Cruise Fashion: Dressing Up and Down for Different Occasions

You've decided to cruise the world this fall, and you can't wait to experience the wonders of Alaska, Guatemala, or Panama with family and friends. You're in good company.

Research shows that more than 31 million people are expected to cruise in 2023, surpassing 2019 (pre-COVID-19) numbers. Many cruise lines have removed their COVID-19 vaccine requirements and spaced out their dining rooms. This has made guests more comfortable returning to large and small cruise ships post-COVID-19.

Do you want to look your best on your next cruise? A versatile wardrobe will ensure you're dressed to impress on Alaska cruises, family cruises, and even adult-only travel cruises. Explore the top cruise fashion tips in this guide.

Cruise Fashion

The top cruise fashion tips in 2023 include packing clothes for casual days at sea and formal evenings. Shorts and T-shirts are appropriate for casual days. Here are some other everyday items that will keep you looking stylish and comfortable:

  • Tank tops
  • Sundresses
  • Loungewear (e.g., sporty pants and hoodie)
  • Capris
  • Khakis
  • Jeans
  • Sweater
  • Sweatshirt
  • Scarf

Suppose you plan to eat dinner at a specialty restaurant or watch a theatrical show on a cruise ship. Smart casual is the best dress code for these settings. This means the following:

  • Button-down shirt
  • Stylish top
  • Dress pants
  • Skirt or dress

You may also wear smart jeans to these venues. These include well-fitted jeans. Smart jeans meet several other criteria, including the following:

  • Neatly pressed
  • Non-ripped
  • Non-faded
  • Dark wash

Remember to add various shoes for all occasions to your cruise packing checklist. Waterproof slides, sandals, and flip-flops can take you from the pool to your stateroom. You'll also wear these shoes when visiting the cruise ship's spa.

Avoid wearing flip-flops to dinner. Sandals, flats, or high-heels are appropriate evening shoes for women. Men should bring dress or boat shoes (leather or canvas shoes with rubber soles).

Bring sneakers for the gym and walking around your cruise ship destination site. Boots are appropriate for an Alaskan cruise if you'll be hiking (more on Alaskan cruises next).

Alaska Cruises

Let's review a few essential cruise fashion tips for adventurers on Alaska cruises. Your cruise packing checklist should include cool-weather clothing for casual explorations if you visit Alaska in the colder months.

Clothes and layers you can easily add or remove are smart investments for an Alaskan cruise. That's because Alaska's weather may be unpredictable. Here are some examples of these items:

  • Wicking tops
  • Pants you can convert to shorts
  • Lightweight fleeces

Bring T-shirts, shorts, and jeans for casual days. Wear a dress or a blouse and slacks in the evening.

Family Cruises

Are you wondering what to wear on a cruise with your family? Family cruises are excellent opportunities for you and your children to showcase your styles through various outfits.

Your cruise attire should be comfortable whether you're spending the day on the cruise ship or at your destination. Wearing T-shirts and shorts is acceptable. Here are a few other appropriate cruise fashion options:

  • Sundresses
  • Tank tops
  • Skirts
  • Jeans

Bring a sweater or lightweight jacket for air-conditioned spaces or a cooler day. Pack a swimsuit for the cruise ship pool or hot tub, and bring a beach cover-up when walking from the pool to your room.

Dress up in the evenings with an eye-catching party dress or pantsuit (for ladies) and a suit or jacket (for men). These items will work for any cruise ship's formal night.

What about the kids? They can generally wear swimsuits, sundresses, tees, and shorts during the day.

Pack your little girl some dresses, blouses, and skirts for formal nights or dinner. Boys can wear polo shirts and khaki pants.

Your cruise ship may have themed nights. These are excellent times to dress up and take photos with the kids. Examples of themed nights include:

  • Pirate Night
  • Caribbean Night
  • Superhero Night

Outfit ideas for themed nights include pirate costumes for Pirate Night. Let your kids come dressed as Captain Hook or Jack Sparrow.

Caribbean Night is the perfect time to wear tropical and colorful prints. You and your children may also wear sandals, straw hats, and floral leis.

Superhero Night can be a wonderful time to dress like your favorite villains or superheroes. Remember to wear capes and masks, and feel free to bring props (e.g., a Batman utility belt or Green Lantern power ring).

Adult-Only Travel

Suppose you're embracing adult-only travel and wondering what to wear on a cruise. The smart casual cruise attire mentioned above is appropriate for elegant dinners at specialty restaurants (e.g., skirt, dress, classy top, and button-down). Avoid wearing the following at restaurants:

  • T-shirts
  • Robes
  • Tank tops
  • Pool wear (e.g., swimsuits)
  • Flip-flops
  • Shorts

Smart casual attire works in all cruise ship areas, including lounges, bars, and theaters. Dress up in fancier clothes for your cruise ship's formal nights. Fashion-forward clothes to sport on these nights include the following for women:

  • Cocktail dress
  • Designer jeans or pants with a sophisticated top
  • Skirt

Men may wear button-down shirts or sweaters - blazers are generally optional. Ties are welcome although generally not required.

Cruise Outlets

Cruise outlets are convenient places to book competitively priced cruises and learn what clothing items and shoes to pack for a specific voyage. These physical or online stores offer cruise packages at discounted prices to different destinations.

A cruise outlet works with travel agencies and cruise lines to give travelers the best promotions and deals. They'll help you find the ideal cruise for your schedule, preferences, and budget. You'll learn how to maximize your cruise experience when working with a reputable cruise outlet.

An example of a cruise company that works with these outlets is UnCruise Adventures. The outlets they work with include TripAdvisor, Alaska Cruises, and Cruise Travel Outlet.

Take Advantage of Our Small Cruise Ships

The right cruise fashion tips can help you look and feel your best on large and small cruise ships. People on Alaska cruises in the cold months should wear layers, including lightweight fleece.

Wearing t-shirts and shorts is okay for casual days on family cruises and adult-only travel cruises. Items like dresses and button-down shirts are more appropriate for evening dinners and events.

We offer unforgettable vacation experiences on small cruise ships at UnCruise Adventures. Our destinations include Alaska, Belize, Costa Rica, and more. Take a ship tour on our site, and book your next cruise today!