Cruise Ship Fashion Tips

Sunday, April 1, 2012
Anyone going on a cruise for the first time, and even the occasional seasoned cruiser is likely to get confused about the dress code on board. Some family friendly ships will be all about casual clothing, while other more "grown up" vessels will require you to be dressed smartly most times of the day.

Fortunately, the cruise industry has realised how difficult it can be to understand the requirements of each ship and so provides basic guidelines on what to wear in the information pack given out to customers upon completing their booking.

But how do you crack that code and get your outfits just right? What counts as casual and how formal is formal?

Women's Daywear

To satisfy any ship's casual daywear policy, pack lots of light jersey dresses that you can accessorise accordingly each morning. You might be spending the day exploring one of the stops along the way so make sure the dress is comfortable to walk around in. Pair it with a pair of flat leather sandals. If you've gone for a strappy number, throw a light shawl around your shoulders as too much skin on show might not satisfy the dress code norms.

For chillier climates, pack wrap dresses in a variety of colours and patterns as these are a classic, conservative garment that'll tick all the right boxes.

Men's Daywear

During the day men can get away with wearing shorts. Avoid baggy styles, and pairs with lots of pockets opting instead for classic, knee-length cuts in block colours. Team these with a smart T-shirt such as a polo or button-front in a contrasting colour. Wear either light plimsoll-style shoes or leather sandals to finish off the casual day look.

For cooler days, pack a few pairs of chinos.

Women's Evening Attire

You'll probably have a mix of formal and smart casual evening events throughout the duration of your cruise so pack for both.

For smart casual evenings, you can wear tailored trousers paired with a cardigan set and classic jewellery such as pearls, silver or gold. Alternatively, substitute thr trousers for a lightly flared skirt.

When it comes to formalwear, dresses are definitely expected. Mini styles are no-gos no matter the temperature, unfortunately. Over the knee and floor-length gowns are usually the requirement. Avoid bright colours and daring cuts, instead sticking to the conservative. You can definitely afford to wear more jewellery on a night like this with sparkly jewels totally accepted.

Men's Evening Attire

Men can't get away with wearing shorts in the evenings as you risk not being let into the dining room. Jeans are also a risky option but are accepted on some ships.
Instead, wear a light pair of linen trousers or chinos teamed with a classic, button-front shirt with long or short sleeves. Take a few mens blazers to throw on over the outfit for the chillier evening hours.

For formal evenings, a suit or even a tux is the rule. These should be dark, but you can also wear a white dinner jacket. Finish off the look with a simple tie or bow tie.

Harvey McEwan writes to offer information and advice on a variety of areas, from styling mens blazers to festival fashion tips. View Harvey's other articles to find out more.