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What To Wear On The First Day Of Cruise


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Lucky Grant



Embarking on a cruise vacation is an exciting experience filled with relaxation, adventure, and exploration. As you prepare for your journey, one important aspect to consider is what to wear on the first day of the cruise. The first day sets the tone for the entire trip, and having the right attire can ensure you start off your vacation on the right foot.


Choosing the appropriate clothing for your first day on a cruise is all about finding a balance between comfort and style. You want to feel relaxed and at ease, while also looking put-together and ready to embark on your adventure.


In this article, we will guide you through selecting the perfect attire for the first day of your cruise. From breathable fabrics to versatile outfits, we will provide you with essential tips to make the most out of your wardrobe choices.


So, whether you’re embarking on a tropical getaway or a Mediterranean cruise, let’s delve into some helpful advice on what to wear on the first day of your cruise to ensure you’re dressed for both comfort and style.


Choosing Comfortable and Breathable Fabrics

When it comes to selecting what to wear on the first day of your cruise, it’s essential to prioritize comfort. Opting for fabrics that are breathable and lightweight will help you stay cool and comfortable throughout the day, especially in warmer climates.


Cotton is an excellent choice for its natural breathability and softness. It allows airflow and helps to wick away moisture, keeping you feeling fresh even in humid conditions. Consider packing cotton t-shirts, dresses, and shorts for casual daytime activities.


Another fantastic fabric option is linen, which offers excellent breathability and a relaxed, casual aesthetic. Linen is known for its ability to absorb moisture, making it ideal for humid environments. Choose linen shirts, pants, or dresses for a laid-back yet stylish look.


For more active pursuits such as excursions or sports activities, consider clothing made from synthetic materials such as nylon or polyester. These fabrics are known for their quick-drying properties and are great for wicking away sweat. Look for activewear or athletic clothing made from these materials to ensure comfort during physical activities.


Lastly, don’t forget about the importance of sunscreen and protection from the sun’s harmful rays. Consider investing in clothing with built-in UV protection, which can provide an added layer of defense against the sun. Look for garments labeled with UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) ratings to ensure UV rays are effectively blocked.


By selecting comfortable and breathable fabrics for your first day on the cruise, you’ll be able to enjoy your activities without feeling stifled or uncomfortable. Remember, comfort should be a priority, but that doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style. With the right fabrics, you can achieve the perfect balance of both.


Dressing for Different Activities

On a cruise, there are a variety of activities and experiences to enjoy, each requiring a slightly different dress code. It’s essential to plan your outfits based on the activities you have planned for the first day.


For casual daytime activities, such as exploring the ship, lounging by the pool, or participating in onboard games and activities, opt for comfortable and relaxed attire. This could include shorts, t-shirts, sundresses, or lightweight pants for both men and women. Remember to choose breathable fabrics to keep cool throughout the day.


If you plan to hit the gym or participate in fitness classes, pack workout clothes such as moisture-wicking tops and leggings. Don’t forget to bring appropriate athletic shoes and socks to ensure comfort and support during your workout sessions.


For shore excursions or walking tours, it’s important to dress appropriately for the activities and destinations you’ll be visiting. Research the weather and cultural expectations in advance to ensure you’re dressed appropriately. Comfortable walking shoes, lightweight layers, and a hat for sun protection are often key items to consider for outdoor excursions.


As the sun sets, you may find yourself attending shows, concerts, or dining in one of the ship’s restaurants. For these occasions, smart casual attire is often appropriate. Men can opt for collared shirts with trousers or khakis, while women can choose dresses, skirts, or nice pants with a blouse. It’s always a good idea to pack a lightweight sweater or jacket for cool evenings onboard.


Lastly, if you have any special events planned, such as a formal night or themed party, make sure to pack appropriate attire. Formal nights often require elegant eveningwear, such as a cocktail dress or suit for men. Themed parties may call for more festive attire, so check the cruise line’s guidelines for the specific theme and plan your outfit accordingly.


By considering the activities you’ll be participating in and planning your outfits accordingly, you’ll ensure that you’re dressed appropriately and comfortably throughout your cruise vacation.


Casual Wear for Daytime

During the daytime on a cruise, casual attire is the go-to choice for most passengers. Whether you plan to lounge by the pool, explore the ship, or engage in various onboard activities, comfortable and stylish casual wear is essential.


For a relaxed yet fashionable daytime look, consider packing a variety of versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched. Lightweight tops, such as cotton t-shirts or tank tops, are great options for both men and women. Pair them with comfortable shorts, capris, or skirts for a laid-back and comfortable outfit.


Maxi dresses and sundresses are also fantastic choices for women, providing a combination of comfort and style. They are easy to slip on and can be dressed up or down with accessories. Opt for breathable fabrics like cotton or linen to stay cool in the warm weather.


For men, lightweight cotton or linen shirts paired with khaki shorts or trousers are a classic and comfortable option. Polo shirts or button-down shirts are versatile and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. Don’t forget to bring a lightweight jacket or hoodie for cooler evenings or air-conditioned areas of the ship.


When it comes to footwear, prioritize comfort and functionality. Sneakers or walking shoes are ideal for exploring the ship or participating in active excursions. Sandals or flip flops are great for lounging by the pool or walking along the beach during shore excursions. Make sure to bring comfortable socks to wear with closed-toe shoes.


Accessorizing is another way to elevate your casual daytime look. Hats not only provide protection from the sun but can also add a stylish touch to your outfit. Sunglasses are a must-have item for both fashion and sun protection. Consider bringing a lightweight tote bag or backpack to carry essentials like sunscreen, water, and a camera.


Remember, the key to casual daytime wear is to strike a balance between comfort and style. Pack versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched, allowing you to create different outfits throughout your cruise vacation. By choosing comfortable and fashionable attire, you’ll be ready for a day of relaxation and exploration onboard your dream cruise.


Swimwear and Beach Attire

One of the highlights of a cruise vacation is enjoying the sun, sand, and sea. Whether you’re planning to relax by the pool or soak up the sun on a tropical beach, having the right swimwear and beach attire is essential.


When it comes to swimwear, choose styles that make you feel confident and comfortable. Women can opt for one-piece swimsuits, bikinis, or tankinis, depending on their preference. Look for suits with supportive features and adjustable straps for added comfort. Men usually choose between swim trunks or board shorts. Consider quick-drying fabrics and mesh-lined interiors for convenience.


In addition to swimwear, it’s important to pack a few key beach essentials. A lightweight cover-up or sarong is perfect for when you want some extra coverage or need to grab a quick bite to eat. It can also double as a scarf or wrap if the weather turns cooler in the evenings.


Footwear is also crucial for beach activities. Flip flops or sandals that can easily be slipped on and off are great for walking on sandy beaches. Water shoes may also come in handy if you plan to explore rocky areas or participate in water sports.


Sun protection is paramount when spending time in the sun. Along with sunscreen, don’t forget to pack a wide-brimmed hat to shield your face and neck from the sun’s rays. A pair of UV-protective sunglasses will not only protect your eyes but also add a stylish touch to your beach attire.


Lastly, consider bringing a beach bag to carry your essentials such as sunscreen, a beach towel, a book or magazine, and a reusable water bottle. Look for a bag that is lightweight and spacious enough to hold everything you need for a fun day at the beach.


By being prepared with stylish and practical swimwear and beach attire, you’ll be able to fully enjoy the sun, surf, and sand during your cruise vacation. Whether you’re lounging by the pool or exploring exotic beaches, make sure to prioritize comfort, sun protection, and a touch of personal style.


Evening Wear for Dining and Shows

Evenings on a cruise ship offer a variety of dining options and entertainment, from elegant dinners to captivating shows. To ensure you’re appropriately dressed for these occasions, it’s important to pack the right evening wear.


For most evenings, a smart casual dress code is typically appropriate. This means dressing in a way that is stylish and put-together, without being overly formal. Ladies can opt for dresses, skirts, or dressy pants paired with blouses or stylish tops. Choose fabrics such as silk, chiffon, or satin to add a touch of elegance to your ensemble.


Men can choose from slacks or khaki pants paired with collared shirts, such as polo shirts or button-downs. You can add a blazer or sports coat for a more refined look. Avoid wearing shorts, t-shirts, or overly casual attire in the dining venues during the evening.


On some cruise lines, there may be designated formal nights, where more formal attire is expected. For these nights, women may opt for cocktail dresses, elegant gowns, or even evening pant suits. Men typically wear suits, tuxedos, or dress shirts with ties and dress pants. It’s important to check the cruise line’s guidelines to ensure you pack the appropriate attire for formal nights.


When it comes to footwear, choose dressy options that are comfortable enough for an evening of dining and entertainment. For women, heels or dressy flats are a popular choice, while men often opt for dress shoes or loafers. Make sure to break in any new shoes before your cruise to avoid discomfort.


Accessorizing is a great way to enhance your evening wear. Add statement jewelry, a clutch, or a chic belt to elevate your outfit. Men can accessorize with a stylish watch, cufflinks, or a pocket square. A lightweight wrap or jacket is also handy for cooler evenings or air-conditioned venues.


Remember, evenings on a cruise ship provide an opportunity to dress up and enjoy a night of fine dining and entertainment. By packing a range of smart casual and formal attire options, you’ll be ready to make the most of your evenings onboard.


Appropriate Attire for Formal Nights

Formal nights on a cruise ship are an opportunity to dress up and indulge in an elegant evening. These occasions often call for more formal attire, creating a sophisticated and glamorous ambiance onboard. When preparing for formal nights, it’s important to pack the appropriate attire to ensure you feel confident and fit in with the dress code.


For women, formal dresses or gowns are a popular choice. Opt for stunning floor-length dresses or choose a cocktail dress that falls just below the knee. Look for fabrics like silk, velvet, or satin to add a touch of luxury to your outfit. Don’t forget to pair your dress with stylish heels and accessorize with statement jewelry and a sleek clutch to complete your look.


Men typically wear suits or tuxedos for formal nights. A well-fitted suit in a classic color like black, navy, or charcoal grey is a safe bet. You can pair it with a crisp dress shirt, and add a tie or bowtie for an extra touch of sophistication. If you prefer a more formal look, consider renting a tuxedo from the cruise ship or bringing your own. Complete your outfit with polished dress shoes and stylish accessories.


It’s essential to adhere to the cruise line’s dress code for formal nights, as some may have specific guidelines or requirements. While formal wear is typically the norm, certain cruise lines may offer alternatives such as semi-formal or elegant-casual attire. It’s crucial to check the dress code in advance to ensure you pack the appropriate attire for these special evenings.


If you prefer not to wear formal attire, it’s best to dine in more casual venues or take advantage of room service options during formal nights. Most cruise ships offer alternative dining options where the dress code is more relaxed, allowing you to enjoy a meal in a more comfortable attire.


Remember, formal nights are an opportunity to embrace the elegance and glamour of a cruise vacation. By dressing in appropriate formal attire, you’ll be ready to join in the festivities and make lasting memories during these special evenings at sea.


Practical Shoes and Accessories

Choosing the right shoes and accessories for your cruise vacation is just as important as selecting your clothing. Practicality and versatility are key factors to consider when deciding what to bring along on your trip.


When it comes to footwear, having a variety of options is crucial to accommodate different activities and occasions. For casual daytime activities and excursions, comfortable walking shoes or sneakers are a must. Look for shoes that provide good support and have a sturdy sole for walking on various surfaces. If you plan on spending time at the beach or by the pool, don’t forget to pack flip flops or water shoes for added convenience.


For evenings and formal events, a pair of dress shoes is essential. Men should pack a pair of polished dress shoes or loafers, while women can opt for heels or dressy flats. Make sure to choose shoes that are comfortable enough for extended periods of wear, especially if you’ll be dancing or walking around the ship.


Accessorizing is another way to enhance your outfits and express your personal style. A few key accessories can go a long way in transforming your look. Women may want to consider bringing statement jewelry, such as necklaces, earrings, or bracelets, that can add elegance and sparkle to their ensemble. Scarves, belts, and hats are also versatile accessories that can elevate any outfit.


For men, accessories like a stylish watch, cufflinks, or a pocket square can add a touch of sophistication to a formal look. A quality belt can also tie an outfit together and give it a polished finish. Remember, it’s all about adding those finishing touches to complete your overall look.


When it comes to practicality, consider bringing a lightweight and versatile bag or backpack for day excursions. This will allow you to carry essential items such as sunscreen, water, a hat, and a camera comfortably. It’s also a good idea to pack a waterproof bag or pouch to protect your belongings when visiting beaches or participating in water activities.


Lastly, don’t forget about practical accessories for sun protection. Sunglasses with UV protection are a must to shield your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. A wide-brimmed hat and a lightweight scarf or sarong can provide added protection for your face, neck, and shoulders.


By selecting practical shoes and accessories, you’ll be prepared for various activities and occasions during your cruise vacation. Pack items that are comfortable, versatile, and express your personal style to ensure you’re both stylish and prepared for whatever adventures await.


Layering for Changing Weather

When embarking on a cruise vacation, it’s important to be prepared for changing weather conditions, whether it’s transitioning from day to night or encountering different climates during shore excursions. The key to staying comfortable in varying temperatures is layering.


Layering allows you to adjust your clothing throughout the day, adding or removing layers as needed. It provides flexibility and ensures that you are prepared for any weather conditions that may arise. Here are some tips for layering effectively:


Start with a base layer: Choose a lightweight and breathable base layer made from materials like moisture-wicking fabric or merino wool. This layer should provide a comfortable and dry foundation for your outfit, helping to regulate body temperature.


Add a mid-layer: Depending on the weather, you may need to add a mid-layer for extra warmth. Opt for items like sweaters, cardigans, or lightweight jackets that can easily be worn over your base layer. Consider fabrics like fleece or thermal materials for added insulation.


Outerwear for protection: Have a waterproof or wind-resistant outer layer, such as a rain jacket or windbreaker, on hand in case of inclement weather. This layer will protect you from rain, wind, and unexpected changes in weather conditions.


Don’t forget about accessories: Accessories can play a key role in layering. Scarves, gloves, and hats can help you retain heat and protect your extremities in colder weather. They can easily be added or removed as needed to adapt to changing conditions. Additionally, carrying a compact umbrella in your bag can save you from unexpected rain showers.


Remember to consider the activities you have planned for the day. If you’re participating in active excursions, you may generate more heat and require fewer layers. On the other hand, if you’ll be spending time in air-conditioned areas of the ship, having a lightweight layer you can easily put on or take off will ensure your comfort indoors.


By layering your clothing, you can effectively adapt to changing weather conditions, ensuring you stay comfortable and prepared throughout your cruise vacation. Whether it’s a sunny day by the pool, brisk evenings on deck, or exploring different destinations, layering allows you to stay comfortable and enjoy your journey to the fullest.


Packing Essentials for a Cruise

When preparing for a cruise vacation, packing efficiently and thoughtfully is key. To help you make the most of your trip, here are some essential items you should consider including in your packing list:


1. Clothing: Pack a variety of outfits suitable for different activities and occasions. Include items like casual daywear, swimwear, comfortable shoes, formal attire for special evenings, and versatile pieces that can be layered. Be sure to check the cruise line’s dress code to ensure you have appropriate attire for each occasion.


2. Toiletries: Bring travel-sized toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and sunscreen. Don’t forget important items like your toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and any necessary medications. It’s also helpful to include a small first-aid kit with band-aids, pain relievers, and motion sickness remedies.


3. Travel Documents: Keep your passport, cruise tickets, and any other necessary identification documents in a secure and easily accessible location. Make copies of important documents and carry them separately as a backup.


4. Electronics: Don’t forget to pack your cellphone, chargers, camera, and any other electronic devices you may need. Consider bringing a power strip or USB hub to ensure you have enough outlets in your cabin. It’s also a good idea to bring an adapter for international outlets if necessary.


5. Entertainment: Although cruises offer a plethora of onboard activities, bring along some entertainment options for downtime. This could include books, magazines, playing cards, or a tablet with downloaded movies or games.


6. Beach Essentials: If your itinerary includes beach visits or poolside relaxation, pack items like a beach towel, beach bag, sunglasses, and flip flops. Don’t forget your swimwear, sunscreen, and a cover-up for added protection.


7. Money and Travel Essentials: Carry enough cash for onboard expenses, tips, and souvenirs, as well as a credit or debit card for additional purchases. Consider bringing a waterproof pouch or wallet to keep your money and important cards safe from water splashes and potential damage.


8. Miscellaneous Items: Remember to pack items like a reusable water bottle, a lightweight backpack or tote bag for day trips, a hat for sun protection, and a travel umbrella or rain poncho in case of inclement weather.


When packing, be mindful of the cruise line’s baggage policies and weight restrictions. It’s also a good idea to pack a small foldable bag for any souvenirs or extra items you acquire during your trip.


By including these essential items in your cruise packing list, you’ll be well-prepared for a comfortable and enjoyable vacation. Remember to pack thoughtfully, keeping in mind the activities and climate of your destination, to make the most of your time on board.



Preparing for a cruise vacation involves more than just booking tickets and packing your bags. It’s important to consider what to wear on the first day of your cruise and throughout your journey to ensure comfort, style, and practicality. By choosing comfortable and breathable fabrics, dressing for different activities, and packing the appropriate attire for formal nights, you’ll be ready to make the most of your cruise experience.


Whether it’s casual wear for daytime activities, swimwear for lounging by the pool, or evening attire for dining and shows, understanding the appropriate clothing for each occasion is essential. Additionally, packing practical shoes and accessories, layering for changing weather, and bringing essential items such as toiletries and travel documents are crucial elements to consider.


As you embark on your cruise vacation, remember to strike a balance between style and comfort. Enjoy the journey and take advantage of the amenities and experiences onboard while dressing appropriately for each occasion. By following these travel tips and packing essentials, you’ll be sure to have an unforgettable and enjoyable cruise experience.


So, as you prepare to set sail, pack your bags with care and excitement, knowing that you have all the knowledge and tips to dress for success on the first day and every day of your cruise adventure.