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Nautical Kids Clothes and Cruise Wear

Updated on September 15, 2014

Cruise Wear for Children and Nautical Kids Clothes

If you are planning a family cruise. remember that cruise wear for children doesn't have to be fancy, or expensive. You don't even have to pack a single item of nautical kids clothing if you don't want to. But, on the other hand, you can if you want. There are some really fun nautical fashions for little ones - from babies through teens.

I love seeing the little boys and girls all dressed up in their children's formal wear on the night of the captain's gala. The are so cute! Some of the parents even dress their little ones in nautical resort wear during the day, too. Not all of them, but some definitely do. Most of the kids I see have obviously gotten at least one really cute outfit for their cruise. But I really get a kick out of the nautical kids clothes.

It surely isn't necessary to dress your little girl like a princess, in a child's formal dress, or your little boy like a miniature yacht captain for dinner, but you can if you want, and at least a few of the tykes seem to really enjoy it. It's like playing dress-up, or play-acting!

Photo credit: Phaewilk (public domain)


What to Pack for the Kids

A family cruise cab be a real lmemorable vacation.

Cruise clothes for children are much the same as for adults.


Many lines describe their daytime dress as "resort casual." For the kids, take Shorts and tops; sandals, walking shoes, and shoes for dinner; one more bathing suit than you think will be needed; A bathing suit cover up; a jacket or sweater and rain poncho in case of inclement weather; sun hat for the little ones.

Notice what's NOT on the list: Jeans. Especially in the Caribbean and Mediterranean, they are just too hot. Some traditional veteran cruisers insist that they are also inappropriate, but that's starting to relax a bit on some lines.


Kids Shirts for Daytime Cruise Wear

Fun cruise shirts from CruiseReady on Zazzle

There are cruise themed shirts for kids of all ages, from infants to older teens, at Zazzle.

You'[ll find a variety of styles too, from infang creepers to tanks and hoodies for tweens and teens.

Cute Nautical Hats for Baby - Guard Against Sunburn!

When cruising, it's important to make sure you have a hat for baby. This is particularly true if you are cruising the Caribbean, where the sun is most likely harsher than it is where you live. In any event, the water can magnify the effect of the suns rays, as it reflects off the surface. So be extra careful to protect baby's tender skin and head.

Nautical Fashion

Cute Nautical Fashions

for daytime cruise wear

Sailor Suits for the Youngest Sailors - Cute Outfits for Little Boys

Your little gentleman will look like a million dollars in his own little sailor suit on formal night. Don't be surprised if he garners a lot of attention!

What Age is Appropriate for Children to Begin Cruising? - (a poll)

What Age is Appropriate for Children to Begin Cruising?

See results

Darling Sailor Dresses for Young Ladies - Cute Cruise Wear for Little Girls

Your little princess will be a standout when she dons her adorable navy and white sailor outfit for that special dinner on board

Bag of Tricks

You Might Want

a Bag of Tricks

Take along a Bag of Tricks . . .

When Cruising with Kids


If your kids are little, you have probably already thought of this, but just in case ... consider putting together a bag of tricks. Several would be even better - one for you, and one for each child.

What do I mean by a bag of tricks?

YOUR bag of tricks should contain at LEAST two or three books and several toys. Include at least one old favorite and a new one of each.


THEIR bag is for them to carry their treasures in when you go as a family to spend some time on the pool deck, or other places.

Keep your bag of tricks a secret, though! This is your emergency stash, for when boredom or figgetyness looks like it's about to rear its ugly head. THEN, you can pull something appropriate out of YOUR bag and put it into THEIRS.

You might have a different item for each day, for example. Just remember to include some small, hand-held items that do NOT talk or make any other noises, to be taken to the dining room at night.

Some Ideas - for your Bag of Tricks

Here are several items to give you some ideas for things to put in what you may even begin to think of as a 'rescue' bag.

FORGET electronic games that require an internet connection to play. Connectivity at sea is an enormously expensive proposition. (It varies from line to line, but $ .75 per minute is a fairly typical rate)

Boats: Speeding! Sailing! Cruising!
Boats: Speeding! Sailing! Cruising!

For pre-school through first grade.

Kid's Trip Diary: Kids! Write About Your Own Adventures and Experiences! (Kid's Travel series)
Kid's Trip Diary: Kids! Write About Your Own Adventures and Experiences! (Kid's Travel series)

For 7 to 9 years

Not only does it contain journaling prompts and blank pages for writing and drawing, but there are puzzles, too.


Duel Debate Module

Should children under the age of 10 be allowed in the main dining room on Formal Night?

Dinner Time

Dressing for Dinner


Evening Meals On Board

Are a Special Experience


The children may prefer to go to the children's program for the dinner hour. On the other hand, the wonderful dining experience in the main dining room can be a great family time, and you may want them enjoy this special part of the cruise experience.

Check your line's dinner dress guidelines. These can vary, but IN GENERAL, on a seven night voyage, there will be two formal nights, one or two smart casual nights, and three or four casual nights.


On casual and smart casual nights, little boys will be fine in a pair of slacks and a polo shirt or button shirt, while little girls can wear slacks or a skirt and blouse, or a casual dress.


On formal nights, anything from a party or sunday dress all the way up to a child's formal is appropriate for girls. For boys, at least a dress shirt and a boy's tie will do, but you will even see some boys all decked out in their little tuxedos.

Children may actually enjoy dressing up. It's something they don't get to do often, and the prospect of spending a very grown up evening may seen very special to them.

There's often a Captian's Reception on that evening. That event usually has an orchestra or dance band providing a short period of music for dancing.

Some of the most precious moments I have witnessed at the Captain's Reception were fathers dancing with their little princesses, or moms with their little gentlemen.

Ties for Little Boys - on Formal Night Make Them Feel Grown Up

Little boys look so cute in their special neckties... it makes them feel quite grown up to wear a tie, like Dad does!

My Granddaughter's First Time at Sea

.. she had just turned eight

If you are wondering about children and cruising, don't! A cruise can be a great family vacation.

I took my little granddaughter on her first cruise when she had just turned 8. It was just us two 'girls,; and we both had a wonderful time. She was on her best behavior the whole time.

She looked AND behaved like a demure little princess on formal night, and I was very proud of her.

Fancy Hair Clips - To Make Little Girls Feel Extra Special on Formal Nigjt

If sonny gets a special tie to wear to dinner on formal night, then sissy needs something special, too. An extra fancy hair adornment may be just what she needs to shine as well!


Fabulous Cruise Wear on a Budget

I have a dear friend who, like me, sails on a regular basis. She buys all of her formal wear at high end consignment / thrifts or on eBay. When the kids go cruising, that's where she gets their things too.

My friend ALWAYS looks stupendous on formal night, in a beautiful gown that she got for pennies on the dollar. She knows, and I know. But as for the rest of our shipmates, nobody is the wiser!

Have a look at some of the cute cruise wear for girls and boys that's available today on eBay!

Formal Wear for Boys - Grab a Bargain on eBay

Boys grow so fast that it may not be wise to invest a lot of money in boys' formal wear. eBay is the way to go. No one but you will be the wiser, and he'll look like a little prince.

Formal Wear for Little Ladies - What's Up for Bids Today?

Look to eBay for your daughter's cruise formal wear. I'll let you in on a little secret. You will be far from the first mother to do so, and you certainly won't be the last!


Best Cruise Lines for Families

Some lines are more family oriented than others/

What are the best cruise lines for families?

Well, a lot depends on your family, but if you are new to cruising, consider a line that caters to families, and has a lot of activities for the children.

Disney Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean all have childrens programs with organized activities. There are even special "teens-only" areas on some ships. 'Amusements,' vary greatly from ship to ship. Most have sports decks, and some have a LOT more. For example, on Royal Caribbean's larger ships, there are flow riders, water parks, and, on their Oasis class ships, even a carousel.

On lines like Holland America and Celebrity, you'll typically find fewer children. While they do have childrens programs, activities aboard are generally more reserved. There are also fewer big scale 'amusements,' and more classes and demonstrations.

Have You Been Cruising with Children - On any of these Lines?

On which lines have you cruised with your children or grandchildren?

See results

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    • Camden1 profile image


      7 years ago

      What kid wouldn't like a personalized cruise bag? It's the perfect pre-cruise gift for the kids to pack their carry-on items in.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Fantastic collection of children wear. Very nice baby clothes. Love the shoes. Generally pediped shoes are very famous. They are too soft and vulnerable to use.

    • Rangoon House profile image


      7 years ago from Australia

      There are some absolutely stunning nautical clothes for children, whether or not they are cruising!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Hmm... Your granddaughter is a good example of 'why not', when it comes to exposing young kids and letting them 'learn' from experience! Children are the 'adults' of the future! :)

    • CruiseReady profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from East Central Florida

      @Virginia Allain: I can't help but agree! We are seeing less and less of the really little kids being dolled up these days, but when parents do go to the trouble, the oooos and aaaahs are non-stop from the other passengers.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      I love the little sailor suits. Really cute for anytime and especially for a cruise.

    • CruiseReady profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from East Central Florida

      @PurpleTurtle LM: A lot of what's "proper" depends on the line you choose. For example, you'll see more tuxedos than not on Cunard, and more very casual pants (even jeans) on Norwegian.

    • PurpleTurtle LM profile image

      PurpleTurtle LM 

      7 years ago

      My wife and I are planning to go on a cruise next year. We never really put any thought into proper and improper cruise wear. Deciding on what we will wear on our cruise will have to be something that we put on the checklist

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      a must before going on a cruise

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image


      8 years ago from New York

      Great tips for selecting the right nautical cruise wear for kids. Another tip for formal wear, if you live in a large city, is to rent the clothes if you don't want to buy them. It will save substantial amounts of money. Like you said, "no ones the wiser".

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great idea to be dressed in sea clothes or cruise wear, especially like Johny Depp's -pirates of Caribbean.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      8 years ago from United States

      Really cute suggestions! It never even occurred to me that children would have to "dress" for dinner. Since most children enjoy playing "dress up," I bet a lot of them like doing that.

    • CruiseReady profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from East Central Florida

      @anonymous: Thank you, Tipi!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Cute ideas for the little ones to go cruising in style. This is unique!


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