Ahoy, travelers! Setting sail on a luxurious cruise is an experience unlike any other. From the gentle sway of the ship to the endless horizons, there’s magic in every moment.
Whether you’re a first-time cruiser or a veteran of the seas, join us on this voyage as we chart out the essential cruise clothes for both men and women.
So make sure to print out one of our free cruise planners, and let’s ensure you’re dressed to impress with the best cruise clothes, no matter where the waves take you!
Daytime Cruise Clothes
Navigating the vast array of day activities on a cruise can be both exhilarating and, admittedly, a bit overwhelming.
Whether you’re lounging on the sundeck, trying out the various onboard activities, or stepping ashore to explore a new city, your daywear should embody three core principles: comfort, style, and versatility.
Here’s how to make sure you’re perfectly attired from sunrise to sunset with cruise clothes.
Casual Attire for Exploring Onboard or Port Cities
Breathable T-shirts or Blouses: A staple for any cruise wardrobe, these offer effortless style combined with utmost comfort. Opt for lighter colors or patterns that can easily be paired with shorts, skirts, or even jeans.
Comfortable Shorts or Skirts: Given the tropical or temperate climates you’re likely to encounter, shorts or skirts are indispensable. Look for breathable fabrics like cotton or linen. Consider packing a mix of lengths and styles to suit different occasions.
Light Dresses: A one-piece wonder, dresses are easy to throw on for a quick breakfast or a stroll in the port city. Sundresses or A-line dresses can be both chic and comfortable.
Stylish yet Comfortable Sandals or Walking Shoes: While flip-flops are great for the deck, a comfortable pair of sandals or closed-toed walking shoes are essential for those city tours or onboard activities.
Polo Shirts or Casual T-shirts: A classic polo offers a neat look while t-shirts (plain or graphic) provide a laid-back vibe. Ensure they’re made of breathable materials to keep you cool.
Khaki Shorts or Lightweight Trousers: While shorts are ideal for hotter days, a pair of lightweight trousers can be a stylish choice for evening onboard activities.
Comfortable Sneakers or Sandals: Sneakers are versatile, perfect for both onboard activities and shore excursions. A comfortable pair of sandals can also be a good alternative for more relaxed days.
Swimwear and Poolside Cruise Clothes
Let’s face it; a significant portion of your cruise will probably be spent by the pool. And why not? The glistening waters, the sun decks with their loungers, and, of course, the inviting pool bars! Here’s what to wear to make a splash.
One-piece Swimsuits or Bikinis: Depending on your style and comfort level, both are great choices. Consider bringing a couple of options to rotate during your trip.
Cover-ups or Kaftans: For those moments when you’re moving from the pool to the buffet or bar, a stylish cover-up or kaftan is essential. They offer a modest yet chic way to navigate the ship.
Slip-on Sandals or Flip-flops: Easy to wear and remove, these are poolside essentials.
Swim Trunks or Board Shorts: Available in various lengths and patterns, find one that suits your style and comfort.
Tank Tops or Tees for Cover: A quick throw-over for when you’re heading to the snack bar or just lounging on the deck.
Flip-flops or Slide Sandals: The ultimate in poolside footwear, these are easy to slip on and off.
Active and Adventure Wear (for excursions)
Cruise trips aren’t solely about sipping cocktails having fun cruise experiences on the deck or basking in the sun. They’re often punctuated with heart-pounding adventures and excursions that whisk you away into the heart of new destinations.
Whether it’s hiking up a picturesque mountain, snorkeling in crystal-clear waters, or navigating through a bustling local market, you’ll need cruise clothes that matches the pace and spirit of these adventures.
Quick-drying Tops: Materials like polyester or blends that wick away moisture are ideal. Whether you’re sweating from a hike or got a bit wet during a water-based activity, these tops will keep you dry and comfortable.
Athletic Shorts or Leggings: Depending on the nature of the activity and the expected weather, choose between shorts or full-length leggings. They should allow for maximum mobility without any discomfort.
Sturdy Walking Shoes or Hiking Boots: Depending on the terrain, a good pair of walking shoes with a grip or hiking boots might be necessary. Ensure they’re already broken in to avoid blisters.
Moisture-wicking Shirts: Like the women’s tops, shirts for men should be able to handle sweat and perhaps a splash or two. They should be lightweight and comfortable.
Athletic Shorts or Trekking Pants: Shorts are great for warmer climates, but sometimes, long trekking pants can offer protection against plants, bugs, or the sun.
Sporty Shoes or Hiking Boots: Comfort is paramount. Like with women’s shoes, ensure they are broken in and suited for the type of excursion you’ll be undertaking.
When choosing active and adventure wear, always consider the specific nature of the excursions you’re planning. Some might require more specialized gear, while others might be a casual stroll through a town or beach.
Always remember, it’s not just about looking good, but also about ensuring safety and comfort during these activities.
Evening Cruise Clothes
As the golden hues of the day give way to the twinkling stars of the night, the atmosphere on a cruise ship takes on a more refined and sophisticated vibe. Evenings onboard are a delightful blend of dining, dancing, shows, and making memories.
Whether it’s the soft melodies of a piano bar, the glamour of a captain’s dinner, or the excitement of a Broadway-style show, packing cruise clothes for dressing the part can make your evening even more special. Let’s help you shine under the cruise ship chandeliers!
Many cruises offer a relaxed dining experience for those nights when you just want to kick back. While the ambiance is laid-back, it’s a tad more upscale than your daytime cruise clothes.
Sundresses or Maxi Dresses: Flowy and comfortable, these dresses are perfect for a relaxed dinner. They’re stylish without being overly formal.
Comfortable Sandals or Ballet Flats: After a long day of excursions, your feet deserve some comfort. Opt for embellished sandals or chic ballet flats that match your dress.
Button-up Shirts: Whether it’s a classic white or a playful print, a button-up shirt is a versatile choice for casual dining.
Slacks or Chinos: A step up from shorts, these trousers strike the right balance between casual and classy.
Loafers or Dress Sandals: Keep it comfortable, but avoid athletic shoes. A nice pair of loafers or even dressy sandals would be apt.
Certain nights on the cruise, often dubbed as “Captain’s Nights” or “Gala Nights”, require a touch of elegance. It’s an opportunity to pull out all the stops and dress to the nines (and maybe snap some great cruise photos!).
Cocktail Dresses or Elegant Gowns: Depending on the level of formality of the cruise line, a cocktail dress or a full-length gown would be suitable. Think of sequins, satin, and all things glam!
Heels or Sophisticated Flats: While heels elevate the look, if you’re not comfortable in them, opt for jeweled or polished flats.
Evening Clutches: Ditch the daytime tote and carry a sleek clutch to hold your essentials and match your evening cruise clothes.
Suits or Tuxedos: While a well-fitted suit is a universal choice, some ultra-luxury cruises might require a tuxedo for their most formal nights.
Dress Shoes: Polished and pristine, pair them with your suit or tuxedo for that complete look.
Bowtie or Tie: Depending on the dress code and personal preference, finalize your look with either a classic tie or a dapper bowtie.
Dressing up in the evening isn’t just about adhering to the cruise’s dress code; it’s an experience in itself. It’s the thrill of preparing for a night of enchantment, the anticipation of gourmet meals, and the promise of unforgettable memories.
Themed Nights and Special Celebrations
Cruise ships are renowned for their penchant for throwing themed parties or special celebrations. These can range from the elegance of a ‘White Night‘ to the playful nostalgia of a ’70s Disco Evening’.
Participating in these themed events not only enhances your cruise experience but is also a fabulous way to interact and make new friends. Let’s dive into some popular themes and how to pack your cruise clothes for them!
White Night or Tropical Evening
An all-white attire event or a tropical-themed soirée is common, especially in Caribbean or tropical cruises.
Flowy White Dress or Tropical Print Maxi: Embrace the theme with a breezy white dress or go bold with tropical prints.
Strappy Sandals: Match your outfit with white or metallic sandals.
Tropical Accessories: Think flower hairpins, bead necklaces, or even a colorful sarong.
White Linen Shirt or Tropical Print Shirt: Stay cool and stylish in a linen shirt or embrace the tropical vibes with bold prints.
White Shorts or Chinos: Pair with your shirt for a seamless look.
Espadrilles or Sandals: Comfortable footwear that complements the theme.
’70s Disco or Retro Night
A chance to revisit the golden era of disco balls and groovy tunes.
Sequined Dress or Jumpsuit: The ’70s were all about glam and shimmer. Choose a glittery dress or a stylish jumpsuit.
Platform Shoes: Elevate your look (literally!) with these iconic shoes.
Hoop Earrings and Headbands: Perfect accessories to complete the retro look.
Shiny Satin Shirt: Opt for bold colors or patterns.
Bell-Bottom Pants: A must-have for the disco theme!
Platform Shoes or Loafers: To dance the night away.
Celebrating the very essence of being at sea with themed cruise clothes.
Navy or Striped Dress: Stick to a maritime color palette – think navy, white, and red.
Espadrilles or Navy Flats: A perfect match for the nautical theme.
Anchor or Ship Wheel Accessories: Subtle jewelry or accessories can elevate your look.
Striped Polo or Navy Shirt: Embody the nautical vibe with appropriate colors.
White Shorts or Chinos: Provides a crisp contrast to your navy top.
Boat Shoes: The quintessential choice for this theme.
Remember, while dressing up for themed nights is a ton of fun, it’s not obligatory. The idea is to enjoy yourself and immerse in the spirit of the cruise.
If you’re not up for a full costume, even subtle nods to the theme through accessories or colors can work wonders.
Essential Cruise Clothes Accessories
Cruise accessories can be the unsung heroes of your cruise wardrobe. Not only do they elevate an outfit, but they can also be practical additions to ensure smooth sailing throughout your trip.
Let’s delve into the various accessories, both functional and fashionable, that you shouldn’t forget to pack.
Sun Protection Gear
Safeguarding yourself from the blazing sun is crucial, especially when you’re out on the open sea or exploring sunny port destinations.
For Women & Men
Wide-brimmed Hats or Caps: Protects your face from direct sunlight and adds a chic or sporty touch to your outfit.
Sunglasses: A stylish pair with UV protection is non-negotiable. Consider bringing a more casual pair and a dressier one.
UV Protective Clothing: Especially beneficial for excursions, these are pieces designed with fabric that blocks harmful rays.
Your choice of footwear can make all the difference in your comfort and overall cruise experience.
Wedges: An elegant alternative to stilettos, especially when walking on the deck.
Water Shoes: Perfect for beach excursions or water-based activities.
Dress Sandals: A more breathable choice for formal nights.
Water-resistant Slides: Great for quick trips around the ship or beach lounging.
Bags and Pouches
Being organized and having essentials at hand can drastically improve your cruise experience.
Crossbody Bag: Keeps your hands free during excursions and provides security for your essentials.
Tote Bag: Ideal for poolside lounging, it can house your book, sunscreen, and other necessities.
Messenger Bag or Backpack: For keeping essentials handy during shore trips.
Duffle Bag: Useful for carrying gym gear or for extended shore excursions.
Jewelry and Timepieces
While jewelry adds a touch of glam, a trusty timepiece ensures you’re always on schedule.
Statement Necklaces or Earrings: Can instantly elevate a simple dress for formal nights.
Water-resistant Watch: Practical yet stylish, ensures you’re always punctual for onboard activities.
Cufflinks: A subtle touch of sophistication for those formal nights.
Dive Watch: Combines functionality with style, especially if you’re into water sports.
For Women & Men
Travel Scarf or Shawl: Perfect for breezy evenings on the deck or when the indoor areas get too chilly.
Collapsible Water Bottle: Stay hydrated during shore excursions without adding bulk.
Travel Umbrella: For those unexpected drizzles during port visits.
Accessories are not just add-ons; they can define a cruise clothes outfit and enhance your cruise experience. Always remember to balance style with comfort and functionality.
As we wrap up our guide on cruise clothes, let’s touch upon a few general packing tips to make your cruise vacation as seamless and enjoyable as possible.
Packing Tips and Tricks for a Seamless Cruise Vacation
Now that we’ve navigated the vast sea of cruise clothes and accessories, let’s anchor down on some general packing tips.
Preparing for a cruise isn’t just about what to pack, but also how to pack. These considerations can be the difference between a stressful trip and a smooth-sailing voyage.
Before you start packing, always check your cruise line’s luggage restrictions.
Weight and Size Limits: Most cruises are generous with luggage allowance, but it’s always wise to check. Remember, you’ll also have to consider any flight restrictions if you’re flying to the port.
Carry-on Bag: Ideal for your first day onboard. Pack essentials like medications, swimwear (in case you want to hit the pool immediately), and any other immediate necessities.
Most cruise ships offer laundry services, which can influence how much you pack.
Onboard Laundry: If you’re comfortable with the prices and services offered, you can pack lighter and get a laundry load or two done during the trip.
Quick Drying Clothes: If you prefer to hand wash a few items, bring quick-drying clothes that can easily be rinsed and hung in your cabin.
Dress Code Adherence
Beyond the suggested attire we’ve covered, some cruises have specific dress code rules.
Formal Nights: Some luxury cruises might have more stringent dress codes for their gala or captain’s dinners.
Religious or Cultural Sensitivity: If your cruise stops at religious sites or conservative countries, ensure you have attire that respects local customs.
Weather can be unpredictable at sea. Packing cruise clothes with layering in mind can save space and offer versatility.
Mix and Match: Choose neutral bottoms or skirts that can be paired with multiple tops.
Transitional Outfits: Clothes that can easily transition from day to night with the addition of a few accessories or a change of shoes… especially if you are headed up to Alaska!
Maximizing your luggage space can make packing and unpacking more efficient.
Rolling vs. Folding: Rolling clothes can sometimes save more space and reduce wrinkles.
Packing Cubes: These can compartmentalize your luggage, making it easier to find items and repack.
Shoes Storage: Place socks or small items inside your shoes to utilize all available space.
Beyond clothing, ensure you have all the essential documents and items for your trip.
Passport and Necessary Visas: Keep them in a waterproof pouch or a dedicated wallet.
Medications and Health Essentials: Always in your carry-on and in their original packaging.
Power Adapters or Converters: Especially if your cruise has international sockets or if you’re traveling to various countries.
Preparing for a cruise goes beyond just cruise clothes packing—it’s about anticipating needs, being prepared for various scenarios, and ensuring your trip is as hassle-free as possible.
With these considerations in mind, you’re not just geared up for a cruise; you’re set to embark on an unforgettable journey with style, grace, and confidence!
Common Cruise Packing Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)
Setting sail on a cruise is exciting, but ensuring you have everything you need can be a daunting task.
Overpacking cruise clothes, forgetting cruise essentials, or neglecting the dress code can throw a wrench in your vacation plans. Here’s a list of some frequent missteps made by travelers and tips to sidestep them.
The Mistake: Bringing half your wardrobe “just in case.” This not only makes it difficult to find what you need but can also lead to excess baggage fees.
How to Avoid It:
- List Before Packing: Make a detailed list before you start packing and stick to it.
- Capsule Wardrobe: Focus on mix and match items, so fewer pieces can create more outfits.
Neglecting Cruise Line Dress Codes
The Mistake: Assuming all cruises have the same dress standards and finding yourself either overdressed or underdressed.
How to Avoid It:
- Check Cruise Line’s Guidelines: Every cruise line is different; always refer to your specific line’s dress code.
- Pack Versatile Items: Pieces that can be dressed up or down based on the occasion.
Forgetting Essential Documents
The Mistake: Realizing at the last minute that you’ve forgotten your passport, booking confirmation, or travel insurance.
How to Avoid It:
- Document Checklist: Make a list of all essential documents and check them off as you pack.
- Digital Backups: Store scanned copies of crucial documents in your email or a cloud storage.
Neglecting Port Stops
The Mistake: Focusing only on onboard attire and forgetting about what you might need for shore excursions, especially in culturally conservative areas.
How to Avoid It:
- Research Port Stops: Familiarize yourself with the local culture and expected cruise clothes for your cruise ports.
- Pack Accordingly: Bring suitable clothing for the destinations you’ll visit, such as conservative attire for religious sites.
The Mistake: Packing only one pair of shoes or not considering the various activities you’ll be partaking in.
How to Avoid It:
- Diverse Footwear: Include a good mix – comfortable walking shoes for excursions, formal shoes for evenings, and flip-flops for poolside lounging.
- Wear Bulky Shoes: If space is a concern, wear your bulkiest pair during travel to save luggage space.
The Mistake: Lugging around full-sized shampoo bottles and lotions which consume space and add weight.
How to Avoid It:
- Travel-sized Items: Opt for miniature versions of your favorite products.
- Check What’s Provided: Many all-inclusive cruises offer basic toiletries, so you might not need to pack them.
Ignoring the Weather
The Mistake: Assuming it will be sunny when packing cruise clothes because you’re heading to a tropical destination, only to be met with unexpected rain or cold fronts.
How to Avoid It:
- Weather Check: Look up the expected weather for your cruise dates and destinations.
- Pack for All Scenarios: Include a lightweight rain jacket and a sweater, even if you expect warm weather.
Not Planning for Connectivity
The Mistake: Assuming you’ll have the same connectivity at sea as on land and not preparing for potential communication blackouts.
How to Avoid It:
- Download Offline Maps: Useful for port stops.
- Portable Chargers: Keep your devices charged during long excursions.
Packing your cruise clothes and more doesn’t have to be overwhelming. By being aware of these common pitfalls and planning accordingly, you can ensure a hassle-free and enjoyable cruising experience. After all, the focus should be on the horizon ahead, not what’s missing in your suitcase!
Embarking on a cruise is more than just a vacation – it’s an experience, an adventure into the blue yonder. Like any grand journey, a cruise is best enjoyed when you’re prepared, not just in terms of itinerary but also in what you wear and carry.
The right cruise clothes and accessories can accentuate your experience, making you comfortable during shore excursions, glamorous during formal evenings, and cozy during those tranquil moments on the deck.
While the vast expanse of the ocean might seem overwhelming, the key to cruise packing doesn’t have to be. As we’ve navigated through the intricacies of cruise fashion, we’ve underscored a balance – between elegance and comfort, between the essential and the extra.
Remember, the cruise itself is like a well-coordinated dance of experiences, from sunlit days to starry nights. With the right wardrobe choices, you can glide through this dance seamlessly, enjoying every beat, every moment.
So as you close your suitcase and set your sights on the horizon, know that you’re not just prepared for a journey, you’re ready for memories that will last a lifetime. Here’s to smooth seas, scenic ports, and stylish cruise clothes!
Bon voyage and may the winds be always at your back! 🚢✨
FAQs on Cruise Clothes
Navigating through the world of cruise fashion can stir up a tide of questions. Whether you’re a first-time cruiser or a seasoned sailor, there are always inquiries that pop up… and we got the top cruise tips and tricks for you!
Here’s a roundup of some frequently asked questions about cruise clothing to make sure you’re ship-shape for your voyage!
Q1: Do I need to pack formal attire for every cruise?
A: Not necessarily. While many cruises have formal nights, the number and dress code vary by cruise line. Always check with your specific cruise’s guidelines. However, it’s wise to pack at least one semi-formal outfit, just in case.
Q2: Are swimsuits acceptable everywhere onboard?
A: Generally, swimsuits are only appropriate around pool areas. If you’re walking through indoor sections or dining areas, it’s respectful (and often required) to wear a cover-up, shorts, or a dress over your swim attire.
Q3: How versatile should my shore excursion cruise clothes be?
A: It’s best to plan for a variety of activities. You might be exploring a historic city in the morning and hitting the beach in the afternoon. Quick-drying, breathable clothes that can be layered are ideal.
Q4: Do cruises provide laundry facilities?
A: Most cruise ships offer laundry services for an additional fee. Some even have self-service laundromats. It’s useful to check in advance if you plan to pack light and do laundry onboard.
Q5: Can I wear heels on the cruise?
A: Yes, but be cautious. The ship can sway, making it challenging to walk in high heels. For formal nights, consider wedges or block heels for women as they provide better stability.
Q6: Is there a limit to how much luggage I can bring?
A: While cruise ships tend to be more lenient than airlines, there might be restrictions based on cabin size and storage space. It’s always wise to check with your cruise line beforehand.
Q7: Do I need different outfits for indoor and outdoor activities on the ship?
A: While there’s no strict rule, comfort is key. Light, breathable outfits are best for sunbathing or outdoor sports. Indoors, where temperatures might be cooler due to air conditioning, consider layering with a light sweater or shawl.
Q8: Are there any clothes I should avoid packing?
A: It depends on the cruise. However, as a general rule, avoid overly casual wear (like gym shorts) in formal dining areas and ensure you have appropriate attire for religious or culturally conservative port stops.
Q9: How can I minimize wrinkles in my packed clothes?
A: Rolling clothes instead of folding, using tissue paper between layers, and packing garments in dry cleaning bags can help reduce wrinkles. Additionally, many cruise cabins come equipped with irons.
Q10: Is it better to underpack or overpack for a cruise?
A: Strive for a balance. Overpacking can lead to clutter and potential baggage fees, while underpacking might leave you unprepared. Focus on versatile items that can be mixed, matched, and layered.
Q11: Are themed nights common on cruises? Should I pack specifically for them?
A: Many cruises have themed nights like tropical luaus, 80s retro parties, or pirate evenings. It’s fun to participate, but participation is often optional. Check with your cruise line for any themed evenings and pack accordingly if you’re interested.
Q12: What’s the best way to pack accessories without losing or tangling them?
A: Use jewelry organizers or small pouches to keep items separate. Necklaces can be threaded through straws or rolled in tissue paper to prevent tangling. Earrings can be fastened onto buttons to keep pairs together.
Q13: If I buy clothes or accessories during my shore excursions, are there restrictions to bring them onboard?
A: Most cruise lines allow you to bring items purchased ashore. However, items like local alcohol or certain foods might have restrictions. Always check customs regulations and the cruise line’s policies.
Q14: How should I dress for onboard activities like spas, gyms, or entertainment shows?
A: For spas, bring swimwear if they have pools or jacuzzis. Gyms require proper sportswear and shoes. Entertainment shows can range from casual to semi-formal, depending on the cruise line and the type of show.
Q15: Do cruises have shops onboard to purchase clothing or accessories?
A: Yes, most cruise ships have boutiques onboard where you can buy clothing, accessories, and even formal wear. However, prices can be higher than onshore, so it’s primarily for emergency needs or splurging.
Q16: How should I dress for dinners on non-formal nights?
A: Most cruises expect “smart casual” attire for dinners on non-formal nights. For men, this might mean slacks and a polo or button-down shirt. For women, a nice blouse with trousers or a casual dress works.
Q17: Will I need specific clothing for adventure activities during shore excursions, like hiking or water sports?
A: Absolutely. If you’ve planned activities like hiking, pack suitable footwear and clothing. For water sports, besides swimwear, consider UV-protective shirts or rash guards.
Q18: Can I rent clothing or accessories onboard?
A: Some luxury cruise lines offer tuxedo rental for men on formal nights, but it’s less common to find general clothing rental. If you think you might need something, it’s safer to pack it.
Q19: What’s the protocol for tipping on cruises and does attire play a role?
A: Tipping policies vary by cruise line. Some include gratuities in the fare; others expect passengers to tip individually. While attire doesn’t usually influence tipping, dressing respectfully in dining areas is always a good gesture.
Q20: Is there a “faux pas” in cruise clothes I should be aware of?
A: Every cruise and its passengers can have different expectations. Generally, wearing swimwear away from the pool areas, being too casual in formal dining rooms, or not adhering to themed or formal night dress codes are considered faux pas.
Embarking on a cruise is a journey of discovery – of places, cultures, and seas. The right clothing choices can enhance your experience, ensuring you’re prepared for every adventure while looking your best.
The key is balance, blending style with comfort, and elegance with practicality. Safe voyaging!