Summer Cruise Clothing Essentials

Preparing for your first cruise can be a very exciting experience. 

The most important cruise essentials you’re going to want to make sure to have planned our your clothing. 

However, if you’ve never been on a cruise before it can be hard to know what to pack and what you can do without. Therefore today I’m sharing summer cruise clothing essentials with you so you can check one thing off of your cruise preparation checklist. 


Dresses are an absolute summer cruise clothing essential because they’re cool, airy, and can be as formal or as casual as you need them to be. 

Plus, I preferred to basically live in dresses during my Mexico cruise because they don’t take up a lot of room in your luggage so you can take enough for your entire cruise and not take up all of the space in your suitcase. 

A Few Casual/Formal Options

The dress code varies depending on the cruise line. However, the majority of them have a combination of casual and formal events. 

During the daytime you can get away with casual clothes at most venues, however, at night some will only allow you in if you’re dressed in formal attire. 

So, if you plan to go to different venues while sailing throw in one or two dressier options to make sure you can experience everything that you want to experience. 


Swimwear will be needed for both sailing the sea and once you dock at different destinations during summer cruises. 

I do recommend having a few different options available as you’ll find yourself spending more time in the water than you probably initially estimated. I took several different swimsuit options and even then it didn’t seem like enough (thank goodness for laundry services onboard the ship). 

I went with a ton of options, personally, ranging from a triangle bikini with boy shorts to two-piece high-waisted swimsuits. 

I will admit that high-waisted swimsuits are my favorite as they suck in my pudge, but as long as you feel comfortable in your own skin in your swimsuit go as bold as you want. Everyone is enjoying themselves and not paying attention to the swimsuit that you’re wearing anyway. 

Flip Flops/Sandals & One Pair of Sneakers/Canvas Shoes

It’s hot in the summer, especially in other countries and on the ship. Therefore, having some flip-flops or sandals is a summer cruise essential. Plus, with flip-flops, you can have a few options (in case one breaks) and it won’t take up a ton of space in your luggage. 

I ended up taking 3 pairs of flip-flops. Two casual ones (one for on the ship and one for off the ship) and a pair of more formal ones for formal events. 

Plus, I added in some canvas shoes to use when off the ship and exploring the different mainlands. 


Leggings are great for exploring the mainlands when you’re not planning to hang out at the beach all day AND they’re also a must if you plan to keep up with your fitness routine while on the ship. 

Plus, they are also great when you traveling to or from the cruise ship as well. You’ll get through security at the airport quicker that’s for sure. (I made the mistake of wearing a long maxi dress and ended up having to get pat down etc – so learn from my mistake). 

Then of course, like dresses, they also don’t take up much space so you can throw in a few pairs without compromising your luggage space. 

These Are The Summer Cruise Clothing Essentials You Need

As you can see most of these items don’t take up a ton of space in your luggage so you can have a very diverse wardrobe with you on a cruise and not need a lot of luggage. 

In fact, my partner and I just each had a carry-on suitcase that we used for our clothes and we were good to go for the entire 7-day cruise. We even did a little shopping on each island and were able to fit souvenirs in our bags without any trouble. 

Summer Cruise Clothing Essentials

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