Ultimate Guide on Cruise-friendly Swimwear Selection


Cruises are a popular vacation choice for many people, offering the opportunity to explore different destinations while enjoying a range of activities and amenities onboard. One aspect of cruise vacations that often requires careful consideration is swimwear selection. Whether you’re planning to relax by the pool, participate in water sports, or simply soak up the sun on the deck, having the right swimwear is essential. In this ultimate guide, we will explore everything you need to know about cruise-friendly swimwear selection, from choosing the right style to understanding dress codes and packing tips.

Understanding Cruise Dress Codes

Before diving into swimwear selection, it’s important to have a clear understanding of cruise dress codes. Different cruise lines may have varying dress code policies, so it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the guidelines of your specific cruise. Here are some common dress codes you may encounter:

  • Casual: This is the most relaxed dress code and is typically applicable during the day and in certain areas of the ship. Swimwear is generally acceptable in designated pool and sunbathing areas.
  • Resort Casual: This dress code is usually required in the evenings and may be enforced in certain dining venues. Swimwear is not usually permitted in these areas.
  • Formal: Some cruises have formal nights where passengers are expected to dress up for dinner. Swimwear is not appropriate during these occasions.
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It’s important to note that dress codes can vary between cruise lines and even within different areas of the ship. Familiarize yourself with the specific guidelines to ensure you pack accordingly.

Choosing the Right Swimwear Style

When it comes to selecting cruise-friendly swimwear, there are several factors to consider, including comfort, style, and appropriateness. Here are some popular swimwear styles that are commonly seen on cruise ships:

  • One-Piece Swimsuits: One-piece swimsuits are a classic choice for cruise vacations. They offer coverage and support while still being stylish and comfortable. Look for designs with flattering cuts and patterns that suit your body type.
  • Bikinis: Bikinis are a popular choice for those who want to show off their figure and get a tan. Opt for styles that provide adequate support and coverage, especially if you plan to participate in water sports or activities.
  • Tankinis: Tankinis are a versatile option that combines the coverage of a one-piece swimsuit with the convenience of a bikini. They offer more coverage around the midsection and are great for those who want a bit more modesty.
  • Swim Dresses: Swim dresses are a feminine and elegant choice for cruise vacations. They provide coverage and often have built-in tummy control for a flattering fit. Look for designs with adjustable straps and built-in bras for added support.
  • Boardshorts: Boardshorts are a popular choice for men and women who prefer more coverage and a sporty look. They are great for water activities and offer UPF sun protection.

Packing Tips for Cruise Swimwear

When it comes to packing your cruise swimwear, it’s important to be strategic and consider the activities you plan to engage in during your vacation. Here are some tips to help you pack efficiently:

  • Check the Itinerary: Review your cruise itinerary to determine the types of activities you’ll be participating in. If you plan to spend a lot of time by the pool or on the beach, pack multiple swimsuits to ensure you always have a dry one available.
  • Consider Mix and Match: Opt for swimwear pieces that can be mixed and matched to create different looks. This allows you to pack fewer items while still having a variety of options.
  • Bring Cover-Ups: Don’t forget to pack cover-ups such as sarongs, kaftans, or beach dresses. These can be worn over your swimwear when walking around the ship or going to and from the pool or beach.
  • Don’t Forget Accessories: Remember to pack essential accessories such as hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun’s rays.
  • Consider Laundry Facilities: If your cruise ship offers laundry facilities, you can pack fewer swimsuits and simply wash and reuse them during your trip.
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Can I wear a bikini on a cruise?

Yes, you can wear a bikini on a cruise, especially in designated pool and sunbathing areas. However, it’s important to check the dress code guidelines of your specific cruise line to ensure that bikinis are allowed in other areas of the ship.

Can I wear a one-piece swimsuit on a cruise?

Absolutely! One-piece swimsuits are a popular choice for cruise vacations. They offer coverage and support while still being stylish and comfortable. Look for designs that flatter your body type and make you feel confident.

What swimwear should I pack for a formal night on a cruise?

For formal nights on a cruise, swimwear is not appropriate. Instead, opt for elegant evening wear such as cocktail dresses or suits for women and suits or tuxedos for men.

Can I wear boardshorts on a cruise?

Yes, boardshorts are a great option for both men and women who prefer more coverage and a sporty look. They are especially suitable for water activities and offer UPF sun protection.


Choosing the right swimwear for your cruise vacation is essential for both comfort and style. By understanding the dress codes of your specific cruise line and considering the activities you plan to engage in, you can select the perfect swimwear that meets both your needs and the guidelines of the cruise. Remember to pack strategically, bring cover-ups and accessories, and always check the dress code policies to ensure a smooth and enjoyable cruise experience.