What to Wear on a Cruise
It may not be the fashion-hungry city streets of Paris or Milan, but you can still plan to look chic on your next cruise vacation.
Whether you’re stopped at a port to explore or taking some time to relax on the ship itself, there are a number of potential wardrobe situations that you may want to prepare for. While this prospect of playing dress-up may appeal to some, it can also be a daunting task to fit a rolodex of outfit possibilities into one small suitcase or carry-on.
This guide will help you pinpoint exactly what you need to build your ideal cruise ship temporary capsule wardrobe.
Cruise Outfit Ideas for Men
1. Button-down shirt outfits for men
The atmosphere on a cruise may be laidback, but a man who prefers to dress up need not despair. If you play it correctly, you can pack your favorite button-down shirts in your luggage without having to worry about a mismatch of outfit tones. A breezy button-top actually pairs rather nicely with a pair of cotton shorts, particularly when you’re pairing a solid color shirt with patterned shorts or vice versa. Luckily, most cruise ships have irons on board, so no need to pack yours.
2. Chino pants outfits for men
Not to be confused with their distant cousin, the khak panti, chino offers a comfy pant without the visible stitches, which gives it a more formal look than its counterpart. With their lightweight fabric and breezy form, we would be remiss to make a list about outfits that are best worn in the sunshine without mentioning the chico. Grab this variety of pants for a quick fix for those “in between” weather days that are sure to happen while you’re out at sea.
3. Dapper outfits for men
Nautical-inspired fashion is considered to be classy and high-end, thanks undoubtedly to its association with exclusive yacht clubs and luxurious boat purchases. You don’t need to be steering your own vessel to dress like you own the place, though — we’ll leave that job to the cruise captain. Even with your passenger status, you can make waves (forgive us for the very intended pun) by pulling on a pair of boat shoes and bermuda shorts. The more your color palette can be inspired by the ocean, the better — think navy blue, bright blue, gray, and white.
4. Hawaiian outfits for men
Your cruise may not be to Hawaii — it’s smack dab in the very middle of the Pacific, after all, and so not exactly accessible by boat — but you don’t have to be in the Aloha state to appreciate the power of a good Hawaiian outfit. Floral patterns are undeniably in, and they are made rather masculine when used in the Hawaiian shirt style. This is an easy shirt that you can throw on on your way to the breakfast buffet, or even for an afternoon of tanning on the sun deck.
5. Polo shirt outfits for men
Polo shirts — not just for your uncle’s tennis club! Ralph Lauren or not, polo shirts travel well (the robust yet soft material is mysteriously wrinkle-proof), and encompass the “sophisticated yet casual” vibe that we are going for with this cruise ship collection. For a put-together ensemble, tuck your polo into your belt. You’d rather not carry your belt along with you in your meagre carry-on? The polo shirt looks great when not accompanied by a belt, too.
6. Tropical print outfits for men
A tropical print has everything to fit the mood of your cruise — vibrancy, excitement, and brightness, just to name a few — that it might as well be the cruise-goer’s official uniform. Think of the tropical print as your way to dress not only for the weather, but in honor of it, in your own personal ode to sunshine. You may be dressed similarly to many men who you’re sharing the cruise ship with, but you can make a tropical shirt your own by choosing an electric pattern. You can also stand out above the crowd by opting to go for a tropical patterned short or shoe, if you do not want a shirt that is so busy.
Cruise Outfit Ideas for Women
1. Bikini cover up outfits for women
Women everywhere know: leaving without your cover-up is one of the biggest cruise ship faux-pas out there. Alright, so maybe there isn’t a cruise ship fashion rulebook, but if there were, there would certainly be a section on finding the perfect cover-up. Not quite a summer dress, not quite a bathing suit, the cover-up occupies an important place in your wardrobe because it is functional yet fashionable. Cover-ups are the perfect choice for warm destinations where it is not necessary to change out of your bathing suit. With a cover-up, your bathing suit can easily dry while it’s still on your body — especially if your material is flowy and breathable. Much like the women who wear the, cover-ups come in all different kind of varieties, from long, elegant full-body options to styles that open up in the front like a bathrobe. Some cruise ships have rather strict dress codes for entering dining areas — if there is a stipulation that no bathing suit is allowed, you may be able to easily get around this by simply throwing on a cover-up.
2. Bohemian outfits for women
If men can dress in color for their cruise vacation, why can’t women take part in the fun? We love the bohemian style for its creative use of color and adventurous patterns. There is something about the sunshine that makes us want to dress bold and bright, as if to match the mood.
3. Boho outfits for women
“Boho” or “boho-chic” is a vertical similar to Bohemian style, but with a more subdued twist. Unlike the vivid color palette that a Bohemian look offers, a Boho-chic outfit relies on natural earth toned fabrics while still keeping with the fashion style’s classic flowy aesthetic. Add a suede sandal or tan purse to really pull your ensemble together.
4. Crocheted pants cover up outfits for women
Often when we think about bathing suit cover ups, we imagine a dress-like piece of drapery that covers you from the top down. However, there is another option on the market that covers up your legs instead — the crocheted pant. This beachy option is fashionable yet comfortable.
5. Denim shorts outfits for women
A cruise style guide for women simply wouldn’t be complete without mention of a denim short. Your preferred cut and length is a personal choice, as is your color of material. It’s hard to go wrong with a pair of jorts that speaks to your personality.
6. Flowy pants outfits for women
It’s not often that a piece of clothing comes along that is both effortlessly trendy and pajama-level comfortable. Also known as palazzo pants, these wide-legged bottoms can come in solid colours or in expressive patterns. Thanks to their pleasant air circulation and easy-breezy implications, flowy pants are the perfect choice for summertime.
7. High shorts outfits for women
Much like high-waisted pants have become a staple of many women’s wardrobes, the high-waisted short has also gathered popular momentum. This style of short not only flatters a variety of body types, but it also offers your body more protection so you can be less conscious of your every moment and take the chance to simply relax on your vacation.
8. Mini dress outfits for women
The minidress is a flattering shape of summer dress that usually falls quite a bit above the knee. No matter how tall (or short) you are, the minidress is famous for its magical ability to elongate your legs — especially if paired with high heels. The minidress trend has its roots in the 1960s, and patterns from this era are coming back, too, such as polka dots or bright florals.
9. Off-the-shoulder outfits for women
What better way to set the laid back mood than with an off-the-shoulder easy-going top? Loungewear meets big-city sophistication with this unique top style. One bonus: it’s one of the only top styles that won’t leave you with an inconvenient tan line after your hours of soaking up the sun!
10. Polka dot dress outfits for women
The polka dot pattern is one of the most-used in the world of female fashion, but we’re still not bored of it yet. Perhaps it’s because it has transcended past the realm of boredom to become classic instead. If you’re looking for an easy way to dress up while on a cruise, carrying a polka dot dress in your luggage is a great way to instantly add a feminine splash to your outfit plan.
11. See-through dress outfits for women
A cruise vacation is a great place to experiment with clothing choices that you wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing in your everyday life in the office or out to lunch. The see-through dress is a great example of this — it’s an adaptable outfit choice that can be worn over top of a bathing suit or underneath a jacket, depending on your surroundings.
12. Summer loose skirt outfits for women
A long skirt is a great option to throw in your cruise bag. For one thing, it is well-suited to a variety of weather conditions, as it offers access to a breeze in hot weather and protection in cooler weather. For another thing, it looks adorable, especially with a tank top or top tucked into it.
13. Tropical prints outfits for women
If you’re a woman who has admired the tropical print from afar but been shy to incorporate it into your own wardrobe, a cruise is a perfect opportunity to test this striking style out. If diving nose deep into a tropical print maxi dress feels too far out of your comfort zone, try a smaller swatch of fabric, such as a pair of shorts or a cover up.