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Women’s Travel Cruise Wear Online – Chicks Over 40 or 50

what to wear on a cruise

Daytime Cruise Wear

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Night Time Cruise Wear for Women

A black or navy dress is perfect for formal nights or for smart casual nights.  If you pack a simple style, you can wear the same dress more than once by tricking out your look in different ways with various sets of costume jewelry and accessories.  Any elegant outfit with slacks can be worn instead of a skirt or a dress, even for formal nights.

cruise tips article clothing

A Simple Dress is Perfect

Many of you love to tart yourself up with long, elegant formal gowns embellished with beading and rhinestones.  And, if you want to show off your wardrobe, the sky’s the limit.  However, I’ve seen everything from Oscar-worthy gowns to extremely modest black pantsuits on formal nights on the same ship.  On the other hand, I want you to remember that you will never be barred entry for being overdressed, but you might feel out of place if everyone looks better than you do.

Check the Cruise Critic forums to find out what former (and future) passengers have worn on your particular ship.  Note: Some upscale lines (and hybrid lines like Oceania) do not have formal nights, but passengers will be well dressed in “smart casual” outfits.  The distinction is that women will be wearing shorter dresses (or wearing trousers) rather than gowns.  Note: Smart, as used in the UK, means sharp, stylish, chic, or fashionable.

I love to wear shoes with (sturdy) high heels, however most women wear flats if there are swells over a few feet.  And, you should always be prepared by packing evening footwear geared for surviving stormy seas.  Flat sandals will almost always work.

Outfits for Ports and Excursions

In most ports, it’s fine to wear the same daytime nautical clothing that you wear at sea.  However, sometimes your seaboard outfits won’t translate well on land.  For Europe, you might want to wear skirts or dresses for sightseeing.  For Hawaii or Baja Mexico, bring brighter, tropical (but not cornball) resort wear.  You can go even brighter in the Caribbean.  Everyday jeans and jackets are perfect for Alaskan ports.  But, as always, make sure your excursion shoes are well broken in.

Good Sites for Cruise Wear

Here are a few of the many good sites for great cruise wear, however look for similar styles in less (or more) expensive options at other online stores.

No, that is not a typo. Sometimes, women who are over 40 or 50 need to find similar items that are a bit more expensive. It just depends on the occasion...and on the woman's level of fitness. Yes, it's sad, but true...and I'm one of those chicks who sometimes needs to spend a bit more than my thinner pals.

  • Nautica: Nautica has perfect clothing for daytime and smart casual evenings.  I love the striped (Breton) tops.
  • Nordies: I've been shopping at Nordie's since I was in kindergarten... when they only sold shoes. I can usually find something at my go-to store.
  • Travel  Smith: I wear their Indispensible Travel Dresses for day or evening. I wear them at home when I'm running errands. My favorite lightweight dress is their Voyager Knit Dress with bias seams. It has a good drape and looks more expensive than it is. It's good for day or evening.
read about cruise daytime wear

Simple Plus Size Dress for Cruise

If you have not won the lottery:

  • Nordstrom's Rack: As I've said before, I'm from Seattle. Nordstrom's is a good store.
  • Old Navy: Believe it or not, I find a lot of good daytime cruise tops at Old Navy. Who... moi? I like their T-shirts. If you're traveling and you lose them, who cares? They cost about as much as a Vente Frappuchino.

If you haven’t discovered the fun of cruising, you might not know that some outfits, which look great on land, can look a bit odd at sea; and some things, like white capris, can look fine aboard ship, even though those same capris can look tacky on land.  But, in reality, there are no cruise-wear NAZIs.  If you can’t afford new outfits, that’s no excuse for staying home.  The most important thing is that you have a fabulous time, and the main thing people will remember is your smile.

More Articles:

How to Wear a Peplum If You Have Curves

23 Trendy Plus Size Clothing Sites for Large Women: Sizes 1x - 12x

How to Wear Leggings if You're Over 40 or 50

Best Swimsuits for Women over 40 & 50

nautical cruise clothing

Main Photo: Nautical Clothing

Photo Credits: Prshots.com

  • Main Photo: Long Tall Sally.
  • Plus Size Cruise Travel: Asos, summer 2015.
  • Cruise Outfits for Women over 40 50 60: Simply Be.
  • 3 Kinds of Cruise Outfits: 50 Plus.
  • Daytime Cruise Wear: Asos, summer 2015.
  • A Simple Dress is Perfect: Fashion World.
  • Simple Plus Size Dress for Cruise: Asos.
  • (If you're looking for a photo that's no longer here, try Heatons, Marisota, Dunnes, or Laredoute.)

What do you think of this article? Leave a comment at the bottom of the page. It won't show up until I get to it. Thanks, Tina

Tina Boomerina (AKA Christina Gregoire) is a Baby Boomer born at the end of 1952. Her mission is to make the internet a kinder and gentler place for Baby Boomer women around the world. Tina's specialty is fashion for women over 50.

Follow Me on Pinterest Follow My Boomer Lifestyle Blog on facebook

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  3. Francesca

    I am not a "joiner", but your website and articles are great! Keep,it up for us OVER 60s, too!

  4. Kbs

    Hi, thanks for your comment. I am cruising to Europe this May. I am in my 60's could use help in packing stylish items, both for day and night. Any suggestions would be helpful....Thank you. Kbs

  5. Beach Stuff Shop

    Hi Tina-Boomerina,

    We love your website at Beach Stuff Shop. We sell beach wear, resort and cruise wear for women so this and other articles on your site will help our customers a lot. We will share some of your articles on Facebook and if ok on our website too.


    • Tina-Boomerina

      Beach Stuff Shop,

      Just hit the Facebook button at the bottom of the article. To post on your site, I would like you to follow the standard procedure: Post the first 50-ish words (first paragraph or two) and then leave a link to my page to read more.

      Thanks so much for asking. I really appreciate it.

      Tina Boomerina

  6. Beverly Kimball

    I am 79 years old and my niece is taking me on a cruise Nov. 1 for 6 days. I can't walk far and will be using a scooter some of the time. I don't know what to wear. I am a size W18p (5") Where do I look for that size?

    • Tina-Boomerina


      I answered your question below. I don't think you'd want to wear a dress or skirt on a scooter... I think you'd have to ride side-saddle.

      Lots of people on cruises use scooters and wheelchairs. If you want to wear a dress for a dress-up night (formal night... when they take photos), you could use one of their wheelchairs. You should contact someone and ask how you get one. You might have to rent it from the cruise ship.

      Other than that, cruising is the best way to travel if you can't climb trees (or stairs) like you did when you were a kid.

      You'll have a smashing time.


  7. Beverly Kimball

    I am 79 years old and my niece is taking me on a cruise Nov. 1 for 6 days. I can't walk far and will be using a scooter some of the time. I don't know what to wear. I am a size W18p (5") Where do I look for that size? Are slacks appropriate in the evening with a fancy blouse?

    • Tina-Boomerina


      I'm sorry for the delay. I had tech problems and it took me over a week to fix them.

      Yes, you can most definitely wear slacks in the evening on a cruise. Women do that all the time. I'll be right back with some ideas.

    • Tina-Boomerina

      I would take a look at these:

      Sejour Curvy Fit Pants (Plus Size & Petite Plus) at Nordstrom.com. Click the button that says Petite Plus if you want a shorter pair of pants. I would get black or navy. The pants don't need to be fancy if you have a sparkly top. To see more options, go to the search box and type: petite plus.

      Another place to try would be Talbot's. They have Woman Petite Sizes 12WP - 22WP.


      I bought my clothes for my river cruise to China at Draper's and I think they may go up to you're size. I'll email you with some links. I don't always have time to do that these days, but I'll help you.

      ACTUALLY, after looking around online to send you some links, I've decided to write an article about how to find plus-size petite clothing for a cruise. Thanks for your idea. I'm a "professional" (haha) online shopper and it took me a while to find the right stores and the right way to shop for this body type. If I'm having a hard time, everyone is having a hard time. Finding stuff online is my job. I'll post a link here when I finish the article... and for you, Beverly, I'll send you a link to "your" article.


      • Tina-Boomerina

        Beverly, I had a million things that got in the way of writing an article for you. I'm just writing it now... probably too late... but I wanted to tell you one thing.

        I JUST saw that you are only 5' tall. If I read that right, and you haven't found pants that are short enough, you should wear a long tunic over black leggings (for evening and maybe for daytime). I'm not sure if regular leggings will fit. They might be too long. If you don't have your clothing picked out yet, get cropped black leggings. They will look great with a long top or jacket. Tina

  8. Darlene

    What would you suggest packing for a tropical vacation at an all inclusive resort for a mature woman?