What To Wear on a Cruise: 5 Day-to-Night Outfit Ideas (2024)

hough it's tempting to pack everything, cruise outfits are meant to be laid-back, so plan to wear a few items of clothing more than once — no one will judge you, promise. Pack a few key staple pieces that can be paired together in several different mix and match styles — this is called a capsule wardrobe. To ensure you can put together a great outfit each day, pack mindfully in one color palette or scheme — colors like red, coral and yellow will pop in pictures when photographed in front of a turquoise sea. If you're wondering what to pack for a five-day cruise, bring along six shirts, six sets of underwear, and three to four bottoms. Then, throw in at least two swimsuits, so you always have one dry. Finally, pajamas, a jacket or sweater, athleisure wear, a hat, sunglasses, sandals, athletic shoes, and dress shoes round out a perfect cruise outfit packing list.

Breezy fabrics like cotton and linen in a loose silhouette keep you cool and covered under the sun during the daytime, and with a few adaptable accessories, you can transition seamlessly into a polished evening look. No matter if you're spending your day sipping an ice-cold co*cktail on deck, strolling along a sandy beach, adventuring on jungle trails or searching for local treats, these five versatile day-to-night cruise outfit ideas will make packing easy, getting you on island time, in no time.

1. Port-Day Wardrobe

If you'll be spending your port days shopping, dining, and exploring new cities and towns, you'll need cruise outfit ideas that are both stylish and practical. A flowy top or polo shirt, bright-colored capris or khaki shorts, comfortable shoes, sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat will keep you cool during the day. When the sun goes down, dress it up with a button-down shirt, shawl or cardigan.

2. Onboard Ensemble

For days spent at sea, you'll want cruise attire that's comfortable and convertible. A swimsuit underneath a sundress or flowy shirt and shorts is an outfit that will take you from the pool to the spa to the mini golf course and beyond. When it's time for dinner, swap your shorts for trousers and slip on dressy sandals or closed-toe shoes. If you're cruising with your kids, be prepared for spills and stains with an extra shirt.

Solid-colored board shorts paired with a button-up shirt (nautical print encouraged) work just as well for a day on deck. Then, change from swim trunks and flip-flops to chinos and dress shoes before heading to the onboard restaurant. A Panama hat adds an element of holiday luxe no matter the time of day.

3. Adventure Attire

The best outfits for a cruise are the ones you can wear all day long. If you have a list of adventure activities planned for your shore excursions, or if you'll be braving the ship's RipCord® by iFly® skydive simulator and Zip Line, pack accordingly. During the day, wear athletic shorts, a neutral-colored tank top, and sneakers or sandals. Don't forget a hat, sunglasses and a long-sleeved sun shirt in your day bag. Need to dress up for dinner? It's simple. Pack extra clothes in a tote bag in case you don't have time to go back to your stateroom. Swap your athletic shorts for a flowy skirt or trousers, and trade your sneakers for a more formal pair of shoes, like chunky heels or loafers for a put-together look.

4. Beach-Day Outfit

For many, a cruise vacation is all about spending as much time as possible in or near the sea. Maybe this means claiming a lounge chair as your own, seeking a spot in the sand without footprints or swimming out into the clear blue water. When you're done wading in the water or soaking up the sun, a cover-up like a romper, oversized shirt or dress is always a stylish choice for wandering local shops and grabbing a seaside lunch. Quick-drying swim trunks are the go-to staple for this cruise outfit and is a perfect choice for kids. Just throw on a collared shirt and slip-on penny loafers, and you're good to go.

For dinner reservations, add an air of tropical elegance with a pair of wide-legged linen trousers or chinos in a solid color, paired with a linen top in a colorful print and some timeless accessories like a gauzy scarf, dangling necklace, a sleek watch or large sunglasses.

Make sure your cruise packing list includes a lightweight bag for your book, sun protection, wallet, camera, phone and a foldable dry bag tucked inside. When you're done swimming, you can stow your swimwear away in the dry bag without getting the rest of your items wet.

5. Sightseeing Cruise Outfit

When trying to figure out what to wear on a cruise, it's important to plan ahead and know what your must-dos are for your cruise vacation. For long days jam-packed with historical and natural sights to see, pack fabrics that are breathable and comfortable. Linen pants and a good pair of socks and boots are invaluable for rainforest hikes, while a lightweight long-sleeve shirt and a sunhat with a drawstring will keep you covered when visiting ancient ruins. If you're packing outfits for a cruise destination in a warm climate, bring something that can be worn over a swimsuit, so you're always ready to take a dip in hidden cenotes.

When it's time to hit the town at night, add some accessories to soften this look like dainty jewelry, colorful slip-on shoes, a Panama hat and a handbag.

What To Wear on a Cruise: 5 Day-to-Night Outfit Ideas (2024)
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