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What To Wear On Carnival Cruise


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Violette Gingerich



Embarking on a Carnival Cruise is an exciting adventure filled with relaxation, exploration, and endless entertainment. As you prepare for your upcoming voyage, one important aspect to consider is what to wear during your time on the ship. While Carnival Cruises are known for their laid-back atmosphere, it’s still important to dress appropriately for different activities and occasions.


Whether you’re lounging by the pool, attending a formal dinner, or enjoying live performances, having the right clothing will enhance your experience and ensure you feel comfortable and confident throughout your trip. In this article, we will provide you with valuable tips and suggestions on what to wear on a Carnival Cruise, covering everything from daytime activities to formal evenings.


It’s worth mentioning that while there are general guidelines, each Carnival Cruise ship may have its own dress code policy, so it’s always a good idea to check the information provided by the cruise line before packing your suitcase. With that said, let’s dive into the world of cruise fashion and discover what you should pack for your memorable voyage.


Tips for Dressing on a Carnival Cruise

When it comes to dressing for a Carnival Cruise, keep in mind the casual yet stylish nature of the voyage. Here are some tips to help you navigate your wardrobe choices:

  1. Consider the onboard activities: Carnival Cruises offer a wide range of activities, including poolside lounging, fitness classes, sports, and evening entertainment. Pack a variety of clothing options to suit each activity.
  2. Opt for lightweight and breathable fabrics: Given the tropical climate and the possibility of warmer temperatures on deck, choose lightweight fabrics such as cotton, linen, or moisture-wicking materials to stay cool and comfortable.
  3. Dress in layers: While it may be hot outside, the air-conditioned interior of the ship can be cooler. Bring a light jacket or cardigan to layer over your outfits for added comfort.
  4. Pack versatile pieces: Choose clothing items that can be mixed and matched to create different looks. This will help you make the most of your suitcase space and have a variety of outfit options without bringing too many items.
  5. Don’t forget about formal nights: Carnival Cruises usually have one or two formal nights where dressing up is encouraged. Be sure to pack formal attire such as a cocktail dress, dress shirt, tie, or suit and make it a memorable night.

Keep in mind that although the atmosphere on a Carnival Cruise is generally relaxed, there may be specific dress codes for certain areas or events. It’s important to be mindful of these guidelines to ensure a smooth sailing experience.


Now that you’ve got the tips, let’s move on to what to wear for specific daytime activities on your Carnival Cruise.


Clothing Essentials for Daytime Activities

During the day, there are abundant activities to enjoy on a Carnival Cruise. Whether you’re lounging by the pool, exploring the ship, or participating in sports and fitness activities, here are some clothing essentials to pack:

  1. Swimwear: A swimsuit or bikini is a must-have for poolside relaxation and enjoying the onboard water slides. Additionally, consider packing a cover-up or sarong for when you’re walking around the ship or grabbing a bite to eat at the buffet.
  2. Light and breathable clothing: Pack shorts, t-shirts, tank tops, and casual dresses for daytime activities. Opt for loose-fitting and comfortable clothes that allow for ease of movement and breathability.
  3. Active wear: If you’re planning to take part in the ship’s fitness activities or sports, bring athletic wear such as leggings, sports bras, t-shirts, and sneakers. This ensures you’re ready for a workout or a game of basketball on the sports deck.
  4. Sun protection: Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun’s rays. It’s important to stay hydrated and shielded from excessive sun exposure while enjoying outdoor activities.
  5. Comfortable footwear: Go for flip-flops, sandals, or comfortable walking shoes for strolling around the ship and exploring the different decks and amenities. You’ll want shoes that are easy to slip on and off as you enter and exit pool areas.

These clothing essentials will keep you prepared for a fun-filled day on your Carnival Cruise, ensuring you can enjoy all the activities without feeling restricted or uncomfortable. Moving on, let’s discuss what to wear for the formal nights on the ship.


What to Wear for Formal Nights

Formal nights on a Carnival Cruise are an exciting opportunity to dress up and indulge in elegance and glamour. Here are some suggestions for what to wear during these special evenings:

  1. Women: For women, a cocktail dress, evening gown, or a dressy pantsuit is a great choice for formal nights. Opt for elegant fabrics like satin or chiffon, and consider adding accessories such as statement jewelry and a clutch to complete your ensemble. Don’t forget to wear comfortable heels or dressy flats to keep you dancing the night away.
  2. Men: Men can opt for a suit or a tuxedo on formal nights. If you choose to wear a suit, pair it with a dress shirt, tie, and dress shoes. For a more formal look, go for a tuxedo, a crisp white dress shirt, a bowtie, and polished dress shoes. Be sure to check the specific dress code for formal nights on your particular Carnival Cruise.

Formal nights are a chance to capture beautiful memories, so make sure to dress to impress. Take advantage of the ship’s photography services and wander around the ship’s elegant spaces, capturing moments against stunning backdrops.


However, it’s important to note that although formal nights are encouraged, they are not mandatory on Carnival Cruises. If dressing up is not your preference, there are always alternative dining options and casual dining venues available on these special nights.


Now that we’ve covered formal nights, let’s move on to what to wear for the casual evening entertainment onboard the ship.


Casual Attire for Evening Entertainment

After a day of exploring and enjoying the various activities on your Carnival Cruise, it’s time to relax and indulge in the evening entertainment. During these casual evenings, you have the freedom to dress comfortably while still looking stylish. Here are some suggestions for your evening entertainment attire:

  1. Women: For women, a sundress, maxi dress, or a nice blouse paired with pants or a skirt is a suitable choice for casual evenings. Consider adding a light cardigan or wrap in case the air-conditioned areas of the ship feel chilly. Match your outfit with comfortable sandals or wedges to complete your look.
  2. Men: Men can wear collared shirts, polo shirts, or button-down shirts paired with shorts or smart casual pants for the evening entertainment. You can also opt for a casual blazer to add a touch of style. Complete your outfit with boat shoes or loafers for a relaxed yet put-together look.

Remember, the purpose of evening entertainment on a Carnival Cruise is to have fun and enjoy yourself. Dress in comfortable clothing that allows you to relax and participate in the various activities, such as live shows, comedy performances, or themed parties.


Additionally, be sure to check the ship’s daily program for any specific dress code requirements for certain entertainment venues or events. While most evenings are casual, there may be themed nights or specialty events where specific attire is encouraged.


Next, let’s plunge into the world of swimwear and beachwear recommendations for your sunny days at sea.


Swimwear and Beachwear Recommendations

One of the highlights of a Carnival Cruise is the opportunity to soak up the sun and enjoy the beautiful beaches. Whether you’re lounging by the pool or venturing off to the shore, here are some swimwear and beachwear recommendations to make the most of your sunny days:

  1. Swimsuits: Pack a selection of swimsuits that make you feel comfortable and confident. Choose styles that suit your body type and personal preferences, whether it’s a one-piece, bikini, tankini, or swim shorts.
  2. Cover-ups: Bring stylish cover-ups, such as sarongs or lightweight beach dresses, to wear over your swimsuit when walking around the ship or heading to the buffet. They provide some coverage while still allowing you to feel comfortable in a beachy environment.
  3. Sun Hats and Sunglasses: Shield yourself from the sun’s rays with a wide-brimmed hat and a good pair of sunglasses. These accessories not only add a fashionable touch but also protect you from excessive sun exposure.
  4. Beach Bags: Carry a spacious beach bag to hold your sunscreen, towel, reading material, and other essentials. Look for a sturdy bag that can withstand sandy beaches and is easy to carry.
  5. Footwear: Flip-flops or sandals are perfect for wearing around the pool or on the beach. They are easy to slip on and off when you want to feel the sand between your toes.

Remember to always exercise caution and follow safety guidelines while enjoying water activities. Stay hydrated, reapply sunscreen regularly, and use protective swimwear to prevent sunburns and discomfort.


Now that you have your swimwear covered, let’s move on to discussing the appropriate footwear for both onboard and onshore activities.


Appropriate Footwear for Onboard and Onshore

Choosing the right footwear for your Carnival Cruise is essential for both onboard activities and onshore excursions. Here are some recommendations for footwear to pack:

  1. Onboard: When onboard, comfortable and versatile footwear is key. Opt for flip-flops, sandals, or slip-on shoes for easy access around the ship. These types of footwear are perfect for lounging by the pool, exploring the various decks, and attending casual evening entertainment.
  2. Onshore Excursions: Depending on the destinations you’ll be visiting, your footwear needs may vary. For beach days, water shoes or flip-flops are suitable choices. If you’ll be doing a lot of walking or exploring in cities, consider wearing comfortable walking shoes, sneakers, or closed-toe sandals for better support and protection.
  3. Specialty Activities: If you plan on participating in sports activities onboard, bring appropriate athletic shoes such as sneakers or running shoes. For fitness classes or the ship’s gym, pack your workout shoes so you can comfortably engage in your exercise routine.
  4. Formal Nights: For formal nights, ensure you have a pair of comfortable dress shoes to match your formal attire. Remember, comfort is key even when dressing up.

Choosing the right footwear will not only keep you comfortable but also ensure your safety during various activities. If you’re unsure about the footwear requirements for specific excursions or activities, check with the cruise line or do some research on the destinations beforehand.


Now that we’ve covered footwear, let’s move on to the accessories that can complete your Carnival Cruise outfits.


Accessories to Complete Your Carnival Cruise Outfits

Accessories can elevate your Carnival Cruise outfits and add a touch of personal style. Here are some accessories to consider packing:

  1. Jewelry: Pack a few versatile pieces of jewelry that can complement different outfits. Statement necklaces, earrings, and bracelets can add a touch of elegance or a pop of color to your ensemble.
  2. Scarves and Wraps: Scarves and wraps are not only practical for layering but also offer a stylish element to your outfits. They can be draped over your shoulders during cooler evenings or used as a beach cover-up.
  3. Belts: Adding a belt to your dresses or pants can help define your waist and enhance your overall silhouette. Pack a few belts of different widths and styles to have versatile options for different outfits.
  4. Hats: Bring a sun hat or a baseball cap to shield yourself from the sun while exploring onshore or lounging by the pool. Not only do hats provide protection, but they also add a fashionable touch to your cruise outfits.
  5. Clutches and Crossbody Bags: These compact bags are perfect for carrying your essentials during formal nights or when attending entertainment shows. They are functional, stylish, and keep your hands free for dancing or clapping along to the performances.

Remember, accessories can make a significant difference in enhancing your overall look and adding personality to your outfits. Mix and match accessories with your clothing to create unique combinations and express your personal style throughout your Carnival Cruise.


Now that we’re almost done, let’s discuss the dress code considerations for specialty restaurants onboard the ship.


Dress Code Considerations for Specialty Restaurants

On a Carnival Cruise, you’ll have the opportunity to dine at various specialty restaurants, each offering a unique culinary experience. While most of the ship’s dining establishments have a relaxed dress code, it’s important to note any specific requirements for the specialty restaurants. Here are some dress code considerations to keep in mind:


1. Casual Restaurants: The majority of the ship’s dining options fall under the casual category, where resort casual attire is appropriate. This typically includes smart-casual clothing such as collared shirts, dresses, blouses, and dress pants or skirts. Avoid wearing flip-flops, swimwear, and overly casual attire in these dining venues.


2. Formal Restaurants: Some specialty restaurants may have a more formal dress code. These venues often require guests to dress in elegant or semi-formal attire. Men are usually expected to wear dress shirts, slacks, and dress shoes, while women can opt for evening gowns, cocktail dresses, or dressy separates. Be sure to check specific guidelines for each formal dining establishment.


It’s important to note that some specialty restaurants on Carnival Cruises may have an additional cover charge or reservation requirement. Plan accordingly and make reservations in advance for these venues to ensure you secure a table in your preferred dining establishment.


Lastly, let’s discuss some packing tips to help you organize and prepare for your Carnival Cruise.


Packing Guide for a Carnival Cruise

Effective packing is crucial for a smooth and enjoyable Carnival Cruise experience. Here are some tips and guidelines to help you pack efficiently for your voyage:

  1. Make a list: Before you start packing, create a comprehensive list of items you’ll need during your cruise. This will help you stay organized and ensure you don’t forget any essentials.
  2. Check the weather: Research the weather conditions for your destination and pack accordingly. Include items for both warm, sunny days and cooler evenings.
  3. Plan outfits: To maximize suitcase space, plan your outfits in advance, taking into account the activities and dress codes on the ship. Opt for versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched.
  4. Roll your clothes: Rolling your clothes instead of folding them can save space and reduce wrinkles. This packing technique also allows for better organization and easy retrieval of items.
  5. Bring travel-sized toiletries: To comply with airline regulations and save space in your luggage, pack travel-sized toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. You can also purchase essentials onboard the ship.
  6. Don’t forget the essentials: Remember to pack essentials such as sunscreen, medications, a valid passport, travel insurance documents, and any necessary travel adapters or chargers.
  7. Consider laundry options: If you don’t want to pack excessively, check if your cruise ship offers laundry services or self-service laundry facilities. This can help you reuse clothing items during your voyage.
  8. Leave room for souvenirs: If you plan on shopping for souvenirs during your cruise, leave some extra space in your luggage or bring a foldable bag to accommodate your purchases.
  9. Label your luggage: Finally, make sure to label your luggage with your contact information. This will help in case of lost or misplaced bags and also make it easier to identify your belongings during disembarkation.

By following these packing tips, you’ll be well-prepared for your Carnival Cruise, ensuring that you have everything you need while keeping your luggage streamlined and efficient.


With your bags packed and your outfits planned, you’re ready for an incredible adventure on your Carnival Cruise. Enjoy the beautiful destinations, indulge in delicious cuisine, and make memories that will last a lifetime. Bon voyage!


Wrap up the article by summarizing the main points and concluding the discussion on what to wear on a Carnival Cruise.



Preparing for a Carnival Cruise involves considering what to wear for various activities, dining options, and special occasions. By following the tips and suggestions outlined in this article, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to dress appropriately and stylishly throughout your voyage.


Remember to pack a variety of clothing options to suit daytime activities, including swimwear, lightweight and breathable materials, and comfortable footwear. For formal nights, bring elegant attire such as cocktail dresses or suits. During casual evenings, opt for relaxed yet fashionable outfits. Don’t forget to pack accessories like jewelry, scarves, and hats to add personal style to your cruise outfits.


Consider the dress code requirements for specialty restaurants and make reservations accordingly. Lastly, use these packing guidelines to efficiently organize your belongings, leaving room for souvenirs and labeling your luggage for easy identification.


Whether you’re lounging by the pool, enjoying evening entertainment, or exploring beautiful destinations, dressing appropriately and confidently will enhance your Carnival Cruise experience. So, pack your bags with the right clothing, accessories, and footwear, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure on the high seas!