What to Wear on the First Day of a Cruise

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The first day of a cruise can be exciting and overwhelming. You will either say goodbye to your luggage at your airline check-in or at the cruise check-in, and you won't see it again until later the first night. You've been told that dinners will be formal, yet you might be flying in that day and can't exactly wear a ball gown on a plane. How do you decide on a perfect "first day of vacation" outfit?

Attire for First Day's activities

  • This will be a busy day for travelers embarking upon a cruise. After traveling to the cruise ship, you'll board the ship, check out your room, then head up to the top deck for the festivities while the ship pulls away from port. It'll be wild and crazy, with lots of tropical drinks, festive music and happy faces excited for vacation. After the ship pulls away from port, people will begin to head to the dining room for their first meals on the ship.

    The cruise staff will take lots of pictures of you that first day--they'll be shooting you walking onto the ship, in the ship's atrium, on the pool deck and in the dining room. Keep this in mind when deciding what to wear. Wear something that's comfortable, yet you won't mind seeing in pictures after your return home.

    Some examples of daytime attire for woman include bermuda shorts, polo shirts, khaki pants , cotton skirts and sundresses. Some examples for men include khaki shorts and pants, polo shirts and button-downs. If you want to go swimming on the first day (the pool might not be open immediately), you'll want to throw a bathing suit into your carry-on bag. There are plenty of other activities to do on the first day--ship-touring, people-meeting and waving goodbye at the port.

Attire for the First Night's Dinner

  • The cruise ship staff probably will be understanding on the first day. They know that most guests have not received their luggage by the time dinner is served and that many people have been traveling all day. The staff aren't expecting people to arrive for dinner dressed to the nines, but there is an expectation that you'll come to the dining room as prepared as possible.

    According to Princess, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity Cruises, T-shirts, shorts, and bathing suits/pool attire are not allowed in the formal dining rooms at any time (tank tops are not allowed on some cruise lines, either). Because of these regulations, you'll want to pack a change of clothes in your carry-on to wear to dinner on the first evening. At the least, woman should wear nice pants with an appropriate top or a sundress, and men should wear khaki pants and a polo shirt.

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