What To Wear On A Cruise: Cruise Vacation Attire

Cruise vacations are a wonderful way to explore the world. During your cruise, you can visit numerous destinations.

Not to mention, cruises have a luxurious vibe that you’re bound to love.

What To Wear On Cruise: Cruise Vacation Attire

When planning a cruise vacation, you will need to plan the outfits that you wish to take with you.

During these cruises, formal attire is recommended. These cruises are a great opportunity to show off your amazing outfits.

This guide will tell you everything that you need to know about cruise vacation dress codes (if you’re looking to have some fun on your cruise, check out our guide to the game Cruising Ducks).

It covers all the different cruise situations that you will need to pack for so that you can plan the perfect outfits!

What To Wear On Cruise: Cruise Vacation Attire

What To Wear On Cruise Cruise Vacation Attire

Most cruise ships will have some form of dress code, in which men and women alike will be expected to wear some form of formal clothing.

These dress codes are not applied to everyday goings on in the ship, as they will traditionally be reserved for the dining room.

However, this dress code will differ depending on the occasion. Generally, the dress code can be broken down into three distinct categories, namely:

  • Casual
  • Smart casual
  • Formal evenings

Formal Evenings

When your cruise ship has a formal evening, this is the perfect opportuning to dazzle all of the other guests with an elegant outfit.

Formal evenings are a mainstay in the cruise industry. This is because many passengers love getting dressed up to celebrate their vacation.

These formal events can have numerous different names, including gala evenings.

The level of formality can differ depending on the cruise. For instance, if you have gone on a family-friendly cruise, formal evenings will likely be rare and have a less elegant vibe.

Many men will opt for tuxedos. Traditionally, these tuxedos are either black or white. They will be paired with black formal shoes and bow ties.

Yet, tuxedos are not the only formal option for men. Instead, they can wear formal suits with dress shirts.

When wearing these shirts, men may want to add a complementary tie and dress shoes, including brogues. Moreover, they may want to add watches to give the suit a more grandiose look.

Formal evenings are also a great chance for ladies to wear some stylish outfits. Evening gowns will be the most obvious option for women.

Cocktail dresses can also be a sophisticated outfit, especially when paired with the perfect accessories.

Many women will love wearing the classic little black dress for formal nights.

For a more striking look, women can also opt for tuxedos and pants suits. Women may want to opt for a less bold pants suit color for more formal dinners.

Wearing formal attire will be especially important if the ship hosts a black-tie event. This formal dress code will involve wearing dresses or suits.

Smart Casual

When dressing in smart casual attire, you should only wear outfits that you would wear to a fancy restaurant.

Smart casual may also be referred to as “resort casual”, which describes the clothing that you would wear to a summer beach vacation.

Smart casual outfits will look polished and smart but with a more relaxed twist than formal attire.

On a cruise, men should wear formal pants or khaki pants. These pants can be combined with a smart buttoned shirt or polo shirt, which can either be long-sleeved or short-sleeved.

Oxford shirts will work especially well for smart casual.

To finish off the outfit, men should wear smart shoes, such as boat shoes or brogues. In addition, they can experiment with different accessories, including watches, to elevate their outfits (for more cruise outfits, read here).

When it comes to smart casual outfits for women, most people will opt for a relaxed dress. Midi dresses are an outstanding option, as are knee-length dresses.

However, dresses are not the only smart casual outfits for women.

Jumpsuits are also appropriate for this cruise dress code. Alternatively, women can wear smart trousers or culottes with a chic top.

Like men, women can boost the style of their outfits with a range of accessories.

Jewelry, such as rings, watches, necklaces, and earrings, will add a touch of sophistication to a smart casual outfit.

In addition, cardigans or shawls can be worn, which will be great when the dining area is a little chilly.

In terms of shoes, it’s recommended that women avoid wearing shoes with large heels for cruises (for more cruise wear advice for plus size cruisers, read here).

Not only can these shoes be difficult to walk in on a cruise ship, but they can also take up lots of space in your luggage (for more luggage restrictions and baggage rules, read here).

Instead, smart sandals and espadrilles are recommended for women.


A casual dress code represents more relaxed attire. This casual clothing will place more of an emphasis on comfort.

For men, casual clothing will mean wearing a more relaxed pair of pants, chinos, or a smart pair of jeans. These jeans should be of high quality with no holes or rips.

These jeans can be paired with a casual shirt or polo shirt. Many cruise ships will not allow shorts in more formal parts of the ship, such as the dining hall.

Women may want to wear sundresses when the weather is suitable.

If they want to wear pants, women can opt for a smart pair of jeans and a shirt. Alternatively, fashionable jeans can be matched with a nice t-shirt.

Capri pants can also be worn for casual attire. These pants stop before the ankle, making them a suitable option for warmer climates.

Alternatively, skirts may be worn to give a touch of elegance to the ensemble.

What Should You Wear For Sea Days?

What To Wear OnCruise Cruise VacationAttire

When you are on a cruise ship, the sea days are the periods in which the ship does not go to a port.

Instead, the sea days will be the perfect opportunity to experience all of the amenities that the cruise ship has to offer, including gyms, cinemas, and onboard pools.

During these sea days, you can wear whatever you want. Most cruise passengers will opt for relaxed clothing during these sea days.

This is because they will not have the same dress codes that are applied to the evening attire.

Your wardrobe should be dependent on whatever activities you plan on pursuing during the day.

For example, if you plan on going to the gym, you should wear active clothing, such as sports tops and shorts.

Meanwhile, if you plan on making use of the pool, passengers might want to wear swimsuits and trunks.

It is advised that you bring a few swimsuits or swimming trunks if you wish to check out the pool. Usually, swimsuits will not be permitted in the dining hall.

Remember to bring a swim coverup to the cruise. Your cabin could be a long walk from the pool, meaning that you will have to walk through common areas.

Thus, packing something to cover yourself with is advisable. This coverup will be seen by other people, so it should be something that you feel confident when wearing.

These sea days also give passengers a chance to experiment with different accessories, including sun hats and sunglasses.

Sun visors and baseball caps can also be worn to protect from the sun.

In terms of shoes, passengers may want to wear comfortable sneakers as they walk around the ship.

Waterproof sliders and sandals are also recommended for lounging around the pool, particularly during warm weather.

What Should You Wear To Board A Ship?

WhatTo Wear On Cruise Cruise Vacation Attire

Comfortable clothing is essential for boarding the ship.

You won’t need to go onto the ship wearing your formal attire, as the boarding process can take a long time. As a result, comfort is the main priority when entering the ship.

Aside from comfort, you must also take into account the weather. For instance, if the weather is warm, you will likely want to wear shorts and a short-sleeve shirt.

Moreover, you will want to don sandals and sliders.

These shoes can be paired with other accessories, such as sunglasses. In this warm weather, you should also remember to put sunscreen on.

In these warm weather conditions, both men and women should don light colors (for more cruise wear for men, read here).

Dark colors will attract sunlight, which can make people feel uncomfortably warm when boarding the cruise.

If you are unfortunate enough to have cold and wet weather, you should pack a few extra layers. It may be worth bringing a hoodie or raincoat just in case.

Yet, you should not pack too much clothing. This will take up more space in your luggage, which will limit the number of clothes that you can bring.

Not to mention, you are unlikely to need much thick clothing when you embark on a cruise.

What Should You Wear During Shore Excursions?

When you are packing for a cruise, you should also take into account the clothing that you will wear for shore excursions.

These are the opportunities in which passengers are allowed off the boat so that they can explore various locations.

The exact wardrobe actions will depend on the type of excursion. For instance, if passengers plan on visiting a beach, they will need to wear light clothing.

Men and women will typically wear shorts, t-shirts, and sandals with a hat to protect them from the sun.

If they want to plunge into the waters of the beach, they should wear swimsuits or trunks.

Meanwhile, if the guests wish to explore the country in which they have arrived, they will need to wear practical clothing. The clothing options should be reliant on the weather and climate.

If the passengers decide to go for a walk through the location, such as going on a hike they will need to wear comfortable shoes.

Hiking boots will be recommended for long walks, though these boots can take up a significant amount of space in a person’s luggage. T-shirts, shorts, sundresses, and hats are all suitable for walking tours.

What Should Kids Wear On A Cruise?

What To Wear On Cruise Cruise Vacation Attire

If your kids are accompanying you on a cruise, the chances are that you have selected a family-friendly cruise ship.

During these cruises, the dress code is often much more relaxed.

When taking kids on a cruise, you should pack plenty of lightweight t-shirts and shorts. Moreover, you may want to bring a few pairs of jeans just in case the weather is colder.

Parents might also want to pack comfortable trainers or sandals for kids. Kids can also wear acc9essories during the cruise, such as caps and sunglasses.

Some family-friendly cruises will also have formal evenings, during which kids will get the opportunity to dress up in something a little more sophisticated.

Boys can wear smart shirts and dress pants during these formal evenings. They can even wear a two-piece suit if desired. Meanwhile, girls may wear dresses or skirts with a smart top.

What Should You Wear On A Cold-Weather Cruise?

When most people imagine going on a cruise, they see themselves exploring the wonders of the world in gloriously sunny weather.

But the truth is that not all cruises will have warm and sunny weather. Known as cold weather or winter cruises, these vacations are particularly popular around winter.

As you can imagine, passengers will need to dress differently depending on if they are going on a warm-weather or cold-weather cruise.

The main difference between the ideal outfits for these two types of cruises is that people should wear numerous layers of clothing for cold-weather cruises.

In terms of layers, it is advised that passengers wear jumpers, turtlenecks, flannel shirts, sweaters, and hoodies.

These clothes are not only comfortable but will keep you warm.

It is especially important to wear these layers during shore excursions. When you are on the cruise ship, the temperatures will likely be warmer.

Outerwear must also be packed. Specifically, a raincoat is recommended. Just bear in mind that coats can take up a lot of space in your suitcase.

As a result, you may want to invest in a packable travel jacket for your cruise vacation. Ideally, these coats and jackets should be waterproof.

Accessories are also essential for cold-weather shore excursions.

These accessories can include scarves, knitted hats, and wool gloves, which should make you feel a little cozier during excursions.

Ideally, you should pack waterproof or moisture-wicking accessories to provide adequate protection from the rain. You may also want to bring a travel umbrella.

Finally, it is suggested that you include thermal underwear among your clothing options.

What Do You Need To Wear On A Luxury Cruise?

What To Wear On Cruise Cruise Vacation Attire

Luxury cruises often have a stricter and more specific dress code than other cruise ships. These cruise ships are often smaller than other liners.

Consequently, they will accept a smaller number of passengers than larger cruise ships.

These luxury cruises place a larger emphasis on a refined vacation experience. For instance, you will likely have an exquisite dining experience when aboard one of these luxurious ships.

Many of these cruises will focus on elegant casual dress codes. Men will be expected to wear suits with dress shirts and a tie.

Typically, dark suits will be worn. Women will need to wear dresses or other formal outfits, such as dresses or pant suits with a formal top.

Make sure that you check the dress code before traveling. This way, you can pack suitable attire.

For instance, Silversea has a relatively relaxed stress code.

Most guests will focus on wearing restort-style clothing. However, the majority of passengers will dress up more formally during the evenings.

Likewise, Oceania does not have a dress code.

Instead, it is advised that you don country club clothing when you are on one of these luxury cruises. Azamara has a similar dress code recommendation.

Cruise Clothing: Checklist For Men

To help men ensure that they pack the right clothing, it’s recommended that they follow this handy checklist:

  • T-shirts
  • Polo shirts
  • Dress shirts
  • Shorts
  • Swimming trunks
  • Undergarments and socks
  • Sleepwear
  • Exercise clothing, including tops and bottoms
  • Dress shirts
  • Jeans
  • Khaki trousers
  • A suit, tuxedo, or both
  • Sunglasses
  • A baseball cap or hat
  • Running shoes
  • Dress shoes
  • Comfortable shoes

Cruise Clothing: Checklist For Women

Likewise, women may want to make sure that they have all the items on this checklist when they start packing for a cruise:

  • T-shirts
  • Shorts
  • Skirts
  • Swimsuits
  • Swimming cover-ups
  • Undergarments and socks
  • Sleepwear
  • Exercise clothing, including tops and bottoms
  • Jeans
  • Dress pants trousers
  • Sundresses
  • A cocktail dress
  • Sunglasses
  • A hat
  • Running shoes
  • Dress shoes
  • Sandals or espadrilles
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Accessories

Cruise Clothing: Checklist For Kids

To ensure that kids have all the clothes that they need, they should get all of these items:

  • T-shirts
  • Polo shirts
  • Shorts or skirts
  • Swimming clothing
  • Undergarments and socks
  • Sleepwear
  • Exercise clothing, including tops and bottoms
  • Jeans
  • Formal clothing
  • Sunglasses
  • A baseball cap or hat
  • Comfortable shoes

Cruise Clothing: Winter Edition Checklist

When attending a winter or cold-weather cruise, you may also need to pack the following objects alongside the aforementioned checklists:

  • A coat
  • Waterproof gloves
  • A hat
  • A scarf
  • Boots
  • Hoodies
  • Jumpers

Packing Tips For Cruises

What To Wear On Cruise Cruise Vacation Attire

To ensure that you pack for your cruise as effectively as possible, follow these top tips:

Consider the length of your cruise. The longer the cruise, the more clothing you will need. Yet, it is still a good idea to bring extra clothes just in case, especially since the weather can vary.

For instance, if you are going on a cruise for seven days, packing for nine days will give you a little leeway.

You don’t need to pack loads of dresses. Instead, you can pack just a few dresses and repurpose them. For instance, you can pair them with different accessories, including jewelry and shoes.

oreover, you could add a bit of variety to your outfit by wearing the dress with a shawl for one night.

Many cruise ships will have laundry facilities, which allow you to clean your clothes. Unless you are on board for a long time, you may not need to use these facilities.

Yet, you will often need to pay extra to use the laundry machines. It’s worth checking what facilities you have access to before you pack.

Fold your clothes along the seams to prevent them from becoming creased. This will reduce the ironing that you have to do onboard the ship.

Certain articles of clothing may be banned by cruise companies, especially when a formal dress code is applied.

The majority of companies will ban clothing that features offensive language or graphics.

Not to mention, most companies will not allow any clothing with graphic designs in formal events.

It’s important to retain a sense of personal style when you are on a cruise. Even if you are following a specific dress code, you should not be afraid to show off your individuality.

For formal occasions, dark suits are preferred among men. Though bright colors, such as pastel blue, can be a great way of adding a little color to men’s suits, some cruise companies will frown upon these lighter colors.

Dress codes are often more relaxed for children under the age of eighteen.

Try to pack clothes that complement one another. This makes it much simpler to build attractive outfits.

Try not to bring too many pairs of shoes. They will take up a lot of space in your luggage. Furthermore, they will make your suitcase incredibly heavy.

How Can You Find Out The Dress Code For A Cruise?

As mentioned, it is recommended that you check the dress code of a cruise before you embark on this adventure. For the most part, you can find this information online.

A specific cruise company will mention these dress codes on their websites.

If you are unable to find this information, you can contact a cruise company via telephone or email.

If there is no specific information available, this will likely suggest that the cruise company has a more relaxed dress code.

What Are The Dress Codes For Some Leading Cruise Companies?

Disney Cruise Line

For the most part, Disney cruises will have a dress code called “cruise casual”. This means that casual t-shirts and shorts will be permitted.

However, tank tops and swimsuits will not be suitable when walking around the ship.

When dining, guests will need to don smart casual clothes, such as smart jeans and shirts.

Occasionally, this cruise line will have formal nights, where semi-formal clothing will be required.

Costa Cruises

During the day, Costa Cruises will have a casual dress code. When you visit the restaurant on a Costa Cruise ship, you will need to wear formal clothes.

Namely, men will be expected to wear dress shirts and trousers while ladies will wear elegant dresses. When Italian food is served at the restaurant, guests are encouraged to wear red, white, and green clothes.

Carnival Cruise Line

The Carnival Cruise Line has attempted to cultivate a casual atmosphere aboard its ships. For gentlemen, it is suggested that they wear polo shirts or t-shirts with trousers or jeans.

Meanwhile, women are encouraged to wear tops with jeans or skirts or don dresses.

Yet, passengers will be encouraged to wear fancy clothing during the sophisticated Cruise Elegant.

During these evenings, men are supposed to wear dress shirts with a suit or tuxedo. Meanwhile, women are expected to wear pants suits, or dresses to these high-quality evenings.

If guests do not want to attend the Cruise Elegant evenings, there will be alternative dining options available.

Norwegian Cruises

For most of the ship, cruise casual is the dress code for the Norwegian Cruises Line.

This dress code will be continued through most of the restaurants on the ship, including the buffets. This will mean that dresses, tops, shirts, jeans, and shorts are all acceptable items of clothing.

Just bear in mind that passengers are advised to cover up when wearing swimming outfits to restaurants.

Moreover, guests will need to conform to other clothing rules, such as not wearing ripped jeans or baseball caps to the dining halls.

However, for more formal events, the dress code expectations will be stricter.

These evenings are known as Norwegian’s Night Out. Though expectations will be higher, there are no formal dress codes for these evenings.

P&O Cruises

When it comes to day wear, P&O does not have any strict dress codes for its passengers. Instead, this company encourages guests to dress as comfortably as possible.

Outside of the pool, pool wear is not acceptable in public spaces, such as restaurants or lounges.

In addition, P&O will host Evening Casual events, where the dress code will be slightly more formal. Namely, smart casual clothing should be worn.

Yet, the company is quite lenient with these rules. For instance, during Caribbean holidays, guests will be permitted to wear shorts in most dining areas.

Final Thoughts

When you want to go on a cruise vacation, it’s essential to properly consider the outfits that you want to bring. Not only will you need to consider the dress code of the cruise, but also the weather.

This way, you can plan outfits that not only look great and match the dress code but are also comfortable and practical.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Wear A Tracksuit On A Cruise?

It is recommended that you do not pack a tracksuit when going on a cruise. This is because they are usually frowned upon. Yet, you may be able to get away with wearing a tracksuit to the onboard gym.

For most cruise companies, tracksuits will be banned in dining areas. Not to mention, tracksuits simply will not be necessary during your vacation, as the weather will likely be too warm to wear these thick pieces of clothing.

How Many Swimsuits Should You Pack For A Cruise?

This will depend on the length of your vacation as well as how often you plan on using the swimming pool facilities. Generally, women should pack between 3 and 5 swimsuits for a 7-day cruise. If you have access to laundry facilities, you will also be able to wash your swimsuits.

Do You Need Dressy Clothes For A Cruise?

Yes, you will need dressy clothing when attending a cruise. These dressy outfits will be important when it comes to the evenings, as you will be expected to wear fancier clothing to the dining hall. This dress clothing can include suits or dress shirts, sports jackets, and smart pants for men. Meanwhile, dresses and suits are standard articles of clothing for women.

Alex Kallen

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top