What to Wear on a Caribbean Cruise
A Caribbean cruise offers a perfect blend of relaxation, adventure, and stunning tropical destinations…including Key West. While planning for your cruise, it's essential to consider what to wear to ensure you're comfortable, stylish, and prepared for the varying activities and climates.
What to Pack
You’ll need to take into account the tropical weather, onboard activities, shore excursions, and evening events as well as a keen focus on lightweight, breathable fabrics, and versatile clothing that can be layered and mixed and matched. For Caribbean and tropical climates, linen is a staple throughout the trip.
We’re breaking this down into three main “buckets” to help organize, as well as give you a few options to “freshen” up a bit.
There are two different dynamics to daytime cruising.
Poolside: Easy enough…right? Well, we’re going to make it a bit easier.
Swimsuits are obvious. Have fun and make a statement with your trunks. Either understated or bold and tropical, roll a few up in your luggage and you are set.
The trick is mixing/matching a linen shirt as the cover-up. Tossing a couple of color-neutral short-sleeve linens can serve as the poolside and poolside bar cover-up, as well as be used in other settings. Or…go bright and bold with a long-sleeve SPF that can also protect you from the sun.
And…very seriously…remember a hat, polarized sunglasses, and quality sunscreen.
Casual Daytime: Maybe hitting the poolside gets boring and you decide to take in on-board daytime activities. Maybe disembarking for a simple stroll and exploration in the port city. Your best bet is to go with casual linen and cotton shorts. Polos are ok, but it is going to become a mop. Going with a front-button shirt will give you more air movement and breathability, plus…no sweat popping through. (Go to linen shorts and camp shirts)
In contrast to the above-mentioned “stroll around the port city” attire, the focus here is on an active excursion. Hiking, zip-lining, biking, and other more physical excursions necessitate a change from the cool, casual daytime attire.
The priority here in shorts is rugged, lightweight, and quick-drying fabric. And…pockets. Preferably with one or two pocket zips to secure your IDs, credit cards, and cash. Unfortunately, it happens…something inadvertently drops out of a pocket or you cross paths with a pickpocket and your ship is pulling out in two hours.
For shirts, stick with ease and comfort. Front-button, lightweight fabrics such as viscose, linen, or lightweight cotton are the key. The beauty of a colorful camp shirt is in its relaxed design, a splash of color, or creative print to easily have your friends spot you in a crowd, and its ability to mix/match as a beach cover-up. These seaside-inspired Camp Shirt prints are excellent examples.
Most evenings on a Caribbean cruise follow a resort casual dress code. Men can wear khakis or linen pants with collared shirts or polo shirts. Avoid jeans and flip-flops.
This is a great setting to go with one of the mix/match linen shirts you’ve packed. Linen beach pants, combined with an Ernest Accent Linen shirt provide the perfect pairing for a casual, relaxed evening meal and follow-on show and entertainment or a late-night drink.
Many cruise lines have formal nights where guests dress up for elegant dinners and events. Men should opt for suits, tuxedos, or dress pants paired with a dress shirt and tie. Best to check with your specific cruise line for their formal night guidelines.
Some cruises host theme nights such as tropical, wear all-white parties, or costume parties. Pack appropriate outfits to join in the fun and embrace the festive atmosphere. A lightweight, white linen shirt is an ideal packing choice.
Consider situations where layering may come into play. While the Caribbean is generally warm, air-conditioned areas on board or cooler evenings may require a lightweight sweater, jacket, or even a windbreaker for the occasional blustery day.
Most importantly…plan to enjoy yourself!
Keep it simple. Focus on lightweight, breathable fabrics, and versatile clothing that can be layered and mixed, and matched. Consider the climate, daytime activities, evening events, and any specific dress codes outlined by your cruise line. By planning your wardrobe accordingly, you'll ensure comfort, style, and readiness for every aspect of your Caribbean adventure. So, get ready to soak up the sun, explore stunning destinations, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of your Caribbean cruise.