What to Wear on a Cruise

black sandals with beige shoe insert cushions on a beach

Cruise Outfits for Women

Are you looking for some cruise wardrobe inspiration? Whether this is your very first voyage or you’re a seasonal passenger, our simple guide to what clothes to wear on a cruise ship will have you sailing in style.

From the perfect seafaring outfits for onboard to the best shoes to wear on a cruise, let Foot Petals® shoe cushions and essentials set your destination for comfortable, seaworthy style.

woman placing gel ball of foot cushion into nude sandal

How to Dress on a Cruise Ship

When packing outfits for a cruise, you don’t want to bring your whole closet, but you also don’t want to get stuck without the clothing you need. Picking the best clothes to wear on a cruise vacation all comes down to a few basic considerations:

  • Dress Code: Check your cruise liner’s dress code for casual and formal wear expectations. Most cruises no longer ask guests to dress in black tie, though there are rules about what not to wear to certain venues. Typical dress codes on a cruise ship are “relaxed luxury,” “smart casual,” and “evening chic.”
  • Destinations: Dressing for a trip to the Bahamas in mid-summer looks totally different from an Alaskan cruise vacation. You may need to dress for various situations and climates, from breezy beach clothes to hiking outfits. Check the ship’s itinerary and onboard activities when planning your wardrobe.
  • Duration of Cruise: Whether you’re going for a weekend getaway or a luxury week-long stay at sea, the types of clothes you’ll wear on a cruise are generally the same. Pack two outfits per day of your trip, including casual day wear and evening wear. Repeating outfits is also perfectly acceptable!

Packing for a cruise typically requires more clothing than your average vacation. Also, most cruise liners do not offer self-service laundry, though you may be able to add dry cleaning or laundry services to your package for an additional fee.

Cruise Outfits for a 7 Day Cruise

For a seven-day cruise, you’ll want to pack a handful of outfits including what you plan to wear on board during the day, your evening wear, and any outfits for excursions ashore. Having a capsule wardrobe ready for traveling is the perfect way to be prepared and curate your day-to-night style.

gray sandals with gel ball of foot cushions beside palm fronds and a sunhat

Because you’ll be doing a lot of walking both on board and during your visits to land, comfortable shoes are a must. Foot Petals shoe cushions make any shoe comfortable from your favorite vacation sandals to your best walking shoes and sneakers.

For warm-weather cruises, check out the following cruise outfits for women tailored for your days at sea, on shore adventures, and evening dining:

Sea Days

In regards to what to wear on a cruise during the day, comfortable, casual clothes that are lightweight are best. Sea days consist of spending the entire day relaxing at sea, whether you’re lounging by the pool or participating in activities like cooking or yoga classes.

Your swimsuit will be your main piece along with a coverup, wrap or tunic for when you walk between your room and the pool deck. Feel put together in a two-piece white linen set, bandeau bra top, sunhat, and sandals. High-waisted shorts, tank tops, and maxi dresses are other cute pieces and make comfy plus size cruise outfits.

Sandals and slides are the best shoes to wear on a cruise. Pack one to two comfortable pairs. Because uncomfortable feet can quickly ruin your fun, protect them from sliding and ugly, painful calluses with discreet gel cushions for sandals like our gel ball of foot cushions and ¾ gel inserts.

Ports of Call

Your port stop outfits depend heavily on where you’re going. For example, what you wear to the beach on a Caribbean cruise will look a lot like your sea day outfit. Exploring the cities and cultural centers in the Mediterranean, however, requires comfy walking shoes and a chic city fit.

Maxi dresses, denim shorts and button up blouses are perfect for shopping areas, casual dining, and sightseeing. If you’re going hiking or exploring historical ruins, consider a pair of linen pants and a light sweater. Always pack a day bag with essentials like sunscreen, an extra water bottle, and a change of dry clothes.

You’ll be doing the most walking at ports of call. Tennis shoes or sneakers are ideal, and if you have foot pain like plantar fasciitis, we recommend wearing a ¾ orthotic insole. Add arch support to your slides with an arch support cushion and keep blisters from ruining the best parts of the trip with our blister preventer balm.

What to Wear to Dinner

Evening attire on a cruise ship may not be as formal as it used to with many cruise liners opting for “smart casual” and “evening chic” dress codes. Think of this as the “business casual” of the sea. Although, it is encouraged to wear formal clothing and many guests choose to dress their best because they simply can.

When you’re deciding what to wear on a cruise in the evening, determine whether you’re just going to the bar for cocktails or joining others in the main dining area. Outfit options include cocktail dresses, dark colored or patterned sundresses, two-piece navy or black linen sets, or trouser capris and a lightweight blouse.

Along with accessories like scarves and jewelry, women wear anything from dressy sandals to ballet flats and chunky heels to dinner on a cruise ship. Evening activities may range from wining and dining to dancing, so stay comfortable all night long with cushioned inserts like back of heel cushions, strap cushions, and air gel ball of foot cushions.

What Not to Wear on a Cruise

Because cruises have dress codes, there are limitations as to what you can wear on deck or when attending certain restaurants. Swimsuits, tank tops and bare feet are only welcome in the pool area while flip flops and hats are discouraged at most indoor eateries.

You should not be walking around the ship in your pajamas and robe nor wear any clothing that is extremely revealing or may be considered offensive. While you can wear heels on a cruise ship, consider swapping your stiletto heels for a more stable block heel sandal.

Clothes Packing List for a Cruise Vacation

Now that you have a few cruise outfits in mind, here is a sample warm weather cruise packing list that includes what types of clothing to bring a few additional essentials:

  • 2 to 3 swimsuits, including one pieces, tankinis or bikinis
  • 2 bathing suit covers
  • 3 sundresses or maxi dresses
  • 1 to 2 cocktail dresses
  • 2 to 3 tank tops or blouses
  • 2 pairs of shorts, preferable denim, cotton, or linen
  • 1 to 2 pairs of pants or trousers
  • A long sleeve shirt
  • A light jacket or fleece
  • A scarf
  • 8 to 10 pairs of underwear
  • 2 to 3 bras, depending on your outfit choices
  • 2 to 3 pairs of socks
  • Foot Petals Shoe Emergency Kit or Complete Fit Essentials for blisters and other quick fixes
  • A tote bag and/or beach bag
  • Inexpensive jewelry, including anklets and necklaces
  • Walking shoes, such as women’s boat shoes or tennis shoes
  • 2 pairs of sandals
  • 1 pair of dress shoes such as wedges, heels, or flats
  • Foot Petals Deodorizers for keeping your luggage fresh
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhat or baseball cap
  • Sunscreen, as well as a lip balm with an SPF of 30 or more

tropical dress with black sandals, under heel cushions and blister balm

Sail in Style with Foot Petals Shoe Cushions

With Foot Petals shoe cushions, it’s smooth sailing for you and your feet. Our comfy, discreet shoe inserts and cushions help get rid of annoying foot pain, blisters, calluses and more, so you can make the most of your cruise vacation and your shoe collection.


What Clothing To Pack For Your First Cruise | Royal Caribbean Blog. (2020, March 3). Royal Caribbean Cruises.

What to Wear on a Cruise: The Ultimate Guide | Celebrity Cruises. (2020, January 22). Celebrity Cruises.