25 Cruise Wardrobe Essentials Every Women Should Pack for Vacation

cruise wardrobe basics every woman should pack

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If you’re going on a cruise, there are a few wardrobe essentials you’ll want to make sure you pack. These wardrobe basics for women may not be obvious, especially if you’re cruising for the first time!

In this post I share some cruise outfit choices and accessories that ladies will likely want to pack for a cruise vacation. From wardrobe basics to handbags & undergarments, these are items that you may want to include your cruise packing list.

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Cruise Clothing Basics to Pack for a Cruise

lady on cruise

1. Crossbody or Belt Bag

During the day, you don’t need a traditional purse on a cruise. Instead, opt for a crossbody or belt bag that allows you to be hands-free while keeping essentials like your key card, lip balm, and other items within reach.

ODODOS Unisex Mini Belt Bag with Adjustable Strap Small Fanny Pack for Workout Running Traveling Hiking, Black

Recommended: Belt bag/cross body bag (check price & over 16,000 Amazon reviews here)

2. Smaller Evening Bag

While a large purse might not be necessary, having a smaller evening bag is essential for casual and formal nights.

BBjinronjy Clutch Purses for Women Evening Bag Women's with Detachable Chain Wedding Prom Faux Suede (Black-Suede)

Recommended: Evening bag

3. Light Cardigan or Shawl

Evenings on a cruise can get cool, especially in the dining room or theater. Bring a light cardigan or shawl that you can easily drape over your shoulders for added comfort.

GRACE KARIN Women's 2024 Long Sleeve Open Front Knit Sweater Casual Cardigan Sweaters Casual Beach Coveup White

Recommended: Lightweight cardigan

4. Comfortable Sneakers or Walking Shoes

Even if you’re not a gym-goer, comfortable sneakers or walking shoes are a must. These are ideal for walks around the ship, activities and exploring in ports of call.

adidas Originals Women's Nizza Platform, White/White/White, 9

Recommended: Sneakers (popular well & well reviewed)

5. Flip Flops or Slip-On Sandals

Slip-on sandals or flip flops can be worn beyond the lido deck! You may want flip flops for to wear on your balcony or to the spa.

6. Little Black Dress

A timeless piece, a little black dress is versatile and perfect for cruise formal nights. Invest in one that can be worn across multiple cruises.

PRETTYGARDEN Women's One Shoulder Ruched Bodycon Dress 2024 Summer Cutout Slit Wrap Party Cocktail Midi Dresses (Black,Small)

Recommended: Black one shoulder dress (see 1900+ Amazon reviews)

7. Comfy Clothes

Include comfortable clothing like leggings, crew neck sweaters, and zip-up sweaters for those laid-back moments on the cruise.

8. Strapless Bra

For sleeveless dresses, a good strapless bra is a must. This one is actually comfortable and doesn’t dig in!

Victoria's Secret Pink Wear Everywhere Strapless Push Up Bra, Padded Bra, Adjustable Straps, Strapless Bras for Women, Beige (36C)

Depending on the style of your top (ie. backless), you may want to consider an adhesive silicone bra.

Niidor Adhesive Bra Strapless Sticky Invisible Push up Silicone Bra for Backless Dress with Nipple Covers Creme

Recommended: Strapless bra (my favorite comforbable one) and silicone sticky bra

9. Skin Colored Undergarments

Ensure you have a neutral-colored pair of underwear, especially if you plan to wear white outfits. This will make your undergarments as invisible as possible.

10. Shapewear (Optional)

If you’re wearing form-fitting outfits, adding shapewear to your packing list is optional. Wearing tighter clothing earlier in the cruise, while saving the looser cruise wear for later is a practical tip from me to you ;-).

SHAPERX Shapewear for Women Tummy Control Bodysuit Mid Thigh Butt Lifter Body Shaper Shorts,SZ5218-Beige-XXS/XS

Recommended: Shapewear

11. Neutral or Tan Sandals

Versatile tan sandals that can complement various outfits, both day and night. You can’t go wrong with a comfortable low or medium sized heel.

CUSHIONAIRE Women's Nan two band braided low block heel slide sandal +Memory Foam and Wide Widths Available, Tan 8.5 W

Recommended: Tan sandals

12. Sun Hat

Remember to pack a baseball cap or stylish sun hat for hot weather destinations and cruises. My wide brim sun hat is an essential part of my Caribbean cruise packing list!

SOMALER Womens Straw Sun Hats Wide Brim Foldable Beach Hats UV UPF 50+ Summer Sun Travel Hat for Women

Recommended: Sun hat (check price & 4.5* reviews here)

13. Hat Clip

This little gadget is genius! You can use this hat clip to transport your sunhat from the airport, to the cruise ship and to the beach in a port of call!

Niveaya Hat Clip for Travel - Women's Travel Accessory, Multifunctional Magnetic Hat Clip for Hanging Sunglasses, Car Keys. Black

Recommended: Hat clip (check price & color options on Amazon here)

Related: 50+ Amazon Travel Accessories Cruise Passengers Pack for their Cruise

14. Jumpsuit or Romper

A comfortable jumpsuit or romper in a wrinkle-free fabric is an excellent addition to your cruise wardrobe.

ZESICA Women's 2024 Casual Off Shoulder Solid Color Strapless Belted Wide Leg Jumpsuit Romper,Black,Large

Recommended: Sleeveless jumpsuit romper

15. White Dress

While not mandatory, many cruise lines will have an optional white themed evening or white party. Research your cruise to see if there are special theme nights that require specific attire, including a white dress.

MEROKEETY Women's Summer One Shoulder Sleeveless Knot Smocked Midi Dress Split Tiered Flowy Dresses,White,S

Recommended: White dress (see different colors & 4.5* Amazon reviews)

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16. Tank Tops, T-Shirts, Casual Shorts

If you’re on a warm weather cruise, mix and match tank tops or t-shirts with casual shorts for easygoing daytime outfits.

17. Maxi Dresses

Versatile maxi dresses can be dressed up for the evening or worn casually during the day, offering flexibility for your cruise wardrobe.

BROVAVE Women's 2024 Summer Casual Boho Sundress Polka Dot Spaghetti Strap V Neck Flowy Midi Dresses(008 Black, Small)

Recommended: Maxi dress

18. Tote Bag or Beach Bag

Essential for pool days, a mesh tote bag takes up minimal space and is perfect for carrying your essentials including sunscreen and a book or kindle.

Tainehs Mesh Beach Tote Large Bag 2024 Upgrade for Women with Multiple Pockets for Beach Picnic Vacation Family Travel Swimming Waterproof Pool Bag Travel Essentials

Recommended: Mesh tote bag (a best seller)

Related: 20 Best Beach and Tote Bags for a Cruise

19. Workout Wear

Even if you’re not a fitness enthusiast, consider bringing workout wear for onboard fitness classes or activities like jogging on the ship’s track.

20. Rain Jacket, Poncho, or Umbrella

Check the weather forecast and pack a rain jacket, poncho, or umbrella if rain is a possibility during your cruise.

Related: What to Wear on an Alaska Cruise (outfit ideas with photos)

21. Socks and Closed-Toe Shoes

One item many cruisers forget to pack is socks. You’ll need socks and closed-toe shoes or sneakers for some of the cruise ship activities.

22. Sleepwear and Sleep Mask (Optional)

Comfortable sleepwear is a cruise essential. Consider a sleep mask if you’re sailing on itineraries with extended daylight hours.

MZOO Sleep Eye Mask for Men Women, Zero Eye Pressure 3D Sleeping Mask, 100% Light Blocking Patented Design Night Blindfold, Soft Eye Shade Cover for Travel, Black

Recommended: Sleep mask

cruise wardrobe essentials for women
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23. Inexpensive Cruise Jewelry

Consider leaving your expensive jewelry at home to avoid the risk or loss or theft. Instead, opt for affordable and trendy jewelry (like this tennis bracelet) for your cruise.

PAVOI 14K Gold Plated 3mm Cubic Zirconia Classic Tennis Bracelet | Gold Bracelets for Women | Size 6.5-7.5 Inch

Recommended: Tennis bracelet (available in yellow & white)

24. Swimsuit

Always pack at least one swimsuit for your cruise, even if you aren’t on a hot weather cruise. There are several hot tubs on most cruise ships, and occasionally covered pools.

In addition, a swimsuit is handy if you plan to go to the thermal spa.

CUPSHE Women One Piece Swimsuit Bathing Suits Paisley Print Deep V Neck Tummy Control Low Back Adjustable Straps

Recommended: Swimsuit with tummy control (check other colors – over 25,000 4.5* reviews)

25. Swimsuit Cover Up

Don’t forget to pack a swimsuit cover up or two for your cruise vacation. You’ll want a cover up for when you go from the pool to indoor spaces in the cruise ship.

ANRABESS Women Swimsuit Crochet Swim Cover Up 2024 Summer Bathing Suit Swimwear Mesh Knit Beach Dress Vacation Outfits Cream White Medium

Recommended: Swimsuit cover up (gorgeous style with good coverage)

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Final Thoughts

This list of cruise wardrobe basics for women includes many essential items you’ll want to pack for a cruise. Keep in mind that we’re all different, so use this list as a guide or as a reminder to pack your own favorite items for vacation.

Are these basics that you always pack for a cruise or think should be added to this list? Please let me know in the comments below.

Happy Cruising!


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