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What should I wear on a cruise?

Helen Sykes Fashions - Leeds  Daywear   What should I wear on a cruise?

What should I wear on a cruise?

Booking a cruise can be a very exciting time, until you start to plan your wardrobe. Whether you are sailing around the crystal waters of the Caribbean or Island hopping in Greece, packing for a 2 week holiday with both day and evening outfits to consider can be quite stressful, especially if you have never been on a cruise before. The style of outfits you will need for each destination and dress code is quite varied, so do look into the itinerary carefully and check with your individual cruise line as to their particular dress code for the evenings of your particular holiday.


For most upmarket cruise lines, soft light resort wear is suitable during the day. We would always recommend pure fine cotton or linen mix fabrics which are light and cool to wear in the heat whilst exploring on your excursions. For breakfast and sightseeing you will need to be comfortable, so perhaps cropped or palazzo trousers, with a smart t-shirt or blouse, or a soft floaty sundress and flat sandals. For a day at sea, when the entire day is spent on the ship relaxing on the sundecks, glamorous swimwear with a matching cover up and wedges are a must!

Pause Cafe cotton print twinset and cropped trouser, prices from £99.95 at Helen Sykes
Pause Cafe print cotton dress from a selection priced from £99 avaialble at Helen Sykes


The majority of the evenings on the ship will have a casual elegance dress code. Men will be expected to wear long trousers with a smart shirt, and ladies should wear a beautiful blouse with smart trousers or a pretty summer dress. On most cruise lines you will be turned away from even a casual dinner wearing denim or shorts.

Luisa Cerano tile print silk blouse £348.95, cotton crop trouser £198.95 both in stock now at Helen Sykes
Just White navy lace jacket and stripe vest from a range Helen Sykes, prices from £79
Izabella stretch print jersey dress priced at £153.95 at Helen Sykes

During a 2 week cruise, most ships have 2 cocktail evenings and 2 black-tie dinners. For cocktail evenings a fun party dress, evening separates or evening jumpsuit are ideal. Most luxury cruiselines dictate formalwear for black-tie dinners. Although these are not quite as formal as they used to be, most ladies who enjoy getting dressed up take the opportunity to wear a beautifully cut evening gown with heels for these occasions.

Champagne sequinned wrap top with palazzo trouser, cocktailwear from £219 at Helen Sykes

Izabella chiffon hankerchief hem dress £153.95, full Izabella range in stock now at Helen Sykes
Talbot Runhof stretch satin couture gown priced at £1059.95 in stock at Helen Sykes

With your wardrobe prepared and suitcase packed, we hope that you have a fabulous holiday, and don’t forget your sunscreen!

2 Comments
  • 17th January 2020

    Great advice! We have been on over 40 cruises, most of them 6 star. One thing which can be an issue is our baggage allowance. I blame my husbands dinner suits and patent shoes! Seriously though, I never wear the same thing twice, so a 14 day cruise requires 14x evening wear and 14 X day wear. My advice is consider the weight of a garment when you’re deciding what to take. I go for light, floaty evening dresses as apposed to heavily decorated beaded/sequinned frocks. Save them for a UK event.
    Also, read the itinerary before you go. Some ships have theme nights, and you don’t want to miss out. For instance, Crystal Cruises have “White Night” where everyone wears white, so we both have lovely smart and brilliant white outfits for that night. You don’t want to be the odd ones out. Hope these words of wisdom help!

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