What Do You Wear to Board a Cruise Ship?

By Anna Duncan

When it comes to dressing for a cruise, the most important thing to keep in mind is comfort. After all, you’ll be spending the majority of your vacation on board the ship, so you want to make sure that whatever you wear is comfortable and easy to move in.

Of course, there are certain occasions where you’ll want to dress up a bit more, such as formal dinners and other events that require a dressier look. But for the most part, casual and comfortable attire will be just fine.

Daytime Attire

During the day on board a cruise ship, most passengers opt for casual attire. For women, this might mean a cute pair of shorts or jeans with a tank top or t-shirt, paired with sandals or sneakers.

For men, khaki shorts or jeans with a polo shirt or t-shirt is usually appropriate. If you’re planning on spending some time at the pool or beach while on your cruise, swimwear is also appropriate during the day.

Evening Attire

When it comes to evening attire on board a cruise ship, there are generally two categories: formal and semi-formal. On formal nights (usually one or two nights per cruise), men should plan to wear a suit and tie (though some ships may allow dark slacks and a collared shirt without tie) and women should plan to wear an evening gown or cocktail dress. On semi-formal nights (usually three or four nights per cruise), men should plan to wear slacks and either a collared shirt with no tie or blazer/sport coat; women should plan to wear either an evening pant suit or cocktail dress.


When boarding a cruise ship, comfort should be your priority when selecting what to wear. During the day casual attire such as shorts, jeans and t-shirts are suitable for both men and women; for evenings formal occasions require suits/tuxedos for men and evening gowns/cocktail dresses for women while semi-formal occasions require slacks/blazers/sport coats for men and evening pant suits/cocktail dresses for women.