Can You Sunbathe Topless on a Cruise Ship?

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Man and woman lying on loungers by the pool on a cruise ship

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While on a cruise to a tropical destination, you may choose to spend the day by the pool working on your tan under the Caribbean sun.

It’s common for people to let loose on vacation, but what if you want to tan without the lines?

It begs the question, can you sunbathe topless on a cruise ship?

Sunbathing topless was once common on cruise ships. Carnival Cruise Line was popular for its topless sunbathing deck. But today, many cruise lines prohibit going topless, and you’ll rarely find passengers going topless on the pool deck. 

Keep reading to learn more about cruise line policies on sunbathing topless.

Can You Sunbathe Topless on a Cruise Ship?

Man and woman lying on loungers by the pool on a cruise shipPin

Most major cruise lines do not allow passengers to sunbathe topless on cruise ships. In today’s age of family-friendly cruising, cruise lines have adopted specific policies prohibiting topless sunbathing.

Carnival Cruise Line has removed its special sundeck around the funnel, and Norwegian Cruise Line’s Guest Conduct Policy states, “topless sunbathing is not permitted.”

Some cruise lines like Cunard Line permit passengers to sunbathe topless from “the privacy of your own balcony.”

Celestyal Cruises, Costa Cruises, and Virgin Voyages are the only cruise lines that permit topless sunbathing.

But, for most mainstream cruise lines, it’s likely against the rules to take your top off in public spaces. On the dozen or so cruises I’ve been on, I haven’t seen any passengers sunbathing topless. Not only is it not allowed, but it’s generally not common anymore.

Cruise Lines Rules on Topless Sunbathing

Panoramic shot of open decks and red funnel on Carnival Freedom. Saint Vincent island and blue sky with white clouds in the background.Pin

Most major cruise lines don’t allow topless sunbathing on their ships.

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival doesn’t mention topless sunbathing specifically; however, their code of conduct states that:

Carnival will not tolerate any behavior affecting the comfort, enjoyment, health, safety or well-being of other guests or our crew. We reserve the right to to refuse or discontinue passage to anyone who, in Carnival’s judgment, is conducting themselves in a manner that adversely affects the cruise experience of others.

Carnival Cruise Line was once famous for its topless sunbathing deck. The uppermost deck near the funnel used to be reserved for guests who wished to sunbathe topless. But the cruise line has removed the topless sunbathing decks from their cruise ships.

Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean has stated in their Guest Health, Safety, and Conduct Policy that:

Topless sunbathing is not permitted except on selected itineraries, and in those itineraries will only be allowed in designated areas. For more details on our Dress Code, please contact Guest Services

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises has a Conduct Policy similar to its sister cruise line, Royal Caribbean. Unlike Royal Caribbean, Celebrity’s Policy makes explicit reference to topless sunbathing. The cruise line does not permit toplessness except on select itineraries and only in designated areas.

In their Policy, the cruise line states that:

Pool, deck, and theater chairs may not be reserved, except in cases of disability. Public nudity is not permitted. Guests must be appropriately attired, including while on stateroom balconies if visible to others onboard, other vessels, or the shore. Topless sunbathing is not permitted except on select itineraries and for those itineraries, only in specifically designated areas. For more details on our Dress Code, please contact Guest Relations.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line is one of the few cruise lines with an explicit ban on toplessness. As part of its Guest Conduct Policy, the cruise line states:

Pool, deck and theatre chairs may not be reserved. Topless sunbathing is not permitted. Boom boxes or loud radios are not permitted.

Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages is one of the only cruise lines that allow topless sunbathing. Virgin’s cruise ships have a small, designated area for passengers who wish to sunbathe topless.

According to the cruise line:

Is there a topless/nude area on board?

Yes, because we find tan lines to be kind of vintage (not in a good way), there will be a designated area for you to go topless.

Costa Cruises

Costa Cruises allows guests to sunbathe topless on the ship’s top decks, by the pool, and on cabin balconies. The cruise line has a heavy Italian influence and allows European-style sunbathing on cruise ships.

Celestyal Cruises

Celestyal cruises allow guests to sunbathe topless on the outer decks of the ships. The European cruise line offers small-ship cruises around the Mediterranean.

How to Sunbathe Topless on a Cruise

Girl relaxing on holiday with cruise ship in the backgroundPin

While some cruise lines explicitly state whether topless sunbathing is allowed, and others avoid the issue entirely, you may wonder how common it is in the real world.

After sailing on more than a dozen cruises, I’ve never seen anyone sunbathe topless. We can safely say that it is rare that anyone shows any nudity on most cruises.

That said, we have seen many people lying on their stomachs with the back of their tops untied. And it never seems to be an issue.

But what if you want to get some sun and work on your tan, sans lines?

If you intend to sunbathe topless on your cruise vacation, we recommend upgrading to a balcony cabin and soaking in the sun from the relative privacy of your balcony. It’s not as glamorous as the top deck, but it provides a bit of privacy.

While tanning topless on your balcony, it’s unlikely that you will be caught. But keep in mind that you may still be breaking the cruise line policy.

If you’re unsure of the cruise line rules, you can ask a crew member or visit guest services.

Another little-known option is to participate in chartered sailings dedicated to nude cruising. Popular nude cruise charters even take place on some popular mainstream cruise ships.

While some people seem to think that the ship’s top decks and adult-only areas permit topless sunbathing, we don’t recommend testing your luck. If you want to go topless, it never hurts to ask the staff first.

Bottom Line

Balcony view from a cruise shipPin

Topless sunbathing isn’t as popular as it once was, and many cruise lines have banned passengers from going topless on the sun decks.

If you really must go topless on a cruise ship, we recommend doing so from the relative privacy of a balcony stateroom or asking a crew member for clarification on the rules. Finally, laying on your stomach with your top untied should not be an issue on any cruise line.

Article by

Marcello De Lio

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