12 High-Sea Vacation Outfits to Take You From Boat to Beach (and Beyond)

Updated 07/24/18

Cruises can get a bad reputation. But with the proliferation of smaller boutique cruises, the prospect of spending your days at sea hopping from place to place doesn't seem so bad. Imagine only having to unpack your suitcase once as you hop the Greek Islands, or getting off the grid somewhere in the Caribbean sea. Some cruises even take you around the world. Not so bad, right?

Mix up your days of excursions with others spent lazily soaking up the sun on the deck, trying cooking lessons, going to cabaret nights, or even attending formal gala nights—on higher-end luxury cruises. Imagine you're on the Titanic (sans iceberg, of course). Lull yourself to sleep with the sounds of waves crashing against the ship. There's something inherently romantic about being on the high seas.

If you're ready to give the cruising life a chance, what comes next is what to pack. With land adventures ranging from excursions to beach days and cities to explore, plus days on the ship spent going from the pool to the buffet, you'll need versatile pieces to take you from one place to the next. Ahead we rounded up our favorite cruise outfit ideas inspired by our favorite fashion girls.

For the Pool Deck

Cruise Outfit Ideas

Elevate your simple pool deck bikini outfit with a printed kimono, wide-leg pants, and slides for a look that's both casual and elegant.

The recipe: Bikini + Kimono + Pool Slides

Sunset Floral-print Silk-chiffon Kimono
Paloma Blue Sunset Floral-Print Silk-Chiffon Kimono $490

Available in sizes S to L.

For Hitting the Buffet

Cruise Outfits

Wide-leg pants are ideal for a run through the ship's buffet because they'll leave room for you to indulge—as you should. Pair with a white linen shirt and simple sandals.

The recipe: Wide-Leg Pants + Linen Shirt + Flat Sandals

Pleated Seersucker Wide-leg Pants
Victoria by Victoria Beckham Pleated Seersucker Wide-Leg Pants $640 $192

Available in sizes UK4 to UK14.

For Visiting a New City

Best Cruise Outfits

Unless you are on an Alaskan cruise, city destinations tend to be hot, especially in summer months. Exit the ship in a linen shirt-and-shorts combo, comfortable flats, and Lolita sunglasses (for a dramatic effect).

The recipe: Linen Belted Shorts + Flat Mules + Lolita Sunglasses

Crap Eyewear Wild Gift Sunglasses $79

For Days At Sea

Cruise Outfit Ideas 2018

Cruises notoriously have entire days at sea, but taking advantage of the pool deck is the ideal way to spend a day at sea. Throw on a statement one-piece swimsuit with a wrap midi skirt, and finish it off with a waterproof clear handbag.

The recipe: One-Piece Swimsuit + Midi Wrap Skirt + Clear Handbag

clear and black shirley PVC and leather tote
Staud Clear and Black Shirley PVC and Leather Tote $258

For Going on Excursions

Summer Cruise Outfits

Are you headed off the ship to explore Mayan ruins or Grecian architectural sites? A simple cotton midi skirt with a white T-shirt and espadrilles is the perfect outfit. Don't forget a wide-brim hat to protect your skin from the sun and a camera bag for snapping great shots!

The recipe: Cotton Midi Skirt + White T-Shirt + Espadrilles

Kamille Stretch-cotton Twill Midi Skirt
Sea Kamille Stretch-Cotton Twill Midi Skirt $380

Available in sizes 0 to 10.

For the Ship's Cabaret

Summer Cruise Outfit Ideas

A simple maxi dress will take you from day to night on the cruise ship—simply swap footwear! Embellished flat mules will help you keep your foot steady aboard while still looking chic.

The recipe: Ruffled Maxi Dress + Embellished Mules + Dainty Jewelry

Loeffler Randall Lilly Flat Slides $395

Available in sizes 5 to 11.5.

For Ocean Excursions

Caribbean Cruise Outfit Ideas

Are you headed out on a catamaran, a jet-ski, a whale watching excursion? Pair a simple black bikini with a white linen shirt for a classic look. Finish off with your white Lolita sunglasses, denim shorts, and practical pool slides.

The recipe: Black Bikini + White Linen Shirt + Pool Slides

Boyfriend linen shirt
Asceno Boyfriend Linen Shirt $235

Available in sizes S to L.

For Formal Night

Formal Cruise Outfit Ideas

Some cruise ships, like Queen Elizabeth II, have a formal night, where everyone is required to wear gowns and tuxedos, so do your research ahead of time. If you do have a formal night planned on your cruise, we recommend an embellished naked gown, a simple crossbody bag, and kitten heels.

The recipe: Embellished Naked Gown + Crossbody Bag + Kitten Heels

Embellished Embroidered Tulle Gown
Needle & Thread Embellished Embroidered Tulle Gown $1000

Available in sizes UK4 to UK16.

For Beach Days

Beach Cruise Outfit Ideas

The perfect beach day excursion starts with a sunny yellow bikini and a snorkeling mask. Bring a simple coverup, flat sandals, and a basket bag to complete the look.

The recipe: Yellow Bikini + Beach Coverup + Flat Sandals

Lindsay And Isabeli Shirred Floral-print Bikini
Faithfull the Brand Lindsay And Isabeli Shirred Floral-Print Bikini $180

Available in sizes XS to L.

For Date Night

Cruise Date Night Outfits

Have a special date night planned on the ship? This stunning yellow seashell midi dress is just casual yet elegant enough for a romantic evening at sea. Pair with comfortable heels and a nautical bucket bag.

The recipe: Yello Midi Dress + Comfortable Heels + Bucket Bag

Majorelle Seashell Midi Dress $178

Available in sizes XXS to XL.

For Sunset Drinks

Cruise Outfits 2018

Even the steadiest of cruise ships can get a little rocky on the high seas, so a block heel is always preferable to a stiletto. For a sunset cocktail, pair an off-the-shoulder top with high-waisted culottes and a simple white block heel.

The recipe: Off-the-Shoulder Top + High-Waisted Pants + Block Heels

Gucci Marmont Logo-Embellished Leather Sandals $730

Available in sizes IT34 to IT42.

Next up: These are the seven most popular Zara pieces of summer 2018.

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