Cruise Tips10 Things You’re Not Supposed to Wear on a Cruise

10 Things You’re Not Supposed to Wear on a Cruise

If you’re about to go on a cruise there are certain articles of clothing you’re better off leaving at home.   Here are 10 things to leave out of your suitcase.

Carnival Imagination at sea showing loungers on sun deck

It doesn’t matter if you are packing for your first cruise or your tenth cruise, packing can be stressful.

Maybe you pack at the last minute, hurriedly throwing your clothes into your suitcase with only a few hours to spare.  You might be the type that makes a packing list weeks in advance and meticulously check off the boxes as you fill your luggage.

Either way, there are a few things that shouldn’t make their way into your suitcase. A few things should be taken, but take extra care when and where you decide to wear them.

Some cruise lines have very strict dress codes, while others are more relaxed. Be sure to check with your choice of cruise line for specifics, but the list below gives you a general idea of things one shouldn’t try to fit into their weekly wardrobe schedule.

Keep reading for our suggestions on what you should avoid wearing on your next cruise vacation.

Related: 10 things you CAN pack for a cruise but shouldn’t


1. Baseball caps and gym shorts in the dining room

Do not wear gym shorts or baseball caps in the dining room on a cruise

Even on the more casual cruise lines, there is proper clothing etiquette that must be adhered to for dinner. After all, it is a dining room, not a fast food establishment.

Baseball caps and casual shorts are not usually welcome in the main dining room.  Sure, many still get away with it, and on some cruise lines it will be more common.  But as a general rule you should leave these items in your stateroom.

Each dining room has a dress code that the Maitre’d enforces. If you are wearing a prohibited item, the Maitre’d will likely let you know and he will not allow you to enter the dining room.

Of course, we’ve all been on cruises where baseball caps are worn and nothing is really done about it.

But it is best to keep your gym wear and baseball caps in your cabin. It is highly encouraged to wear these items to the gym, on the deck, or while visiting a port.


What should I wear?

Avoid baseball caps and style your hair as you would normally. A nice pair of slacks or khakis will suffice.

Related: Cruise ship room service and what each line charges


2. Offensive language and graphics

Please have consideration for your fellow cruisers when choosing your wardrobe for the week.

Most cruise lines will have children onboard and offensive language, as well as offensive graphics is simply not okay. 

If you are considering a t-shirt that has curse words, inappropriate language or nudity on it, put it back into your closet at home.


What should I wear? 

Bring family-friendly clothing that is comfortable and weather appropriate.


3. Wearing camouflage in the Caribbean

People wearing camo clothing

While camouflage can be a fashionable item, it is best to leave it at home if you are planning to visit certain countries in the Caribbean.

Some countries consider wearing camouflage disrespectful if worn by tourists/civilians.  And in some of these countries it’s actually illegal to wear camo clothing or accessories.

Only officials and military are allowed to wear it and it can be considered as imitating an official if you decide to break this rule.

Always remember–You are visiting their country and abiding by their rules is a must.

Do not wear camouflage off the ship in the following countries:

  • Barbados
  • Antigua
  • Jamaica
  • Grenada
  • St. Lucia
  • Bahamas
  • Trinidad and Tobago


What should I wear? 

Wear comfortable clothing while in port. The Caribbean is usually warm and tropical, so wear clothing that is warm weather appropriate. A good pair of shoes is a must.

Related10 things you should never do in your cruise cabin


4. Overly revealing clothing and bathing suits

While it’s important to always wear clothing on a cruise, it’s equally important to wear enough clothing!

When choosing the clothing for your cruise, be sure that it is appropriate and covers enough skin.

Bathing suits are highly encouraged, but be sure that it is a suit that covers appropriately. Thongs and scantily clad tops are really not the best option for a family cruise atmosphere.

This same rule should be followed for regular clothing. Be sure to wear clothing that isn’t see-through or cut so low that it becomes revealing.


5. No swimwear in the dining room

When you start to make your cruise packing list, be sure to include plenty of clothing for the dining room. Dining in the evenings is an experience and there is a dress code that goes along with it.

Before heading to the dining room, be sure that you are not wearing your pool attire from your day spent on the sun deck. Throwing on a cover-up over a bathing suit isn’t a great idea either. Beach flip flops are highly frowned upon, too.

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Take the extra time to go back to your cabin and get ready for this nightly event, if you choose to do so. If you arrive wearing your swimsuit, be prepared for the Maitre’d to turn you away.

You may choose to eat in the dining room for breakfast or lunch and that will usually allow for slightly looser clothing restrictions, but still no swimwear. 


What should I wear? 

For men, slacks and khakis are fine. Nice jeans are sometimes okay, depending on the cruise line. For the ladies, slacks, a dress, or skirt is perfectly acceptable.

Elegant Nights are usually more strict. Be sure to check with your cruise line.

Related: 15 Things people always forget to bring on a cruise


6. Avoid flip flops in the gym

Various flip flips and slip ons which are not allowed in a gym on a cruise ship

If you choose to partake in activities at the onboard gym, be sure to pack plenty of appropriate clothing and shoes.

A variety of athletic wear is welcome, such as: t-shirts, basketball shorts, yoga pants, and closed toe shoes.

Always be sure that you have sneakers at the gym, in order to provide the support you need and avoid an injury. Plus, no one really wants to stare at your feet while they work out.

I’ve been in many gyms on cruise ships that require closed toe shoes and this is usually enforced.  The same goes with wearing shoes on the basketball or volleyball court.

Actually, with pickleball being more common on cruise ships you should wear sneakers on this court as well.

If you forget to pack sneakers, you should probably go to the gym when you get back home. Don’t risk an injury while on vacation.


What should I wear? 

Wear comfortable athletic wear and sneakers with support.


7. Keep your robe and pajamas in your cabin

If you have been on at least one cruise, you are probably aware that robes are provided in some cabins. Putting on a comfy, plush robe after a long day and warm shower sounds heavenly.

Lounging in your robe and pajamas, while on your private balcony is a good choice. This is the perfect time to unwind with a cocktail and a beautiful sunset.

Cruises are your escape and time to relax. Be comfortable in your cabin and on your private balcony. The robes are there for your relaxation, while in your cabin.

Some may want to wear their robes to the pool, which is generally acceptable. You are all but guaranteed to be rejected from the dining room if you attempt to wear a robe to dinner.


What should I wear? 

Many women choose to wear a cover-up, sun dress or a towel over their swimwear, when walking to the pool. Most of the guys will wear a t-shirt with their suits.

Related10 things you should never do in your cruise cabin


8. Clothing that isn’t weather appropriate

Be sure to watch the weather forecast before packing for your cruise. Make sure that you have plenty of comfortable clothing that will be appropriate for the weather that you will experience on your trip.

If you are going on a Caribbean cruise, chances are that you will have tropical, hot weather to deal with. Shorts, t-shirts and swimwear are appropriate during the day.

Alaskan cruises and European cruises can be quite different. These climates tend to be much cooler at times. You will want to pack warmer clothing and outfits with layers.


What should I wear? 

Check the weather before you leave and pack for the temperatures expected. Even though Caribbean cruises tend to be hot, a light jacket is a good idea to have onboard. Many of the venues, shops, and theaters tend to have colder temperatures.


9. Speedos – Just Don’t Do It !

Though highly debated and popular to many, the Speedo remains a common sight on cruise ships. You’re guaranteed to see at least one person per cruise wearing a Speedo.

While not an official rule, Speedos are generally not your best bet on a family-oriented cruise.

In keeping with a family atmosphere and not being too revealing, other options exist that will be more appropriate for all.


What should I wear? 

Consider “board shorts” or a medium-length pair of swim trunks.


10.  Avoid going Au Natural

While technically not a piece of clothing, this one may be the most important of all.

It’s never okay to go without clothing while on a cruise.

Sure. There are some specialty cruises that allow you to “bare it all” but as a general rule, just don’t do it.

Gone are the days when every cruise line had a topless deck. This does still exist, but typically on an adults-only cruise. Please be considerate of others and bring appropriate attire for all times of the day and occasions while cruising.


What should I wear? 

Feel free to pack clothing for your cruise that is appropriate and comfortable. Bring casual clothing and maybe a mix of formal wear for dinner. Pool wear is great for sunning and comfortable shoes are a must.


We hope that our list is helpful when planning your cruise vacation. Relax, enjoy, and try not to stress about your packing list too much.

Trust your instincts and enjoy your cruise!

Related: 10 things you CAN pack for a cruise but shouldn’t

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Kristi Sellers
Kristi Sellers
Kristi took her first cruise when she was 12 years old and is currently planning her 20th. When she isn’t cruising, she loves to visit the Smoky Mountains. Kristi lives in Alabama with her husband and fur baby, Chico.
Cruise Tips10 Things You’re Not Supposed to Wear on a Cruise


  1. Did a Christmas cruise on Carnival Panorama. During Christmas diner, a family all wore pajamas to the MDR which I believe was formal night. Everyone else was dressed appropriately. I can’t believe the host didn’t say anything to them. That was the last time we travelled with Carnival.

  2. Billy Bobs often wear backward facing baseball caps in the dining room, but on formal night, they put the hat on with the brim facing forward.

  3. Jewelry: when going through security metal detectors or walking around town
    Strong perfume or cologne at restaurants
    Clothing adorned with political slogans or naming your favorite politician; or any symbols that might be considered hateful or offensive to others on the cruise or in foreign countries
    Unstable or uncomfortable shoes

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