What to wear on the first day of a cruise

What to wear on the first day of a cruise

If you’re planning on taking a cruise this year, you’ll want to start thinking about what you’re going to pack. It’s an important question, because your clothes can make or break the trip. And while there are many different factors that will influence what you wear on your big trip—weather conditions, destination, time of year—there are also essential items that will be necessary no matter what time of year it is or where your cruise takes place.

So here’s our list of top ten things you should pack for your first day on the high seas:

What to wear on the first day of a cruise

Hey there!

I’m so glad you’re here. Today we’re going to talk about what to wear on the first day of a cruise, and I’m going to tell you exactly what to do.

First things first: don’t overthink this. You have limited space in your suitcase, and you need to make sure that everything fits. So make sure that your clothes are wrinkle-free and easy to pack, because if they’re not, then they probably won’t end up on the final cut at all.

Make sure that all of your clothing is lightweight and loose-fitting. It’s hot outside—you don’t want to be wearing anything tight or constricting! The only exception here would be if you’re going somewhere cold; then it might be good to pack some warm layers in case it gets chilly later in the day. But otherwise, keep it light!

And finally: always bring a jacket with you! You never know when the weather might change out there (especially since we’re talking about a cruise ship), so make sure everything has an extra layer on top just in case something unexpected happens along the way

The first day of a cruise is the most important. You want to make a good impression. You want everyone to see you as an experienced cruiser, not someone who just showed up off the street. You want to look like you belong there—not just like one of the masses of newbies who are still trying to figure out where everything is located.

So what should you wear? Here’s what we recommend:

Well, you’re here! Welcome to your first day of your cruise. You’ve got a lot of packing and planning to do before you’re ready to set sail, but we’re here to help.

First things first: what should you wear? You might think it’s just like any other day, but there are some small differences that will make a big difference in how you feel about yourself and how much time you spend getting ready in the morning.

The most important thing is that comfort is key! You’ll be spending a lot of time on this ship—and while that means you’ll need to pack some nice clothes for when you go out at night, it’s also important that they be easy enough to wear during the day so that it doesn’t take forever for you to get ready in the morning.

Cruises are a great way to get away. You can visit new places, see the sights, and have a relaxing time without having to worry about anything else. But what do you wear? How do you pack? What should you bring? We’ve got some tips for you!

What Should You Wear on Embarkation Day on a Cruise?
By: AuthorCarrie Ann

Posted onLast updated: December 15, 2021
12 Comments
What Should You Wear on Embarkation Day on a Cruise?
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If you’re new to cruising, you’re probably wondering what to wear on embarkation day – the first day of your cruise. Here’s how to plan your embarkation day outfit.

If you’re anything like me, you always want to make sure you have the right outfit for any occasion. There’s nothing worse than showing up to an event and realizing that you’re way underdressed. Or you assume an event is formal, but when you show up everyone’s in shorts!

For many first-time cruisers, figuring out what you should wear on embarkation day can be confusing.

But once you experience your first embarkation day on a cruise, you’ll see that people wear a wide range of casual outfits on the first day—from basic tees and shorts to pretty sundresses or a golf shirt with chinos.

You don’t need to dress up! In fact, I can’t remember ever seeing anyone decked out in formalwear at embarkation. So if you were worried that you needed an elegant outfit to get on the ship, don’t stress. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to break out your dressiest clothes later on in the cruise if you want to.

Embarkation day is all about having fun, so wearing what you’re comfortable in is key. Just think about what you want to do on your first day aboard, and plan your embarkation day outfit with that in mind.

Disclaimer: I may receive a small commission when you make a purchase from a link on this site, at no added charge to you. For more info, please read my Disclosure Policy.

How to plan what to wear on embarkation day
With the wide range of casual clothes that cruisers wear on the first day, you won’t feel out of place wearing whatever feels comfortable to you, within reason of course!

On most cruise lines, attire has become a lot less dressy than it used to be. Of course on very traditional lines like Cunard, or on ultra-luxury ships (think Regent Seven Seas or Crystal), you’ll see passengers a bit more dressed up on embarkation day. But even on these cruises, dress will be more “elegant casual” as opposed to formal.

If you’re sailing on a mainstream cruise line, casual resortwear is just fine. Here are some examples of what I usually see cruisers wear when boarding the ship:

Tees
Tanks
Short sleeve or sleeveless tops
Golf shirts or polos
Casual button-up shirts or blouses
Shorts
Capris
Casual pants
Sundresses
Rompers
Sandals
Casual rubber-soled shoes
Tennis shoes

Casual clothes are just fine on embarkation day on a cruise
So it’s really up to you what end of the resort-casual spectrum you’d like to wear on the first day of your cruise. But if you’ve already researched all the fun things you’d like to see and do soon after you board, you might want to consider your outfit a bit more carefully.

Here are some important questions to ask yourself before you choose what to wear on embarkation day.

What’s the weather going to be like on deck?
If you’re sailing from a tropical destination, odds are you’ll be fine wearing your lightweight summer clothes to board the ship. But cruises that depart from cooler climates (or if there’s nasty weather) call for just a little more planning.

If the weather’s been unpredictable in your cruise port, be sure to dress in layers or pack some warmer clothes in your carry on bag.

For cruises leaving from cooler climates, you’ll probably see people wearing more practical clothes that fit the weather at the port. Depending on the temperature, you might not be spending much time outside on the first day!

Do you have a photo package (or are you planning on taking lots of pics the first day)?
Most mainstream cruise lines (and some luxury ones) employ photographers to take pictures of guests enjoying their vacations. Sometime after you check in and before you embark the ship, you’ll likely be called over by some very enthusiastic crew members! They’ll want to take your group’s embarkation day photo in front of a festive backdrop.

It’s free to pose for any of these pics, and you’ll be able to see them later in the ship’s photo gallery. Then you can decide if you’d like to buy a print of the photo, or even purchase a package with a certain amount of photo prints to remember your cruise.

If you already know that you’ll want to buy a package, consider dressing up a bit more for embarkation day so you’ll have pics you’ll be proud to show to friends or on social media.

Of course, you can always take your own embarkation day photos, or ask another guest to snap a pic of your group. If documenting every day of your cruise vacation is important to you, consider dressing the way you’d like to be seen in these photos.

Are you planning to swim, sunbathe, or relax in the hot tub soon after embarkation?
If you’re dreaming of hitting the Lido deck right away to enjoy the pool, sunbathe on a lounger, or soothe your achy muscles in the hot tub, remember that having your swimsuit when you board is key to having fun on embarkation day!

Staterooms usually aren’t ready to use until mid-afternoon, and your checked luggage might take hours to arrive at your stateroom.

I like to wear my swimsuit under my clothes on embarkation day every time I take a warm-weather cruise. If the urge hits me to take a dip (or if a miracle occurs and there’s an open hot tub), I won’t have to worry about changing in a cramped public restroom stall.

Cruise pro tip: pack a change of underwear in a gallon ziploc bag and put it in your embarkation day carry-on bag. You can swap it out for your wet suit after you enjoy the pool, without getting everything else in your bag damp.

Where are you planning to enjoy your embarkation day lunch?
If you know you just want to have a super-casual lunch on embarkation day, like at the buffet or the outdoor grill on the Lido deck, you can confidently wear your most casual outfit when you board the ship. You’ll be able to walk up and order from the grill in a bikini or swim trunks, then enjoy your meal at your sun lounger or a nearby table.

Visiting the buffet, usually located indoors just steps away from the pool, requires you to cover up a little more than you’d need to at the poolside eatery. Cruise buffets are famously casual, but be sure to put on your shorts and tee (or a cover up) before entering the buffet.

Cruise pro tip: pack a casual swim cover-up if you’ll be eating inside at the buffet—you’ll be turned away if you show up in just your swimsuit! Check my 20+ Cute Swim Coverups for Cruises & Beach Travel for some stylish but inexpensive options for all ages and body types.

Seasoned cruisers know that there’s almost always one main dining restaurant open on embarkation day. Would you prefer a lovely three-course meal with white tablecloths and personalized service for your embarkation day lunch?

I always do! Although odds are you won’t be turned away from the MDR at lunch for wearing shorts and a casual tee, I like dressing up a tiny bit more for an elegant embarkation day meal.

Are you traveling with a larger family or other group?

Something I’ve noticed over the past few years is the popularity of themed t-shirts for groups of cruisers on embarkation day. Whether you’re doing a huge family reunion or just a small get-together on a cruise vacation, themed tees are definitely a trend.

Wearing custom-printed t-shirts for embarkation day, especially in a bright color, makes it easy to spot other members of your group as you explore the ship.

Do you have plans for an early dinner?
Usually, checked luggage arrives at your stateroom well before dinner time. That will often give you plenty of time to shower, do your hair and makeup, and dress up before your meal.

But if you have plans to dress for a main dining room or specialty dinner on embarkation day, you might not have access to your luggage in time to get ready if you’re not already wearing the right clothes.

If you prefer to start your evening meal between 4:30 and 5:30 PM, this is considered “early dining”. Be aware that there’s a chance your checked luggage won’t make it to your stateroom in time to dress for an early dinner.

You may also like: What New Cruisers Don’t Know About Cruise Food & Drinks

Do you really not feel like changing your clothes later?
Maybe it’s just me, but I really don’t like changing my clothes multiple times a day! OK, I do enjoy the novelty of occasionally dressing for dinner on a cruise that has a formal night or two. But embarkation day is so exciting and busy that I’m rarely in the mood to think about planning more than one ensemble for the day.

Generally, I’d rather wear something that can take me from poolside to an elegant meal, and any situation in between. After that, I might want to enjoy a cocktail in the lounge, try my hand at the casino, see a show and maybe even dance the night away at the club.

On warm-weather sailings, I always embark wearing a comfortable sundress and flat, neutral sandals. This kind of outfit works well with whatever I want to do on that first day! If I want to dress it up for dinner and post-dinner activities, I’ll change out my jewelry, add a simple pair of heels, and carry a light cardigan or wrap because of the chilly air conditioning indoors.

A simple sundress can take you from poolside to dinner and beyond on embarkation day
But do you want to look a little more elegant on embarkation day, and you don’t like wearing dresses? I’ve got you. Consider a short or long romper in an airy, woven material. Or a pair of lightweight cropped pants with your favorite summery top.

Mr. SBC likes his comfort (but also enjoys putting on a suit and tie on formal nights). When we cruise together, he usually wears a golf shirt and shorts or lightweight chinos on embarkation day, with sandals, boat shoes, or slip-on Vans.

You may also like: How to Prevent Wrinkled Clothes on a Cruise

How to dress the kids for embarkation day
If you’re cruising with your kids or grandkids, casual comfy outfits are key. For warm-weather cruises, shorts and tees are just fine for anyone, especially the younger passengers.

Depending on the age of your kids, they might have certain activities they’re most excited about. You might dress them up before boarding for photos or in anticipation of an elegant dinner, but they just want to stay in the kids’ club with their new friends!

Other kids might want nothing more than to swim in the pool. Even if you’ve dressed your whole family in adorable matching outfits for embarkation pics, pack swimsuits and a casual change of clothes in your day bag so everyone can have fun.

You may also like: Cruising with Kids: 19 Essential Tips

What do you like to wear on embarkation day? Or is your first sailing coming up and you still have questions about what to wear on the first day of a cruise? Let me know in the comments below!

If you liked this post, I’d love it if you’d share it on your social media channels. It really helps my blog to grow so I can keep bringing you free cruise tips, ideas, and reviews. Thanks so much for reading!

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What to wear on the cruise ship

Have you ever been on a cruise? If so, you know that it’s an experience unlike any other. You get to relax, enjoy the ocean breeze, and see some beautiful sights. But if you’re not careful, your vacation can quickly turn into a disaster!

The first thing you have to do before going on a cruise is get dressed. The right clothes will make all the difference in how you feel while on your trip. In this guide, we’ll talk about what to wear on a cruise ship and how to look your best during your travels

Welcome to the world of cruise ship fashion! Whether you’re a first-time cruiser or a seasoned veteran, we’re here to make sure that you look your best while exploring the seven seas.

When you’re on a cruise ship, you want to look your best. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you find the perfect outfit for any occasion on your next vacation.

What to Wear on a Cruise: The Ultimate Guide
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Guests hanging out for drinks in smart casual attire onboard Celebrity Cruises
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If you’re having trouble putting together your cruise packing list and figuring out what to wear on a cruise, don’t worry, we’re here to help. Packing a suitcase for your upcoming vacation onboard shouldn’t be difficult—in fact, it can even be fun.

The key is to know exactly what to expect onboard and to familiarize yourself with the Celebrity Cruises dress code, which can vary according to the time or place you find yourself on the ship. Here are some tips that will help you decide what to wear on a cruise to get ready for smooth, stylish sailing.

In this article:
What clothes should you wear on a cruise?
What kind of shoes should you wear on a cruise?
Do you have to dress up on a cruise?
What do you wear on formal night on a cruise?
What do you wear on cruises during the day?
What clothes should you wear on a cruise?
What to wear on a cruise depends on what kind of cruise you’re embarking on. While many cruises sail to warm beach destinations such as the Bahamas and the Caribbean, cooler weather cruises to places like Alaska and the Mediterranean during shoulder season require warmer clothes like jackets and waterproof wear.

Read: What to Pack for a Mediterranean Cruise

If you’re traveling to a warm and sunny destination, here are some things you should wear on your cruise:

Couple drinking cocktails by the pool

Swimsuits
While onboard, you’ll be spending a lot of your time in the pool or lounging nearby on the sun deck. You’ll also be wearing swimsuits at many of the ports you visit during your trip. Therefore, it’s a good idea to pack a handful of swimsuits in your bag. Bring at least three if you’re going on a seven-day cruise.

Swim coverups
While it’s perfectly acceptable to stay in your swimsuit while lounging beside the pool, you’ll need a cover-up to walk from your stateroom to the pool, and vice-versa. Keep in mind, depending on where your stateroom or suite is located, you may go through other common areas of the ship on your way to the pool. Make sure your swim cover-up is something you will feel comfortable in while walking around others.

Girl wearing sweater on the beach

Sweater or fleece
Even if you’re taking a cruise around the Caribbean, it’s smart to take a light sweater or fleece to wear at night when the temperature tends to cool down. After all, you won’t want to get chilly while enjoying the starry sky from your stateroom veranda or on one of the ship’s decks.

Scarf or pashmina
This is an easy clothing item you can drape over your shoulders to dress up an outfit, or to warm you up if you’re outside and there is a chill in the air.

Jewelry
Bring some fun pieces to accessorize your outfit. You may also want to buy some new items while shopping in the ship’s boutiques, so remember to leave a little extra room in your suitcase just in case.

Woman smiling while wearing a sun hat

Sunglasses and sun hats
Aside from lathering up on the SPF, protect yourself from all that sunshine by bringing a sun visor, baseball cap, or wide-brimmed straw hat on your cruise. Make sure to bring at least one pair of sunglasses.

Read: What to Pack for a Caribbean Cruise

Watch
Even if you typically use your phone as a clock, bring a watch to keep a more accurate eye on the time throughout the day. You’ll want to get to all of the ship’s daily activities on time, and a watch can be extra helpful during your port stops to make sure you get back to the ship on time before it departs.

Couple using binocular while sightseeing on a cruise

Casual, comfortable attire
T-shirts, tank tops, shorts, sundresses, and skirts are all acceptable clothes to wear on a cruise ship to have lunch in the Oceanview Cafe and other restaurants with a casual dress code. You can also dine in casual pool clothes at the snack bar located next to the pool deck.

Dinner or “smart casual” attire
If you’re having dinner in the main restaurant or any meal at one of the specialty restaurants, you’ll follow a “smart casual” dress code.

Women’s smart casual dress code: Skirt, pants, or jeans with a casual top.

Men’s smart casual dress code: Pants or jeans with a short-sleeve sport shirt.

Celebrity Cruises’ dress code for smart casual is fairly flexible, though there are some restrictions. T-shirts, swimsuits, robes, bare feet, tank tops, baseball caps, and pool wear are not allowed in the main restaurant or specialty restaurants at any time. In addition, shorts and flip-flops are not permitted during the evening hours.

The smart casual dress code works for all areas of the ship in the evening, including in bars and lounges and during shows and events at the ship’s theater.

Read: Expert Cruise Packing Tips

What kind of shoes should you wear on a cruise?
Yellow luggage with shoes, bag, and other essentials

Footwear should not be an afterthought when packing your suitcase for a cruise. While you might have the urge to throw in a pair of flip flops and call it a day, there are a few other essential shoes you’ll need to bring along on your trip.

Flip flops, sandals, or waterproof slides
These shoes will take you back and forth from your stateroom to the pool and vice versa. They also come in handy if you choose to visit the onboard spa.

Sneakers or comfortable walking shoes
If you’re planning on doing a lot of walking around the ship during days at sea, pack a pair of sneakers or other comfortable walking shoes. Sneakers will also be useful if you try out a fitness class or use the gym equipment in the ship’s state-of-the-art fitness center.

Shoes or sandals for dinner
Since flip flops are not allowed in the evening, make sure to bring comfortable shoes or sandals to wear during dinner in the main room.

Do you have to dress up on a cruise?
While it might be tempting to stay in your swimsuit all day long on a cruise, there are certain occasions when Celebrity Cruises dress code dictates otherwise.

If you’re wondering what to wear on a cruise during dinner in the main dining room, meals at specialty restaurants, or shows in the theater, the Celebrity Cruises dress code for these occasions is smart casual.

People in smart casual attire following Celebrity Cruises dress code for dinner

For women, this means skirts, pants, or jeans with a casual top. For men, they are required to wear pants or jeans with a short sleeve sport shirt. Shorts and flip-flops are not permitted in the evenings.

On Evening Chic nights, the dress code is dressier than smart casual but less so than a traditional formal night.

What do you wear on formal night on a cruise?
Lovely couple in Evening Chic outfit following Celebrity Cruises dress code

Our formal nights are called Evening Chic nights because they’re all about guests looking their absolute best. These are the nights when you want to dress up in your most fashion-forward and stylish clothes, while also being elegant and sophisticated.

The Celebrity Cruises dress code for Evening Chic nights is cocktail dresses, skirts, pants, or designer jeans with an elegant top for women. For men, the dress code is pants or designer jeans with a dress shirt, button-down shirt, or sweater, and an optional sport coat or blazer.

Friends in Evening Chic attire walking in Tuscan Grille, Celebrity Cruises

Our Evening Chic dress code leaves a lot of room for you to show off your personal style. However, this is not the moment to wear ripped jeans or your favorite college sweatshirt. You can wear anything from designer denim paired with a blazer to a cocktail dress with a killer set of heels.

If you were looking forward to wearing a tuxedo or formal gown on Evening Chic nights, you can absolutely do that as well. There is no such thing as being overdressed on Evening Chic nights.

All cruises that are seven nights or longer will feature two Evening Chic nights. Shorter cruises feature one Evening Chic night. On all other nights of the cruise, guests are expected to wear smart casual attire.

If for whatever reason you choose to skip Evening Chic nights, you can always dine in one of the specialty restaurants or at the snack bar located next to the pool deck.

What do you wear on cruises during the day?
People hanging out onboard Celebrity Cruises

During the day, you can wear casual attire such as t-shirts, tank tops, shorts, sundresses, and skirts.

If you’re spending the day at the pool, you can also have lunch or dine in casual pool clothes at the snack bar located next to the pool deck.

Just remember that while walking from your stateroom to the pool and vice versa, you’ll need to wear a swim cover-up.

Now that you know how effortless and stress-free it is to choose what to wear on a cruise, book your cruise and start planning out your perfect cruise vacation outfits. Browse itineraries, shore excursions, and staterooms, then book your cruise along with airfare and activities all in one convenient spot.

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