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cruise fashions


The question is not: what to wear on a cruise? - But is: What to bring and when to wear it?. Cruise dress codes fall into three categories casual, informal and formal. I will define these categories later on, but for now just remember that a cruise is an elegant experience that everyone should experience. Watching the sun go down behind the oceans horizon will truly cast a spell on you and your partner, a memory never to be forgotten.

Cruises have a defined evening schedule. The dress codes for the scheduled events are strictly adhered to, so it is important that you are prepared with all the necessary attire to get the full benefit out of your holiday. Daily dress codes take affect after 6pm. Before 6pm every day is casual.

Included in the final documentation for your cruise should be a schedule. This schedule is a complete itinerary of your time on and off the ship. More important however it will clearly define the theme for each day/evening and what the expected dress code will be for each event.

A typical 7 day cruise will consist of

Two formal nights

Two casual nights

One to four informal nights

Plan for success-Make a list

You will typically have limited luggage space unless you are planning on paying for extra luggage so careful planning is in order to ensure you have enough outfits for every event. Wearing the same cocktail dress twice will never be noticed if you accessorize it differently. Changing your purse, jewelry, shoes and a shawl will give a different look for any outfit.

Some people wear long gowns on cruises but a shorter formal dress is just as acceptable unless you're on the most exotic cruises.

What to wear on a cruise - Cruise Fashion Ideas

Casual Wear-Informal Wear-Formal Wear

Before we proceed any further, we need to differentiate between casual, informal and formal wear. This will allow us to put the dress codes in prospective.

Casual Wear

Casual wear should be comfortable. Depending on your plans for the day your clothing should match the activities. Warm weather on the ship will require your choice of swimwear, cover-up and sandals. Day trips ashore will dictate shorts with tee shirts or polo style shirts and comfortable strolling shoes. You can also plan on buying tops while you are shopping however keep in mind that you need room to bring them home. Mix and Match will save packing room and give you a different look as your cruise progresses.

Evening casual is slightly a different story. Shorts are not considered acceptable evening casual wear. A women's evening causal wardrobe consists of skirts, tops, pant outfits or sporty dresses. Focusing on two colors that can be combined, you can mix and match with different accessories for a complete different look for every casual event.

Keep in mind the first night and last night are typically casual nights. You likely won't have your luggage before dinner on the first night and your luggage will already be packed for the last evening.


Some cruise lines discourage jeans in their dining rooms on casual evenings. For the most part you can get away with them but you will likely feel out of place. Use common sense when it comes to jeans. Plus jeans are hot; you should consider a lighter material.

A word of caution, short shorts are only acceptable in the fitness center and while you are at the pool. They are strictly shunned upon while walking around the cruise ship so make sure you have a cover-up if you plan on walking around the cruise ship in your swimsuit or short shorts.

vacation fashions


Informal wear is a grey area when it comes to cruise lines. Your best bet is to review the definition of "informal wear" defined by the cruise line you are traveling on. This definition can be found on their website and travel brochures.

The general rule for informal wear is that it only applies to evening activities. Informal wear consists of a dressier dress or pants outfit. Many cruise lines have dropped the informal category and replaced it with resort casual, which is slightly more formal than casual wear.


The formal night on cruise ships for lack of a better term is the Cinderella effect. The dress code for women will range from simple cocktail dresses to the most formal shimmering gowns. If you have been to a graduation, wedding or similar formal gathering your outfit will surely meet the dress code and make you shine.

The most important piece of formal wear a woman can own is a pair of silky black dress pants. They take up no room in a suitcase, can be mixed and matched for different occasions and typically have an elastic waistband which comes in handy as your holiday progresses while eating all of the rich food typically provided on a cruise.


Cruise ships keep their indoor temperatures on the cool side and evening temperatures on the deck will cool off so include a wrap in your wardrobe to fend off the chill after a day in the sun.

A cover up will save you a great deal of time on a cruise ship. You can wear your swimsuit by the pool, throw on your cover up and venture into the lunch buffet without going back to your cabin to change.

cruise bikinis


Comfortable shoes are a must for sightseeing, deck shoes with a rubber type sole will be an asset for strolling aboard the ship.

High heels are permitted but remember cruise ships are big and you will spend a good portion of your day strolling from place to place. Comfort is the key.


Wearing a hat will ward of the sun but keep in mind that the prevailing winds will send your hat abroad if it is not well fitted.

Additional Items you should consider packing
- Portable radio/CD player
- Bottle corker
- Camcorder
- Camera
- Medications
- Tylenol/Advil
- Motion sickness
- Prescription medications if required
- Sunburn creams
- Nausea medication
- Sunscreen
- Extension cord-Ship cabins have limited outlets
- Hair dryer-ships hairdryers are typically small
- Shampoo
- Hair Conditioner-salt water and ocean spray will dry your hair
- Body wash
- Electrical adapters- may be required on foreign cruise lines
- Extra sunglasses
- Binoculars
- Cell phone-ship phones are very expensive; your cell phone will be considerably cheaper. A word of caution however, check with your cell phone service provider before using your cell phone in foreign country Many countries have different regulations pertaining to privacy and your personal information could be at risk

 vacation fashion swimwear

Final Words of Advice

1) Pack a carry-on bag with one outfit, a swimsuit and your essentials. Luggage does get lost and if you have the minimum basics with you, shopping for a couple of essentials while you are waiting for your luggage to show up will not be as stressful. Most important, don't let the temporary loss of your luggage ruin your cruise, go with the flow, it will usually show up at the next port.

2) When on shore, keep your clothing simple, t-shirts with funny sayings or logos might not only be offensive to the local community but advertise you are a tourist

3) Don't wear extravagant jewelry when you are off of the ship. This will attract unwanted attention and cold have a disastrous outcome

4) When sightseeing, be careful when entering churches and temples, many will enforce a strict dress code so long shorts, loose skirts and tops with long sleeves are the safest approach

5) In Muslim countries, women will need to cover their heads, shoulders and legs before entering a mosque. This dress code is enforced and violations will not be tolerated.

6) Don't insult fellow passengers by rushing back to your cabin after a formal dinner and change back into your shorts or swimwear. Go with the flow and enjoy the evening as it is planned.

7) If formal wear is not your style, there are cruises that are strictly casual and will give you a more relaxed atmosphere however you will be missing a great opportunity for luxury and relaxation. Everyone should take one formal cruse in their lifetime; if for nothing else just to have the experience.

8) Last but not least, relax, enjoy and respect your fellow passengers. Many people meet lifelong friends on cruises. The combined experience of open ocean air and daily port excursions will make your cruise a memorable one.

Since 1984 Tropical Beach Swimwear & Fashion has been dedicated to giving the highest quality product at the most competitive cost. Whether you are preparing for a much needed, long awaited tropical vacation, planning for a week at the cottage, or relaxing around the pool at home with friends and family we have what you need. We carry swimsuits, cover ups, and clothing for all occasions. Whatever your body shape, whatever your needs, we can put you in the bathing suit of your dreams.


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