Disney Cruise Line 101 ~ What Not To Wear

Although Disney lists the Disney Cruise Dress Code (no swimwear in the dining rooms, etc.) here on their website, what exactly do people “normally” wear?

I’ve got you covered. Formal, Semi-Formal, Cruise Casual, Optional Dress Up, or Pirate will be noted as the evening attire on the front corner of your Personal Navigator each day. So let’s break those down


These evenings, most guests seem to go with somewhere in the range of “Sunday Best” to cocktail dress. A few opt for tuxedos and ball gowns (when else can you really wear one?) Jackets, once requested on the website, seem pretty rare. Dark slacks and a button down are more common.

Rocking the sweater vests and tiaras.

The little princesses often choose a favorite princess costume from their wardrobe (yes, leftover Halloween costumes, tiaras and fairy wings are welcome) while the boys range from tiny suits to khakis and sweater vests though full length jeans are not unheard of in the elementary set.
What not to wear?
Cut offs, tank tops and swim wear. Be aware that while a wedding party or two may sport full tuxedos, ball gowns or military dress, that is not standard attire, though welcome.


Semi-Formal means one step down from formal. In practice this is cocktail to “Sunday Best” with the latter being more the norm.

Comfy, not too stuffy!

Girls often go in sundresses, skirts or princess gowns. Boys tend toward the khakis or jeans. Adults are on the same level of dress with both khakis and jeans well represented in men.
What not to wear?
Cut offs, tank tops and swim wear. Be aware that while a cocktail dresses won’t stick out, most women tend toward Capri slacks, sundresses and skirts. Jeans are not uncommon.

Optional Dress-Up

On shorter cruises, instead of formal or semi-formal, there is a single “optional dress up” night. This runs the gamut of both nights with a healthy representation of cruise casual. If you want to dress up and get a nice family photo, this is your evening to do it.

Optional Dress Up

If you want a chance to relive the elegance of classic ocean liners, feel free to break out the pearls. Just don’t be surprised to see not everyone shares your enthusiasm for dressing up.
What not to wear?
Cut offs, tank tops and swim wear. Any form of dress up won’t stick out as this tends to be the most mixed dress of all the evenings.

Pirate or Cruise Casual

Yes, guests really do dress up on pirate night. I’ve seen everything from convincingly accurate replications of costumes from Pirates of the Caribbean (people were asking for autographs and photos from these guests) to humorous (though family friendly) pirate tee shirts or Hawaiian print shirts.

A Pirates Life for Me!

Most guests hang out in the pirate t-shirts or a range of pirate attire (Halloween to renaissance festival) with the second most common choice being tropical sundresses and shirts.

What not to wear on my Disney cruise?

Cut offs, tank tops and swim wear. Feel free to have fun this evening! When else will you be allowed to dress up as a buccaneer?

Cruise Casual

Polo shirts, khakis, sundresses and other regular day clothes are staples.

Often you can wear the same outfit day and night for cruise casual.

This is the most relaxed of the evening dress code variations.
What not to wear?
Cut offs, tank tops and swim wear still not allowed. Other than that, skirts, nice jean shorts and anything you would wear to Red Lobster is okay. Jean shorts okay not only on the little boys, but on just about anyone. Be aware that some people find the air conditioning in the dining rooms chilly, so plan accordingly.

What if I just don’t want to dress up?

Disney is very lenient on the main dining room dress code. If you forego swimwear and tank tops, almost everything else is acceptable, even if not common. Their minimum standards appear here on their website. (Also linked on each “What not to wear?” line.)

What if I’m self-conscious about being underdressed compared my fellow cruisers?

Again, please peek into the restaurants. The trend toward more casual clothing means that even the most casual dresser does not usually stand out. Alternatively, quick service is available at quick service counters on the pool decks, a more casual sit down dining room is available at the aft of the pool deck and there is always room service.

Veggie burger and fries! No dressing up required.

I’d take a look at the dining room to check it out before you assume everyone dressed like Fred and Ginger.

What about Palo and Remy?

These classy restaurants request classy attire to help set a special and elegant atmosphere. Men need a dress shirt and dress pants for Palo For Remy, add a jacket (tie optional).

Pull out the dressy clothes!

Ladies need a pantsuit or dress in either restaurant. Jeans, shorts, capri denim, flip-flops and tennis shoes are prohibited and they do enforce this dress code.

Now you know what not to wear and more importantly what you’ll want to pack.
Happy cruising!

12 Replies to “Disney Cruise Line 101 ~ What Not To Wear”

    1. I was explaining the different divisions and then that Disney recently revised it's dress code for cruise casual to "no tank tops, no swimwear".
      I do tend to follow the spirit of the evening and dress up! After running around all day it's nice to freshen up before a sit down meal anyway!

  1. Thanks for the tips! We're taking our first cruise in October and I haven't even started thinking about clothes yet!! I guess I need to get some cute outfits lined up.

  2. great to know! On my one cruise, not Disney, I was not prepared for different dress up nights! I actually had to rewear a dress because I wasn't packed correctly!

  3. Thank you so much! Your articles are helping me convince my husband to go on his first cruise haha. I do have a question though. For those dress up nights or the fancy restaurants, would military dress blues look totally ridiculous? I don't want to go to dinner and have him feel too fancy or uncomfortable, you know?

    1. They would be on the dressy end, however, I have seen military dress before and it's always a pleasure to thank our military for their service.
      I've not gone a cruise yet without running into someone in a wedding dress and their party dressed to the nines on formal night. One table over will be a family of four with the dad in Dockers and a button down with his wife in a sundress or slacks and the kids in jeans.
      It's a matter of what he and you want to wear.
      Over the years we have trended toward less formal in the main dining room but still quite dressy in Palo.

  4. Hello, thanks for writing these articles, I have one question if you can help me, it says no tank tops allowed, but what about sleeveless dresses? Thanks.

    1. Howdy Daniela!
      I'm so glad that you're enjoying these articles. Sleeveless dresses are welcome (and a very good idea when you're in the Caribbean!) Some people bring a cardigan or wrap because of the air conditioning. Have a magical voyage!

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