Cruise Outfits to Wear on Your Next Cruise Vacation (2024)
Last Updated on December 19, 2023 by Dana Berez
Cruise Outfits for Women
Having trouble figuring out what exactly to wear on a cruise? You’ve come to the right place. In this post, I’ll share cruise outfits for women that I’ve worn on my past cruises as a Millennial cruiser, and give you inspiration on your cruise wardrobe.
In the past few years, I’ve been on 8+ cruises, and each time I’ve perfected all the outfits you’d need to pack for your cruise.
I’ve been on all kinds of itineraries from shorter Caribbean cruises to long Mediterranean cruises, and from my experience, the cruise outfits generally stay the same.
You’ll need to consider what you’ll wear on the ship during the day, what you’ll wear on port days, and evening attire- which I’ll cover in this post.
So whether this is your first cruise or if you are a seasoned cruiser, I hope you find some new inspiration for your upcoming cruise with these new cruise outfits.
Daytime Cruise Outfits
Embarkation Day Cruise Outfits
The first day of your cruise is exciting! You’re getting accustomed to your new home at sea with lots of exploring and finding a delicious cocktail.
Now before the fun of exploring, keep in mind you’ll be doing a lot of waiting around to get on the ship, plus going through security, and perhaps waiting for your room to be ready.
For embarkation day I would plan on wearing a casual outfit with lighter materials with layers- or even your airplane outfit. Something lightweight, yet appropriate to wear wandering around the ship.
I wouldn’t worry too much about what to wear on Embarkation day, but having a swimsuit ready to go is a great idea.
Pro Tip: Wear a swimsuit underneath your clothing with a stylish coverup and take advantage of the resort deck pool while everyone gets settled or hits up the buffet. It will feel like you’ve added an extra day on to your cruise!
What to wear on a Cruise Sea Day
Stick to casual clothing during the day on a cruise. A typical sea day on a cruise begins with breakfast, you can wear casual items like t-shirts, jean shorts, etc.
I like to wear cute sets, or shorts and a cute top that’s easy to throw on when heading to the breakfast buffet. This is the least formal part of your cruise, but I would avoid walking around in your pajamas.
After that, you’ll probably walk around the ship or head to the resort deck which you’ll need to bring a bathing suit and beach coverup.
I always like to bring a larger tote bag so I can stick in all my essentials that I would need for a full pool day like sunscreen, a book, a water bottle, and extra clothes if I decide to swim.
Just think about wearing classic resort casual wear for the daytime.
Not sure what resort casual wear is? I have a full post that explains it. Read What is resort casual wear & how to wear it.
Now in the early evening after lounging on the resort deck, I like to wear a nice sundress or something a little dressy to have a sunset cocktail in. Thankfully for us ladies, I can usually wear the same dress to dinner without a problem.
What to Wear on a Caribbean Cruise Excursion
I find a lot of Caribbean shore excursions involve lots of water activities like swimming & snorkeling, or boat excursions.
For a Caribbean cruise excursion, I would wear a swimsuit plus a coverup, and additional dry clothes if you want to change into something more comfortable after your day in the water, especially for warm destinations.
If you are not headed on a water excursion, wear casual clothing like sundresses, shirts, and shorts in light breathable materials like linen, cotton, or jersey.
Plus a comfortable pair of shoes you can easily walk around in for different terrain.
I took a cooking class in St. Kitts on a cruise excursion. I wore a casual top and shorts and everyone else wore something similar. Keep in mind that Caribbean islands are hot and humid.
What to Wear on a Mediterranean Cruise Excursion
Here are some Cruise outfit ideas I wore on my Mediterranean cruise excursions in Italy, Greece, Croatia, and Montenegro.
If you are going on a Mediterranean cruise, your ports of call and excursions tend to be a bit different than a Caribbean Cruise.
Instead of mostly swim & snorkel excursions you’d find on a Caribbean cruise, Mediterranean cruises have more city sightseeing excursions that involve a lot of walking, touring, and being in a city center.
For example, if you stop in Naples Itay, you could explore the Amalfi Coast, Capri, Naples, and even Pompei which all involve different kinds of daytime outfits.
I like to wear lightweight breathable dresses and comfortable walking shoes with a larger day bag to keep all my essentials inside.
Surprisingly my Birkenstock Arizona sandals were my go-to shoe on all my excursions. I even climbed a mountain in Kotor Montenegro in them and they were still comfortable afterward.
Evening Cruise Outfits
To be honest, I think that the ladies have an easier time with evening cruise outfits because mostly anything goes as long as it’s dressy. Darker-colored sundresses, cocktail dresses, or even pants with a dressy top will work.
Men on the other hand have more rules like long pants and collared shirts.
Like I previously mentioned, after lounging at the pool deck, I like to get dressed up in a nice sundress to have a sunset cocktail before dinner. I usually head straight to dinner in the same dress and never had any problems.
Casual Dinner Outfits
I find that a lot more cruises are ditching formal dinners and instead have an “evening chic” dress code which can mean dressing elegant and sophisticated in your way.
Here are some examples of “casual” dinner cruise outfits. Keep in mind that I like to dress up no matter what the dress code is.
Here is a great example of a casual dinner outfit that doesn’t involve a dress. A pair of nice dark pants and a dressy top and flats will do the job for casual nights.
Formal Dinner Outfits
Here are some examples of formal dinner cruise outfits for the main dining room I’ve worn on recent cruises:
Some cruise lines have “formal” nights, but even in recent years the strictness of the dress code has become more lax. Formal dress codes for ladies include cocktail dresses, elegant skirts, and evening-wear blouses.
But if you still want to wear a formal evening gown, it’s welcome. It’s a great excuse to dress up a little.
Double-check which cruise line you are cruising with to see the exact evening dress code.
What to wear on a cruise
No matter if you are going on a Caribbean Cruise or a Mediterranean cruise, here are things you should pack for your next cruise.
Pack sundresses to wear during the day, early evening, and perhaps dinner. These can be flowy maxi dresses or shorter styles. My favorite Amazon Maxi dress looks more expensive than it is and works great on a cruise.
Bonus tip: find dresses in non-wrinkle materials such as jersey material so you won’t have to worry about trying to get the wrinkles out.
Swimwear & Cover-ups:
You will be living in a swimsuit & coverup on your cruise, so be sure you bring your favorites. I love this one piece from Amazon. It’s flattering on any body type, comes in multiple colors, and looks expensive.
This beach coverup from Amazon is also one of my favorites. It’s in a nice cotton gauze-like material and looks so sophisticated.
Lightweight Jacket / Scarf
No matter when or where your cruise is, a lightweight jacket is a good idea for added warmth on cooler nights or heavy inside air conditioning. This could be a denim jacket, a lightweight sweater, or shall.
I’d recommend going for an extra-large scarf or sweater that still can be worn over your shoulders during the evening. It’s not too casual and looks dressy, while still keeping you warm.
Dark Pants / Jeans:
Be sure to bring a dark pair of pants or jeans if you don’t want to wear dresses to dinner. Dark pant goes with any dressy top, and it’s a basic you can wear more than once on your cruise.
A nice evening dress is essential for any cruise. I find that a little black dress is a perfect item to bring because it’s dressy and easy to pack.
Some of my favorite evening dresses from Amazon.
A pair of sandals that you can easily slip on and off are a must. Ideally, bring a pair that you don’t mind getting wet– especially if you plan on going to the resort pool deck or any water excursion.
You can bring heels, but keep in mind that you’ll be doing plenty of walking on cruise ships, and most of the time they are carpeted. If your heels are uncomfortable on land, they will be uncomfortable at sea.
A great compromise is a shorter kitten heel, a wedge, or a dressy flat.
A pair of white sneakers go with everything and are comfortable to put on after wearing sandals for so many days. These are great to have for strenuous activities, adventurous excursions, and exploring ports of call.
Sun Hat & Pair of Sunglasses
Don’t forget your accessories like a sun hat and a pair of sunglasses. To avoid your hat getting blown away by the wind, find one with a chin strap.
You’d be surprised at how many things you need to bring with you when you leave your cruise cabin.
I love bringing a stylish tote bag to throw all my essentials for the day inside like sunscreen, book, phone or tablet, an extra change of clothes, towel, etc.
Mens Cruise Outfits
I can’t leave the men hanging, so here are some men’s cruise outfit ideas:
Men’s Day Outfits
During the day, men can wear casual clothing like swim trunks and a neutral shirt that is acceptable for the breakfast buffet and the resort deck.
Men’s Evening Cruise Outfits
Now unfortunately for the men, the evening cruise line dress code applies mostly to men.
Cruises suggest men wear in general long pants or nice jeans, a collared dress shirt, and dress shoes.
For Formal Nights: Men should wear dress slacks, a collared shirt, and a sports coat. A tux or suit is optional, but double-check the specifics from your cruise line.
@danaberez Some outfits i packed for my cruise vacation #cruiseoutfits #vacationoutfitinspo #cruiseoutfitideas ♬ BLING BLING – ALTÉGO
Cruise Outfits FAQ:
How many outfits to pack per day on a cruise?
I would pack two outfits per day on a cruise- something to wear during the day either on board or at a port of call, and something a bit dressier for the evening. Now you can wear a swimsuit & coverup more than once on your vacation, so keep that in mind when you’re packing.
Do you dress up for dinner on a cruise?
Generally yes, you do dress up for dinner on a cruise. However, a lot of cruises are dropping the mandatory “formal” night where you had to dress to the nines in black tie attire. Instead, you’ll find smart casual, or evening chic dress codes in place for dinner.
What are the best clothes to wear on a cruise?
You’ll want to wear something comfortable and casual during the day. Don’t forget your swimsuit for excursions or lounging at the resort deck. And add something a bit dressy for the evening.
What NOT to wear on a cruise?
Now there are a few things not to wear on a cruise that pertain mostly to the evening. Flip flops, swimsuits tank tops, and shorts are generally not allowed inside restaurants during dinner.
Another thing to keep in mind is your footwear. Cruise ships are huge and you’ll be doing a surprising amount of walking (especially if your cabin is on the opposite of the buffet) Don’t wear shoes you can’t walk in like super high heels, etc.
Let’s Sum it up on Cruise Outfits
I hope you found this post helpful for packing for your next cruise vacation. To sum it up here are things you need to think about when packing for cruise outfits.
- During the day you’ll want to bring something to wear around the cruise ship. Think comfortable and casual.
- Bring a swimsuit + coverup for days on the resort deck.
- I always recommend bringing something easy to throw on for quick runs to the buffet, especially in the morning for coffee!
Pro tip: bring a reusable insulated water bottle to fill up with coffee, water (or cocktails) to keep warm or cold throughout your cruise.
- During the evening pack something a bit dressier. For ladies that can be dark pants and a dressy top or a nice dress. Men should bring long pants and a collared shirt for dinner time.
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