What to Wear on an MSC Cruise

The question of what to wear on a cruise is probably the one I get asked the most, yet the answer can vary quite a bit depending on which cruise line you’re going to be sailing on. Some cruise lines are more formal than others, so what works for one company may not work when sailing with another. That’s why it’s always good to do your research prior to cruising to ensure you won’t look or feel out of place on board thanks to having packed the wrong clothes!

The MSC website is surprisingly scant on information of what their dress code actually is, so here’s my mini guide to what to wear on an MSC Cruise…

Daytime Wear

Daytime wear is pretty much what you would wear in any holiday resort. Swimsuits, shorts and sundresses are all appropriate for a sunny day at sea and if you’re going exploring ashore then comfort is key.

A pair of loose trousers, a sundress, shorts and a tee are all perfect in warm weather. In cooler weather then pack lots of layers, the same as you would for any other holiday.


Perfect daytime wear

Also, be aware that if you’re visiting a religious country like Morocco, for example, you should bring respectful clothing that won’t have you offending locals.

If you’re planning to visit religious sites such as churches, temples and mosques during your days ashore then you will want to bring appropriate clothes that cover shoulders, cleavage and knees if required.

Evening Wear

There are three types of dress codes for evenings on MSC ships – informal, theme nights and gala nights.

I found that what people wore on each type of night varied wildly throughout the ship. MSC state that “after 6 p.m., jeans, T-shirts and shorts are not permitted in the ships’ public areas” however this was not enforced at all and jeans were worn in the dining room all the time. I’m a fan of dressing up a little for dinner so it was a little off putting to see people in jeans, trainers and hoodies in the dining room every night.

Informal Nights

To avoid feeling too dressed up (as I often did on my MSC Cruise), I’d suggest ladies wear smart trousers and a nice top or a smart casual dress on informal nights.


My kind of informal evening wear

For gents you definitely could get away with wearing jeans despite what the regulations say however my partner wore suit trousers and a shirt every evening and felt comfortable (and looked great!).

Theme Nights

I’m never sure why cruise lines have theme nights when they don’t warn you in advance just exactly what the theme will be.

The night we embarked upon MSC Armonia the theme was 60s and 70s and needless to say we didn’t have anything in our suitcase to fit the bill. It seemed as if nobody else on the ship did either as I didn’t see a single person dressed up.

Gala Nights

These are the most formal nights on board and MSC suggest “cocktail dresses for the ladies and a lightweight suit, or even dinner jacket for men”.

There were 2 gala nights during our 7 night cruise and I had brought two very lovely formal dresses with me. There were quite a few ladies dressed up in cocktail or formal dresses however there were just as many who hadn’t dressed up at all.


I think we scrub up pretty well huh?

My partner wore a tuxedo on one formal night and a navy three piece suit on the other and was one of very few gents who even bothered to put a suit on at all. Many men were simply in suit trousers and a shirt.

Overall this was one of the most casual dress codes I’ve ever experienced on a cruise ship so if you would love to go on a cruise and not feel pressured into dressing up then MSC is definitely for you.

Have you ever struggled with what to wear on a cruise? I hope this guide to what to wear on an MSC Cruise helps!