Disembarking your cruise ship in a new port is an exciting feeling, especially when you’ve booked a shore excursion. Whether it’s kayaking near glaciers, ziplining on the beach, or island-hopping on a catamaran, countless shore excursions are within easy reach on a Royal Caribbean cruise.
Packing for your cruise involves planning what to wear on shore excursions, and the best outfit to wear varies greatly depending on the tour you are booking. Sightseeing tours of European cities will require a completely different dress code than a relaxing day on the Caribbean beach or an active shore excursion in Alaska.
Let’s take a look at the outfits we recommend you wear on your shore excursion, from the more active to the more leisurely excursions.
What to wear on active shore excursions
While it’s possible to spend an entire day in port lounging on the beach, some cruisers prefer to explore a destination through an active adventure. Active shore excursions have a casual dress code, with comfort and reliability given priority over the more fashionable looks.
Clothes: A lightweight, non-absorbent fabric such as polyester is best worn on an active shore excursion. Polyester Workout Shirts and tank tops are great options because they’ll keep you cool when you sweat.
workout shorts tend to be the best option for bottoms, especially on particularly hot days. Wearing a swimsuit under your clothes will also come in handy if your shore excursion combines active adventures with time at the beach.
Shoe: Robust and waterproof sandals like chacos are a great all-around shoe option for active shore excursions. Not only do they hold up well when hiking over rough terrain, they also perform well at the beach. Plus, because the Chacos are waterproof, you don’t have to worry about walking in tennis shoes and wet socks if your shore excursion takes you near beaches, lakes, or streams.
If you’d rather wear tennis shoes than sandals, be sure to pack a comfortable pair (preferably shoes you’ve worn a few times before) to ensure no painful blisters await you!
Accessories: Bring a lightweight backpack is recommended for active shore excursions, as you can carry the bag with you without it being too heavy or bulky. Additionally, it’s a good idea to make sure your backpack is water resistant or waterproof if your excursion involves time in and around water, such as when kayaking or canoeing.
What to wear on beach trips
One of the best parts of a Royal Caribbean cruise involves sunny days spent on tropical beaches. Whether it’s the crystal clear waters of St. John’s or the rocky shores of the Mediterranean, beach days make for a great shore excursion. Like the active excursions, the beach excursions have a casual dress code.
Clothes: A bathing suit is, unsurprisingly, important to pack for a trip to the beach. There are no hard and fast rules on what type of swimsuit to wear, so pack what you feel most comfortable with.
It’s best to wear light, casual clothes over a bathing suit on a beach trip, such as a summer dress, romper, shorts, t-shirts or swimsuits. Colorful and patterned clothes can be fun to wear to add to the tropical vibe of your vacation.
Be sure to wear clothes over your bathing suit and don’t walk around the harbor in a bathing suit! It may be culturally inappropriate at your port of call, so remember to cover up before leaving the beach.
Shoe: Flip-flops can be a good shoe choice for beach trips, but are only recommended for strictly beach trips. If an excursion simply takes you by bus to a nearby beach and picks you up a few hours later, flip flops will suffice. Flip flops are a great choice for Perfect Day at CocoCay.
If the tour combines a few hours at the beach with activities like shopping, tubing, kayaking, or hiking, a more sturdy sandal or tennis shoe is recommended for maximum comfort. Packing flip flops in your backpack is also always an option.
Accessories: Bringing a backpack to the beach is necessary to hold items like sunscreen, towels, sunglasses and your personal belongings. Backpacks work well, but you may prefer a larger one, waterproof beach bagespecially if you are carrying stuff for several family members.
What to wear on city trips
Excursions that involve visiting cities and historic sites tend to require a slightly more formal dress code than what you’ll wear at the beach. Although wearing heels and prom dresses is very unnecessary, you may prefer to dress more fashionably than workout shorts and an old tank top.
If your excursion involves visiting churches, especially those in the Mediterranean, be sure to ask about church dress code. Many churches require the shoulders and knees to be covered, which means a sleeveless shirt, shorts, or short dress won’t do. Bringing a light sash to wear over your shoulders in church is an option or you can pack a change of clothes in your backpack.
Shoe: No matter what city you visit, comfort is paramount when exploring urban areas. City tours often include more walking than a standard shore excursion, as you’re likely to stroll through quaint streets, bustling squares, historical museums, and archaeological sites.
Sandals with ankle strap and closed-toe shoes are ideal on a city-centric shore excursion. If you’re visiting somewhere like Rome or Florence, you might prefer to wear a nicer pair of sandals or closed-toe shoes like Sperry instead of flip flops or running shoes, as you are more likely to enter good restaurants, churches and museums during the day.
Accessories: A secure backpack is essential during a city trip to keep your belongings safe, especially if you are traveling on public transport and visiting crowded tourist sites. Shoulder bags and backpacks with a secret pocket tend to be safer choices than handbags and crossbody purses.
Shore excursions to cold weather destinations
If you’re sailing to destinations like Alaska, Norway, Northern Europe, or the Northeastern United States, it’s important to pack for many types of weather conditions.
Most Royal Caribbean cruises won’t sail in the coldest winter temperatures, as northernmost destinations tend to only cruise during the warmer months of the year. However, cold weather can still occur, so be sure to research the average temperature of the ports you’ll be visiting before packing for your cruise.
Clothes: Layers are essential when cruising to a destination that may encounter colder weather. It is useful to bring the following layers with you when disembarking from the ship in port:
- Base layer: t-shirt and jeans or yoga pants
- Warm layer: fleece, sweater or down jacket
- Waterproof layer: thin rain jacket with a hood
Having multiple layers available ensures that you’ll stay comfortable regardless of the weather, which can change multiple times throughout the day in destinations like Alaska.
Related: Ultimate Alaska Cruising Guide
Shoe: When boating in cold weather, replace flip flops and sandals with sneakers and boots. Sturdy shoes that keep your feet warm are essential, and water-resistant shoes are even better.
Colder destinations often tend to involve more outdoor excursions, whether it’s glacier walking in Alaska or hiking in the fjords of Norway. A pair of waterproof hiking boots or sneakers can be great footwear options to wear to port.
Accessories: As with all excursions, it is recommended to bring a backpack in order to have a secure place to store your belongings. Wearing a water-resistant backpack is highly recommended in cold weather destinations that may encounter rain.
Also, wearing a warm hat, gloves and woolen socks can be useful on colder days.