Navigating cruise attire can be challenging.
This guide simplifies the process by outlining dress codes, day and night outfits, dining and location-specific attire, what to wear for shore excursions, and what to avoid.
You’ll gain essential tips for packing that align with your itinerary and cruise line’s guidelines, ensuring a stylish and comfortable voyage.
Set sail with us as we demystify cruise fashion!
Understanding Cruise Dress Codes
Understanding the dress code is essential when it comes to how to dress on a cruise. Cruise lines have specific dress codes that passengers must adhere to during their voyages. These dress codes can vary depending on the cruise line and even the particular ship.
Cruise Line-Specific Dress Codes
Let’s take a look at some of the most common cruise line dress codes:
- Cruise Casual: This dress code is typically in effect during the day and in port. The relaxed dress code allows for casual attire such as shorts, t-shirts, and sundresses.
- Cruise Elegant: This dress code is typically in effect on one or two nights during the cruise. A more formal dress code requires dressier attire, such as cocktail dresses, suits, and ties.
- Evening Chic Dress Code: This dress code is used by some cruise lines and is similar to cruise elegance. It allows for more modern and fashionable attire such as jumpsuits, dressy separates, and little black dresses.
- Resort Casual: This dress code is used by some cruise lines and is a step up from cruise casual. It allows for more upscale attire like collared shirts, sundresses, and dress shorts.
- Cunard: Cunard has a more formal dress code than most other cruise lines. Most nights require formal attire, including gowns, tuxedos, and suits.
- Royal Caribbean: Royal Caribbean has a more relaxed dress code than other cruise lines. It allows for casual attire in most areas of the ship but has dressier dress codes for specific venues and events.
- Celebrity Cruises: Celebrity Cruises has a dress code similar to Royal Caribbean. It allows for casual attire in most areas of the ship but has dressier dress codes for specific venues and events.
- Disney Cruise Line: Disney Cruise Line has a dress code similar to Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises. It allows for casual attire in most areas of the ship but has dressier dress codes for specific venues and events.
- Princess Cruises: Princess Cruises has a dress code similar to Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises. It allows for casual attire in most areas of the ship but has dressier dress codes for specific venues and events.
It is important to note that dress codes can vary by ship and itinerary, so it is always a good idea to check with your cruise line before you pack to ensure that you have the appropriate attire for your specific cruise.
How to Dress on a Cruise during the Daytime
When it comes to daytime dressing on a cruise, comfort is vital. You want to wear clothes that are easy to move around and won’t make you feel too hot or cold. Here are some tips on how to dress on a cruise during the day:
- Daywear: During the day, you can wear casual clothes like jeans, shorts, t-shirts, and tank tops. However, keep in mind that some cruise lines have dress codes, so make sure to check before you pack.
- Swimwear: You’ll spend a lot of time by the pool or beach, so pack a few bathing suits. You can also bring cover-ups or a sarong to wear over your bathing suit when you’re not in the water.
- Footwear: Bring comfortable shoes for walking around the ship and going on excursions. Sandals, flip-flops, and sneakers are all excellent options. If you plan on doing water activities like snorkeling or kayaking, consider bringing water shoes.
- Hats: Caps and baseball caps protect your face from the sun. However, some cruise lines may not allow hats in some regions of the ship, so check before you pack.
- Gym and Sports: If you plan on working out or participating in onboard activities like rock climbing or basketball, pack gym shorts, and sportswear.
Overall, daytime dressing on a cruise is all about being comfortable while still looking presentable. Remember to check your cruise line’s dress code before you pack, and bring clothes appropriate for the activities you plan on doing.
How to Dress on a Cruise during the Evening
When it comes to evening dressing on a cruise, there are a few different dress codes to remember. Depending on the cruise line, you may have one or more formal nights and smart casual and casual dress codes for other evenings.
You’ll want to dress up in your best formal wear on formal nights. This could mean a cocktail dress or evening gown for women and a suit, tie, or tuxedo for men. If you need help deciding what to wear, check with your cruise line for specific guidelines and recommendations.
You can still dress up for smart casual evenings, but not as formal as on formal nights. Women can wear elegant skirts, blouses, or pantsuits, while men can wear long pants and collared shirts. Khakis are also acceptable for men on smart casual evenings.
You can dress more comfortably in casual pants or jeans and a nice shirt or polo on casual evenings. Remember that even on casual evenings, some cruise lines may still have dress codes prohibiting things like cut-off shorts or flip-flops in some regions of the ship.
If you’re unsure what to wear, it’s always better to err over being overdressed rather than underdressed. You can also check with your cruise line or travel agent for specific recommendations on what to pack and wear each evening.
Dressing for Dining on a Cruise
When it comes to dressing for dining on a cruise, there are a few things to remember to ensure you’re dressed appropriately for the occasion. Here’s how to dress on a cruise for dining:
1. Check the dress code: Different cruise lines have different dress codes, so checking the dress code for the restaurant you’re planning to dine in is essential. Some restaurants may require formal attire, while others may allow more casual attire.
2. Pack accordingly: Pack appropriate attire for each restaurant you plan to dine in. If a restaurant requires formal attire, pack a suit or evening gown. If the dress code is casual, pack slacks and a nice shirt or blouse.
3. Specialty restaurants: Some cruise lines have specialty restaurants that require a higher level of dress, such as white tablecloths and more formal attire. Check the dress code beforehand if you plan to dine in one of these restaurants.
4. Casual attire: Some restaurants on a cruise may allow for more casual attire, such as shorts and t-shirts. However, it’s still important to dress appropriately and avoid anything too revealing or inappropriate.
5. Evening chic dress code: Some cruise lines have introduced an “evening chic” dress code, allowing for more relaxed attire while maintaining a sense of elegance. This dress code typically allows for slacks, a blouse, a sundress for women, and a collared shirt for men.
You must check the dress code for each restaurant you plan to dine in and pack accordingly. Whether you’re dressing up for a formal evening or keeping it casual, knowing how to dress on a cruise for dining will ensure you’re comfortable and appropriately dressed for the occasion.
Dressing for Different Cruise Locations
When it comes to dressing for a cruise, it’s essential to consider the location of your cruise. Different cruise destinations require other attire, so it’s necessary to pack accordingly. Here’s a breakdown of what to wear on a cruise based on your goal.
Caribbean Cruise Dressing
If you’re headed on a Caribbean cruise, you’ll want to pack lightweight, tropical clothing. Think sundresses, tropical shirts, and sandals. Remember to bring swimwear for beach days and excursions. Remember that some cruise lines have dress codes, so check before packing.
Alaska Cruise Dressing
For an Alaska cruise, you’ll want to pack for cooler temperatures. Bring a rain jacket, fleece, wick-away layers, comfortable walking shoes, and boots and gloves for glacier excursions. Remember to check with your cruise line for specific dress codes.
European Cruise Dressing
If you’re taking a European cruise, dressing conservatively is essential. Bring suits and ties for formal events and comfortable walking shoes for sightseeing. You’ll also want to pack layers as temperatures vary throughout the day. Check with your cruise line for any specific dress codes.
Remember, how to dress on a cruise depends on your destination. Be sure to pack for the climate and activities you’ll be doing. With some planning, you can ensure you’re dressed appropriately for your cruise vacation.
Shore Excursion Dressing
When planning how to dress on a cruise, it’s essential to consider what you’ll wear during shore excursions. Comfortable walking shoes are a must, especially if you’ll be doing a lot of walking. Closed-toe shoes are also recommended, particularly for excursions with uneven terrain or where you may be climbing stairs.
Water shoes are a great option if your shore excursion involves water activities, such as snorkeling or kayaking. These shoes have a non-slip sole and are designed to be worn in the water. They’ll protect your feet from sharp rocks or other hazards you may encounter while exploring.
Bringing a lightweight rain jacket in inclement weather is also a good idea. Even if the forecast calls for sunny skies, it’s always better to be prepared. A long sleeve shirt or sweater can also be helpful if the weather turns chilly.
Regarding bottoms, long pants or capris are ideal for excursions where you may be hiking or exploring areas with tall grass or brush. They’ll protect your legs from scratches and insect bites. If you’re headed to the beach, shorts are a great option, but be sure to bring a cover-up or sarong over your swimsuit when you’re not in the water.
Overall, when deciding how to dress on a cruise for shore excursions, comfort and practicality should be your top priorities. You can enjoy your adventures to the fullest with the proper clothing and footwear.
What Not to Wear on a Cruise
When it comes to how to dress on a cruise, there are certain things that you should avoid wearing. Here are some items that you should not pack in your cruise suitcase:
- Cut-off Jeans: While shorts are generally acceptable on a cruise, cut-off jeans are not. Opt for a pair of nice shorts instead.
- Gym Shorts: Wearing gym shorts on a cruise is a no-no. Instead, pack a pair of comfortable shorts that you can wear during the day.
- Pajamas: While it may be tempting to wear them to breakfast or around the ship, it’s inappropriate. Save your pajamas for sleeping and wear regular clothes during the day.
- Slippers and Bare Feet: Walking around the ship in slippers or bare feet is prohibited. Make sure to pack a pair of comfortable shoes that you can wear around the ship.
- Speedos: Unless you’re an Olympic swimmer, leave your speedos home. Opt for a pair of swim trunks instead.
It’s important to remember that cruise lines have dress codes that they expect their passengers to follow. While some cruise lines are more relaxed than others, it’s always a good idea to err on the side of caution and dress appropriately. Following these guidelines on what not to wear on a cruise will give you a comfortable and enjoyable vacation.
Packing for a Cruise
When packing for a cruise, it’s essential to pack smart and light. You want to avoid lugging around heavy suitcases while trying to enjoy your vacation. Here are some tips on what to pack for a cruise:
How to dress on a cruise is a common question, and the answer depends on the cruise line and the itinerary. Most cruises have a mix of casual and formal dress codes. During the day, you can wear casual clothing like shorts, t-shirts, sundresses, and slacks. For the evening, you’ll need to dress up a bit more. On formal nights, you can wear a suit or a cocktail dress. On other nights, you can wear nice jeans with a blouse or a button-down shirt.
It’s also a good idea to pack versatile clothes that can be mixed and matched. Pack clothes that can be layered to be prepared for different temperatures. And remember to pack comfortable shoes for walking around the ship and shore excursions.
When it comes to accessories, less is more. You want to be able to handle the amount of jewelry and bulky accessories. Packaging a watch’s a good idea, so you can keep track of time and not miss any activities. Also, pack a lightweight robe for lounging in your cabin or going to the spa.
Most cruise ships provide basic toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, and soap. However, if you prefer specific products, it’s a good idea to pack them. Remember to pack sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses for days spent on deck.
If this is your first cruise, you might wonder what to expect. Check with the cruise line to see if they have any specific dress codes or recommendations. You can also ask other passengers on online forums or social media groups. Remember to pack light and bring clothes that are comfortable and versatile.
In conclusion, packing for a cruise doesn’t have to be stressful. Just remember to pack smart and light, and bring versatile and comfortable clothes. And don’t forget to pack a watch, sunscreen, and a lightweight robe.
Christian Petzold is a successful touristic entrepreneur, experiential traveller and round-the-world backpacker. He holds an academic degree in tourism management.
His touristic expertise has been covered in radio, newspaper and television.