What To Wear On A Cruise: Women's Fashion

What to Wear on a Cruise: Tips for observing dinner dress codes, swim and beach wear, and how to dress for ports.

When we went on our cruise earlier this summer, I was overwhelmed at figuring out what to pack.  There are a lot of suggestions, restrictions, and dress codes for cruise ships based on what you are doing.  Mainly the focus is on dinner time where over a variety of nights a dress code is enforced in order to create a certain atmosphere and experience.  As a girl who likes to dress up, I did not mind it.  It just was difficult to know how much of what to pack.  By the end of our trip I realized that I had packed way too much. 

If I could go back in time, I would pack much less.  It doesn't hurt to be prepared but I was way over prepared.  I packed work out clothes and instead we just took the stairs everywhere.  I brought enough dresses to wear one per night and only ended up dressing up twice.  In an already small cruise ship room, having an overabundance of clothes and shoes was not necessary. 

Here is a round up of clothes that I ended up wearing.  If I was to go on another cruise I would have definitely down sized.  Just a few dresses that could be changed up with accessories would be more than enough for dress up nights.  We ended up actually preferring the buffet the most (free food and pick what you put on your plate versus being served and overeating) which did not have a dress code.  And on days we were on the ship, we pretty much lived in our swimsuits.  A cute coverup would have been enough.

The following two dresses are what I wore on formal nights.  Usually when it is just my husband and I on vacation I would dress up more.  But since we were with family I toned it down a bit.

Dress: Ross
Belt: Thrifted
Wedges: TJ-Maxx
Earrings: Old

Dress: JC Penny
Necklace: Ebay
Belt: Charlotte Russe
Shoes: Burlington Coat Factory

I brought a few other dresses that could also pass for formal or semi-formal nights but are comfortable enough to wear as day time dresses.  I used the same accessories from the other outfits if needed to dress them up.

Dress: Marshall's
Sandals: Old Navy

Dress: Ross

Dress: Marshall's

Dress: Marshall's
Necklace: Flea Market

Dress: JC Penny

The only port day that we would not be doing water activities was Cozumel.  So I packed one outfit for a hot location.

Top: Marshall's
Shorts: Ross
Skirt: Ross

I also packed a maxi skirt in case I wanted to look a little dressier.

I packed one layered airport outfit that also served as lounge wear on the boat.  I ended up wearing this quite a few times for late night strolls looking at the ocean and ice cream runs.  The room was plenty air conditioned so it was nice to have soft clothes that were kind to sun burns to lay around in when necessary.

Top: Victoria's Secret Pink
Scarf: Ross
Sweater: NY and Company
Pants: Victoria's Secret

I also packed one of my light dresses in my carry on to change out of when needed.

For swimwear, I brought two suits and a few coverups.  Having more than one swimsuit for drying out is definitely necessary. 

Swimsuit: Victoria's Secret
Yoga Short: American Eagle
Surrong: Hawaii

Swimsuit: Victoria's Secret
Surrong: Hawaii

Coverup: Ross

Dress: Marshall's

Top: Old Navy

The more we travel, the better understanding I get for what I need to pack.  Especially with things like shoes, I try to be really particular about what I put in my wardrobe that is cute but also can be walked in all day.  I am learning that I am beginning to become more of an advocate for less.  By having a few neutral pieces with accessories, I can mix and match items without over packing.  Instead of worrying about forgetting something, I am working on focusing in on what I really end up using. 

To read the posts about our cruise, click here.