so I could show you.


Instead I’m a cruiser who thought they took a lot of picture until they got home.

So instead I rounded them all up here.

Some I got off Amazon.

Some I got off etsy.

Simply click on the photos and it will take you right to the dresses.

I also packed one formal dress.

This is a dress I got last year on super clearance. The fabric is incredible. It’s by a designer out of New York.

There’s nothing like a fancy dress on a cruise ship to make you start humming “The Love Boat.”

Oh—I almost forgot to mention shoes.

I packed a neutral pair of heels that went with almost all my dresses (these are similar).

I packed these flip flops in gold, beige and black.

These flower flats.

The pink shoes in the first picture and my beloved HOKA’s.

I saved this picture for last because look at the look on my face.

It is pure joy.

The face of a packer who planned every outfit perfectly.

Or maybe just a girl who had the vacation of her life. 🙂

PS Let me know if I missed anything or if you have any questions in the comments.

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  1. Image for Lee Stearns Lee Stearns

    Sounds like you planned perfectly! Love how thorough you are! We must be “ sisters from different Misters”! I lay my outfits on the bed with shoes/jewelry etc, then pack it! I try to take 2 tops for each “ bottom” to mix/match! 2 golf skirts(shorts attached!), 2 pants/capris, one black, a sweater that works for all- cool nights/dining room etc. I’ve learned it’s ok to wear things more than once OR twice, we don’t know anyone there, no awards for “ “best dressed” or “ cutest shoes” so now I go for comfort and easy! Much easier! Sounds like you’ve done a great job! Love it all!

  2. Image for T J T J

    This is wonderful - loved the way you showed things that you thought were important and FUN! Loved the pictures too. We haven't gone on a cruise for many years. Now I think I'm ready again!!!

  3. Image for Cathy Cathy

    Could you relink that cute white eyelet dress? The current link keeps sending me to the lands end swimsuit. Your trip looked perfect! Have a great day, and thank you!

  4. Image for Debbie Debbie

    What a great list of cruise outfits!! I need to start pulling outfits for my cruise this May. Yikes. It’s coming quickly!! I’ve traveled to amazing places most of my life (for my work) but for some reason packing for this personal trip makes nervous. Thank you for so much guidance!!! I loved all of your cruise posts!!!

  5. Image for Teresa George Teresa George

    I leave in 9 days for my 65th Birthday Cruise so I need all the tips I can get. I've got a few outfits picked out, but I'm still doing a lot of ordering and returning, lol! You look fabulous in your swimsuit, and everything else, btw. Oh, the shapewear tanks - did you order your normal size, or did you size up? Sometimes they are so tight I can't get them off!

  6. Image for LD LD

    Great post! Thanks for sharing swim dress. I have some questions …did you get…petite or regular?, regular cup?, Underwire or soft cup?, control or no control? & do all of those patterns come in the swim dress? Thanks for your help!

    1. Image for KariAnne Wood KariAnne Wood

      Great questions! I got regular (I wanted the skirt to be as long as possible) LOL! And I got underwire and I could only get regular cup in that suit. And it's the same for each of the colors! I got the light blue polka dot and the mixed pattern suit! Hope this helps! KariAnne

  7. Image for Jodena Beale Jodena Beale

    What a dream vacation and to pack perfectly also, I would forget things for sure. You looked amazing. So happy for you and your husband. BTW..I hear white dresses will be everywhere this spring and summer.

  8. Image for Barbara Barbara

    Everything looks just like you- joyful, bright and cheery!!:) Happy you and Mr. Twinkly Eyes could go- your face tells it all!!

  9. Image for Lynne Lynne

    Thanks for sharing! We are going on a big family cruise this summer, and I'm definitely not ready! Baby sister is the big planner in the family and she has everything picked out if not purchased. I'm 5 ft tall, a bit bow-legged (so midis are definitely out). I wear a small shoe size so I have to research and compare a lot when shopping. I love the idea of clothing pieces that can do double duty. Hubby is a tall, skinny cowboy. But when we go to the beach he transforms into a beach bum (lots of sunscreen for those legs that seldom see the sun!). I think he'll be easy to prepare for.

  10. Image for Kris Kris

    Love the swimsuit, and thank you for your sizing candor. Busty women, unite! Finding swimsuits with appropriate coverage and lift is such a challenge, amIright? You look marvelous, BTW.

  11. Image for Heather Taylor Heather Taylor

    Thank you so much! This is going to be my goto post for packing for a cruise. You looked fantastic in your swimdress btw. Loved all your dresses.

  12. Image for Debbie Debbie

    You looked fabulous during your entire trip. Thank you for sharing your great packing tips with us, as I tend to overpack. I’m looking forward to utilizing your tips on my trip in July.

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