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What to wear on a Cruise- Cruise wear women

Posted by sandhya garg on

What to Wear on a Caribbean CruiseShip- Cruise Fashion Explained

A cruise vacation is a fun way to travel, relax and have fun with your partner, family and/or friends without worrying about or planning about what all to see, what all to do or where to eat and shop. The cruise company takes care of all the planning while you sit, relax and truly enjoy your vacation.
Fashion for Cruise ships is so much fun. Packing for a sunny break to the sea is super fun and whimsical, suitcases can be lighter (not like big mountain ski trips!). 
If your still wondering why take a cruise vacation, maybe this may help you decide-  If you have a place on your bucket list, a cruise will get you there. Cruises cover the world, taking millions of passengers each year to destinations like the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Alaska, Europe, the Mediterranean and even Antarctica. Cruise vacations offer a tremendous value, with trips that include your lodging, meals and entertainment, all rolled into one. Cruising means seeing the world while unpacking only once.
If you are planning a Resort Vacation, Read about Resort Dress code here
vacation packing list
Cruises also provide a wonderful option for families, with many ships offering things like waterslides, mini-golf courses and fun clubs for kids and teens -- all inclusive. Planning is easy: Pick your destination and the right ship for you. The cruise line makes it simple, offering packages to help you save on extras like alcohol, shore tours or even airfare. With all this pre-planned all you are left with is to think about your cute cruise outfits, that make you look gorgeous and memories that you will make. The life of a cruise fan can be full of surprises. But when it comes to dress codes, there are some hard and fast rules you should think twice before breaking (for everyone's sake).
shop pink plisse dress
Having been on a few Caribbean cruises, enjoying sunny skies, turquoise waters and plenty of cruising fun.I can tell you that if you can put together a well planned cute wardrobe of cruise outfits before you step on board, you are going to have a much more fun time.Packing for any vacation can be stressful, but we are here with our vacation packing tips to share our favorite summer trends that are perfect for your cruise vacation! (You can see our packing tips here.) So let’s get to the fun part, what trends should definitely make the cut! When I travel, I make sure my clothes and accessories follow a color palette & that they can easily be worn together. There is a seamless flow in between pieces.
Thinking about your fashions way ahead of time allows you to shop wisely and pack with the utmost confidence.  When you look great, you feel great, and life is so much more fun! 
The right clothes and shoes can put you in a relaxed vacation mood, thanks to beautiful colors and patterns and soft fabrics and comfortable shoes. Plus, knowing ahead of time how and when you are going to wear your outfits makes your trip and packing stress free. Here are some of our top tips on what to pack, and some cute outfit ideas for what to wear on a Caribbean Cruise.

In order to plan your cruise wardrobe, you might want to first check with the cruise line you’re traveling with, but there are several general things to keep in mind no matter who you’re traveling with.

1. You may want to pack for the destination you are traveling to and what are your own personal preferences. Like me if you are always feeling cold while traveling, then packing a few layering pieces like a light weight cardigan, light jacket or a light blanket may be a good idea. For Caribbean vacays I always tend towards embroidery, prints, light layers and flirty fabrics. And comfort is always queen. I prefer when pieces can overlap into day time & night. Often Lido deck cocktails can turn into steak house dinners. You can bring a cashmere wrap for when the evening winds pick up.

2. Packing good walking shoes is a must to make the most of your travels. For all the adventure seekers, you need comfortable shoes for on shore excursions which may include hiking, biking, adventure sports, shopping or local sight seeing. I recommend a pair of comfy closed-toe shoes for the same.  

 3. Always pack 2-3 outfits for special events. Whether it's a dinner party, a romantic date, a themed cocktail party in the ship or a fine dining night. Always have a few formal dresses for the event. 

4. Cruise Casual Wear for day time, cute bikinis and swimsuits are essential, but so are cover ups for when the sun is too strong or when it ducks behind the clouds. Pack cruise casual wear for the day. Once upon a time, women’s cruise wear was always dressy, but these days things are more casual. Most cruise lines recommend cruise casual. For women, this means casual sundresses, skirts, and pants including capris. The key when you cruise is to relax in style. Outfits should easily be mixed and matched. I prefer looser styles to tighter ones when the weather is hot. Dresses, playsuits and rompers are super cute & comfy. I also bring a PJ type lounge set. Makeup should be light and sun kissed. There is nothing worse than makeup that melts all over your face in the heat. Keep colors light and shimmery.

5. I always pack a crushable straw hat for the sun as well. There are plenty of travel friendly & fashionable hats these days, they are not too expensive and look great on the pool deck. Accessories are important too. I love comfortable pieces that can be worn both day and night. A pop of color here and there is fun too. A day tote bag is essential for my camera, towel, change of clothes (for off ship excursions) sunscreen and magazines. For the evening I pack a small clutch, metallic is always a favorite. It helps to dress up the simplest of outfits. If you are planning any upcoming cruises be sure to check the Cruise line website to plan out. A versatile tote bag. When traveling, you always want to downsize your handbag. I also recommend packing a neutral one like this on-trend woven bag that will go with every outfit in your suitcase. I prefer the cross-body strap that can be tucked in for optimal versatility. This bag had me covered from the pool deck to the dining room.

Shop Beach tote bag

6. A breezy caftan- There is just something so chic and timeless about a caftan (or kaftan). They are certainly not a new concept, but they have made a major comeback in the last few years. And, in my opinion, there isn’t a better occasion to try one than by a pool or on a beach. They are perfect for throwing on over your swimsuit to explore the local town or to head in for lunch. I personally love styles that balance the volumes shape with a deep V-neck and slits on either side.

7. Nautical stripes + statement t-shirts - When you are packing for a cruise ship, how can you not want to look the nautical part? I love this flowy striped maxi dress paired with a yellow sun hat. 

Striped nautical maxi dress

8. A swimsuit with cutouts - When it comes to fashion this year, cutouts were the biggest statement maker, so it is no surprise the swimsuit designers took notice as well. I am in my early thirties and a mother of two so it’s definitely time I embrace the one-piece, but I am not ready to completely throw in the towel, either. I love all the trendy cut-out one piece bathing suits that let you feel stylish, yet conservative and appropriate at the same time.

 9. Pack smart casuals for evenings - If you plan to dine in one of your ship’s fine dining restaurants or dance the night away at their disco, then you’ll want to pack something that is a little more upscale than what you’d wear during the daytime. Think about a smart-looking dress or slacks and a dressy blouse. And don’t forget a little bling. Accessories are small and easy to pack and are great for transitioning an outfit from day to evening.

10. Pack a few outfits for special events- Part of the fun of a cruise is the special on-board events for guests. Whether it’s a cocktail party with the Captain or a special fine-dining night, there is always something going on so make sure you have one or two dressier outfits that are a little extra special. Check with your cruise line how dressy you should pack. Some ships require dressier outfits like long gowns and fancy cocktail dresses. Others are a little less formal, and a maxi dress or little black dress will do.

11. Travel journal- To keep a record on your memories.

shop travel journal



I always take a pair of shorts on a cruise, but I usually end up wearing cropped pants or jeans. They look so fresh, cool and classy, and they go with everything.

Here’s an outfit that would be great for around the ship or if you went onshore to do a little shopping or sightseeing. These cropped pants are made from linen, so they are fresh and cool to wear. I love the side buttons which give them a nautical feel. Pair them with a pretty tee in a pink or coral to bring out your tan and don’t forget a cute pair of strappy sandals. These are nice and flat ( read comfy) the lace-up straps that tie around the ankle give them real style!

You really don’t need a very big bag when you are cruising, but it helps if it has a strap so you can go hands-free. This white woven bag is very cute and just big enough to carry your passport, money, and your sunscreen. I like it because it is casual enough for day, but dressy enough for night, and the raffia makes it feel tropical.  


Here’s a cute, daytime outfit that is right on for your cruise. You can’t go wrong with a pair of crisp white shorts and a striped linen top.  Add some sleek white slip-on sandals and a cute, colorful bag and you are island ready.

Don’t forget a cute pair of sunglasses. You might also think about taking a hat.  Not only does it keep the sun away, but if your color your hair and don’t wear a hat, your hair will get bleached out by the strong Caribbean sun

Here’s another shorts outfit that is really cute too!


I’m a big believer in packing a few easy-breezy sundresses. They look good, they keep you cool, and they are a nice way for your legs to get a bit of sun. This relaxed shift dress has a fun, go-anywhere feel to it. There’s also need to worry about eating an extra bun at dinner with this dress. It camouflages your tummy perfectly.

The best dresses to wear on a cruise ship have a cute neckline such as lace-up,  halter style, off the shoulder or a keyhole neckline.  Fun details like a bit of exotic beading or embroidery will make you look more relaxed and vacation ready. Bright, happy prints in tropical colors to relaxed neutrals help set the mood.

Shop Blue Sundress

If you are wondering what shoes to wear on a cruise, I would suggest flats or something low and more on the chunky side. Spiky heels are not very practical. A cruise ship is as long as a football field, and there’s always lots of walking across all kinds of changing surfaces. If you feel you must take a heel, make sure it is something you feel very comfortable walking in, like a kitten heel. Wedges are good, and so are sandals with block heels.


Blowing sea breezes, hot, hazy days strolling around the ship….A cruise is the perfect setting to wear a maxi dress. Choose something fun and tropical. Wear it by day with flats and a big floppy hat or dress it up at night with sexy evening sandals then head off the theater to catch a live show.


Life at sea cruising while from one destination to the next means lots of time spent lounging by the pool…darling!!!  A swimsuit is one item you will probably want to splurge on (even if you never plan to set foot in the water).

Go all out and tell your fashion story. Find yourself a glam bathing suit, movie star sunglasses, and a chic tote. Don’t forget a fabulous cover-up. It’s a necessity when you are running off to the buffet or the spa in between sun tanning and dips in the pool.


Cruises are easy, breezy and so a pair of wide flowy linen pants. These comfy drawstring pants are perfect for a sun and sea vacation.


If you can’t find any flowy pants you like, then a jumpsuit is another option.  The shoes make it a bit dressy for dinner but you could wear it with a lower or flat sandal too. ! I love the circle bag. It’s a style that is really popular at the moment and easy way to show everyone that you are on top of your fashion game!

Want to see more cruise wear for women? Check out these other ideas for what to wear on a cruise ship.  

Bon Voyage!

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