It’s so much fun packing up and preparing for a cruise. For me, this often starts with thinking about what cruise outfits to wear. While this post is about cruise wear over 50, these cruise fashions can work well for women of all ages!
Please keep in mind that you should always wear what makes you look and feel good. It just happens that I’m turning 50 this summer, but I would wear these cruise outfits at 40 and at 60, and every age in between.
In this post, I share casual cruise wear ideas and formal wear options (all quite affordable). Whether you’re looking for a cute maxi dress or an elegant cocktail dress, I think you’ll like these styles. These outfits aren’t too tight, are versatile, and most importantly, look fabulous!
I’ve also included a few bathing suits and cover ups, shawls, tote bags and evening bags – accessories often complete the look, but are also really useful on a cruise.
I’ve also included photos of some of my own cruise outfits from past cruises. Now, I am by no means a model, but I have a theory that everyone looks good on a cruise.
What to Wear on a Cruise (over 40, 50, 60)
Let’s start with what cruise wear you’ll need for your cruise vacation. On a 7 day Caribbean cruise, you’ll want to be prepared with casual resort style clothing for the day, and a mix of cruise casual and dressy outfits for evening.
Cruise Outfit Packing List for Ladies
Here’s a simple women’s clothing packing list for a 7 day cruise, to use as a guide. Some people like to bring more and some people less, so adjust quantities of your favorite items accordingly.
- 2-3 sundresses and maxi dresses
- 2-3 pair of shorts
- 3-5 tops (day & evening)
- 2-3 pair of dark jeans, capri pants or a skirt
- 2-3 smart casual dresses or Little Black Dress
- 1-2 fancy dresses or outfits
- 2 Bathing suits
- 2 Cover ups
- 2 shawls or cardigans
- gym shoes or comfortable walking shoes
- flip flops or sandals for the pool
- Heels or dressy flats for evening wear
- Wedge shoes or espadrilles for day or evening
- Evening bag or clutch
- Tote bag for cruise ship and excursion days
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Cruise Outfits for Ladies over 50
On most cruises you can dress casually during the day, in shorts and a t-shirt, or a sundress.
For port days, consider your shore excursion plans and decide what to wear. If you’re heading to a beach, a bathing suit and cover up are perfect. If you’re sightseeing, a cute top and shorts or a sundress or maxi dress is the way to go.
Casual Dresses – Sundresses & Maxi Dresses
Casual spaghetti strap sundress
This casual spaghetti strap sundress is comfortable and cute, and would make a great embarkation day outfit. If you want to pack light for a cruise, you could even wear this dress in the evening with accessories.
This one piece romper is casual, but looks a little bit cruisey just the same. Great on the ship or to wear on port days. It’s available in this nautical stripe, as well as solid colors and is very affordable (shhhh).
This striped maxi dress makes a great sundress or bathing suit cover up (that’s how I wear it). However, depending on the color or print, this maxi dress can look a bit more dressy.
Recommended: Maxi dress (see colors and pricing on Amazon)
This spaghetti strap maxi dress is comfortable and casual for strolling on a port day, but will also look great in the evening on your cruise. Take a look at the different colors and patterns. My favorites are the black, navy floral, and boho.
However, I love a deep blue dress when I’m cruising, so I always pack at least one of this color. Please note that this dress runs a little small, so you may want to size up.
Evening Wear on a Cruise
On a 7 day cruise, you’ll usually have 4-5 casual or smart casual evenings, sometimes called cruise casual. 2 evenings are usually formal or “chic” wear.
Casual & smart casual dress code: Wear a stylish top and jeans, or Capri pants or a comfortable maxi dress. A little black dress or floral dress are great too.
Casual & Smart Casual Outfits on a Cruise
This beautiful floral dress is perfect cruise wear for the dining room or specialty restaurants. Loose fitting and stylish, (the v neck and 3/4 bell sleeves) it’s very flattering for women who are fabulous at 40 or 50!
This dress is available in very small to plus size, and in more than 20 solid colors and prints. It might be worth getting 2!
Elegant long maxi dress
Off the shoulder top
Pair a pretty top with a pair of white capri pants or jeans for a casual evening on a cruise. This off the shoulder top comes in different color stripes as well as solids and other patterns.
Resort style top
Recommended: Floral casual top (see variations & options here)
Capris, jeans or trousers
Recommended: White capri pants (with tummy support)
Plus size cruise casual dress
I love this pretty dress style that can be dressed up or down on a cruise. It’s available in several colors and so flattering. The black and navy blue version of this dress are simple and gorgeous!
Cruise wear doesn’t have to be a dress, even in the main dining room. Unless it’s a formal night, dark jeans and a top, capri pants or a jumpsuit are great outfits that feel chic and modern.
Isn’t this outfit cute? Women of every age will look elegantly casual in a romper jumpsuit. Dress it up or down with your favorite shoes.
Cruise Formal Night Outfits
Formal dress code: On most cruises you’ll have 1-2 formal nights, chic nights or “dress your best” nights. These cocktail dresses are beautiful and flattering for ladies over 40 or 50, but really for any age. Always check your cruise line dress code as a guide.
Long cocktail dress
I love this long black evening dress, that is both simple and elegant (look at the side detail). It’s available in other colors as well, even red, if you want to stand out.
Mid length pencil dress
This pencil dress is perfect for formal night or smart casual evenings on a cruise, but isn’t too fancy that it can’t be worn at home.
Personally, I love the wine color, however the black, blue and red are gorgeous too!
Lace detail shift dress – Plus size cruise cruise wear
This lace detail short cocktail dress is a great dress for evenings on a cruise. It’s available in different colors and sizes, and a good option if you’re looking for plus size cruise wear.
Ladies Bathing Suits & Cover Ups
Bathing suit cover ups
You’ll want to put on a bathing suit cover up when heading indoors on your cruise or to eat at one of the restaurants. Make sure to pack 2 cover ups, so you can change your look and always have a clean, dry one available.
Swimsuit cover up dress
This stylish 3/4 length sleeve bathing suit cover up dress comes in black, white and beautiful tropical patterns. If you’re going on a Caribbean cruise, it’s perfect for beach excursions.
Recommended: Loose fitting bathing suit cover up
Bikini wrap cover up
A short chiffon sarong wrap is a perfect cover up for bikinis or or one piece bathing suits.
Recommended: Sheer wrap cover up (check colors & price on Amazon)
Versatile cover up
This v neck swimsuit cover up is very flattering over a one piece or bikini. I love the white cover up, however there are several different colors to choose from.
Recommended: Women’s swimwear cover up (popular amazon choice)
Make sure to pack at least 2 bathing suits for your cruise, so when one is wet the other is dry.
Cupshe tummy control one piece swim suit
This one piece Cupshe brand bathing suit has tummy control and is very flattering on real women’s bodies. It’s also available in a few slightly different styles and colors.
One piece off the shoulder bathing suit
This attractive one piece off the shoulder bathing suit fits women of every age, shape and size. See the color and pattern options available.
Tip – make sure to choose one size up for best fit (snug but comfortable)
Halter bathing suit swimdress
If you prefer a little more coverage, this halter top swimdress bathing suit is very flattering. It’s available in very small to plus size cruise wear.
Shawls, Sunhats and Accessories
It gets a bit cool on a cruise ship in the evening, between the air conditioning and the evening sea breeze. Make sure to bring along a shawl, scarf or cardigan or two – it’s really a must.
Pashmina shawl wrap
A pashmina shawl wrap will looks great over an evening dress. I like to have one in black and ivory, however it’s available in several colors.
Recommended: Pashmina wrap shawl (check price here)
Make sure to bring a foldable sunhat on your cruise. Along with sunscreen and lip balm, a good sunhat is definitely a cruise essential.
Recommended: Ladies wide brim sunhat (see color options here)
Make sure to bring comfortable flip flops that you could actually walk in, whether on the cruise ship on sea days, or in a port of call. These Reef’s Cushion Sands Flip flops offer support, a cushioned sole and traction.
Should you carry a purse on a cruise?
You won’t need to carry a purse or wallet on a cruise. However, you may want to carry a casual tote bag to the pool, with your lip balm, sunscreen, reading glasses, a book, phone etc. It’s also great to have for when you get off the ship on a port day. In the evening, a small clutch or evening bag can hold your cruise card, cell phone and lipstick.
Tote bag and Evening Bags for a Cruise
It’s a good idea to pack a clutch or small evening bag to wear to the dining room at night. Pack your cruise card, lipstick, pills and anything else you might need when out of your cabin.
A good tote bag is a must for a cruise! This large nautical beach bag will fit everything you need for a beach or pool day. I put together this post full of great tips for packing your shore excursion day bag.
Amazon Prime Wardrobe
I recently found out about Amazon Prime Wardrobe and it’s perfect for “trying on” cruise outfits. Here’s the information about this service if you’d like to find out more. Sign up is free if you’re a member of Amazon Prime.
Free 30 day Amazon Prime trial (benefits include faster shipping, Prime TV, borrow Kindle books and more).
Final thoughts: Cruise Wear over 50
In this post we shared what to wear on a cruise when you’re over 50. However, always remember that how you dress isn’t determined by age. Wear what looks good on you, what you like, and most importantly, what makes you feel good!
When is your next cruise and do you enjoy shopping and planning your outfits to wear? Please let me know in the comments below.
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