What to Wear on a Cruise: Clothes Ideas and Packing Tips

by Andrea

Have you booked your cruise but now you are not sure what to wear on a cruise? There are many different types of cruises so your packing list may not be the same as the next woman’s but here are some general ideas for clothes to wear on a cruise as well as some packing tips.

Clothes to Wear on a Cruise

When it comes to cruise wear for women there are lots and lots of different choices. If you are a younger woman your suitcase will most likely be filled with little bathing suits, swim cover up dresses, short shorts, and tank tops along with some slinky dresses. If you are an older or more mature woman your suitcase may be filled with bathing suits and cover ups along with capris, Bermuda shorts, t-shirts, and sundresses.

what to wear on a cruise

Cute Swimsuit Cover Up Skirt

Before you start packing for your cruise, be sure to check out the dress codes that your cruise ship may have. Certain areas of the ship may require a dress code adherence especially in the dining room and places like the theater, casino, and ballroom.

Here are some clothing ideas for cruises that you should keep in mind no matter what your age.

Bathing suits are a must especially if you will be hanging out around the pool most of the trip. You also will need a bathing suit if you decide to do any activities when you dock such as scuba diving, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, or anything else in the water.

It is definitely a good idea to pack at least one or two cover up dresses for your swimsuit or at least a tank top or comfortable shorts that can be worn over your suit. Things like a short white dress or even a long colorful maxi dress can work for swim cover ups on the ship. Most of the formal eating places on the ships allow for things like cover up dresses and shorts during the day.

For daytime wear that doesn’t involve water or sun tanning on the deck, wear items like shorts, casual skirts, sundresses, and capris. Tank tops and short sleeve tops can be paired with the bottoms. A smart idea when it comes to clothes to wear on a cruise is to pack outfits for each day of the cruise along with some other options in case you need to change your shorts or top. This also helps with the question of what to wear on a cruise each day and can save you time in the morning.

Other clothing you should pack for the day time may include things like yoga pants and capris, a sports bra, some workout tops and t-shirts, and workout shorts. These can be comfortable options if you plan on doing any physical activities like rock climbing or just doing a lot of walking. They also come in handy for hitting the gym on the ship after eating too much at the buffet!

dress for a cruise

Cute Dress for a Cruise

As for shoes, make sure you pack comfortable shoes for walking as well as comfortable casual sandals. Flip flops can come in handy when hanging by the pool.

When it comes to nighttime, you are definitely going to want to wear nicer clothes since most ships do have dress codes for dinner and nighttime activities like the theater and dancing.

You don’t have to go out and buy a bunch of cocktail dresses though. Things like a sequin tank along with a black pencil skirt would work for a nice outfit for dinner one night. You can also wear nicer sundresses for some nights as well.

I do recommend that you pack at least one really nice cocktail dress for a special night on the trip. This can be your basic black dress or you can go all out with a new cocktail dress with sequins or in your favorite color.

Most of the times your cruise company will give you an itinerary that states how many formal dining nights you will have and what exactly the dress code is for the other nights as well. For a 7 day cruise you can expect at least 2 formal dining nights where you will need a more formal dress or outfit. Most of the cruises have resort casual dress codes which means you don’t have to wear an evening gown but a nice pair of dress pants, skirt, or dress may be required.

As for shoes, dress shoes that match your formal outfits should be packed. Make sure they are comfortable and you can wear them around for at least 3 hours or so. If you don’t like wearing high heels, look for a dressier wedge that may be more comfortable.

With some cruises it may get breezy and a little chilly at night so you may want to bring along a nice sweater like a black cashmere cardigan to wear over your outfit. You can also bring a pashmina wrap that can work to keep you warm as well as cover you up a little bit more if you are self-conscious.

Tips for Packing for a Cruise

Now that you know what to wear on a cruise, here are some general tips for packing for a cruise for women.

what to pack for a cruise

Perfect Tote Bag for a Cruise

When it comes to what to take on a cruise, don’t think you have to pack your entire closet. As mentioned, plan out your outfits ahead of time and then only bring a few extra pieces of clothing to fill any gaps or for emergencies.

Along with your clothes pack a small tote bag that you can carry with you as well as a larger beach bag you can take to the pool and beach with you.

Most cruises provide you with a hair dryer so you may want to leave yours at home to make more room in your bag for souvenirs from your cruise.

Try to pack items that can sever a double purpose. For example, a nice pair of athletic shoes can be worn to the gym as well as when you go sightseeing off the ship. This can lessen the load you have to pack.

Always make sure that you write a list down of what you need to pack before you start packing your bags. As you start packing your suitcase, cross the items off the list. Don’t wait until the last minute as you may not be as prepared for the cruise as you thought you were.

Lastly, don’t forget to pack things like your camera, e-reader, magazines, books, sunscreen, sunglasses, and don’t forget to check what is not allowed to be packed on your cruise by checking with your cruise company.

Now that you have more of an idea of what to wear on a cruise, go ahead and go shopping and enjoy your vacation.

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