Dress Code on River Cruises

River Cruising

What is the dress code on river cruises?

This is probably the single most popular question that I have to answer whenever I talk to anyone about a river cruise holiday.


Of course people will have their own ideas about what is acceptable and at certain times of the day, but the simple answer is almost anything is acceptable.

Leave your suit and tie at home...

Take Scenic Tours for example, a luxury river cruise company with a huge emphasis on its “Inclusivity” as a unique selling point. Just because Scenic is top end as far as price is concerned (and very much justified I may add), it doesn’t mean that you go to dinner in a suit and tie every evening. In fact you need not wear a tie any evening – open neck shirt and trousers for men is absolutely fine and even smart jeans with shoes is totally acceptable.

For the ladies, again there is absolutely no need to pack your suitcase with long dresses and high heels. A river cruise holiday is a floating city break holiday taken by people who want to see destinations that are close to the ship, experience fine dining and great company with like-minded people.

Most of the clients I have spoken to about dress code on a river cruise have actually felt slightly over dressed on their first river cruise holiday! They have made comments to me like – “pack clothes that tend not to crease” or “use the laundry facilities maybe once a week and wear the same shirt or blouse again”.

Smart & Comfortable...

This is what I like about river cruising, people dress smart yet comfortable and this is the real key to getting it right. Because it is quite an active holiday, and you may find yourself hopping back on your ship for a short cruise down the river before jumping off again an hour or two later to see a new town or city – comfortable clothing is a must.

Also, you may well find yourself in town late evening, so dinner could be before you venture out for maybe a show or private concert or you may return to the ship just prior to dinner without the need or time to change.

Any of these events is possible on a river cruise which is why it is such a popular holiday for those who appreciate smart, who appreciate flexibility and who do not frown when someone enters a dining room without wearing a tie or indeed a cocktail dress.

Consider the weather...

There is one thing however to note: Seasons play a big part in what you would pack and indeed wear onboard a river cruise ship.

In the summer you may occasionally wear smart shorts if you were returning from an excursion or the weather is particularly warm but in the winter this is simply not going to happen, especially in Europe.

As always, our friends from North and South America tend to dress down and are least likely to be seen (if ever) in a suit and tie or indeed a long cocktail dress, but you do have to remember that they are normally on a longer tour around Europe and packing dress clothes is neither practical or expected.

River cruising is popular worldwide and everyone’s culture and dress code expectations are different, this doesn’t mean people have different standards.

In a nut shell

There’s no need to pack the glitter – just be yourself and you will have the most amazing holiday afloat.

River Cruising With Kathy & Mark

Wondering what to pack? Click Here for some tips and a list of essentials!

Looking for a great deal? Visit www.rivercruising.co.uk to find the right River Cruise for you!

Think I’ve missed something or want to know more? leave a comment, let me know!

Come back soon. Phil Nuttall - MD - RiverCruising.co.uk