Knowing what to wear on a cruise is a question I get asked a lot after I book a cruise holiday for my clients. With all the different terms and jargon it's hard to know what to wear and what to pack for your cruise. Most cruise lines will have a section on their site that lets you know about what their dress code is along with some recommendations of what type of clothing would fit into their dress code. We recommend to always check with the cruise line directly to see what their dress code is. We also have a list here that you can use as a reference.
What to wear on your cruise
When thinking about what you want to wear on your cruise, you'll want to think about it in terms of day wear and evening wear. During the day aboard most cruises will be casual or resort casual. You'll want to pack according to the activities you are going to participate in during the day. This includes what you'll wear poolside, what you'll wear around the ship and to lunch, and what you'll wear into port. In the evening, a dress code typically comes into affect around 5pm. Your evening dress code will vary depending on your cruise and can range from casual to formal evening and everything in between. Let's go over some of the common terms to help you get familiar with what these terms means for your cruise.
Casual Wear for Your Cruise
Casual clothes are typically what you would wear during the day. On some cruises there are a few casual evenings or if you opt to not dress up on more formal evenings you can still wear casual clothes to the buffet. What can you wear during the day? You'll want to make sure you have some bathing suits, and cover ups if you are planning on hanging out on the Lido deck for some pool time and fun in the sun. We recommend that for a 7 day cruise you bring at least two bathing suits and one cover up. For wondering about the ship during the day you can wear whatever makes you comfortable. Typical day wear would include sundresses, shorts, capris, skirts, and casual tops. You can usually wear the same attire into port however this does depend on where you are going.
Photo Credit: Mert Kahveci, Cute Casual Look for your Cruise holiday
Smart Casual for Your Cruise
Smart casual is best described as a blend of casual wear and more formal attire. The key to dressing smartly is to combine comfort with style. For men, smart casual means neat trousers or dark jeans, a shirt, and a jacket. For women, it can mean a blouse or a sweater with smart trousers or a skirt. The important thing is to avoid anything too casual, like shorts or t-shirts. Smart casual dress is about looking put-together without being too formal. Blending your casual attire with more formal attire is a great way to achieve a smart casual look.
Photo Credit: Eye for Ebony, Smart Casual Look for what to wear on your cruise
Resort Wear for Your Cruise
Resort wear is usually more casual than what you would pack for a city break or a business trip. Think sundresses and swimsuits for women, and shorts and T-shirts for men. Of course, what you pack will also depend on the climate of your destination. If you're going to a warm-weather resort, you'll want to focus on light, airy fabrics that will keep you cool. And if you're headed somewhere with cooler weather, you'll want to pack layers that you can add or remove as the temperature changes. Regardless of where you're going, resort wear should be comfortable and stylish. Choosing options that you can dress up or down will maximize your packing.
Photo Credit: Tarama Bellis, Resort Casual Look for What to Wear on your cruise
Formal Wear For Your Cruise
Formal wear can range depending on the cruiseline and can range between Dress Your Best and White Tie. You'll want to double check with your cruise itinerary to see where on the formality line your cruise falls. Generally, for men, formal wear typically means a suit and tie. If you don't have a suit, you can usually get away with a dress shirt and dress pants. For women, formal wear can range from a nice dress to an evening gown.