Sandra Howard's top tips on how to fashion your cruise wardrobe

Oceans of style! Former model Sandra Howard reveals her expert tips on how to fashion your cruise wardrobe

  • Sandra Howard says scarfs, cardies and pashminas are great to guard against strong air conditioning 
  • She warns not to pack ‘too many skin-tight numbers’ with ‘delicious food’ leading to an extra pound or two
  • If you’re headed on a cold weather cruise, Howard suggests fur boots, heavy sweaters and thermals

Former model Sandra Howard has taken a number of cruises

If you have a cruise lined up, planning what to wear is half the fun. Having taken a number of cruises – and having being frozen by air-conditioning and crippled as I hobbled round ancient sites in the wrong shoes – I can offer some suggestions.

The sun is the lure for most of us on board – sunbathing on deck, cooling off in the pool, lounging at shaded poolside tables with a cocktail. What could be more tempting? Take at least three swimsuits, sunhats, sunglasses and a high SPF sun cream. Don’t forget wraps and cover-ups for the walk from your cabin: it’s not ideal to be wandering down long corridors in swimwear. I love the sunhats, sneakers and sunglasses featured here, they’re perfect for on board and ashore.

Don’t pack too many skin-tight numbers: people have been known to put on a pound or two with all the delicious food! Take shorts, separates, floaty kaftans, cool cotton, ‘smart casual’ and one or two dressier outfits, too.

Out on deck in a chilly wind, a scarf is essential – and ice-cold air-conditioning means you need cardies for daytime and pashminas for bare shoulders after dark.

Aside from ‘fly-cruises’ when your wardrobe choices are limited by weight, it’s a joy to be able to ring the changes and take several pairs of shoes. You will need fur boots, heavy sweaters and thermals if you’re off to see the Northern Lights when shore excursions are often in the small hours of night.

Cruising is like riding a magic carpet – there’s no need to pack and unpack a bag at every port, so make the most of it.

Here are some great ideas for your cruise wardrobe from John Lewis. All are available from  

 Go with the flow

I love these Modern Rarity loose-fitting, summery trousers, whether teamed with the matching shirt (worn loose or tucked in) or with bare shoulders. They couldn’t be more perfect for a cruise – and pink is the colour this summer. Price – £120.

 Stay cool in lovely linen

This Modern Rarity linen shirt marries beautifully with the brand’s loose-fitting trousers, pictured below right. The airy sleeves keep you cool and, with the buttoned non-collar, it’s easy to wear. Price – £85.

 Sparkle all day long

These sandals you can wear all day on board – and, with their classy glitter, into the evening too. It is the cool, slip-on comfort of the and/or sandals that attracts me most, with those shapely moulded soles and their wonderful versatility. Price – £55.

Walking wonders

Shore trips involve a lot of walking, climbing and trudging round ruins. On board there’s striding along promenades and pounding the top deck on your daily circuits. These Kin Emilia canvas trainers are the perfect footwear. Price – £39.

 Tangerine dream

You should never be without a tote bag on board to carry your paperback, sunscreen, sunglasses and make-up. This Powder Nadia woven, fringy bag in a tangerine colour ticks all the boxes. Price – £32.

 Neck and neck

A beautiful bouquet of flowers to wear round your neck or throw over one shoulder: a silk and wool mix is heaven – elegant, snug and comforting. You will never want to take it off. Price – £49.

 Sea and be seen!

Sunglasses are a must on a cruise with the glare from sun and sea. I love this Preppy Round pair’s shape with their tortoiseshell frames. Be sure to take more than one pair, though. Accidents do happen. Price – £49.

 Brimming with confidence

Film-star glamour here – a wide-brimmed stripy sun hat in classic style. I can just see it worn with a sleek black swimsuit by the pool, but the neutral black and ivory would go with bright colours too – and it will scrunch up happily in your packing. Price – £30.

 Perfection in pink

Bang in fashion with a pop of shocking pink, this weaved clutch bag packs a real punch. It’s a good size and – day or evening, poolside or ashore, it is a bag to take anywhere. Price – £45.

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