Taking a cruise is a once in a lifetime experience. Cruising gives you the chance to relax by the pool, sightsee & shop at various ports, go on thrilling excursions and dine on incredible meals. A cruise is the ultimate vacation! Plan your cruise outfits carefully and not only will you look good in your photos but you’ll also be able to travel relatively light. Read my complete cruise ship packing list with printable PDF checklist that you can download.

Wondering what to wear on a cruise? Cruise ship attire can be a little tricky to plan, especially if this is your first cruise. Cruise attire varies from a bathing suit & cover up to cocktail dresses and if you’re not careful you can end up way overpacking. With this post, I’ve put together 12 outfits for a cruise that will take you from excursions to evening easily, without stuffing your suitcase. You’ll see that all my cruise clothing can be mixed and matched to create multiple cruise ship outfits from just a few key pieces.

These Caribbean cruise outfits are by no means definitive but I just want to show you how easy cruise wear can be to put together when you know how. With seven basic pieces you can build so many different outfits for cruise activities and excursions, pack light and, most importantly, look fantastic.

Note that this is all Caribbean cruise attire but almost all these outfits would work for a Mediterranean cruise also. You can read my European Cruise Packing List post here.

If you’re looking for advice on what to wear on an Alaskan cruise, please see my Alaska Cruise Packing List for lots of ideas as your outfits for this will be much, much different than the ones listed below.


Cruise Wardrobe Essentials

For a full list of what to bring on a cruise, read my Ultimate Cruise Packing List here.

My cruise wardrobe ideas are all built on a few key pieces. With these few items and a few well-chosen accessories you can create so many outfits to wear on a cruise! You’ll notice that all the accessories I’ve picked to go with this cruise dress attire have been repeated throughout the outfits. I’ve included plus-size alternatives to the key basic pieces and of course the accessories are all plus-size friendly. I have also tried to pick affordable pieces with many items coming in under $35.

  • White bermuda shorts – Add a pair of denim shorts too and double the amount of outfits you have. If you don’t do shorts, you can switch these out for capri pants.
  • Striped t-shirts – A couple of striped t-shirts are perfect for a cruise and nicely nautical.
  • White jeans – White jeans or pants are a great cruise outfit. If you don’t want to wear jeans, you can switch these out for linen pants or capri pants. See my list of the best travel pants for more ideas.
  • Sundress – So simple and easy. I’ve gone for a royal blue here but this dress comes in lots of colors. Add a black one in for even more outfit options.
  • Maxi dress – Easy and comfortable to wear on travel days, around the ship or when you feel your waist expanding from all the delicious food onboard! A solid is more versatile than a print but you could easily bring along a second dress in a print.
  • Black jumpsuit – Stylish and versatile. You can build so many cruise outfits ideas with a black jumpsuit as a base. If you’re not comfortable trying out a jumpsuit a black maxi dress would work instead.
  • Kimono – A super lightweight addition to any women’s wardrobe and one of the best cruise wardrobe items. It can be used as a pool cover up with a bathing suit and flip flops.


Here are my Ideas for Best Cruise Outfits!



Colorful Maxi Dress Cruise OutfitBright Maxi Dress for Day

A maxi dress is one of the best outfits for cruise ship passengers because it is lightweight, comfortable and works with many body types. Just remember to pack a suitable bra if you’re getting one like this with spaghetti straps.

Plus size option:

Bright Maxi Dress Dressed Up for Evening

Plus size option:

Pink Tunic Cruise Outfit IdeasColourful Tunic with Shorts for Day

This is perfect casual cruise attire for on or off the ship.

Plus size options:

Colorful Tunic with White Jeans for Evening

Plus size options:



Black Jumpsuit Cruise Outfit IdeasBlack Jumpsuit for Sightseeing Excursion

A black jumpsuit is one of the best outfits for a cruise! It’s so versatile and stylish.

Plus size options:

Black Jumpsuit for Formal Dining

This jumpsuit goes easily from daywear to attire for Captain’s dinner on a cruise just by switching out the accessories for more glamorous options. If you don’t want to do a jumpsuit then a black dress would also make perfect cruise dinner attire.

Plus size options:

Striped T-Shirt Cruise Outfit IdeasStriped T-Shirt for Easy Excursions

A nautical-inspired striped t-shirt is one of the nicest cruise wear ideas. Comfortable, practical and easy to wear. I like this one because it’s slightly longer length means it covers my butt but could also be knotted at the side or tucked in and flounced over jeans.

Plus size options:

Striped T-Shirt for Smart Casual Dining

Plus size options:


Kimono Cruise Outfits IdeasKimono with Sundress for Day

This is classic cruise casual attire and would work for a city sightseeing excursion or a day at the beach. The kimono provides good sun coverage for your back & shoulders and can be worn over a swimsuit as a beach coverup also.

Plus size options:

Kimono with Chiffon Vest & White Jeans for Evening

Plus size options:


Simple Sundress Cruise OutfitSimple Sundress for Informal Evening

Dressed Up Sundress for Formal Dining

Cruise ship dinner attire for formal dining evenings doesn’t have to be a cocktail dress or evening gown. You can dress up a simple sundress with the right accessories.

Plus size options:



I hope you enjoyed my cruise wardrobe planner!

These cruise clothes ideas are based on my own experience on two Caribbean cruises. I way overpacked my Caribbean cruise wardrobe on my first cruise. I didn’t know what proper cruise attire was so packed much more than I needed, just in case. By my second cruise I had some practical experience on cruise attire ideas based on what other travelers wore on board and what I did and didn’t use from my first experience. On my second cruise our whole family of four managed to travel in just one carry on backpack!

On my first cruise with RCL I did note that Royal Caribbean cruise attire was slightly dressier in my experience than what we observed on our second cruise with Norwegian.

Now you should have some really good ideas on proper cruise attire for women. Be sure to drop me a comment below to let me know if this blog post helped you pack for your cruise.


Join Our Facebook Group to Chat More About Cruise Packing Tips

If you want to ask a specific question, chat to other cruisers about what to pack for your cruise or share your own cruise packing advice then join our Facebook group on Cruise Packing Tips! We would love to help you work out exactly what to pack or hear your own ideas about what gear you use on your cruise. Join us for some fun and friendly discussions.


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Use Pinterest to keep track of all your travel and fashion ideas. You can follow my cruising board here and my packing tips board here.


12 Cruise Outfits You'll Love to Wear Using Just 7 Key Pieces!


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Showing 12 comments
  • Mary

    Love your wardrobe planners!

    • Bethaney Davies

      Thank you Mary! 🙂

    • Aleana Bailey

      Thanks a lot didn’t know what to wear

  • Kay

    This is some awesome information for my first cruise. I always seem to pack to much. This helps to know how to mix n match perfectly! Thanks

  • Sheila

    This is great! Has given me lots of ideas for my first cruise. Thanks

  • Karri Hall

    Great idea’s! Going on my 2nd cruise on the 19th!

  • Karri Hall

    We’re going to Montego Bay, Georgetown and Cozumel on Carnival!

  • Michelle Lowe

    I am going on my first cruise…a New England cruise on Carnival Sunshine in early September ….what are some suggestions to pack as I am not sure of the weather at that time of year..

  • Linda Cejka

    Great ideas for a cruise wardrobe and I really like all the outfits.

  • Karen

    Thank you for the great cruise wardrobe ideas! We are cruising the Mediterranean at the beginning of October. Do I pack for the Fall/seaon or ignore the season for cruise wear?

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