What to Wear on a Formal Cruise Night

One of the most exciting things about taking a cruise is dressing up on Formal Nights. If you are wondering what to wear, or need some inspiration, here are some suggestions for how to look sophisticated at sea!

cruise photo

Dressing up for dinner is a cruise tradition. While many cruise lines have relaxed their dress codes over the years, most still give passengers the chance to get all decked out. On a 5–6 day cruise, there is typically one formal dress night. On a 7–13day cruise, there are usually two.


Formal Night Dress Code

Formal night dress guidelines call for a tux or dark suit for men, and a cocktail dress, full-length evening dress, or dressy separates for women. You can wear the same kind of thing on a formal cruise night that you would wear to a dressy evening wedding.

These special nights typically take place at the start of, and on the last night of the cruise. They are known as the Captain’s Welcome and Farewell Dinners. Although many people glam up, formal dress is optional, and there are always those who turn up to dinner dressed more casually. But that’s no fun! Instead, why not try an…

night dress black beauty women

1. Off the Shoulder Dress

An off-the-shoulder or halter-style cocktail dress that reveals your shoulders is alluring, exciting, and classy. It’s also the perfect style for hot, balmy nights on the ship.

off the shoulder dress

2. A Bright, Bold Colored Dress

Yes, you can wear black, or another dark color, but it’s likely hot out and you are on vacation, so why not look more festive? Lively pinks, bright blues, greens, and yellow are perky and fun on the Caribbean or Mediterranean cruise, or try a pretty, soft pastel if brights are not your thing.


Bold colored dress

3. Flowy Pantsuit

Light, airy separates that flow as you stroll the deck is another great way to look at shipshape. Choose a top and bottom in the same color for an elegant, slimming look, or go for a pretty print top with wide-leg chiffon pants.


Flowy Pantsuit

4. Lace and Sequins

A bit of embellishment is always gorgeous on a formal night at sea. Choose a lace dress, or a dress with sequins, or maybe one with a bit of both. Stick to a simple silhouette like a wrap style, or sheath dress to look modern, elegant, and appropriate.

5. Black and White

When in doubt, you can never go wrong with a dress or separates that combine black and white. It’s always a chic mix and works for any dress code.

Dressing up for a cruise Formal Night is sure to make you feel like a movie star walking the red carpet. You’ll gather in the lobby for pre-dinner cocktails, enjoy a photoshoot with our partner by a professional photographer, and then be ushered into the dining room for a special dinner featuring an elevated menu. The experience and memories of this night will last a lifetime. Who wouldn’t want to look their absolute best?

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