Caribbean cruise outfits for women

02 Jul 2024
Angie Vognild

Are you packing for a Caribbean cruise and not sure what outfits to bring? Are you looking for some cruise outfit inspiration?

Cruise outfit ideas for women

Well, I just returned from a five-night Caribbean cruise on Independence of the Seas with my mom, and we are here to show you the outfits we wore during our voyage. Our cruise visited Perfect Day at CocoCay and Cozumel, Mexico.

Of course, you can wear whatever you want on a cruise (within reason). While there is a dress code on a Royal Caribbean cruise, it isn't strictly enforced. Gone are the days of dressing up in your finest ball gown and fanciest tuxedo, though you can still do this if you want. You will often find that people dress casually rather than formally.

Angie and Patty on a cruise

My mom and I are certainly no fashion icons, but if we can help make your packing easier by giving you ideas of what to wear, then that is our goal. If you are a woman searching for some cruise outfit ideas, you’ve come to the right place.

Please note that I’ve linked items on Amazon, which contain an affiliate link. This affiliate link costs you nothing extra, but Royal Caribbean Blog makes a small commission if you purchase it. You can shop more on the Royal Caribbean Blog Amazon Storefront.

Embarkation day outfits

Sailing away from Miami on a cruise

On embarkation day, I tend to wear something not too dressy, but also something not too casual like what I wear in my day-to-day (which is usually t-shirts).

I chose to wear a white top with some navy high-waisted shorts. These shorts are actually ones that my grandma wore when she was young. I am also wearing a cross-body bag from Amazon. I love this bag for many reasons, but mainly because I can keep valuables, like my passport and phone, close to me.

Angie embarkation day

My mom wore a casual outfit as well, including a navy top and capris, a light jacket, and tennis shoes. You wouldn't think you’d need a jacket when cruising to the Caribbean, but it is always smart to bring at least one because indoor venues tend to get chilly.

Patty on embarkation day

Many cruisers who are vacationing with family and friends like to wear matching t-shirts on embarkation day. This is something I have never partaken in, but it’s a fun way for large groups of family or friends to celebrate the beginning of their vacation.

It's always smart to pack an additional outfit in your carry-on luggage on embarkation day. There have been times when I couldn't change clothes before dinner because my large suitcase hadn't arrived at my cabin yet. On this cruise, we didn't have to worry because our luggage arrived hours before our early dining time.

Dinner outfits

Patty and Angie on formal night

Getting dressed up for dinner during a Royal Caribbean cruise is one of my favorite parts of cruising. Because I work from home, I rarely get the opportunity to dress up, so when I cruise, I take advantage of it.

For three of our dinners, we ate in the Main Dining Room. Every night of the cruise, there was a dress code in the Main Dining Room, including casual, dress to impress (formal), and Caribbean.

On our particular cruise, the dress code was very casual, even in the Main Dining Room. Personally, I wear a dress or jumpsuit every night, and that is acceptable for all of these dress codes. On formal night, I like to wear my nicest outfit. 

Honestly, formal night varies quite a bit, so you can get away with almost anything.

Read more: What to wear to dinner on your Royal Caribbean cruise

On the first night of our cruise in the Main Dining Room, I chose a black floral dress from H&M while my mom sported a dressy black top from Anne Klein with coral pants from Costco.

Dinner outfits

On night two in the Main Dining Room, I wore a pink ruffle dress from Amazon. My mom wore a burgundy dress from 32 Degrees.

Patty and Angie in the Royal Promenade

Night three was formal night, and while we decided to dress up, we actually had dinner in the Windjammer buffet. We did this because we didn't want to miss the musical Grease that was showing during our normal dining time.

I wore a blue jumpsuit from Charming Charlie while my mom wore a long black dress, also from Charming Charlie. What a coincidence!

Formal night outfits

Night four was back in the Main Dining Room. I opted to wear a long green dress from Old Navy while my mom wore a green floral dress from Ross Dress for Less.

Patty and Angie at sunset

On the last night of our cruise, we ate at the specialty restaurant Giovanni’s Table. Specialty restaurants have a different dress code from the Main Dining Room, which is usually smart casual and formal. In my experience, I’ve noticed specialty restaurants are not strict about what you wear. Just try not to wear t-shirts and swimming suits in these venues.

Patty and Angie cruise outfits

I opted to wear a tropical dress from H&M while my mom wore a red sleeveless top from Express and black faux leather pants from H&M. She wore these pants because they have a stretchy waist, which is essential when you are eating at a specialty restaurant!

Sea day and port day outfits

Patty and Angie in Curacao
From a previous cruise on Odyssey of the Seas

Our first port of call was Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private island in The Bahamas. My mom and I decided to splurge on a day pass to the new adults-only area on the island called Hideaway Beach, so this is where we spent our “perfect” day.

This is the swimming suit I wore while on the island. I love this swimming suit because it covers my arms and I don’t have to worry about them getting sunburnt. I also wore high-waisted shorts from Old Navy when getting on the island and coming back to the ship. My mom wore a swimming suit as well, though she barely got in the water. On top of her swimming suit, she wore an Aztec-style dress as a coverup.

Perfect Day at CocoCay

Our next (and last) port of call was Cozumel, Mexico. Since we did not have an excursion planned, we decided to walk around the pier area and do some shopping. There are lots of shopping opportunities close to the pier.

Angie and Patty in Cozumel

This is the romper I wore while out and about in Cozumel. This romper is one of my favorite cruise outfits, though I wish it had pockets. As for shoes, I am wearing my favorite black Birkenstock sandals. These shoes can be dressed up or down, and the material is waterproof and so comfortable. My mom decided to wear a neon athleisure top with some jean shorts from Old Navy and closed-toe shoes from Clarks.

Angie and Patty in Cozumel

When we weren't docked in port, my mom and I wore casual outfits during our sea days.

I chose to wear a black top from Old Navy along with some high-waisted shorts from Costco. My mom wore a white top along with lightweight, elastic-waisted pants. This is another pair of pants my grandma (her mom) used to wear. We are leaning into the vintage style, especially since high-waisted shorts are back in style.

Casual outfits

For this cruise, I packed three pairs of shoes: Birkenstocks, dressy sandals, and tennis shoes. My mom brought five pairs, including various heels and flats, as well as tennis shoes.

Read more: What to wear on a cruise that works for all dress codes

Did we wear all of the cruise outfits we packed?

Suitcases in a cruise cabin

If you’re curious about how much we packed, it greatly varied between me and my mom.

Since this was a five-day cruise, I felt I could get away with just a carry-on suitcase and a backpack. I was able to successfully pack everything I wanted in just these two items, mainly thanks to packing cubes.

packing cubes on a cruise
Angie's clothes on the bed

My mom on the other hand packed a 50-pound suitcase and a carry-on suitcase. No matter if it’s a 3-night cruise or a 12-night cruise, she will pack a large suitcase!

She packed around 70 pieces of clothing (including 15 pairs of socks!) while I packed about 25 total. While I wore most of what I packed, my mom found that she could’ve easily packed ⅓ less of what she brought. She admitted that she changed her outfits several times because she felt compelled to wear most of the items she packed!

Clothes in a cruise cabin

She also noted that she packed too many dressy tops, jackets, and t-shirts. She only packed three dresses, and she ended up wearing all of them rather than dressy tops and pants. Of the seven jackets she packed, she only wore three or four. I only packed one sweater and one jacket, and that was all I needed.

When it comes to packing, it’s important to minimize the amount of clothes you pack that get easily wrinkled. Remember: Irons and steamers are not allowed onboard.

Independence of the Seas interior cabin

You should also pack for comfort, especially shoes and pants. You will find that you walk a lot when you are on a cruise (especially on large ships) so comfortable, broke-in shoes are a must. You don't want blisters on your cruise.

Once again, we are not fashion consultants, but hopefully this blog can give you an idea of what cruise outfits to pack for your vacation!

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