What to Wear on a Boat Cruise: Success on the Seas

If you’re planning a cruise, one of the essential things to consider is what to wear on a boat cruise. From daytime excursions to elegant dinners, you’ll want to make sure you’re dressed appropriately for every occasion.

First and foremost, it’s important to consider the weather conditions of your destination. If you’re sailing to a tropical location, you’ll want to pack light, breathable clothing. Cotton, linen, and other natural fibers are excellent choices for staying cool in the heat.

On the other hand, if you’re cruising in cooler climates, pack layers that you can add or remove as needed.

on boat
what to wear on a boat cruise

When it comes to daytime excursions, comfort is key. You’ll likely be doing a lot of walking, so opt for comfortable shoes. Sneakers, sandals, and boat shoes are all great options. You’ll also want to bring a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.

For women, a sundress or shorts and a lightweight top are perfect for a daytime outing. Men can’t go wrong with shorts and a polo shirt or button-down. And don’t forget your swimsuit! Whether you’re lounging on the deck or taking a dip in the water, you’ll want to have your swimwear on hand.

What to Wear on a Boat Cruise – Formal Nights

Many boat cruises have formal nights where passengers are encouraged to dress up for dinner. While the dress code varies from cruise to cruise, it’s usually a semi-formal or formal affair. This is a great opportunity to break out your best dress or suit and make a statement.

For women, a cocktail dress or a long gown is appropriate for formal nights. You can also opt for a dressy pantsuit or separates. Be sure to pair your outfit with dressy shoes and accessories to complete the look.

evening dress

Men should wear a suit or a jacket and dress pants for formal nights. A tie is also a good idea, and you can add a pocket square for a touch of flair. Dress shoes and a belt will complete the outfit.

What to Wear on a Boat Cruise – Casual Nights

Not every night on a boat cruise is a formal affair. Casual nights are a chance to dress down and enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere. However, “casual” doesn’t mean you can wear your pajamas to dinner! You’ll still want to look presentable while keeping things comfortable.


For women, a sundress, skirt, or dressy pants paired with a blouse or sweater is perfect for a casual evening. Men can wear dress shorts or khakis with a button-down shirt or polo. A light sweater or jacket is also a good idea in case it gets chilly.

Don’t Forget Your Footwear: What Shoes to Pack for Your Boat Cruise

When it comes to what to wear on a boat cruise, footwear versatility is key. You’ll want to bring shoes that are comfortable, stylish, and appropriate for every occasion. Here are some must-pack shoes for your boat cruise:

Sneakers: Comfortable shoes for daytime excursions and walking around the ship

Sandals: Perfect for the beach or pool and easy to slip on and off

Boat shoes: A classic choice for both men and women that can be dressed up or down

what to wear on a boat cruise

Dress shoes: For formal nights and special occasions

Flip flops: Great for shower shoes or quick trips to the pool deck

Make sure to break in any new shoes before your trip to avoid blisters or discomfort. And don’t forget to bring socks and stockings to wear with your closed-toe shoes.

See also: What to wear on a hike

What to Wear on a Boat Cruise – Elevate Your Outfit

Accessories are a great way to add some personality and style to your boat cruise outfits. Here are some ideas for accessories to pack:

Scarves: Lightweight and versatile, scarves can add color and interest to any outfit

Hats: From baseball caps to wide-brimmed sun hats, headwear is both practical and stylish

Jewelry: A statement necklace or earrings can elevate a simple outfit to something more special

Belts: Cinch in your waist and add some shape to your outfits with a belt

Sunglasses: Protect your eyes from the sun while looking cool and stylish

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, what to wear on a boat cruise is all about personal preference and comfort. But keep in mind that the way you dress can also affect the experience you have on board. If you want to feel glamorous and sophisticated, dress up for formal nights. If you want to relax and unwind, opt for comfortable, casual attire.