A Guide to Cruise Ship Clothing

cruise ship clothing
image: Mattel

Preparing for your cruise can be difficult if you are a first time voyager. One thing to take into consideration is which company you are travelling with and the location of your on-shore destinations. Will you be leaving the ship to sightsee? Will you be engaging in physical activities on board? Are there any special events in the evening? Although this guide will give you the basics of what clothes to pack, it is important to check the company’s website in case they have provided any extra information.


During the day, cruise clothes for ladies can consist of a sun-dress or a blouse and skirt. Combine these with a pair of sandals or ballet pumps for comfortable walking on-board the ship. For men; t-shirts, shorts or khaki pants and sandals will be suitable for on deck activities. If you are sailing in hot weather, it is vital to stay covered up from the sun even if it is cloudy. A light pashmina or scarf will do the trick. After all, you don’t want to be spending your holiday in bed with heat-stroke! If you plan to leave the ship to sightsee, make sure you pack short sleeved t-shirts that will shelter your shoulders. A hat and sunglasses are necessary to protect your eyes and head from burning in the sun. It is also advisable to pack a cardigan or a jumper as it can become quite windy up on deck but if you’re wearing a hat, make sure it doesn’t blow away!

Swimwear is essential as generally most liners will have an on-board swimming pool and hot tub. Bring more than one item of swimwear, as there may be opportunities if you disembark the ship to swim in the sea at a beach location. You will not be allowed to walk around the liner or enter any of the restaurants in swimwear so have something to cover-up such as a sarong, pashmina or t-shirt and shorts for when you leave the pool area. If you plan to make use of the gym facilities the liner provides, you may want to bring some training clothes and footwear.

For those who are not sun seeking and have opted for a cold weather cruise, it is advisable to take woollen jumpers, a raincoat and footwear that is suitable for those rainy days.

Evening Wear

A worry for first time cruisers is what to wear to dinner. Each cruise liner has its own clothing recommendations and restrictions and it can largely depend on which restaurant you plan to dine at. A restaurant will fall into the category of casual, informal and formal.

Denim is prohibited on most liners so for men, casual and informal attire will consist of trousers, khakis, polo shirts or t-shirts and a pair of smart shoes. For the women, sun-dresses, skirts and sandals or ballet pumps will be sufficient. Formal dinner wear has considerably changed over time and can vary for different liners. Usually formal wear dress up consists of a dark suit and tie or tuxedo for men and a cocktail dress with heels and formal jewellery for women.

Taking this into account, don’t worry too much about apparel for your holiday, most cruise ships have shops where you can buy clothing if you happen to forget something. The most important thing to remember is to relax and enjoy yourself!

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