What to Wear On a Cruise: 4 Looks for Men

If you've been thinking all winter long about taking a cruise to escape one polar vortex after another, you're not alone. Some of you may have even booked one already and, if you have, you're probably wondering what the heck to wear. First, you should know that every ship has its own dress code.  But relax, whether you're bringing the kids and wife for a family getaway or you're in for a 4-day bro extravaganza, we've got you covered for your adventure on the high seas. Here are some goof proof tips for you men on what to wear on a cruise; you can thank me later with an air five.

For the night, cruise ships usually have 2 dress codes that are some clever variation of “formal” and “casual” attire.

Formal Night Attire: Reserved for 1 (maybe 2) Captain’s Dinners. This is the most formal you'll be required to dress. A jacket and tie is always mandatory, though (believe it or not) a suit or tuxedo may be requested, depending on the cruise line.

Our Suggestion: Play it safe with a medium-grey suit, assuring you’ll be appropriate for anything. Put a brightly colored gingham dress shirt underneath that complements your skin tone with a bold tie. Finish your look off with a matching belt & double monk strap shoes.

Casual Night Attire: Other nights aren't as strict. Options include dark denim, chinos, or slacks, and a collared shirt, jacket and tie optional. This means NO shorts, sandals, and t-shirts.

Our Suggestion: Keep it sleek and classic with navy chinos and a bold dress/sport shirt. If you feel like stepping it up, add a textured tie in a complementing color. Finish off your look with more casual suede wingtips.

Once the ship docks, there are no rules.  You can break out that Hawaiian print shirt your wife or friends begged you not to bring.

On-Land Adventures: Looking forward to an adventure filled day with your babe? Perfect. Not-so-looking-forward-to chasing your rugrats around a foreign island? That’s okay.  You'll look awesome.

Our Suggestion: Pair lightweight shorts and a Hawaiian button up that makes every woman regret hiding her husband’s before they left. Keep it slim fitting & the print more abstract. Top it off with some white Converse and sunglasses.

If you’re not eating/drinking at night or exploring islands, what could you possibly be doing? Oh wait the POOL – how could you forget?!

Poolside: This one’s pretty obvious. There are some definite rules about the pool though. NO Speedos (save those for your wife’s eyes only), tank tops, or athletic sandals.

Our Suggestion: Pair some not-too-baggy swim trunks with a linen button up for your walk to & from your cabin. Keep it buttoned or leave the shirt unbuttoned to show off your washboard abs and fresh suntan, we (the ladies) don’t judge. Wear a nice pair of canvas or leather sandals and shades.

DON’T FORGET underwear, pajamas, and active wear if you plan on taking advantage of the ship’s amenities.

- Plan your on-board and off-board activities ahead of time so you can pack accordingly (i.e. hiking, golfing, other activities). Read our How to Pack Light for Travel post.

- Check your cruise line’s website for more specific dress code.

 Happy Cruising!

Want help with your style beyond cruises?  Cladwell makes it easy for men by giving them custom recommendations for their style, body and budget. Try it today.


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