What to Wear on a Cruise?

By Karon Warren; Updated June 08, 2017

Fun and appropriate apparel for all your cruise activities

What to Wear on a Cruise?

Planning a cruise vacation is very exciting, but knowing what to pack for every occasion on the voyage may be difficult. After all, no one wants to over-pack, but they also don’t want to miss the boat on having the right attire. To make packing a bit easier, check out what to bring and what to leave at home during a cruise vacation.

1. Pack the basics

Start filling your suitcase with those items everyone needs for a vacation: casual clothes (shorts/T-shirts for warm weather; jeans/sweaters for cold weather), comfortable shoes, pajamas, and so on. To save space, both in the suitcase and in the limited storage in the stateroom, choose mix-and-match items to create multiple outfits during the trip.

2. Prepare for water

For cruises in warm water, bring at least two swimsuits per person, with an extra to wear as the other one dries. Likewise, make sure everyone has water shoes, not just flip-flops. While flip-flops may be great around the ship, they do not hold up well on excursions that involve walking around reefs, boulders and other uneven terrain. Plus, it’s quite easy for flip-flops to get washed away in heavy surf.

3. Be elegant

Regardless of duration, just about every cruise holds at least one “cruise elegant” night that requires cruisers to dress up for dinner in the main dining room. Those who don’t want to do so can dine at the buffet or other dining establishments. However, for those headed to the dining room on elegant nights, plan to pack slacks and dress shirts for men and boys, and cocktail dresses or dressy slacks and blouses for women and girls. Those who want to dress to the nines are invited to do so as well.

4. Leave the extra shoes behind

While plenty of travelers insist on bringing a lot of shoes on every vacation, they just are not necessary for a cruise. During the day, most cruisers don’t even wear shoes unless it’s flip-flops. When headed into port, cruise travelers generally wear tennis shoes or water shoes (the best option). Bring a nice pair of sandals for dinner with one pair of dress shoes for elegant night. That’s it!

5. Skip anything that wrinkles

No one wants to do ironing while on vacation, so leave clothes that tend to wrinkle at home. Instead, choose fabrics that release wrinkles as they unfold or never wrinkle at all. Examples include T-shirts, knit tops and shirts, and rayon dresses. To further prevent wrinkles, roll clothes before putting in suitcases. Not only will this help prevent wrinkles, but it also will take up less space, leaving more room for additional clothing.

Setting sail on a cruise is the great start to a memorable vacation. Make it one of the best vacations by bringing along the right clothes for the entire trip.

About the Author

Karon Warren