What to Wear On a Cruise to the Caribbean: Packing List

Updated on January 12, 2018
What to Wear on a Cruise to the Caribbean. Caribbean Cruise Packing List. Swimsuits!
What to Wear on a Cruise to the Caribbean. Caribbean Cruise Packing List. Swimsuits! | Source

You know everything about your upcoming vacation but what to wear on a cruise to the Caribbean. Here is your Caribbean cruise packing list, with a week-long cruise in mind.

There are quite a few clothes and accessories to pack, but once you have been on one cruise, you will likely wear the same clothing items repeatedly, with just a few variations where desired.


Swimsuits, by far, should be the focus of your cruise wardrobe shopping. I say this because the life of most cruise ships surrounds the pool area, and your excursions will also more than likely be to a beach or shore area. Bring along at least one very stunning swimsuit.

Bring (at least) One Stunning Swimsuit

Sophisticated swimsuit that looks like lingerie.
Sophisticated swimsuit that looks like lingerie.

For the Feminine Woman (above)

Nanette Lepore entwines the femininity of lingerie into the sporty world of swimwear with her Fleur De La Mer Lover one-piece swimsuit.

While everyone else will be wearing their so-so looks, you will be turning heads with the floral designs and delicately stitched cups of this romantic one-piece.

This comes fully lined and with removable shoulder straps.

Even if you don't think you'll be swimming that day, stuff a towel and extra swimsuit in your waterproof tote bag. A lot of people take planned "days off" from the pool, and end up going to a hot tub or for a swim anyway.

Have fun with a "statement swimsuit," one that very few other people are likely to wear. Vacations are not only an opportunity to relax but also a chance to show off your impeccable style. It's your vacation, so have fun with your style!

For the Sophisticate

Designer Michael Kors combines a figure-flattering, belted one-piece with the neutral colors that compliment just about anyone, to make the Retro Blossom Belted Sheath swimsuit.

You will be seaworthy and sophisticated at the same moment. The designs of this suit remind one of an African safari. But nevertheless, you will be soaking up the sun in the warmth of the Caribbean. This swimsuit has a partially covered back.

Bring a Cover Up

Your favorite article of clothing to wear on a cruise is likely to become a swimsuit cover-up. This is because they serve many purposes.

  • Convenience. Cover-ups let you go from the pool area to the casual dining area on a cruise ship without changing clothes.
  • Modesty. They let you conceal parts of your body that you might not feel comfortable revealing to everyone.
  • Doubles as summer clothing. Cover-ups let you go on island excursions, where you can walk around and enjoy the sites, while wearing your swimsuit underneath.
  • They are cool and breezy to wear.

An Elegant, Lightweight Pantsuit

A lightweight pantsuit serves three purposes: to keep you cool at night, to provide modesty to women who don't feel like baring a lot of skin, and to provide proper attire for evening dining rooms, bars, and dancing events on the ship.

This type of dress is great for those cool walks along the upper decks at night. Feeling the Caribbean air move along the pant hems will give you that free feeling of tropical flair.

This pantsuit by Koh Koh is available in 7 colors and in sizes Small to XXX-Large. You could even get more bang for your dollar by wearing this pantsuit to the office or for a party you host in your home. Consider this a highly versatile and affordable addition to your closet.

What to Pack: Women

Formal Attire:

  • 2 cocktail dresses, at least
  • 3 pairs of pantyhose, if wearing any
  • 1 pair of high heels/dress shoes, at least
  • Appropriate bras, if needed (strapless for example, if wearing strapless or shoulderless cocktail dresses)
  • Dressy purse to match cocktail attire

Dressy, Non-formal Attire:

  • 3 dresses for dinner/casino/club dancing, including maxi dresses.
  • 1 pair of heels/dressy shoes, at least

Semi-Casual Wear for Non-formal Dining Rooms

  • 2 pairs of lightweight pants/capri pants
  • 2 lightweight skirts
  • 2 sleeveless/shell tops (but not tank tops)
  • 2 summery blouses
  • 3 lightweight summery dresses

Pool/Excursion/Deck Wear:

  • 3 Swimsuits
  • 2 swimsuit cover-ups
  • 1 sarong
  • 4 pairs of shorts
  • 3 tank tops or t-shirts
  • Comfortable sandals
  • Walkable shoes for excursions or visiting ports
  • Four pairs of socks


  • 14 pairs of underwear (yes, you will likely use them all)
  • 3 bras
  • 2 pairs of pajamas
  • 4 extra pairs of socks

Other Items

  • Workout gear, if you plan to use the ship's gym
  • Wide-brim hat
  • Umbrella
  • Sunglasses
  • Waterproof tote
  • Shower shoes/sandals (if you want to cover your feet while taking a shower in your cabin)

A convertible sarong is very versatile and great if you are trying to both save money and pack light. Convertible sarongs allow you to buy one clothing item yet get many uses out of it.

The Siam Secrets Sarong does triple use, also converting to a pareo dress as well as a shawl.

I prefer to wear this kind of item on a cruise, because I can just wrap the skirt around me after a swim to get some breakfast in the dining hall. Then, I can convert it to a shawl so I don't burn my shoulders and arms when exposed to the sun. And of course, I can wear the piece as a pareo dress for taking a walk on the deck during a day at the pool, or for a stop at an island destination.

The Siam Secrets sarong is called an elephant shawl because the ethnic designs are reminiscent of the scarf prints some cultures used to place on native animals for cultural festivities.

This sarong runs a bit small and is best on women who wear sizes 12 to 16.

What to Pack: Men

Formal Attire:

  • 2 suits with ties and dress shirts at least,
  • 1 pair of leather dress shoes

Dressy, Non-formal Attire:

  • 1 or 2 sport jackets
  • 3 dress shirts
  • 3 pairs pants
  • 1 pair of semi-dress shoes (such as suede)

Semi-Casual Wear for Non-formal Dining Rooms

  • 4 pairs of lightweight pants
  • 4 polo shirts
  • Slip-on shoes
  • Four pairs of socks

Pool/Excursion/Deck Wear:

  • 3 swimming shorts
  • 4 pairs of walking shorts
  • 5 t-shirts
  • 3 short-sleeve casual blouses (such as Hawaiian shirts)
  • Comfortable sandals or casual slip-ons
  • Walkable shoes for excursions or visiting ports
  • Four pairs of socks


  • 14 pairs of underwear
  • Undershirts, if desired
  • 2 pairs of pajamas
  • 4 extra pairs of socks

Other Items

  • Workout gear, if you plan to use the ship's gym
  • Hat
  • Umbrella
  • Sunglasses
  • Shower shoes/sandals (to protect your feet in the shower, if desired)

What to Wear on a Cruise to the Caribbean. Caribbean Cruise Packing List.
What to Wear on a Cruise to the Caribbean. Caribbean Cruise Packing List. | Source

Remember to Bring a Waterproof Tote

Be mindful of having a safe place to pack items you need to keep dry.

Having a waterproof tote bag that you can carry around on the cruise decks and island destinations might prove invaluable to you.

One of the biggest worries people have on cruises is losing access to important items like passports, medicine, room keys, cameras, camcorders, and sunblock.

And for those of us who like to lay poolside to relax, those crossword puzzle books, snacks, and romance novels also should be within reach.

You can also use this tote during the Summer time back home to protect your lunch, wallet, books, and phone from the rain.

Why do I need to bring so much along?

The reason you pack so many clothes for a cruise is that there are so many activities and each of them requires its own set of clothes. Don't worry -- you will be having fun the entire time!

How many times will I need to change clothes each day?

You will usually change about two or three times daily: between swimming, buffet attire, formal dinner and show attire, excursions, casinos, nights walking on the ship ... you get the idea. If you love dressing up, a cruise will perhaps become your favorite kind of vacation.

You will be well-versed in what to wear on a cruise with these handy lists, broken up into parts for men and women.

Most people tend to go on their Caribbean cruises between December and March, so if your wardrobe doesn't have enough warm-weather clothing to get you through the cruise, internet shopping will provide you endless choices!


© 2012 Pop Culture World


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