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What To Wear In Cruise For Ladies


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Mamie Rhinehart



Embarking on a cruise is an exciting experience filled with sunshine, relaxation, and endless adventures. But before setting sail, it’s important to plan your wardrobe and ensure that you have the perfect outfits for every occasion. Whether it’s lounging by the pool, exploring exotic ports of call, or attending elegant evening events, dressing appropriately and stylishly is key.


When it comes to cruise fashion, there are different dress codes to adhere to, depending on the time of day and the type of event. From daytime activities to glamorous formal nights, you’ll need a versatile wardrobe that combines comfort and elegance. This article will guide you through the essential clothing items and accessories to pack for your cruise, ensuring that you look fabulous and feel confident throughout your voyage.


Remember, each cruise line may have its own specific dress code, so be sure to check with your cruise operator before you start packing. Now, let’s dive into the different categories of cruise wear and discover what to wear on your dream vacation.


Daytime Wear

During the day on a cruise, you’ll likely engage in a variety of activities both onboard and onshore. It’s important to pack comfortable and practical outfits that suit the destination and the activities you have planned.


Start with lightweight and breathable clothing such as shorts, skirts, or dresses made from cotton or linen. Opt for loose-fitting tops or blouses that allow for easy movement. Don’t forget to pack a few versatile swimwear pieces and cover-ups for lounging by the pool or exploring the beaches at your ports of call.


When it comes to accessories, don’t forget a wide-brimmed hat to protect yourself from the sun’s rays, a stylish pair of sunglasses, and a lightweight scarf that can double as a beach wrap or shoulder cover to protect against chilly sea breezes.


For excursions and activities that require walking or hiking, pack comfortable shoes such as sneakers or sandals with good arch support. If you plan on participating in water sports or snorkeling, be sure to bring water shoes or aqua socks to protect your feet.


Lastly, don’t forget to pack a small backpack or tote bag to carry your essentials such as sunscreen, water bottle, camera, and a light jacket for any unexpected weather changes.


Remember, the key to daytime wear on a cruise is comfort, functionality, and versatility. With the right clothing and accessories, you’ll be ready to enjoy all the exhilarating activities available to you during the day.


Evening Wear

Evenings on a cruise offer a chance to dress up and indulge in a more formal or semi-formal ambiance. Many cruise lines have designated “smart casual” or “evening chic” dress codes for their main dining rooms and entertainment venues. Here are some tips on what to wear for those special evenings:


For women, elegant dresses or skirts paired with a blouse are always a safe choice for formal nights. Opt for fabrics like silk, chiffon, or satin that have a luxurious feel. Choose classic colors such as black, navy, or jewel tones like emerald or ruby to add a touch of sophistication.


Don’t shy away from accessories like statement jewelry, a stylish clutch purse, or a wrap to add a touch of elegance to your outfit. Consider wearing a tailored blazer or a cardigan for a more polished look if the weather is cool.


If you prefer pants over dresses, opt for tailored trousers paired with a dressy top or a blouse. Add a blazer or a stylish jacket to complete your ensemble. Jumpsuits can also be a fashionable choice for evening wear, offering comfort and style in one outfit.


When it comes to footwear, choose heels or dressy flats that will complement your outfit. Ensure they are comfortable to walk and dance in throughout the evening.


Remember, the goal for evening wear is to look elegant and put-together while still feeling comfortable. Embrace your personal style and showcase your unique fashion sense as you make a statement during those magical nights at sea.


Formal Nights

Formal nights on a cruise are a special occasion where passengers have the opportunity to dress in their finest attire. These elegant evenings often include lavish dinners, live entertainment, and dancing. Here’s what you need to know about formal night attire:


For women, formal nights call for glamorous and sophisticated ensembles. Opt for a full-length evening gown in a luxurious fabric such as silk or velvet. Look for dresses with embellishments like sequins or beading to add a touch of sparkle. Classic colors like black, navy, or deep red always exude elegance.


Accessorize your formal gown with statement jewelry such as chandelier earrings, a dazzling necklace, or a sparkling bracelet. Carry a clutch purse that complements your outfit and don’t forget to add heels that are both stylish and comfortable for dancing the night away.


Consider doing an elegant updo or a sleek hairstyle to elevate your look and showcase your ensemble. And if you’re in the mood for some extra glamour, a touch of red lipstick or a smoky eye can add a dramatic flair.


For men, a formal night calls for a tuxedo, a tailored suit, or a dress shirt and tie. Opt for high-quality fabrics like wool or silk for a polished appearance. Choose a classic black or a dark navy suit, and pair it with a crisp white dress shirt and a coordinating tie. Complete your look with polished dress shoes.


Don’t forget to capture your formal night looks with some memorable photos against the backdrop of the ship’s stunning interiors or with the sea as your backdrop. These moments will serve as a reminder of the glamour and elegance of your cruise experience.


Remember, formal nights are an opportunity to embrace the elegance and luxury of cruising. Dress to impress and revel in the enchantment of these memorable evenings at sea.



A cruise wouldn’t be complete without spending some time basking in the sun and enjoying the ship’s pool or the beautiful beaches at your ports of call. When it comes to swimwear, comfort and style are key. Here are some tips to help you pick the perfect swimwear for your cruise:


Start by considering the activities you’ll be participating in. If you plan on lounging poolside or soaking up the sun on the deck, a classic bikini or a one-piece swimsuit will be suitable. Look for swimwear that flatters your body shape and makes you feel confident.


Consider the coverage and support you need. If you’re planning on being active in the water, such as swimming or engaging in water sports, opt for a swimsuit with secure straps and good bust support. High-waisted bikini bottoms or swim skirts are also great options if you prefer more coverage.


Choose swimwear in vibrant colors, patterns, or prints to add a playful touch to your beach or poolside look. Don’t forget to bring a couple of cover-ups like kaftans or sarongs to throw on when you’re not in the water. These can be stylish and versatile pieces that you can also wear over your swimwear when exploring port destinations.


To protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, don’t forget to pack a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen with a high SPF. Water-resistant or waterproof sunscreen is ideal, especially if you’ll be spending a lot of time in the water.


Lastly, a beach bag is essential to carry your essentials such as a towel, sunscreen, a book, and your sunglasses. Look for a bag that is both stylish and functional.


Remember, your swimwear should make you feel comfortable and confident as you enjoy the sun, sand, and waves on your cruise vacation.


Casual Wear

While cruising, there will be plenty of opportunities for casual outings and laid-back activities. Whether you’re exploring the ship, wandering through port cities, or simply relaxing onboard, having the right casual wear is essential. Here are some tips for putting together stylish and comfortable casual outfits for your cruise:


Start with a versatile selection of tops, such as t-shirts, tank tops, and lightweight blouses. Opt for breathable fabrics like cotton or linen that will keep you cool in warm weather. Pair them with comfortable bottoms like shorts, capris, or casual skirts.


Maxi dresses and sundresses are perfect for a casual yet stylish look. They are easy to slip on and can be dressed up with accessories or dressed down for a more relaxed vibe. Rompers and jumpsuits are also trendy options that offer both comfort and style.


When it comes to colors and patterns, embrace the spirit of vacation by opting for bright hues and fun prints. Floral patterns, nautical stripes, or tropical prints can add a playful touch to your casual outfits.


Don’t forget to bring a lightweight cardigan or a denim jacket for cooler evenings or air-conditioned areas on the ship. These layers will provide warmth without sacrificing style.


Accessories like wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and colorful scarves can add an extra flair to your casual outfits. Carry a crossbody or a canvas tote bag to hold your essentials like your wallet, camera, and sunscreen.


Footwear for casual wear should be comfortable yet stylish. Opt for sandals, espadrilles, or sneakers that can be worn for long walks or exploring port destinations. Flip-flops are also a must for trips to the pool or the beach.


Remember, casual wear should be relaxed and effortless, allowing you to enjoy your vacation to the fullest while still maintaining your personal sense of style.



Accessories are the perfect way to elevate your cruise outfits and add a personal touch to your overall look. They can transform a simple outfit into a stylish ensemble and make a statement. Here are some must-have accessories to pack for your cruise:


Jewelry: Take the opportunity to bring out your favorite pieces of jewelry. Statement necklaces, dangly earrings, and stackable bracelets can add a touch of glamour to any outfit. Opt for versatile jewelry that can be mixed and matched to create different looks throughout your trip.


Scarves: Lightweight scarves are not only stylish but also practical accessories. They can be used as a cover-up at the beach, a shawl in cooler evenings, or a versatile accessory to tie around your handbag. Look for scarves in vibrant colors or prints to add a pop of color to your outfits.


Hats: A hat not only offers sun protection but also adds a touch of sophistication to your cruise looks. A wide-brimmed straw hat is perfect for lounging by the pool, while a stylish fedora or a floppy hat can accompany your daytime or port excursion outfits.


Sunglasses: Don’t forget to bring a trendy pair of sunglasses that suits your face shape and protects your eyes from the sun. Look for UV protection and opt for styles that are both fashionable and functional.


Belts: A belt can be a versatile accessory that helps define your waist and adds a stylish touch to your outfits. Pack a couple of belts in different colors and styles to cinch in dresses, tunics, or loose-fitting tops for a more polished and put-together look.


Handbags: Choose a selection of handbags that can accommodate your needs throughout the cruise. A spacious tote bag is ideal for carrying your essentials during the day, while a smaller crossbody bag or clutch can be perfect for evening events. Look for bags that are not only stylish but also practical.


Watches: A classic watch is not only a functional accessory for keeping time but also adds a touch of elegance to your wrist. Opt for a versatile watch that can be worn with any outfit and reflects your personal style.


Remember, accessories are the finishing touches that complete your cruise outfits. They allow you to express your individuality and enhance your overall look, so choose them wisely to add a touch of flair and sophistication to your vacation style.



Choosing the right footwear for your cruise is crucial for both style and comfort. With a mix of activities and destinations, you’ll need versatile shoes that can take you from casual days to elegant evenings. Here are some footwear options to consider for your cruise:


Sandals: A comfortable pair of sandals is essential for sunny days on the deck, exploring port cities, or lounging by the pool. Opt for sturdy and supportive sandals with cushioned soles for long walks and excursions.


Flip-flops: For trips to the beach or pool, bring a pair of flip-flops that are easy to slip on and off. Look for styles that are water-resistant and have good arch support for added comfort.


Sneakers: If you plan on participating in active excursions or fitness activities onboard, pack a pair of comfortable sneakers. Choose lightweight sneakers with good traction and supportive soles for maximum comfort and stability.


Wedges or Espadrilles: Wedges or espadrilles are a great option for dressier occasions or evenings. They provide height and style while still being comfortable to walk and dance in. Opt for neutral colors that can be easily paired with various outfits.


Flats: Comfortable flats are a versatile choice for both casual and more formal occasions. Choose ballet flats or loafers that can complement your daytime outfits and add a touch of sophistication to your evening attire.


Heels: If you’re planning on dressing up for formal nights or elegant events, pack a pair of heels that you’re comfortable in. Opt for a height that you can manage and consider wedges or block heels for added stability.


Water Shoes: If you plan on engaging in water activities like snorkeling or kayaking, it’s a good idea to pack water shoes. These will protect your feet from sharp rocks or shells and provide traction in wet environments.


Remember to prioritize comfort when selecting your footwear for the cruise. It’s important to have shoes that you can walk and explore in for an extended period without discomfort. Additionally, ensure that your footwear is suitable for the different activities and environments you’ll encounter during your vacation.


Packing Tips

Packing for a cruise can be both exciting and challenging. To make the process easier and ensure you have everything you need, here are some packing tips to consider:


Check the Cruise Line Dress Code: Before you start packing, familiarize yourself with the dress code of the cruise line you’re traveling with. This will help you determine the appropriate attire for formal nights and other events.


Create a Packing List: Make a list of all the items you’ll need for different scenarios, including daytime wear, evening wear, swimwear, and accessories. This will help you stay organized and ensure you don’t forget anything important.


Pack Versatile Clothing: Opt for clothing items that can be mixed and matched to create various outfits. Choose pieces that complement each other in terms of color and style, allowing you to maximize your wardrobe options while minimizing the number of items you need to pack.


Roll Your Clothes: Rolling your clothes instead of folding them can save space in your suitcase and minimize wrinkles. It also makes it easier to see what you’ve packed without having to dig through stacks of folded clothing.


Use Packing Cubes: Investing in packing cubes can help keep your luggage organized and make it easier to find specific items. You can group similar items together, such as swimwear or accessories, within the cubes.


Bring Travel-Sized Toiletries: To save space, pack travel-sized toiletries or transfer your favorite products into small, reusable containers. Most cruise ships provide basic toiletries, so you may not need to bring everything from home.


Don’t Forget the Essentials: Along with clothing and accessories, make sure to pack essential items such as sunscreen, medications, travel documents, and electronics. It’s a good idea to carry these in your carry-on bag for easy access.


Leave Room for Souvenirs: Keep in mind that you’ll likely want to bring back souvenirs or purchases from your trip. Leave some extra space in your suitcase or consider packing a collapsible bag to accommodate the extra items on your return journey.


Weigh Your Luggage: Most cruise lines have specific weight restrictions for luggage. Make sure to check the weight limits and weigh your bags before heading to the port to avoid any additional charges or inconvenience.


Lastly, be mindful of any specific packing regulations or restrictions related to the cruise line or destinations you’ll be visiting. This includes any prohibited items or dress code guidelines. By following these packing tips, you’ll be well-prepared and ready to enjoy your cruise vacation with peace of mind.



Preparing your cruise wardrobe is an important part of ensuring a smooth and enjoyable vacation. By packing the right clothing, accessories, and footwear, you’ll be ready to embrace the different activities and dress codes that come with cruising. From daytime excursions to evening events, you can showcase your personal style while feeling comfortable and confident.


Remember to consider the specific dress codes of your cruise line and pack accordingly. Bring a mix of formal, casual, and swimwear options to cover all occasions. Opt for versatile and interchangeable pieces that can be mixed and matched to create multiple outfits, reducing the need for excessive packing.


Accessories play a crucial role in elevating your cruise style. From jewelry and scarves to hats and sunglasses, these details add a touch of flair and personality to your overall look. Don’t forget practical items like a beach bag and a comfortable pair of walking shoes to ensure you’re well-prepared for various activities.


Lastly, stay organized by creating a packing list, using packing cubes, and rolling your clothes to maximize space. Check weight restrictions and ensure you have all the essentials, including travel-sized toiletries and necessary documents.


With a well-thought-out and diverse wardrobe, you’ll be able to fully enjoy and make the most of your cruise vacation. So, pack smart, dress stylishly, and get ready for an unforgettable journey on the high seas.