What to Wear on A Cruise This Summer

So, you’re heading off on a cruise vacation this summer? Or this winter? Lucky, you!!

If you’re getting ready to plan your packing for your cruise and need a little extra help on what you are going to need in your suitcase, we thought we’d help you out with a little inspiration!

It can be hard to know what to pack for a sunshine cruise, especially if it’s your first, so we’ve created a list of packing essentials with some ideas thrown in there for added inspo. Everything picked out is from Shop It To Me and we’ve made sure to include some seriously reduced bargains so that you can get more for your money from all your favorite brands and retailers.

Let’s dive in!

Day Dresses

Whether you’re relaxing on-board on your cruise vacation or heading out to explore on one of the shore excursions, a range of sundresses is a must-have for your cruise packing list. Depending on how long your cruise ship trip is, you’ll need to approximately calculate how many days you might require a casual summer dress and make sure you have enough options but not too many!

Casual Separates

Dresses tend to do the trick on vacations because they’re so comfortable but it will also be good to pack up some casual separates so that you’re prepared for any day trip or excursion that might come up. Keep your look simple and chic and choose versatile separates that easily mix and match.

Tailored shorts give your look a stylish twist and denim cut-offs tend to pair easily with anything else in your suitcase. A selection of comfortable and lightweight tank tops and t-shirts will allow you to create different outfits.

When packing, think about overall color palettes and this will mean when you unpack on the cruise line, you’ll be able to style everything you’ve brought with you with each other.

Athleisure Clothing for Activities

Whether you’re headed around the Caribbean or off to Capri, chances are there will be some active and physical activities on offer in terms of on-shore excursions. For these, it’s best to pack some athleisure gear. This kind of clothing is small and lightweight to pack into a suitcase but will come in handy and be super comfortable should you find yourself doing something a little sportier.

Opt for leggings, bike shorts, and sleeveless sports tops and remember to pack a sports bra, just in case!

Maxi Dresses

Maxi dresses are also a good call for vacation and particularly for cruise wear. Whether you’re staying on-board or taking a wander around the cruise port town, a maxi dress keeps you cool while keeping your look chic and put together.

Do You Need Formal Wear for Evening?

Depending on whether you’ve opted for a Royal Caribbean cruise or a Disney cruise, dress code on-board will differ. This is something that you should look into once you’ve booked your vacation. If this is your first cruise, do some Googling and check the cruise liner website where you’ll find plenty of information about your particular ship's dress code rules.

Many cruises will have very formal nights. This might be full black-tie where men are in tuxedos and women are supposed to wear full-length evening gowns or it might be slightly less formal dress with women in cocktail dresses and men in dark suits. Similarly, your ship might have a more casual dress code for evening or smart casual, where dressing up is fine but less formal attire also works.

Depending on your specific cruise, we’ve put together a list of the types of more formal wear you might need to pack.

Cocktail Dresses

If your cruise ship is formal but not black tie for the evenings, a couple of cocktail dresses is the perfect choice for your suitcase. From a simple little black dress to a statement color or print, when you’re choosing cocktail wear, opt for shapes and cuts that flatter and compliment your shape.

If you’re not into wearing dresses, formal attire could also equal a chic pantsuit or trouser and top set paired with simple cami and heels for a glam look that fits seamlessly into a room of cocktail dresses.

Or even a chic jumpsuit!

A Selection of Gowns

There will often be a formal night or multiple nights in the cruise ship’s main dining room where vacationers dress up to the nines and dance the evening away. If your ship has very formal evenings that you plan to attend, this is where you can get ultra-creative with your evening wear and choose statement and flamboyant gowns, just for fun!

Formal Shoes

If you’re packing formal evening wear, remember to add the right footwear to your suitcase so that you’re not left with just your day time sandals to pair with your gown. Shoes that are easy to dance in work best!

When It Comes to Swimwear…

If you’re headed on a cruise, chances are you’re going to need a selection of swimwear and accessories. Here are some of our favorite pieces perfect for a Mediterranean or Caribbean cruise.


One-piece swimwear is super chic for cruise wear and gives you the double wear of styling it with shorts or a skirt as a bodysuit too. From bright vacation-inspired prints to simple and flattering styles, shop chic sale swimwear on Shop It To Me today!


From full-length kaftan cover-ups to simple sarongs that double as headscarves or even towels for the beach, packing a few swimwear cover-ups is a must for a cruise. Make a statement with bright colors and island-inspired prints.

Final Accessories

Once you’ve got the main pieces of your cruise wear wardrobe packed away, don’t forget the accessories which provide the essential added details to all of your looks. Here are a few accessories that we don’t think you should leave behind.


A huge, OTT sunhat is such a chic choice for any cruise outfit. Not only does it give protection from the sun in the heat, but it also creates serious glamour for all your outfits. Pair with maxi dresses or wide-leg Capri pants and a blouse for a look that fits right in.

Beach Bag

For trips off the boat, you’ll need a beach bag to keep your water, sunscreen, map and anything else on your daily essentials list. For ultimate cruise chic style, opt for an oversized basket or straw bag that envelopes all your day-to-day bits but also adds some glam to any outfit and because of the color palette, it goes with EVERYTHING.


Sunglasses are another must-have accessory for any vacation but especially when you’re on the water or exploring a new town or island. If you thought you couldn’t get designer sunglasses on sale in the middle of the summer season, Shop It To Me is here to prove you wrong. Check out these recent price drops on some of the biggest designers in fashion.

A Range of Footwear

Alongside your trusty flip-flops, you’ll also need some slightly more secure sandals that you can trust to walk around in all day long without the risk of blisters. Remember that you might end up doing activities of some kind so either pack walking shoes or at least, very comfortable sneakers for cruise casual at its best.

Something for The Gents

If you’re also packing for the gent in your life, we thought we’d include a couple of pointers for them too!


Day time for men includes swimsuits and flip-flops and a range of t-shirts. For excursions, you also want to include some shorts and comfortable walking shoes or trainers.


For evenings, again, you will need to check on the formality of your individual cruise ship’s dress code. If it states black-tie, you’ll need to buy or hire a complete tuxedo but for formal dress that isn’t black tie, you’ll just need a suit, dress shirt, dress slacks, and dress shoes for a formal overall look.

For evenings spent in the less formal areas of the ship, pack khakis or regular slacks or even smart jeans and a couple of button-down shirts with smart loafers for a more smart, casual look.

With all your packing done, just remember your sunscreen and you’ll be good to go! Wherever you’re headed off to on your cruise of a lifetime, make sure you pack smart so that you can mix and match your pieces and give yourself more options will fewer items.

If you’re on the hunt for vacation bargains but you don’t think anything for summer is on sale yet, this is where Shop It To Me can come in to help! Sign up today, add your dress and shoe sizes and tick off your favorite brands and we instantly show you everything from all the major retailers that is currently on sale in your size. That’s right!

So, from sunglasses to bathing suits and cover-ups, athleisure wear to evening gowns and hiking boots, Shop It To Me has an option for you with a seriously discounted price tag. Don’t believe us? Give it a go today and you’ll never pay full price again!