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Designer Cruise Dresses

If you’re going on your first cruise, figuring out what to wear for the formal events can feel like a daunting task. There’s the Captain's dinner, dinner in the main dining room, and other snazzy cruise events you want to stand out for.  

To avoid sticking out among the crowd, it’s important that you find the right cruise formal wear to bring with you on your exciting vacation. Understanding the different cruise events and the cruise line’s dress code is key before stocking up on garments.

Nevertheless, participating in formal events on cruise ships is fun! For most people, it allows them to dress up and wear designer cruise dresses they wouldn’t typically wear.

Formal Cruise Event Attire

Before you buy clothes to wear, it’s best to look at the dress code your particular cruise line has set. Cruise ships have hundreds of events happening every night and certain events may have different codes than others. Some dress codes can be “resort casual,” “smart casual,” or “formal” for certain events or daytime wear.

Typically, there are one or two dinners aboard the ship that require formal wear, mainly dinners. Depending on how long your cruise is, there will be somewhere between one and three dinner nights where formal wear is the dress code. Other events that may require you to dress up formally could be the casino or shows.

When a cruise line has a “formal” dress code requirement, it typically means men wear suits or tuxedos and women wear  gala dresses and  evening gowns .

Styles To Bring On a Cruise

Cruise lines and luxury cruise lines are your place to make a statement with the type of designer cruise gowns and styles you bring along with you. Staying on top of the trends is another factor to consider when finding the right cruise ship dresses.

For spring or summer colors, the trending tones seem to be pastel colors, specifically  soft pink and  blue tones . Colors to stay away from onboard a cruise ship are  brown or warm tones relating to this color.  Black , however, is an exception.

Navy , white, and lighter colors are the perfect tones to choose for your nautical voyage. When it comes to patterns and styles, off-the-shoulder dresses, halter tops, spaghetti straps, and sequins can add beauty to your sophisticated look.

Why Buy From NYD?

NewYorkDress is a company that keeps up with the trending fashion for any kind of sophisticated, formal event. We feature exclusive designers that offer the best formal and gala dresses to bring as your formal cruise dinner dresses. Our selection of styles is perfect for cruise formal wear, and we love to make sure our customers look fabulous and elegant wherever they go. We like to make our dresses affordable for every woman who’s going to steal the show in the selection of their choice. Get ready for your voyage by shopping from our designer cruise gowns today!

LaDivine CH135 Rose Gold

LaDivine CH135 Dress

Terani 1912E9202 Gold

Terani 1912E9202 Dress

Portia and Scarlett PS2045 Rose

Portia and Scarlett PS2045 Dress

Andrea and Leo 5024 Black

Andrea and Leo 5024 Dress

Portia and Scarlett PS1986 Silver

Portia and Scarlett PS1986 Dress

Cecilia Couture 1409 Hot Red

Cecilia Couture 1409 Dress

La Femme 28176 Black

La Femme 28176 Dress

Ivonne D 117D66 Apricot

Ivonne D 117D66 Dress

MNM Couture M0042 Red

MNM Couture M0042 Dress

Clarisse 4852 Black

Clarisse 4852 Dress

Terani 1921M0473 Dress

Terani 1921M0473 Dress

Andrea and Leo A5007 Navy

Andrea and Leo A5007 Dress

Marsoni M140 Eggplant

Marsoni M140 Dress

MNM Fouad Sarkis 2284 Green

MNM Fouad Sarkis 2284 Dress

Terani 2011M2159 Taupe-Taupe

Terani 2011M2159 Dress

Portia and Scarlett PS6110 Hot Pink

Portia and Scarlett PS6110 Dress

LaDivine CM327 Peacock

LaDivine CM327 Dress

Terani 1911E9128 Navy

Terani 1911E9128 Dress

Lucci Lu 1196 Dusty Rose

Lucci Lu 1196 Dress

Andrea and Leo 13493 Dress

Andrea and Leo 13493 Dress

Cecilia Couture 1405 Dress

Cecilia Couture 1405 Dress

LaDivine CD989 Paris Blue

LaDivine CD989 Dress

Janique K7031 Black

Janique K7031 Dress

Mac Duggal 5615 Black Multi

Mac Duggal 5615 Dress

Cameron Blake 115604 Silver

Cameron Blake 115604 Dress

Portia and Scarlett PS22666 Cobalt

Portia and Scarlett PS22666 Dress

La Femme 28206 Burgundy

La Femme 28206 Dress

Terani 1913M9414 Dress

Terani 1913M9414 Dress

Colors Dress 1768 Wine

Colors Dress 1768 Dress

Lara 29618 Mauve

Lara 29618 Dress

Mac Duggal 26612 Black

Mac Duggal 26612 Dress

Mac Duggal 68225 Olive

Mac Duggal 68225 Dress

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We take pride in our quality products and service, and we value our relationship with you. If you are not completely satisfied with your purchase, we are happy to accept your item(s) back for store credit or exchange within 7 days of receiving your order. Store credit never expires.

Store credit will be issued for the total amount of the order minus shipping costs, discounts and promotions. A $12 return shipping label is available, which would be deducted from the store credit amount if you choose to use our label. The return label can only be issued for Domestic orders. Any return shipping costs, taxes, duties, or customs fees incurred for international orders are non-creditable and are the responsibility of the customer.

Your order must be in perfect condition, unworn with tags attached. Please follow our very simple return process:

  • Email us at [email protected] within 7 days of receiving your order
  • Make sure to include your order number in the request.
  • Advise if you would like an exchange or store credit. For exchanges, make sure to include the style, size, and color for the new order.
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  • Store credit cannot be exchanged for a refund.

Please note all sale items are FINAL and are not eligible for exchanges or store credit. We do not accept return requests past 7 days of receiving your order.

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A Note About Sizing

All of our dresses are sized in US sizes according to each designer’s specifications; therefore, the size you normally wear may not be the size you would wear in a dress from our site. Before you choose your size, we recommend looking at the size chart for the dress you are interested in to make sure you are choosing the best size for your measurements. To make sure you are getting the best size, click on the ‘Size Chart’ link above the dropdowns or at the bottom of the size dropdown on your dress of choice. 


Your order can be cancelled at no charge prior to processing.*

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Special Orders are unable to be cancelled as these items are cut specifically for you.

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Your satisfaction is our top priority. If you are unsatisfied for any reason please let us know and we will make it right. Please contact us if you need us to help. We are here to serve you.

Ellie's Travel Tips

40+ Fashionable Cruise Dresses: The Ultimate Guide

Posted on Last updated: February 10, 2024

Welcome to our comprehensive guide to selecting the perfect cruise dresses! Embarking on a cruise means stepping into a world of both relaxation and elegance.

Whether you’re lounging on the deck or attending a glamorous dinner, the right cruise dress can enhance your experience. Let’s dive in!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure  here .

Cruise Sun Dresses

white cruise dress

Women’s Flowy Casual Mini Dress

Price: $39.99

Where to Buy: Amazon

Experience comfort and elegance in this flowy dress, crafted from high-quality, ultra-soft fabric that keeps you cool in style. With flutter sleeves, a V-neck, and chic design details, it’s the perfect choice for a fashionable and comfortable look.

green cruise dress

Women’s Summer Dress

Price: $28.99

Where to Buy:  Amazon

Whether you’re planning a casual day out, a day out at port, a beach trip, or just your daily routine, these cruise dresses are the perfect choice. Additionally, their soft and comfortable fabric ensures you’ll feel at ease throughout the day.

blue dress

Women’s Summer Maxi

Price: $24.99 – $28.99

This elegant ruffle maxi dress, with its versatile design and comfortable material, is the perfect choice for a wide range of occasions. Whether it’s a casual day out, a romantic date, a day in port, a fun dinner, or any special event, this dress effortlessly fits the bill, ensuring you look and feel your best.

bluish dress

Womens Summer Backless Dress

Price: $35.99 – $36.99

This dress is incredibly versatile, making it suitable for a wide range of occasions. From relaxing beach outings and memorable cruise adventures, elegant evenings out, and even glamorous formal nights, it effortlessly combines versatility and style, ensuring you’re impeccably dressed for any event on your calendar.

cruise blue and white

Women’s Summer Boho Dress

Price: $40.99 – $44.99

With its comfortable, slightly stretchy fabric, this summer boho maxi dress is perfect for various occasions. Featuring charming floral prints, spaghetti straps, a square neck, and cottagecore-inspired details like knot shoulders and ruffles, it’s ideal for travel, vacations, beach outings, casual weekends, and daily summer wear.

rusty pink cruise dress

Beach Dress for Women

Price: $36.99

Whether you’re strolling on the deck, enjoying a dinner by the sea, or exploring exotic ports of call, this dress offers the versatility and ease of wear that’s well-suited for a cruise adventure. Its stylish design and practical features make it a convenient and fashionable choice, ensuring you can enjoy your cruise in style and comfort.

black cruise dress

Women’s Summer Sleeveless Dress

This dress is a must-have for cruise vacations, offering the perfect attire for your onboard and onshore adventures. Whether you’re lounging by the pool, exploring exotic destinations, or attending evening events, its versatility and comfort make it an ideal choice for a cruise wardrobe.

yellow dress

Women’s Summer Sundress

Price: $35.99

This halter neck, backless, mini dress with waist ruching, floral print, and convenient pockets is the ultimate choice for your cruise wardrobe this season. Whether you’re attending a cocktail party, a beach outing, or simply hanging out onboard, this dress is versatile and stylish.

Tropical Dresses

tropical cruise dress

Price: $27.91

This midi ruffle dress is the ideal choice for your cruise wardrobe, offering versatility to dress it up or down as per your day’s plans. Whether you’re exploring ashore or enjoying onboard activities, you can effortlessly style this dress with heels or sandals, a sun hat, and a clutch, ensuring you look chic and comfortable throughout your cruise vacation.

pink dress

Women’s Floral Maxi Dress

Price: $46.99

This elegant summer maxi dress is a cruise essential that fulfills your summer fashion desires. With options in five beautiful colors, it features an off-shoulder style that highlights your shoulders and a feminine floral print, making it the perfect choice to stand out during your cruise vacation.

orange dress

Women Loose Fit Wrap Dress

Price: $42.99

This short sleeve cover-up dress is an excellent addition to your cruise wardrobe. It’s designed to complement swimsuits, bikinis, and beachwear, making it perfect for beach and poolside outings. Whether you’re strolling on the street, taking photos, or enjoying the scenic beauty during your cruise vacation, this versatile dress is a great choice.

floral leaves

Womens V Neck Wrap Dress

Price: $32.99

This sexy long maxi dress with a flattering v-neck design is a cruise essential, showcasing your elegant neckline while providing practicality with adjustable spaghetti straps and side pockets. Its vibrant floral print makes it versatile for different cruise occasions, whether you’re headed to the beach, a casual outing, a party, or a wedding as a guest, making it the perfect choice for your vacation wardrobe.

vibrant cruise dress

Womens Casual Short Sleeve Dress

Price: $49.98

Whether you’re lounging on the beach, attending a poolside party, exploring outdoor destinations, or enjoying evening cocktails, this dress is perfect for various cruise occasions, making it an ideal outfit for your summer vacation.

green dress

Womens Tropical A Line Dress

Price: $38.69

This tropical tree short sleeve off-the-shoulder midi beach summer dress is an excellent addition to your cruise wardrobe, offering versatility for various cruise occasions.

colorful cruise dress

Women’s Summer Wrap Maxi Dress

Price: $47.99

This versatile maxi dress is a must-have for your cruise wardrobe, suitable for beach vacations, outdoor activities, parties, and more during the spring and summer. You can easily style it with heels, sandals, or layer it with a jacket and boots for different cruise occasions.

red floral cruise dress

Women’s Boho Floral Print Dress

Price: $40.99

This off-shoulder ditsy floral dress is a versatile addition to your cruise wardrobe, perfect for a range of cruise occasions. Whether it’s a sunny day by the pool, a casual evening, a wedding celebration, or a formal event during your cruise, this dress is an ideal choice for your summer vacation.

Formal Cruise Dresses

black formal cruise dress

Women’s Long Formal Dress

Price: $62.99

This elegant formal cruise dress is designed for women who want to make a statement. With its one-shoulder design featuring a bow, a thigh-high split highlighting slender legs, and a maxi length that exudes elegance, it’s perfect for formal cruise events.

red formal dress

Women’s Summer Formal Dress

Price: $44.99

This dress is a perfect choice for cruise formal nights, offering a variety of plain colors that allow you to mix and match accessories for different looks. The delicate ruffles create a soft and romantic appearance, ensuring you look charming and attractive during your cruise formal events.

navy cruise formal dress

Women’s Plunging Formal Dress

Price: $52.99

The unique embroidered floral pattern on sheer mesh adds chic appeal, and when paired with high heels and accessories, it’s suitable for cruise formal nights, parties, dinners, and other festive cruise occasions.

green formal dress

Womens One Shoulder Sleeveless Dress

Price: $41.99

This formal dress is an excellent choice for cruise occasions, featuring one shoulder with a sleeveless design, ruffle detail, and an elegant empire waist. The soft and stretchy material ensures a perfect fit, highlighting your body curves beautifully.

aqua formal dress

Womens Long Satin Dress

This versatile dress is perfect for cruise formal night occasions and can be styled with boots, high heels, sandals, and accessories. Whether you’re attending a cruise party, dinner, formal night, or enjoying a casual evening, this dress showcases your charm with its empire waist, side slit, and mock neck design, making it a valuable addition to your cruise formal night wardrobe.

black formal night dress

Womens Long V-Neck Dress

Price: $49.99

This dress is an excellent choice for cruise formal nights, featuring a sexy v-neck, elegant ruched high waist, and a comfortable, lightweight design. Perfect for formal or semi-formal cruise occasions like cruise parties, dinners, and formal nights, it pairs beautifully with accessories to capture attention.

chrome formal dress

Women’s Sequin Formal Dress

Price: $66.99

This glamorous short-sleeve party dress with sparkling sequins and an asymmetric one-shoulder design is perfect for cruise formal events like themed parties, dinners, and formal nights. You can easily pair it with heels or sandals for an elegant and dazzling look.

maroon formal night

Women’s Elegant Formal Dress

Price: $69.99 – $92.99

This cruise formal dress, with its charming chiffon design, double v-neck, and side slit, is perfect for various cruise occasions, such as formal dinners, evening parties, and formal night events. It allows you to look stunning and stylish while enjoying your cruise, making it a versatile choice for onboard events.


light green cruise romper

Women’s Casual Summer Romper

Price: $19.99

This stylish romper with a sleeveless strap design and a loose waist is perfect for cruise occasions. Whether you’re commuting, traveling, or on vacation, it showcases your elegant style and offers versatile matching options for a comfortable and fashionable look during your cruise.

red and black romper

Relipop Women’s Floral Romper

Price: $28.99 – $37.99

This stylish cruise floral romper with a deep v-neck and ruffle hem is perfect for various cruise occasions. Made from high-quality polyester, it’s lightweight and comfortable. You can pair it with sandals, heels, and accessories for a fashionable look during your cruise.

black romper cruise

Women’s Casual Loose Jumpsuit

Price: $32.88

This versatile romper is perfect for cruise occasions, with its one-piece sleeveless design, wide-leg pants, and side pockets. Whether you’re headed to the beach, exploring the city, or enjoying a cocktail evening, it’s a stylish and comfortable choice for your summer cruise adventures.

red romper

Women’s Tie Front Romper

Price: $19.99 – $24.97

This romper is a versatile choice for cruise occasions, whether you’re attending a cruise party, relaxing on the beach, or enjoying casual wear onboard. Its stylish design with a sexy v-neck and floral print adds a chic touch to your cruise wardrobe, making it suitable for various cruise activities and events.

sweater romper

Meyeeka Knit Romper

Price: $38.99

This Meyeeka sweater romper is a cozy and stylish choice for cruise occasions, made from high-quality knitted material that’s soft and comfortable. With features like a crewneck, long sleeves, and an oversize design, it’s perfect for casual outings, parties, and streetwear during your cruise.

red romper

Women’s Summer Straps Romper

Price: $43.99

This trendy jumpsuit with one-shoulder straps and a high waist is a must-have for cruise occasions, offering a fashionable and cute travel outfit. Whether you’re attending a cocktail party, wedding, or simply enjoying your cruise vacation, it showcases your sexy and elegant shape, making it a versatile choice for various cruise activities and events.

navy romper

Women’s Short Overalls Romper

Price: $29.99

Whether you’re heading to the beach or running daily errands onboard, you can pair this romper with various tops and footwear, ensuring a simple and chic look that exudes sophistication and comfort during your cruise.

green romper

Women’s Beach Ruffles Romper

This Valphsio jumpsuit is a versatile choice for cruise occasions, crafted from lightweight and soft fabric with a unique back zipper design for easy wearing. It features a deep v neckline and flared wide legs, making it suitable for cruise parties or pairing with hats and boots for a chic spring and summer look during your cruise.

white romper

Women’s Smocked Wide-Leg Romper

This versatile romper with decorated buttons, adjustable waist belt, and spaghetti straps is perfect for cruise occasions. It suits various activities during your cruise, from daily wear to holidays, and can be effortlessly paired with hats and bags for added style.

Swimsuit Cover Dresses

pink coverup dress

Women Swimsuit Crochet Dress

This cruise cover-up dress is an ideal choice, featuring a round neck, mini dress length, long sleeves, and a knit crochet design for a sheer beach cover-up look. Whether you’re heading to the beach, poolside tanning salon, or a water park during your cruise, it’s a perfect outfit to complement your swimwear.

white coverup dress

Blooming Jelly Womens Coverup

This cruise dress with a deep v-neck and bell sleeves is perfect for various occasions, including swimming, beach outings, and vacations. Its simple A-line style makes it easy to match with shoes and bags, and it’s versatile as a summer sundress, beach cover-up, or casual beach dress.

black and white coverup

Womens Open Front Coverup

This kimono cover-up is a stylish choice for your cruise, featuring an open-front design with bohemian tie-dye stripes. Made from soft and comfortable fabric, it’s suitable for beach outings, swimming pools, and cruise daily activities, making it a versatile addition to your cruise attire.

blue coverup

Womens Hollow Out Coverup

Price: $11.49 – $24.99

This cover-up is an essential addition to your cruise wardrobe, made from soft and breathable lightweight fabric that’s easy to wear. Whether you’re heading to the beach, pool, honeymoon, or water park during your cruise, this cover-up is a must-have for your wonderful vacation.

tan coverup

Womens Cover Ups Crochet

This cover-up is a perfect choice for cruise occasions, made from soft and comfortable crochet knit stretch fabric that fits various body shapes. It’s easy to pair with swimwear, making it a must-have for vacation, beach outings, and poolside activities during your cruise.

black coverup

Womens Swimsuit Coverup

Price: $18.88 – $22.94

This swim cover-up is a versatile choice for cruise occasions, featuring a simple and generous A-line style that’s easy to pair with shoes and bags. It’s suitable for various activities such as beach outings and swimming pools, with the added convenience of two side pockets to carry small items.

blue coverup 2

Blooming Jelly Crochet Coverup

Price: $24.99

This crochet swim cover-up is a stylish choice for your cruise, featuring a round neckline, long sleeves with hollow-out design, and a thigh-length cut to showcase your body. It’s ideal for beach, pool, and water park outings during your cruise, and it also makes a thoughtful holiday gift for your loved ones.

Dos and Don’ts of Cruise Dresses


  • Do Check the Dress Code: Always check the specific cruise line’s dress code . Each cruise may have different guidelines for casual, semi-formal, and formal nights .
  • Do Opt for Versatility: Choose dresses that can be dressed up or down with accessories. This way, you can adapt to different occasions without overpacking.
  • Do Consider Comfort: Select dresses that are comfortable for extended wear. Think about breathable fabrics and comfortable fits, especially for daytime activities.
  • Do Pack a Formal Option: Even if it’s just one, bring a formal dress for special evenings like captain’s dinners or gala nights.
  • Do Think About Layers: Be prepared for varying temperatures. A light shawl or cardigan can be perfect for cooler evenings on the deck.
  • Do Play with Color and Patterns: Cruises are a great opportunity to wear vibrant colors and fun patterns that reflect the joy and relaxation of a holiday.
  • Do Choose Wrinkle-Resistant Fabrics: Look for fabrics that are less prone to wrinkling , as it can be challenging to iron clothes on a cruise ship.


  • Don’t Overpack: Avoid packing too many dresses. Consider the length of your cruise and plan outfits that can be mixed and matched.
  • Don’t Ignore Comfort for Style: While looking great is important, don’t sacrifice comfort, especially for dresses you’ll wear all day.
  • Don’t Forget About Footwear: Avoid choosing dresses that don’t match the shoes you’ve packed. Comfortable yet stylish footwear is essential.
  • Don’t Disregard Cultural Sensitivities: If your cruise stops in various countries, be mindful of local customs and dress codes, especially in religious or traditional sites.
  • Don’t Overlook Daytime Attire: Remember that daytime on a cruise is just as important. Pack casual dresses suitable for excursions and relaxing on the ship.
  • Don’t Neglect Dress Length: For formal nights, a longer dress might be more appropriate, whereas shorter dresses can be ideal for casual settings.
  • Don’t Underestimate the Wind: On a cruise ship, it can be windy. Choose dresses that won’t easily fly up and cause discomfort or embarrassment.

By following these dos and don’ts, you can ensure a stylish, comfortable, and appropriate wardrobe for your cruise adventure.

Understanding Cruise Dress Code

One of the exciting aspects of a cruise vacation is dressing up for different occasions on board.

Cruise dress codes can vary from one cruise line to another and even between different ships within the same cruise line.

To ensure you’re prepared for any dress code scenario during your cruise, it’s essential to understand the different dress codes and pack accordingly.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the cruise dress code:

Casual Wear

  • Daytime: During the day, casual attire such as shorts, t-shirts, sundresses, swimwear, and flip-flops are generally acceptable. However, make sure to cover up when you’re not at the pool or beach when on board.
  • Evenings: For casual dinners and evenings, resort casual attire is typically recommended. This includes slacks, khakis, jeans, blouses, polo shirts, and casual dresses. Comfortable footwear like sandals or closed-toe shoes is also suitable.

Smart Casual or Resort Casual

  • Daytime: Similar to casual wear, resort casual attire works well during the day.
  • Evenings: For smart casual dinners and evenings, men can opt for collared shirts, dress slacks, and loafers. Women may choose from dresses, skirts, dressy tops, or tailored pants. Avoid jeans, t-shirts, and flip-flops in the dining areas.

Formal or Elegant Evenings

  • Daytime: Even on formal nights, daytime attire remains casual.
  • Evenings: On formal or elegant evenings, cruise lines often encourage passengers to dress up. Men can wear tuxedos, suits, or dress shirts and ties. Women can choose from evening gowns, cocktail dresses, or elegant pantsuits. Remember to pack appropriate footwear, such as dress shoes or heels.

Themed Nights

  • Many cruises host themed nights, such as tropical or 80s-themed parties. These provide a fun opportunity to get creative with your wardrobe and join in the festivities.

Specialty Dining

  • Some cruise lines offer specialty dining venues with dress codes that may require more formal attire. Be sure to check in advance if you plan to dine in these restaurants.

Practical Considerations

  • Don’t forget to pack swimwear, cover-ups, and appropriate footwear for poolside lounging and shore excursions.
  • Consider the climate and itinerary of your cruise. If you’re visiting cooler destinations, bring appropriate layers and outerwear.
  • Comfortable walking shoes are essential for shore excursions and exploring ports of call.

Cruise Line Specifics

  • Each cruise line has its own dress code policy, so it’s crucial to review their guidelines before packing. Some cruise lines are more relaxed, while others have stricter dress codes for formal nights.

Laundry and Dry Cleaning

  • Most cruise ships offer laundry and dry-cleaning services (at a cost). This allows you to re-wear clothing and pack lighter.

Packing Tips

  • Plan your outfits in advance to ensure you have appropriate attire for each day and evening.
  • Roll your clothes to save space in your suitcase and minimize wrinkles.
  • Don’t forget accessories like jewelry, scarves, and belts to elevate your outfits.

Remember that cruise dress codes are intended to enhance the overall experience and atmosphere on board.

While adhering to the dress code, also focus on comfort and personal style to make the most of your cruise vacation. By packing a variety of clothing options, you’ll be well-prepared for any dress code scenario during your cruise.

FAQs on Cruise Dresses

Cruise dress codes and attire expectations can sometimes be confusing, especially for first-time cruisers.

To help you better understand what to wear on your cruise vacation, here are some frequently asked questions and their answers:

1. What is the dress code for a cruise?

  • Cruise dress codes can vary widely depending on the cruise line, ship, and specific dining venues. They typically include casual, smart casual, formal, and themed dress nights.

2. How many formal nights are there on a cruise?

  • The number of formal or elegant nights on a cruise can vary, but it’s common to have one or two formal nights on a week-long cruise. Some cruise lines have optional formal nights, while others may require formal attire.

3. Can I skip formal night on a cruise?

  • While you can choose not to participate in formal night activities, dining in the main dining rooms may require adherence to the dress code. Specialty dining venues often offer more flexibility.

4. What should I wear on casual nights?

  • Casual nights typically allow for resort-style clothing, such as khakis, slacks, dresses, and casual tops. Avoid swimwear, tank tops, and flip-flops in dining areas.

5. What is smart casual attire for a cruise?

  • Smart casual attire includes collared shirts, dress slacks, dresses, skirts, and dressy tops. It’s a step up from casual wear but not as formal as elegant attire.

6. What should I wear on formal nights?

  • On formal nights, men can wear tuxedos, suits, or dress shirts with ties. Women may choose from evening gowns, cocktail dresses, or elegant pantsuits.

7. Can I wear jeans on a cruise ship?

  • While jeans are generally discouraged in dining venues on formal and smart casual nights, many cruise lines permit them in casual dining areas during the evening.

8. Are themed nights common on cruises?

  • Yes, many cruises host themed nights like tropical or 80s-themed parties. These are fun opportunities to get creative with your wardrobe.

9. Can I do laundry on a cruise ship?

  • Most cruise ships offer laundry and dry-cleaning services, making it convenient to re-wear clothing and pack lighter.

10. How can I avoid overpacking for my cruise?

  • Plan your outfits in advance, focusing on mix-and-match pieces. Check the cruise itinerary to pack appropriately for shore excursions and varying climates.

11. What should I wear on a cruise shore excursion?

  • Dress comfortably and consider the activity. For beach excursions, bring swimwear and cover-ups. For city tours, wear comfortable walking shoes and lightweight clothing.

12. Can I wear shorts in the main dining room on a cruise?

  • On casual and smart casual nights, cruise lines often permit shorts in the main dining room. However, it’s best to check the specific cruise line’s policy.

13. Can I wear flip-flops to dinner on a cruise?

  • While flip-flops are suitable for casual daytime wear, they are typically discouraged in dining areas during dinner service.

14. Should I pack formal attire for a cruise with no formal nights?

  • It’s still a good idea to bring some dressier clothing for specialty dining or themed nights, even if there are no formal dress code nights on your cruise.

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Have fun in the Caribbean sun in short casual dresses, cold-shoulder cruise dresses, or light and breezy a-line dresses. For sun-kissed shoulders, a variety of sleeveless open-back dresses, short strapless cruise dresses, and off-the-shoulder casual summer dresses in lightweight fabrics work best in the sultry heat.

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Shop Chic Cruise Dresses 2024, Beautiful Cruise Dinner Outfits Collection

If you want to look sexy and sophisticated at the same time for a cruise dinner, it is time to go through the cruise dresses collection of Couture Candy. Showcasing the best options of 2024, the cruise dinner dresses collection has a myriad of items to select from such as cruise maxi dresses, cruise casual dresses, long cruise dresses, formal cruise dresses and so on. While shopping for cruise evening dresses, keep in mind that the perfect option is available for every body type such as cruise dresses plus size, petite cruise dresses and many more. Among the best cruise dresses, there are fitted tea-length cute cruise dresses, modest cruise dresses for formal night in different colors and romantic cruise dinner dresses featuring the most sophisticated designs on high-quality fabrics like velvet, silk etc.

Couture Candy’s Cruise Evening Dresses for Your Special Occasion

If you are a bride who is looking forward to an amazing wedding celebration on a cruise, it’s the perfect opportunity to browse through the mind-blowing cruise wedding dresses in order to come across the perfect one that will go with your personal style, the venue and the overall vibe. Go with fitted if you want to show off the curves and flaring if you want a more traditional look.

Gorgeous Cruise Formal Night Dresses for a Memorable Outfit

of the best and renowned designers experimented with creating cruise formal night dresses collections. Similarly, Couture Candy is here with to charm all the fashionistas with more positive and stunning designs. With the good times, our 2024 cruise dresses in mini, maxi, midi, long, short,long, full sleeve, and off the shoulder styles are a sure thing to add to your celebration and holiday season wardrobe. Whether you are looking for a Floral Off Shoulder Trumpet Gown, Embroidered And Velvet A-Line Dress, One Shoulder Fitted Beaded Jersey Mini Dress With Sash, or a One Shoulder Fitted Beaded Jersey Full Sleeve Dress With Sash, Couture Candy 2024 edit of formal cruise dresses and cruise cocktail dresses has got all your style preferences covered.

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Cruise Formal Night Explained: 10 Things to Know (What to Wear and More…)

Formal night on a cruise is a classic tradition, but for many passengers, it can also lead to lots of questions. Do I have to dress up? What can I wear? When are the formal nights?

Formal wear on a cruise ship

We’ve taken dozens of cruise and know that for those unfamiliar with formal night, it can feel a bit unnerving trying to figure out the ins and outs of dressing up. No one wants to head to dinner underdressed. At the same time, some people don’t want to dress up at all and prefer to know what other options they have.

Below, we’ve covered some of the most frequent questions about formal night on a cruise.

In This Article...

What Is a Cruise Formal Night?

Just as the name implies, formal night is the evening on the cruise when the dress code goes from the casual style that’s normal around the ship to more elegant. It’s a chance for passengers on the ship to put on their best and have an evening out that feels more special than just going to grab dinner in the dining room.

You’ll find people around the ship dressed up, having drinks, taking formal pictures, and enjoying dinner and a show. Think of it as a special event where many passengers have an elegant “date night” that’s more memorable than just another dinner on the ship.

Do I Have to Dress Up?

Absolutely not. Your cruise is your own. If you don’t want to dress up for the evening, then you certainly don’t have to do so. Many people choose to keep it casual. If you decide that shorts and a t-shirt are as formal as you want to get, you won’t be alone.

However, if you do decide to not dress up, it’s a good idea to dine outside of the main dining room or higher-end specialty restaurants. These are spots that request nicer dress during formal night.

Even if casual dress is allowed in the dining room during formal night, you might feel out of place with others wearing suits or evening gowns.

What Can I Wear to Formal Night? Do I Have to Wear a Tux or an Evening Gown?

Perhaps the biggest question around formal night on a cruise is what to wear. What’s acceptable is wide-ranging. No, you don’t have to go out and get a tuxedo or a formal evening gown unless you want to.

For instance, you can go all out and dress up in your best. And you will see some people around the cruise ship go this route. But you don’t have to wear a suit or tux to enjoy the evening.

Women can simply wear a cocktail dress or a nice blouse with pants. For men, it’s fine to wear a suit, or even a buttoned-down shirt and a pair of slacks if you don’t want to get too fancy. Nice jeans would also be ok, although we’d suggest something slightly more dressy.

That said, not everything goes. There are some clothing items to avoid if you plan to eat in the dining room on formal night. This includes shorts, tank-tops, t-shirts, and swimsuits, as well as flip-flops. If you’d wear it to the pool or the beach, you don’t want to wear it to formal night.

  • Ok to Wear for Formal Night (Women): Gowns, dresses, skirts, blouses with pants
  • Ok to Wear for Formal Night (Men): Tuxedoes, suits, button-down shirts, slacks, nice jeans
  • Avoid Wearing (Men and Women): Shorts, tank tops, t-shirts, flip-flops

Is The Dress Code Strictly Enforced?

Don’t worry, you aren’t likely to be denied entry to the dining room, even if you are dressed casually. It’s not like an exclusive nightclub that bars entry.

While the name might be “formal” or “elegant” night, you won’t be out of place as long as you dress nicer than a t-shirt and shorts. Remember, the cruise lines want you to enjoy yourself and not be worried about if you should be in a tuxedo.

For that reason, as long as you avoid wearing something very casual (e.g. flip flops, shorts, and a tank top), it’s likely to be no issue. Even so, we’d highly recommend dressing up somewhat if you plan on eating in a dining room or a nicer specialty restaurant. Not only will you feel more comfortable around others who are dressed up, but it also adds to the atmosphere of formal night for others.

Where Should I Eat If I Don’t Dress Up?

Formal dining room on a cruise ship

While the main dining room is the spot for formal eating during the evening, you won’t go hungry if you decide not to take part in dressing up. Every cruise ship offers a number of different places to eat, with many casual dining options for those who aren’t getting fancy for the evening.

For instance, instead of the main dining room you can head to the buffet or one of the 24-hour restaurants around the ship. The restaurant’s atmosphere will give you an idea of if it’s ok to eat there dressed casually or not. The fancy steakhouse? You want to go formal. The spot serving pizza? Shorts and a t-shirt are just fine.

Is Formal Night For Everywhere on the Ship?

While you’ll definitely see people dressed up all around the ship, the only place where you’ll find any sort of suggested or required dress code is in the dining room and/or specialty restaurants.

So if you are just hanging out around the ship — having a drink in a bar, playing in the casino, watching an evening show — then you are perfectly fine dressing down. You won’t be the only one. While many people participate in formal night, a considerable chunk of passengers don’t.

How Many Formal Nights Are There During the Cruise?

The number of formal nights varies based on the length of your cruise. The rule of thumb is that a week-long cruise will have two formal nights during the trip (i.e. Day 2 and Day 5). Shorter trips normally have one.

It may be that if you are on a very short cruise (e.g. three days), there might not even be one formal night. For instance, we’ve been on one short cruise with “Wear Your Best” (i.e. the nicest thing you packed) instead of formal night. 

Does Everyone on the Ship Dress Up?

No. If you decide to not dress up, then you certainly won’t be out of place. Many people choose to dress casually and just eat somewhere else other than the main dining room or higher-end restaurants. Even so, formal nights are popular and when you walk around the ship in the evening on one of these nights, there is no mistaking that it’s dressier than normal.

How Will I Know When it Is Formal Night?

Notice of formal night

Nothing would stop you in your tracks like heading down to dinner in a pair of shorts and then realizing everyone else is dressed up! Fortunately, you’ll get plenty of notice when it is formal night.

The most obvious spot will be with your daily cruise planner delivered to your cabin each day or through the cruise line’s app. There will be some mention of the dinner attire. It may be referred to as “formal” or “cruise elegant” or some other name. They all mean the same thing: Time to get dressed up!

As well, there are almost always announcements from the cruise director throughout the day sharing what is going on during the day and evening. They will usually mention it when it is formal night, so keep an ear out for announcements.

In the worst case, even if you don’t see any notice at all, you will definitely not miss the fact that many people are dressed up when you head to dinner that evening. That should give you a little time to head back to the room and dress up if you want to join in.

Do I Need to Dress Up at Any Other Time Than Formal Night?

For the most part, the only time you’ll need to dress anything other than casual is if you participate in formal night. That said, there are some spots where some nicer clothes are a good idea even if that evening’s dress code is casual.

Specifically, if you plan to visit any of the higher-end specialty restaurants on the ship, such as the steakhouse, then there may be a dress code.

Even if there is not, dressing up to fit the style of the restaurant is smart. So while it’s ok to dress casually at a burger joint on the ship, you’ll want to dress a little nicer if you go to the formal Italian or seafood spot for dinner.

Bottom Line on Cruise Formal Nights

The formal nights on a cruise are a fun way to do things a little differently. If you’re not someone that gets dressed up often, don’t worry. The rules around what’s formal and what’s not are flexible. As long as you make some sort of effort to dress a little nice, you’ll be fine. And if you want to go all out, you won’t be alone!

If you’re someone who likes to keep things casual, then that’s no issue either. While we’d suggest not eating the main dining room or nicer specialty restaurants on that night, you can wear what you want around the ship.

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I dressed up in an old maxi dress that was really oversized that I found from my daughter’s wedding 9 years ago. It was so flowing and pretty, so heck YEAH I wore it! I wore a nice outfit each night, like a skirt or dress. My embarkation outfit for the first night I modified by taking off the pants and putting on a skirt. I even kept the high boots on, which really worked! The last night I had a long ‘cover up’ dress that I gussied up with a sparkly throw and wedge high sandals.

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Formal Cruise Dresses

Phase Eight Donna Maxi Dress

Phase Eight Donna Maxi Dress


Stunning dress ...Fits perfectly - a quality dress ! A dress that will suit so many occasions. ...Would be good if had the...

Pros: fit, color, shape

Adrianna Papell Jersey Tuxedo Maxi Dress, Midnight

Adrianna Papell Jersey Tuxedo Maxi Dress, Midnight


Very pleased with this dress the fabric is heavy so it falls perfect and true to size looking forward to wearing it on our...

Live Unlimited Curve Knot Front Pleat Dress, Black

Live Unlimited Curve Knot Front Pleat Dress, Black

Was £119.00 , now £49.00

A beautiful dress ...Perfect for a formal summer evening.

Gina Bacconi Gilly Lace Panel Shift Dress, Navy

Gina Bacconi Gilly Lace Panel Shift Dress, Navy

Was £170.00 , now £119.00

Classy dress ...This dress is beautiful, elegant and classyThe sizing was right for size 12 and fitted perfectly Bought for...

Pros: fit, dress, style

Lace & Beads Savannah Embellished Sleeveless Maxi Dress, Navy

Lace & Beads Savannah Embellished Sleeveless Maxi Dress, Navy

Was £110.00 , now £77.00

Carving a sleek silhouette with its ballgown shape, this maxi dress by Lace & Beads boasts embellished detailing on the...

Scarlett & Jo Isabelle Spot Print Float Sleeve Maxi Dress

Scarlett & Jo Isabelle Spot Print Float Sleeve Maxi Dress


Lovely Dress ...I was really pleased with this dress . It fit well and was just what I was looking for to wear on a cruise...

Pros: fit, style, comfortable

Hobbs Jaci Monochrome Knee Length Shift Dress, Ivory/Navy

Hobbs Jaci Monochrome Knee Length Shift Dress, Ivory/Navy

Was £159.00 , now £119.00

Lovely dress ...I would recommend the dress and jacket as even with the cost of alterations it is an investment.

Pros: fit, dress, length

Adrianna Papell Knit Crepe Tiered Knee Length Dress

Adrianna Papell Knit Crepe Tiered Knee Length Dress


Beautiful black dress ...This is a beautiful dress and gorgeous fit. I have the black dress ...Beautiful dress ...So looking...

Pros: fit, dress, quality

KAFFE India Vivi Cocktail Dress, Midnight Marine

KAFFE India Vivi Cocktail Dress, Midnight Marine


A sleek bodycon style for instant polish, this knee-length dress by KAFFE has a delicate lace embroidered neck. Fashioned...

Ghost Delphine Satin Maxi Dress

Ghost Delphine Satin Maxi Dress


Who is this dress for?...I purchased this dress for a black tie ball I am due to attend in June.

Hobbs Iris Flower Embroidery A-Line Dress, Blush

Hobbs Iris Flower Embroidery A-Line Dress, Blush

Was £189.00 , now £159.00

Cut to flatter in an A-line shape, this knee-length dress by Hobbs is doused in pretty embroidered detail. Framed with...

Pros: fit, style

Jolie Moi Pauline Abstract Print Dress, Navy Multi

Jolie Moi Pauline Abstract Print Dress, Navy Multi


Really useful dress ...I wore it for a special occasion and I took the dress on holiday. It didn't crease and people made...

Pros: fit, weight, color

Aab Curved Hem Midi Shirt Dress, Nude

Aab Curved Hem Midi Shirt Dress, Nude


Shirt dresses are a staple wardrobe piece and Aab have designed theirs to work both as formal smart wear or can be dressed...

Jolie Moi Sapphire Floral Mesh Midi Dress

Jolie Moi Sapphire Floral Mesh Midi Dress

Was £85.00 , now £65.00

Dress matched the description, very comfortable fit, true to sizing....Beautiful dress ...A beautiful flattering dress ideal...

Pros: fit, comfort, pockets

Adrianna Papell Tuxedo Dress, Black

Adrianna Papell Tuxedo Dress, Black


This is such a flattering dress , looking gorgeous without showing too much flesh and covers a multitude of sins.

Pros: fit, elegance, flattering

Gina Bacconi Drucilla Dress, Spring Navy

Gina Bacconi Drucilla Dress, Spring Navy

Was £260.00 , now £182.00

Feel elegant in the Drucilla dress by Gina Bacconi, perfect for formal events, weddings and evening parties. This piece...

Jolie Moi Kynlee Frilly Shoulder Midi Dress, Pink/Multi

Jolie Moi Kynlee Frilly Shoulder Midi Dress, Pink/Multi


Bought for cruise ...Bought this dress for a cruise and loved it fitted very well and gives a good shape there's a bit of...

Boden V-Neck Empire Maxi Dress

Boden V-Neck Empire Maxi Dress

Was £140.00 , now £77.00

Beautiful dress ...Long, but that's how I like to wear my dresses ....I bought it for formal nights on our holiday cruise ,...

Pros: fit, length, color

Monsoon Kaftan Tie Dye Midi Dress, Turquoise

Monsoon Kaftan Tie Dye Midi Dress, Turquoise


This dress really makes you look forward to warmer weather. ...Gorgeous Dress !...I was looking for an easy care dress that...

Pros: fit, hangs well, color

Gina Bacconi Suzanne Portrait Maxi Dress, Navy

Gina Bacconi Suzanne Portrait Maxi Dress, Navy

Was £250.00 , now £175.00

Designed in a flattering A-line shape, this maxi dress by Gina Bacconi boasts embellished detailing. Draping around the...

Phase Eight Leela Maxi Dress

Phase Eight Leela Maxi Dress

Was £199.00 , now £149.00

In a sultry mermaid silhouette, this maxi dress by Phase Eight is free from any fussy details. With a boat neckline and...

Pros: fit, dress, size

HotSquash Blouson Sleeve Sequin Stripe Dress, Bottle Green

HotSquash Blouson Sleeve Sequin Stripe Dress, Bottle Green


Keeping things simple in a shift silhouette, this knee-length dress by HotSquash boasts a twinkly look with its stripe embellishment....

Scarlett & Jo Pleated Skirt Dress, Red/Multi

Scarlett & Jo Pleated Skirt Dress, Red/Multi


Designed in a flattering A-line shape, this midi dress by Scarlett & Jo blends florals and spots for a unique print. Keeping...

Pros: fit, shape, comfort

Adrianna Papell Feather Trimmed Sheath Dress, Black

Adrianna Papell Feather Trimmed Sheath Dress, Black

Was £189.00 , now £94.50

Three quarter sleeve finished with fun feathers which make the dress so stylish and stand out Purchased for Cunard cruise...

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What to wear on a cruise: Cruise attire and cruise line dress codes

Ashley Kosciolek

Have you ever had that nightmare where you're at work, in school or giving an important presentation, and you look down to discover you're wearing only your underwear (or worse, nothing at all)? If you're new to vacationing at sea, knowing how to dress for a cruise can be confusing — and just as potentially embarrassing if you're not prepared.

Packing acceptable attire for a cruise is simple if you remember a few general rules. Here, I'll break down some safe options if you're unsure, and I'll give an overview of the cruise dress codes for each of the "big eight" cruise lines.

For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG's new cruise newsletter .

What do people wear on a cruise?

cruise ship black dress

You can't go wrong with resort-casual clothing for sea days when you'll remain on board your ship. Although some lines will be more or less casual than that, it's a good baseline. But what is "resort casual"?

Khaki pants or shorts with loose-fitting, short-sleeve, button-down shirts or even nice, plain T-shirts work well for men. Women might opt for khaki shorts or palazzo pants with a nice top or a sundress. In most cases, nice jeans (dark wash with no holes) will work well also.

On most ships, this clothing will also be acceptable at night in the main dining rooms. For extra-fee restaurants, you might choose to dress up a bit more -- perhaps collared shirts or long-sleeve button-downs for men and slacks with a blouse, or a dress, for women.

For formal nights, men will want to bring a collared, button-down shirt at the bare minimum. For something a little more snazzy, bring a jacket to wear over your shirt, with or without a tie. Some men opt for suits or tuxes. For women, pantsuits and dressy pants outfits are a great choice, as are party dresses or even ball gowns.

Jeans are not allowed in the main dining rooms on formal nights, and cut-off shorts, baseball caps and flip-flops are banned at all times during dinner in the main dining rooms.

Related: 7 cruise ship packing mistakes you want to avoid at all costs

Another key piece of clothing to bring is a bathing suit. Whether you're headed to a warm-weather destination and plan to laze by the pool or on the beach, or you're visiting somewhere chilly but want to take advantage of your vessel's hot tubs, it's an item you won't want to forget. Note that cover-ups are required for entry at all restaurants and dining rooms, with the exception of walk-up, poolside window-service venues.

For shore excursions — particularly those in more rugged or active destinations that require a lot of walking — comfortable, casual clothing and sturdy footwear are a must. Bring layers for cold climates and moisture-wicking fabrics for places where it's warm or where you expect to work up a sweat.

Finally, check to see if your cruise line has any special theme nights planned. If so, you might want to pack an outfit for the white party or '80s night.

Carnival cruise dress code

cruise ship black dress

Carnival is one line where casual is the name of the game. Passengers will be just fine in jeans, T-shirts, tank tops, shorts and bathing suits for their days on board or ashore.

At night, nice jeans and nice tops are perfect for eating in the main dining rooms.

On Carnival cruise formal nights, known as "cruise elegant" nights, cruisers wear everything from slacks with nice shirts to tuxes and ball gowns. However, most passengers stick to clothes that fall somewhere in the middle.

Voyages of six nights or longer will have two "cruise elegant" nights, while those five nights or shorter will see only one.

Celebrity Cruises dress code

Celebrity Cruises maintains a dress code that's best described as chic-casual. The demographic on board tends to be a bit more upscale than what you'll find on Carnival, Royal Caribbean or Norwegian. That means khaki shorts with nice button-downs are more common than jean shorts and tank tops, although you won't be out of place in the latter.

For dinner, you'll want to dress it up even more, as the line has a smart-casual dress code at night in most restaurants, including the main dining room. Anything from unripped jeans to dress pants with nice blouses or button-downs is acceptable.

Related: 10 unexpected items I won't cruise without

Are there formal nights on Celebrity cruises? Yes, there's one on every sailing of six nights or fewer and two on voyages of a week or more, but they have a different name. "Evening chic" nights encourage passengers to go all out with tuxes and evening gowns. However, most men choose slacks with collared or button-down shirts and jackets, sans ties. Most women choose slacks and nice blouses, sundresses or party dresses.

Disney Cruise Line dress code

cruise ship black dress

Disney Cruise Line is synonymous with children, and children like to be comfortable. With that in mind, just about anything goes in terms of dress on The Mouse's ships, which tend toward casual in spite of their stellar service and high price point.

It's not uncommon to see jeans, shorts, T-shirts or bathing suits during the day. Unlike most other lines, the same goes at dinnertime, with jeans and T-shirts just as common as dressier attire like slacks and button-downs.

Exceptions are the line's "dress-up" nights — two on sailings of a week or more and one on shorter voyages. For those, DCL suggests that men avoid jeans and wear jackets. Women should go with dresses, skirts and blouses, or pantsuits.

Related: The 5 best cruise lines for families

Some of Disney Cruise Line's added-fee restaurants, such as Remy — one of the most expensive alternative eateries at sea — require jackets for men and don't allow jeans.

Each Disney sailing features a Pirate Night; cruisers wishing to participate should pack their best swashbuckling gear. As is standard at Disney parks, you're also likely to see large numbers of costumes and mouse ears at all hours of the day.

Holland America Line dress code

Although the dress code on Holland America Line ships is technically "cruise casual," you'll rarely spot anyone looking disheveled or like they just rolled out of bed. Most passengers tend toward resort wear or, at the bare minimum, nice jeans with pressed T-shirts.

The casual dress code carries through to dinner, but HAL cruisers can often be found dressing up a bit more — collared shirts or button-downs (sometimes with jackets) and slacks for men and slacks with nice tops or dresses for women.

As for Holland America formal nights, on sailings shorter than a week, there will be one "gala night," where travelers don evening or ball gowns, suits or tuxedos. Voyages of eight to 13 nights will see two gala nights, while any cruises of two weeks or longer will have three chances to dress to the nines.

MSC Cruises dress code

cruise ship black dress

What to wear on MSC cruises largely depends on the crowd with whom you're sailing. On Europe cruises, your fellow passengers are likely to dress up more often — even during the day — with skimpy resort wear and designer bathing suits gracing the pool deck as far as the eye can see. On those voyages, dinner is an even more fancy affair, with elegance as the norm. Expect to see glittering dresses and stylish pants and button-downs with dress shoes, even when it's not formal night.

On cruises that depart from the U.S., expect a more casual vibe, with jeans, T-shirts and bathing suits ruling the day. At night, you'll be fine with nice jeans and a collared shirt or a sundress, although you might want to dress up a bit more to match the ship's ambiance.

Related: A beginners guide to picking a cruise line

Are there formal nights on MSC cruises? Absolutely. They're called "gala dinners," and they appear at least once per voyage, but the number can vary by itinerary. The dress code is strict, with the buffet the only place that will allow T-shirts and shorts. You'll fit in best in a ball gown, cocktail dress, suit or tuxedo.

Norwegian Cruise Line dress code

Norwegian prides itself on allowing cruisers to dress as they please, providing a "come as you are" atmosphere during the day and at night. The most popular clothing is cruise casual, and passengers are free to wear whatever they'd like with an emphasis on comfort.

The only exception is at dinner, when a smart casual vibe encourages travelers to avoid torn clothes or outfits that are suggestive or skimpy.

In a nod to Norwegian's laid-back style, NCL formal nights — dubbed "Dress Up or Not" nights — provide a chance for you to doll up. However, it's not required, and you won't be turned away from the main dining rooms if you choose not to participate. Passengers have been spotted wearing everything from jeans and T-shirts to ball gowns and tuxes, and all coexist in perfect harmony.

Princess Cruises dress code

cruise ship black dress

Princess ' casual daytime mindset means you can wear the same types of clothing on board as you would during a day ashore — activewear, beachwear and jeans or T-shirts are totally fine.

Princess cruise formal nights are special because the line is one of the few industry holdouts in that it still has an official formal night. Its passengers enjoy a more traditional cruise experience, and they relish the romantic vibe that a formal night can provide. With that in mind, the line doesn't mention super-fancy garb like ball gowns or tuxes; instead, it advises suits or slacks with jackets for men and cocktail dresses or pantsuits for the ladies.

On voyages of less than a week, passengers should plan for one formal night, while sailings of a week to 13 days will have two, and cruises two weeks or longer will have three.

All other nights are listed as "smart casual," which means sundresses or pants with flowy tops for women and nice jeans or slacks with collared shirts for men will suffice.

Royal Caribbean dress code

As is the case with Carnival and Norwegian, Royal Caribbean is a casual line during the day. And, like Disney Cruise Line, it caters to a lot of families. Translation: Wear what allows you to have the most fun in the most comfort. Expect to see shorts or jeans with T-shirts or tank tops and bathing suits or beachwear almost exclusively during the daytime.

At night, you might want to put on something a little less comfortable, but it's certainly not required, unless it's a formal night. (Like Princess, Royal still has those.) What is confusing is that the line has three different dress codes, all of which are loosely enforced: casual, smart casual and formal. The ones that show up on your voyage will depend on the length of the cruise.

The only difference between the first two is that smart casual recommends pantsuits for ladies and jackets for the guys, but skirts or trousers with blouses or collared shirts are fine in both cases. Smart casual also strongly discourages jeans -- even nice ones.

Royal Caribbean formal nights have the highest expectations for passengers, urging them to put on their finest cocktail dresses, evening gowns, suits or tuxes. As with the line's smart casual dress code, jeans are not allowed in the main dining rooms on formal nights.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

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  • A quick guide to the most popular cruise lines
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Kim Kardashian walks 2024 Met Gala carpet in corset gown: See all the photos

"It's custom John Galliano couture," Kardashian said.

Kim Kardashian arrived at the 2024 Met Gala in a unique look.

The reality star and SKIMS founder, who donned platinum blonde hair, wore a corseted silver sparkly gown with a long sleeved silver wrap that draped over her shoulders on Monday evening.

PHOTO: Kim Kardashian attends The 2024 Met Gala Celebrating "Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 06, 2024 in New York City.

MORE: Zendaya steps out at 2024 Met Gala in dramatic look

On Instagram , Kardashian shared a photo in her look and shared that the gown was Margiela by John Galliano.

"It's custom John Galliano couture," Kardashian told Vogue in an interview on the carpet. "It's all metal. Metal lace. It's beautiful."

PHOTO: Kim Kardashian attends The 2024 Met Gala Celebrating "Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 06, 2024 in New York City.

Kardashian's sisters, Kendall Jenner and Kylie Jenner also walked the carpet, as well as their mom, Kris Jenner.

MORE: Tyla wears sand dress at 2024 Met Gala, gets lifted up stairs: See all the photos

"I look forward to seeing my sisters," Kardashian said. "We're in a group chat before we get here and it's like we all get nervous no matter how many times we've been... it's just like a fun family thing."

See all the looks from the 2024 Met Gala here .

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Cruise Wear over 50: Flattering Cruise Outfits for Women (plus packing list)

what to wear on a cruise - cruise wear over 50

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It’s so much fun packing up and preparing for a cruise . For me, this often starts with thinking about what cruise outfits to wear. While this post is about cruise wear over 50, these cruise fashions can work well for women of all ages!

Please keep in mind that you should always wear what makes you look and feel good. It just happens that I’m turning 50 this summer, but I would wear these cruise outfits at 40 and at 60, and every age in between.

In this post, I share casual cruise wear ideas and formal wear options (all quite affordable). Whether you’re looking for a cute maxi dress or an elegant cocktail dress, I think you’ll like these styles. These outfits aren’t too tight, are versatile, and most importantly, look fabulous!

I’ve also included a few bathing suits and cover ups, shawls, tote bags and evening bags – accessories often complete the look, but are also really useful on a cruise.

I’ve also included photos of some of my own cruise outfits from past cruises. Now, I am by no means a model, but I have a theory that everyone looks good on a cruise .

cruise wear for women over 50

What to Wear on a Cruise (over 40, 50, 60)

Let’s start with what cruise wear you’ll need for your cruise vacation. On a 7 day Caribbean cruise , you’ll want to be prepared with casual resort style clothing for the day, and a mix of cruise casual and dressy outfits for evening.

Cruise Outfit Packing List for Ladies

Here’s a simple women’s clothing packing list for a 7 day cruise, to use as a guide. Some people like to bring more and some people less, so adjust quantities of your favorite items accordingly. 

  • 2-3 sundresses and maxi dresses
  • 2-3 pair of shorts
  • 3-5 tops (day & evening)
  • 2-3 pair of dark jeans, capri pants or a skirt
  • 2-3 smart casual dresses or Little Black Dress
  • 1-2 fancy dresses or outfits
  • 2 Bathing suits
  • 2 Cover ups
  • 2 shawls or cardigans
  • gym shoes or comfortable walking shoes
  • flip flops or sandals for the pool
  • Heels or dressy flats for evening wear
  • Wedge shoes or espadrilles for day or evening
  • Evening bag or clutch
  • Tote bag for cruise ship and excursion days

**Looking for a printable cruise travel planner to keep organized? See what’s included in the 47 page Ultimate Cruise Planner

Get The Ultimate Cruise Planner

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Cruise Outfits for Ladies over 50

Cruise daywear.

On most cruises you can dress casually during the day, in shorts and a t-shirt, or a sundress. 

For port days, consider your shore excursion plans and decide what to wear. If you’re heading to a beach , a bathing suit and cover up are perfect. If you’re sightseeing, a cute top and shorts or a sundress or maxi dress is the way to go.

Caribbean cruise wear for women over 40 & 50

Casual Dresses – Sundresses &  Maxi Dresses

Casual spaghetti strap sundress.

This casual spaghetti strap sundress is comfortable and cute, and would make a great embarkation day outfit. If you want to pack light for a cruise , you could even wear this dress in the evening with accessories.

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Recommended: Casual sundress (see pricing and Amazon reviews here)

Romper /shorts

This one piece romper is casual, but looks a little bit cruisey just the same. Great on the ship or to wear on port days . It’s available in this nautical stripe, as well as solid colors and is very affordable (shhhh).

cruise ship black dress

Recommended: Nautical shorts romper (check price & amazing Amazon reviews here)

Maxi dresses

This striped maxi dress makes a great sundress or bathing suit cover up (that’s how I wear it). However, depending on the color or print, this maxi dress can look a bit more dressy.

cruise ship black dress

Recommended: Maxi dress (see colors and pricing on Amazon) 

This spaghetti strap maxi dress is comfortable and casual for strolling on a port day , but will also look great in the evening on your cruise. Take a look at the different colors and patterns. My favorites are the black, navy floral, and boho.

However, I love a deep blue dress when I’m cruising, so I always pack at least one of this color. Please note that this dress runs a little small, so you may want to size up.

cruise ship black dress

Recommended:  Cute maxi with pockets (see color options & pricing here)

Evening Wear on a Cruise

cruise casual evening wear - ladies over 50

On a 7 day cruise, you’ll usually have 4-5 casual or smart casual evenings, sometimes called cruise casual. 2 evenings are usually formal or “chic” wear.

Casual & smart casual dress code:  Wear a stylish top and jeans, or Capri pants or a comfortable maxi dress. A little black dress or floral dress are great too.

Casual & Smart Casual Outfits on a Cruise

This beautiful floral dress is perfect cruise wear for the dining room or specialty restaurants . Loose fitting and stylish, (the v neck and 3/4 bell sleeves) it’s very flattering for women who are fabulous at 40 or 50!

This dress is available in very small to plus size, and in more than 20 solid colors and prints. It might be worth getting 2!

cruise ship black dress

Recommended:   Ladies V neck shift dress (see colors & pricing here)

Elegant long maxi dress

This halter neck maxi dress is so pretty. Don’t forget to add a shawl for cool evenings on the cruise ship.

cruise ship black dress

Recommended:  Cruise casual halter style maxi dress (see price & details on Amazon)

Off the shoulder top

Pair a pretty top with a pair of white capri pants or jeans for a casual evening on a cruise. This off the shoulder top comes in different color stripes as well as solids and other patterns.

cruise ship black dress

Recommended: Pretty off the shoulder top (check thousands of 4.5 * reviews)

Resort style top

A loose short sleeve or bell sleeve top looks great with dark jeans or capri pants for a comfortable cruise casual look. This style is available in a “sexier” version with a spaghetti strap .

cruise ship black dress

Recommended: Floral casual top (see variations & options here)

Capris, jeans or trousers

These days cruises are much more casual than in the past . Wearing nice capri pants or white or dark jeans in the evening will look great paired with a pretty top.

cruise ship black dress

Recommended: White capri pants (with tummy support)

what to wear on cruise women over 50

Plus size cruise casual dress

I love this pretty dress style that can be dressed up or down on a cruise. It’s available in several colors and so flattering. The black and navy blue version of this dress are simple and gorgeous!

cruise ship black dress

Recommended:  Women Plus Size Dresses Short Sleeve Swing Dress with Pockets (check price here)  

Cruise wear doesn’t have to be a dress, even in the main dining room. Unless it’s a formal night, dark jeans and a top, capri pants or a jumpsuit are great outfits that feel chic and modern.

Romper jumpsuit

Isn’t this outfit cute? Women of every age will look elegantly casual in a romper jumpsuit . Dress it up or down with your favorite shoes.

cruise ship black dress

Recommended:  Off the shoulder romper jumpsuit (check sizing, color options here)

Read: What to Wear on a Norwegian Cruise

Cruise Formal Night Outfits

Formal dress code: On most cruises you’ll have 1-2 formal nights, chic nights or “dress your best” nights. These cocktail dresses are beautiful and flattering for ladies over 40 or 50, but really for any age. Always check your cruise line dress code as a guide.

Cruise wear for women 40 & 50

Cocktail Dresses

Long cocktail dress.

I love this long black evening dress , that is both simple and elegant (look at the side detail). It’s available in other colors as well, even red, if you want to stand out.

cruise ship black dress

Recommended: Long elegant cocktail dress (see details and reviews on Amazon)

Mid length pencil dress

This pencil dress is perfect for formal night or smart casual evenings on a cruise, but isn’t too fancy that it can’t be worn at home.

Personally, I love the wine color, however the black, blue and red are gorgeous too!

cruise ship black dress

Recommended:  Elegant evening short dress (see details & excellent reviews here)

Read: What to Wear on a Celebrity Cruise

Formal night Princess cruise Ilana Life Well Cruised

Lace detail shift dress – Plus size cruise cruise wear

This lace detail short cocktail dress is a great dress for evenings on a cruise. It’s available in different colors and sizes, and a good option if you’re looking for plus size cruise wear.

cruise ship black dress

Recommended: Plus size cruise cocktail dress (see price and Amazon reviews here)

cruise wear outfits ladies 40-50 plus

Ladies Bathing Suits & Cover Ups

Bathing suit cover ups .

You’ll want to put on a bathing suit cover up when heading indoors on your cruise or to eat at one of the restaurants. Make sure to pack 2 cover ups, so you can change your look and always have a clean, dry one available. 

Swimsuit cover up dress

This stylish 3/4 length sleeve bathing suit cover up dress comes in black, white and beautiful tropical patterns. If you’re going on a Caribbean cruise, it’s perfect for beach excursions. 

cruise ship black dress

Recommended: Loose fitting bathing suit cover up

Bikini wrap cover up

A short chiffon sarong wrap is a perfect cover up for bikinis or or one piece bathing suits. 

cruise ship black dress

Recommended: Sheer wrap cover up (check colors & price on Amazon)

Versatile cover up

This v neck swimsuit cover up is very flattering over a one piece or bikini. I love the white cover up, however there are several different colors to choose from.

cruise ship black dress

Recommended: Women’s swimwear cover up (popular amazon choice)  

bathing suit cover up cruise Ilana Life Well Cruised

Bathing suits

Make sure to pack at least 2 bathing suits for your cruise, so when one is wet the other is dry. 

Cupshe tummy control one piece swim suit

This one piece Cupshe brand bathing suit has tummy control and is very flattering on real women’s bodies. It’s also available in a few slightly different styles and colors.

cruise ship black dress

Recommended: One piece tummy control swim suit (see styles & read over 3000 reviews)

One piece off the shoulder bathing suit

This attractive one piece off the shoulder bathing suit fits women of every age,  shape and size. See the color and pattern options available.

Tip – make sure to choose one size up for best fit (snug but comfortable)

cruise ship black dress

Recommended: Off the shoulder one piece bathing suit (see 7000+ 4.5 star Amazon reviews)

Halter bathing suit swimdress

If you prefer a little more coverage, this halter top swimdress bathing suit is very flattering. It’s available in very small to plus size cruise wear.

cruise ship black dress

Recommended: Halter top swimdress bathing suit (see amazing Amazon reviews here)

Related: 25 Best Selling Amazon Cruise Essentials

The Ultimate Cruise Planner

Do you need cruise packing lists, to-do checklists, shore excursion forms and more? Over the last year, I put together a 47 page cruise travel planner that has everything you need as you plan and get ready for your cruise.

Check out the Life Well Cruised Ultimate Cruise Planner . Plus, for a limited time, it’s $10 off. Hope you enjoy!

See details here: Ultimate Cruise Planner -What’s Included

Shawls, Sunhats and Accessories

It gets a bit cool on a cruise ship in the evening, between the air conditioning and the evening sea breeze. Make sure to bring along a shawl, scarf or cardigan or two – it’s really a must.

Pashmina shawl wrap

A pashmina shawl wrap will looks great over an evening dress. I like to have one in black and ivory, however it’s available in several colors. 

cruise ship black dress

Recommended: Pashmina wrap shawl (check price here)

Make sure to bring a foldable sunhat on your cruise. Along with sunscreen and lip balm, a good sunhat is definitely a cruise essential .

cruise ship black dress

Recommended: Ladies wide brim sunhat (see color options here)

Make sure to bring comfortable flip flops that you could actually walk in, whether on the cruise ship on sea days , or in a port of call. These Reef’s Cushion Sands Flip flops offer support, a cushioned sole and traction.

cruise ship black dress

Recommended: Reef’s Cushion Sands flip flops (check price & Amazon reviews here)

what to wear on cruise women for women over 50

Should you carry a purse on a cruise? 

You won’t need to carry a purse or wallet on a cruise. However, you may want to carry a casual tote bag to the pool, with your lip balm, sunscreen, reading glasses, a book, phone etc. It’s also great to have for when you get off the ship on a port day. In the evening, a small clutch or evening bag can hold your cruise card, cell phone and lipstick.

Read:  Best Cruise Luggage and Packing Accessories

Tote bag and Evening Bags for a Cruise

It’s a good idea to pack a clutch or small evening bag to wear to the dining room at night. Pack your cruise card, lipstick, pills and anything else you might need when out of your cabin.

cruise ship black dress

A good tote bag is a must for a cruise! This large nautical beach bag will fit everything you need for a beach or pool day. I put together this post full of great tips for packing your shore excursion day bag .

cruise ship black dress

Recommended: Nautical tote bag (check pricing & awesome Amazon reviews here)

what to wear on a cruise - cruise wear over 50

Amazon Prime Wardrobe

I recently found out about Amazon Prime Wardrobe and it’s perfect for “trying on” cruise outfits. Here’s the information about this service if you’d like to find out more. Sign up is free if you’re a member of Amazon Prime .

Free 30 day Amazon Prime trial (benefits include faster shipping, Prime TV, borrow Kindle books and more).

Related posts:

Best Shoes to Pack for a Cruise

What to Pack for a Caribbean Cruise

15 Best Beauty Essentials to Pack for a Cruise

50 Most Recommended Items to Bring on a Cruise

27 Cruise Travel Hacks Repeat Cruisers Swear By

What Not to Wear on a Cruise; Rules and Guidelines

Final thoughts: Cruise Wear over 50

In this post we shared what to wear on a cruise when you’re over 50. However, always remember that how you dress isn’t determined by age. Wear what looks good on you, what you like, and most importantly, what makes you feel good!

When is your next cruise and do you enjoy shopping and planning your outfits to wear? Please let me know in the comments below.

Happy cruising!

P.S. If you enjoyed this post and found this helpful, please pass it along to others who love cruising too! You can share on Facebook, Twitter or even save to your favorite Pinterest board (share buttons at the top). Thanks so much!

Let’s connect:

Follow me on Facebook at Life Well Cruised

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Follow me on Pinterest at Life Well Cruised

Follow me on Instagram at Life Well Cruised


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What? Are you planning a cruise around the world? The list you posted is way too much. No one needs all those clothes for a 7 day cruise. I have been on at least 50 cruises and less is more.

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Everyone is different, so if you bring less than that’s great. Some people enjoy changing a couple of times a day while others are more minimalist. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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Wow! You are over packing. With 50 plus cruises under my belt I’ve found 3 day outfits and three evening outfits, 1 or 2 bathing suits snd coverup, gym clothes if so inclined., flip flops for the pool, good walking shoes and some pretty Sandals. Underwater and that’s it!

We’re all different, but thanks for sharing your packing list and style.

Have a wonderful cruise!

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Your choices are super cute, but this is definitely a heavy packing list — I say this so newbie cruisers won’t think this is all necessary. I made a list years ago of what I actually wore on a cruise, and now I keep it (laminated) to use for future trips:

– 2 casual dresses – White jeans and two blouses for dinner – 3 pairs shorts/skirts and 5 day blouses – Light denim shirt as a jacket for evening walks on deck – 2 swimsuits and a cover-up for each one – Nightgown – Ball cap and straw hat – Tennis shoes, walking sandals, wedges for dinner

Perfect! Thanks for sharing

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Personally I pack way more than this! Especially if we are driving to the port. I pack less if we are flying and I have to drag my suitcase around. I’ve been on 14 cruises and I’m 53. For me, cruises are a chance to dress up! I love Lilly Pulitzer dresses and shorts because they are bright and cheerful. I love my packing cubes – they are life changing!

Sounds great!

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I tend to take longer cruises. My next cruise in 2024 is 35 days. But even on a 14 day cruise my first purchase would be their laundry package. I find it a great value! I can leave my clothes to be cleaned and have them back the next day clean and pressed. Allows you to have only 3 days of casual clothes if you want. Really space saving if you are flying to the cruise port.

Great idea!

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Groom Who Made 'The Dress' Go Viral in 2015 Admits He Tried to Strangle His Wife

#TheDress debate went viral on social media nine years ago, dividing people based on what color they believed the garment actually was

cruise ship black dress

TheEllenShow/YouTube, swiked/tumblr

The man who posted a photo of his wife's dress that subsequently was said to have "broke the internet" nine years ago has pleaded guilty to attacking his wife , PEOPLE confirms.

Keir Johnston, 38, and his wife, Grace, had everybody talking — including stars such as Kim Kardashian and Ellen DeGeneres — after the mother of the bride wore a dress that had the world divided to their wedding in 2015.

Almost a decade after the internet continuously fought over whether the dress in question was black and blue or white and gold, Keir has now been sent to jail after admitting trying to strangle his wife.

Court documents obtained by PEOPLE confirm Keir was indicted after pinning his wife to the ground and sitting astride her during an assault on March 6, 2022.

Documents stated Keir repeatedly placed his hands around Grace's neck, restricting her breathing. He also threatened to kill her and brandished a knife.

During the attack, Keir said, "Somebody is going to die," the High Court in Glasgow, Scotland heard on Thursday, May 9, per United Kingdom outlets including The Times , The Telegraph , and the Guardian .


Grace dialed for help and said, “My husband is trying to kill me," according to the reports.

Chris Macintosh, prosecutor for the crown, told the judge, Lady Drummond, that Grace "felt trapped" as the couple lived on the remote Scottish Isle of Colonsay.

Macintosh said, “There is no permanent police presence on the island, and she was in a situation where she felt trapped.”

Grace went against Keir's demands by attending a job interview on the mainland, before the attack took place days later after her husband had been drinking at a pub quiz, multiple outlets reported.

“Johnston woke up and said that he was going to leave her,” Macintosh told the court, per The Times .

“She went outside the property to stop him leaving. He followed her and pinned her to the ground. He placed both knees on her arms, so she was unable to move. He then began strangling her with both his hands," he added.

“She was able to scream. She feared for her life and believed Johnston intended to kill her. He was very forceful,” Macintosh continued.

After a witness tried to pull Keir away from his wife, he allegedly briefly went inside but came back out and threatened to "finish" his wife off, before choking her, The Times stated.

The outlet reported Mr. Johnston was holding a knife, and was later found hiding under a desk in their home still clutching it. He reportedly put the blade to his throat at one point, before the knife was taken away from him.

The U.K. newspaper reported Grace suffered "visible" bruising and marks to her neck in the assault. 


Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for  PEOPLE's free True Crime newsletter  for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases. 

“I have no need to tell you that this is a serious and violent offense," the judge told Keir, adding: "You repeatedly strangled her, injured her and put her life in danger in what must have been absolutely terrifying circumstances for her."

“I am afraid, Mr Johnston, that your status has now changed, you have been convicted of a very serious crime and you will be remanded meantime.”

Keir and Grace's viral dress fame came after Caitlin McNeill, a guest at the wedding, posted a photo of the garment on Tumblr, which then sparked a debate about its striped pattern.

Amid the controversy, Keir, Grace and McNeill even appeared on The Ellen Degeneres Show , where they were given $10,000 and a trip to Grenada.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to . All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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