Men's Capsule Wardrobe for a Cruise Vacation

Cruising capsule wardrobe for men

Cruising capsule wardrobe for men

Active day out in cool weather

Wear for an active day out in cool weather

Active day out in warm weather

Wear for an active day out in warm weather

Casual day exploring

Wear for a casual day exploring

Outfit for the beach or pool

Outfit for the beach or lazing by the pool

Wear on a cool day at sea

Wear on a cool day at sea

Outfit for casual dining

Outfit for casual dining

Alternative wear for casual evenings

Alternative wear for casual evenings

Wear for casual dining

Wear for casual dining

Wear for smart or formal dining

Wear for smart or formal dining

Things to Consider

  • Your clothing choices will depend on your ports of call and the likely weather conditions.
  • For cruising in hotter climes opt for shorts and short-sleeved shirts in light natural fabrics.
  • In cooler destinations you'll prefer pants, long-sleeved shirts and jackets in thicker weights.
  • Clever layering is the best way to cope with changeable weather conditions - e.g. wear a jacket over a fleece, over a t-shirt.
  • Consider the activities you plan to do off ship - will you need particular clothing or footwear?
  • Check the evening dress codes - these vary between cruise line and ship and may be strictly enforced. Sports and beach wear is generally not allowed in the evenings, and jackets and ties may be required on formal nights.
  • The amount of food you can eat on a cruise is all part of the appeal; we recommend you pack clothes with comfortable waistbands!
  • Pick a simple color scheme of neutrals plus one or two statement shades if you like. Make sure all your clothes co-ordinate so they can be mixed and matched.
  • Remember you will need an outfit to travel in! Wear your bulkiest clothes and shoes where possible.
  • Download our complete packing list below for all quantities and a checklist of items.
  • Also see our Cruise Capsule Wardrobe for Women

What We Would Pack For A Cruise

Casual pants

Casual Pants or Shorts

These should be practical for days out. Consider the type of activities you will do - are they city-based or more rural/active? Choose fabrics that dry quickly in case of rain. Styles with detachable legs are a good option for varied temperatures. You might opt for shorts in hotter climes, but pants are good protection against sun and insects.

Suggested buy: Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pant by Amazon

Smart-casual pants

Smart-Casual Pants

Choose a pair that are comfy for day wear (team with a t-shirt and walking shoes) but can also be worn to dinner with smart shoes and a shirt. Smart dark jeans would work well, or try a lighter Chino style in warmer weather. On some ships men are required to wear long pants (not shorts) in the evenings.

Suggested buy: AG 'Protégé' Straight Leg Twill Pants by Nordstrom

Tailored shorts

Tailored Shorts

For warmer weather add in another pair of shorts. Make them tailored as an option for casual evening wear where permitted.

Suggested buy: RVCA Flat Front Twill Shorts by Nordstrom

Casual top

Casual Tops

Pack simple tops in your favorite colors that will match your pants and shorts. Collared t-shirts or shirts can be worn for casual evenings, then wear by day for sightseeing. Depending on the climate choose from long or short-sleeved, or a mixture.

Suggested buy: Fruit of the Loom Cotton Polo Shirt by Amazon

Smart shirt

Smart Shirts

Choose smart shirts that can be dressed down with jeans or up with pants. Short sleeved are fine in warmer weather, but don't forget a dress shirt or similar if you're taking a tuxedo or suit (see below).

Suggested buy: Russell Long Sleeve Fitted Shirt by Amazon


Fleece or Light Sweater

Even in hot weather the breezes can make it feel cool when sailing, whilst inside the air-con can also be chilly. A fleece is light, cosy and packs well - or opt for a smart sweater if that's more your style.

Suggested buy: The North Face Glacier 1/4 Zip Fleece by Amazon


Sport Jacket

Some cruise lines have a 'smart' dress code between casual and formal. On these nights a sport jacket may be required (with or without a tie). Team it with your smart-casual pants and deck shoes. You may opt for this look on 'casual' nights too.

Suggested buy: Trim Fit Graph Print Blazer by Nordstrom

Formal suit

Tuxedo or Suit

For formal nights a tuxedo is the norm - these can usually be hired on board if you don't want to pack one. Any dark suit would also be acceptable. You can eat in the buffet restaurants if you prefer not to get dressed up, but be aware you may turned away from other parts of the ship. It varies by cruise line, so do check before you go if you don't want to miss out on anything.

Suggested buy: 2 Button Eveningwear Jacket by Marks & Spencer


Tie & Cufflinks

If you're packing your suit and formal shirt, don't forget a tie or bow tie, cufflinks and any other accessories you wish to go with it. A regular tie is always handy to pack for other evenings too - just in case.

Suggested buy: Silver Wave Cufflinks by TM Lewin

Hotter Major Shoes

Smart Shoes

Pack one formal pair to go with your suit. We love Hotter shoes which are really lightweight and comfy, even on warm evenings.

Suggested buy: Tobago Shoes by Hotter

Hotter Thor Shoes

Walking Shoes or Sneakers

If you plan to do lots of walking on shore you'll need some active shoes. Closed-toe are best on dusty roads, and if you're heading off the beaten track do make sure you have something sturdy and supportive that are suited to the terrain.

Suggested buy: Thor Shoes by Hotter

Hotter Port Shoes

Deck Shoes

Take some non-slip comfy flats for daytime on deck, easy exploring off ship, and casual evenings.

Suggested buy: Tobago Shoes by Hotter

Canvas Breezy Sun Hat


Essential for sun protection in hot weather or to keep out the cold and wet in cooler regions. It's usually windy at sea, so choose a style that stays on securely - our Breezy Sun Hat features a chin strap, so it's great for outdoor pursuits.

Buy from us! Canvas Breezy Sun Hat by WhatToWearOnHoliday



It's extremely bright at sea when the sun's out as the rays reflect off the water. If you want to admire the views then sunglasses are essential.

Suggested buy: Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer by Amazon



Good sunscreen is essential in hotter climes, and don't get caught out on cloudy days either - you can still get burnt. Remember that water will reflect the sun's rays too. Choose a product with a high SPF (protects from UVB rays) and also look for the star or PA rating which indicates protection from UVA.

Suggested buy: SPF 30 PA+++ Water Resistant Sunscreen by Murad

Packaway rain jacket

Packaway Jacket

A light packaway raincoat is a good idea to carry with you on day trips - it's ideal in case the weather changes quickly or you experience a sudden downpour. You can layer up underneath for warmth if necessary, or opt for a more substantial jacket in cooler climes.

Suggested buy: Result Waterproof Jacket by Amazon

Swim shorts


Essential for lazy days of sun-bathing, by the ship's pool or in beach destinations.

Suggested buy: Sandbar Swim Trunks by MaddaFella

Fold Away Day Sack

Day Sack

You'll need a lightweight bag for all your sightseeing essentials. Our packaway day sack folds up into itself and fits easily in your suitcase when not in use. It's surprisingly roomy, showerproof and light to carry - even in hot weather.

Buy from us! Fold Away Day Sack by WhatToWearOnHoliday

Get a Full Packing List for a cruise Vacation

Our Members can download a suggested packing list for a cruise Vacation which covers ladies' and men's clothes for all seasons, plus a checklist for must-take items. Sign up or log in below.

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