cruise outfits

Cruise Outfits | What to Pack for a Caribbean Cruise

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If you saw this post, then you’ll see all the outfits I wore on my Caribbean cruise in partnership with Carnival! Now, as a fashion blogger, I pack a little bit differently for trips than I used to. Versatile and chic pieces are always at the forefront, but I do bring more for the sake of content. But in this post, I’m going to focus more on the practical clothing items you should pack for a Caribbean cruise and cruise outfits to wear around the ship.

Though if you want to see what I wore at each cruise stop then head to the destination posts below!

Half Moon Cay | Grand Turk | Nassau | Miami

What to Pack for a Caribbean Cruise

Pack cute & light outerwear- dress in layers

Mornings on the ship can start off chilly, but when it starts to hit midmorning/afternoon time you’ll start roasting. Come evening and you’re chilly again! Not to mention the strong wind you’ll feel when you walk to the top deck! Save yourself a million trips going back to your cabin and wear layers that complement your outfit and can easily be shed or put back on.

Ideas: denim jacket (I like the relaxed fit of this one), crochet/open-knit sweater (like this or this), kimono (love the classic stripes here or here are some fun colors), light cardigan (this one is very classic)

At least one dressier look

Having a dress-up night in the dining room is still a thing, though it’s not enforced. But still, it’s fun to dress up! On my trip, people wore anything from sundresses to bridesmaid dresses. If in doubt or if you’re trying to pack light, at least bring a pair of espadrilles or a shoe with a heel or wedge to elevate your whole look.
*Just make sure you check your ship’s itinerary to see if and when your dress-up night is and if there are any restrictions

Swimsuits to wear under clothes

I liked wearing my swimsuit under my clothes because you never know when you’ll feel like laying out or getting some sun!

My favorite outfit combo was a two-piece swimsuit with a crochet top or linen shirt over it (wore that here). If I felt like getting some sun then I could take my top off, already having a swimsuit on underneath. Before your day begins, try to think ahead of what you’ll wear that day so you are prepared and don’t have to make tons of trips back to your cabin. Saving time and effort is a theme in this post because cruise ships are big and you don’t want to waste any precious sun time going back and forth!

For example, if you’re going to wear a crop top that day, then obviously a one-piece swimsuit will look a little funny underneath it. You’ll want a cute two-piece suit to wear instead, or a swimsuit top that doubles as a top. I wore that here. But if your swimsuit of choice is a one-piece, then you’ll want an easy button dress to wear over it like this! I hope that makes sense!

Pack a versatile shoulder bag

I’m not one to walk around with a lanyard on my neck, and if you’re the same way, you’ll thank yourself if you bring something cute to carry your stuff in. This saves many trips back and forth to your cabin. You’ll probably have your ship card (most importantly), a book, phone, sunscreen, chapstick, wallet, etc. Make sure it’s something versatile and easy to carry!

Ideas: straw bag (this one is cute), cute belt bag (adorable!), straw backpack (love this one)

Pack linen pieces

Linen is perfect for a tropical vacation and especially a cruise. It’s lightweight, chic, and you don’t have to worry about wrinkles. As in, you’ll wrinkle, but that’s what linen does so you don’t have to worry about it! It just adds to the vacay charm.

Ideas: These pants are such a great price and come in many colors, this dress looks super versatile, and these look super comfy!

Fashionable coverups

Though many people walk around in their swimsuit all day, you’ll need a coverup to get into some dining places. Try to bring something that will add to your outfit instead of taking away from it (i.e, don’t wear your hubby’s oversized t-shirt). When done right, a swimsuit coverup will add to your outfit or even become the outfit itself!

Ideas: crochet/open-knit sweater over a bikini top (like this one), kimono that can belt and become a dress (like this-so cute!), oversized shirt dress (this one has SO many colors), or an easy, breezy button dress (this one looks versatile)!

Straw hats & sunglasses

Straw hats & sunglasses are not just an accessory…they’re very much needed. That tropical sun is strong, especially on the top deck! Stay protected and look cute by bringing a couple of hats & sunglasses options. They will double as part of your outfit when you get off the cruise port too! If you get bored of your hat, you can still go hands-free with hats like these!

Comfy {and stylish} shoes

This tip is nothing new of course, but you’ll want some comfy shoes! This doesn’t have to mean tennis shoes though! I’ve found crazy comfy sandals at Tjmaxx before and wore them all throughout my Europe travels and they carried me through the Caribbean too. I wish I could link them, but I can’t. Point is, keep comfort in mind for walking all throughout the ship and cruise ports, but don’t think it means you have to sacrifice style. Clarks, Teva, and Birkenstocks are known for being comfortable. Keep in mind that not all comfy sandals are cute though!

Versatile pieces

If you check out this post you’ll see how you can pack for a beach vacation using just a carry-on! Ideally, the majority of your pieces can be worn at least two different ways & times. For example, I have a swimsuit top that I wore 3+ times….as a swimsuit, as a stand-alone top, and under a sweater! Two-piece outfits are great because you can mix and match those pieces with other things in your suitcase as well as wear them on their own. Denim shorts are basic enough to be worn again and again. Of course, you should pack some fun, flirty sundresses, but don’t make your suitcase full of them!

I’m condensing everything I talked about in a graphic below. Feel free to pin it and save it for later!

what to pack caribbean cruise
What to Pack for a Caribbean Cruise

Of course, you know all the basic things you should pack like a toothbrush, comb, passport, etc. But I hope this post helped you put your outfits together!

Happy cruising! Check out my cruise shopping list/wish list for more inspo!

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pack for a caribbean cruise
What to Pack for a Caribbean Cruise


Founder and editor of My Chic Obsession, Carolyn is your trusted fashion maven. Carolyn's drive to help others achieve a classic and timeless wardrobe fuels her posts, making a go-to resource for style seekers worldwide. Beyond the wardrobe, she resides in the heartland of the Midwest, dreaming up new ideas and raising her two lively boys - her biggest fashion critics.