Royal Caribbean Dress Code: What to Wear on Your Cruise

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The three-level main dining room on board Odyssey of the Seas.

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Royal Caribbean has three primary dress codes: casual, smart casual, and formal, which apply to different venues, restaurants, and events on the ship.

During the daytime, the Royal Caribbean dress code consists of casual attire, with jeans, polo shirts, sundresses, and blouses.. Swimwear is best kept to the pool deck, and shorts are acceptable for breakfast and lunch.

As you transition into the evening, the dress code often shifts to smart casual or formal, depending on the ship’s schedule.

Adhering to these guidelines ensures a seamless experience as you navigate the various activities and dining options available on your Royal Caribbean cruise.

Royal Caribbean Dress Code Guidelines

The three-level main dining room on board Odyssey of the Seas.Pin
(Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean)

When you’re on a Royal Caribbean cruise, it’s essential to dress appropriately for each venue and event.

Here is everything you need to know about the Royal Caribbean dress code to help you pack the proper attire for your cruise. You can also check the Royal Caribbean website for up-to-date information.


Royal Caribbean has a casual dress code for most daytime activities onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Whether cruising to the sun-soaked Bahamas, the majestic Alaskan landscapes, or other exciting destinations, Casual wear will keep you comfortable and relaxed as you enjoy your vacation.

During the day, feel free to dress comfortably as you explore the ship, relax on the pool deck, and participate in various activities.

On the Pool Deck, your go-to clothing should include swimwear, such as swimsuits or trunks, and a cover-up when needed. Don’t forget to pack some reef-safe sunscreen and a good pair of flip-flops, as the pool area and other outdoor spaces can have hot and slippery surfaces.

In the ships’ common areas, casual attire is also encouraged. You can opt for t-shirts, tank tops, shorts, skirts, casual dresses, or sundresses. Pair these with comfortable shoes, like sandals or sneakers, so you can comfortably explore the cruise ship.

Packaging a mix of clothing suitable for the varying weather conditions you may encounter on your cruise vacation is always a good idea.

The dress code may be slightly more elevated for evening events, dinners, or themed nights, leaning towards smart casual or formal wear. You can still attend many events and activities in casual clothing, but you might not be allowed in specific restaurants or venues.

Smart Casual

A man and a woman on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship following the Smart Casual dress codePin

Most evenings on a Royal Caribbean cruise have a “smart casual” dress code. In a smart casual setting, you will be expected to take your attire up a notch from your casual daywear but still maintain a relaxed and comfortable look.

  • Men: Typical dinner wear includes nice jeans or slacks and a collared shirt, like a polo or a button-up. You can add a light blazer or sports jacket for added flair.
  • Women: Sundresses, skirts, or pants paired with a blouse or stylish top. Don’t be afraid to choose a slightly dressier piece, but remember to keep it comfortable and vacation-friendly. Alternatively, you could opt for a tailored jumpsuit or culotte, which are both stylish and versatile options.

As you put together your smart casual outfits, consider fashionable yet functional footwear.

Women can choose from stylish flats, sandals, or low heels, while men should opt for loafers, boat shoes, or dressy sneakers. These choices will allow you to feel comfortable while also looking polished.

Remember that the smart casual dress code is designed to provide a balance between dressy and relaxed attire. Ensure that you pack appropriate clothing items to adhere to this dress code during your Royal Caribbean cruise, and your evenings onboard will be both fashionable and enjoyable.

Formal Night

Passengers on the deck of a cruise ship during Royal Caribbean formal night drinking champagne and wine with the sunset in the backgroundPin

Every Royal Caribbean cruise has 1-3 formal nights, depending on the length of your sailing.

Shorter sailings (3- to 5-night cruises) typically have one formal night, while longer sailings (6+ nights) have two formal nights. If your cruise is 11 nights or longer, you could have up to 3 Formal Nights.

Royal Caribbean’s formal night dress code only applies to the main dining room.

Royal Caribbean’s dress code asks guests to bring their “best black-tie look – suits and ties, tuxedos, cocktail dresses or evening gowns.”

In our experience, the dress code isn’t that strict.

A dress shirt and slacks are a common choice for men, while women often opt for a cocktail dress.

I’ve seen several passengers wear jeans to the main dining room on a formal night. But it’s usually paired with a dress shirt and a blazer.

But any less, you likely won’t be allowed to eat in the main dining room.

Of course, you don’t need to dress up for a formal night. But if you don’t adhere to the dress code, you won’t be allowed to eat in the main dining room.

You can eat at the Windjammer Cafe or specialty restaurants instead.

Here are some tips for what to wear on a Formal Night:

  • Men: A black-tie look is appreciated but not mandatory. Aim for a suit and tie or a tuxedo if you prefer. A dress shirt and dress pants are usually acceptable.
  • Women: You can wear a cocktail dress, evening gown, or an elegant pantsuit.

What to Wear on Shore Excursions and Port Days

Marissa De Lio in a grey jacket holding a puppy during a dog sledding shore excursion in Skagway AlaskaPin

When preparing for your cruise, it’s important to consider the clothing you’ll wear on shore excursions. It is essential to pack appropriate clothing based on the destination and activity.

Since dress codes vary depending on the port or venue visited, reviewing the tour description for specific guidelines is a good idea.

For comfort and convenience during shore excursions, casual, lightweight clothing is recommended. When going on beach outings, you can wear a sundress, romper, shorts, t-shirts, or swimsuit cover-up over your bathing suit.

If you plan to use the pools, hot tubs, or waterslides during your excursion, wearing a bathing suit under your clothes will make it easier to enjoy these activities.

Most importantly, ensure you bring comfortable walking shoes for port days. You’ll be doing a lot more walking than you might anticipate.

Dining Dress Codes

Main Dining Room

For the main dining room on Royal Caribbean cruises, the dress code depends on the length of your cruise.

Most nights in the main dining room consist of a smart casual dress code. There will be 1-3 formal nights depending on the length of your cruise.

Whether it’s a smart casual or formal night, the following clothing items are not allowed in the main dining room:

  • Bathing suits
  • Shorts
  • Sandles
  • Cover-ups
  • T-shirts

Specialty Dining Venues

In specialty dining venues, the dress code generally remains smart casual, with slacks, polos, dresses, and blouses being appropriate.

However, some specialty restaurants might enforce a more formal dress code, so it’s advised to review the specific dining venue’s guidelines before making a reservation. Remember that casual shoes are acceptable, but flip-flops, beachwear, and bare feet are not.

The dress code in specialty restaurants remains the same on formal nights. So if you don’t plan to bring formal wear, a specialty restaurant is a good alternative.

Windjammer Buffet

The Windjammer buffet has a casual dress code at all times of the day. It is a perfect dining option for those who want to dine without stressing about formal clothing.

Jeans, polos, casual dresses, rompers, and other laid-back attire are appropriate here. Shoes must be worn, and swimwear is not allowed, so cover up appropriately when dining.

How Strict Is Royal Caribbean’s Dress Code?

In our experience, Royal Caribbean’s dress code is not that strict. It’s more a suggestion than a hard rule, but you should follow the general spirit of the dress code to avoid issues entering the main dining room.

When I first sailed on Royal Caribbean in 2007, crew members strictly enforced the dress code.

I remember my dad getting denied entry to the main dining room because of the shorts he was wearing. Then again, the next day, because of his sandals.

On my last few Royal Caribbean cruises, I’ve noticed many passengers skirting the lines of the dress code.

You shouldn’t expect to wear shorts in the main dining room on a formal night. But there is a little give in the rules.

Packing for Embarkation Day

Ensure you pack a change of clothes or bathing suit in your carry-on bag during embarkation day. You may not have access to your luggage for several hours.

Packing a change of clothes in your carry-on means you can take a swim in the pool or change your clothes before dinner.

Article by

Marcello De Lio

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