Men's Capsule Wardrobe for a River Cruise Holiday

River cruising capsule wardrobe for men

River cruising capsule wardrobe for men

Active day out in cool weather

Wear for an active day out in cool weather

Active day out in warm weather

Wear for an active day out in warm weather

Casual day exploring

Wear for a casual day exploring

Outfit for sunbathing on deck

Outfit for sunbathing on deck

Wear on a cool day on board

Wear on a cool day on board

Outfit for evening dining

Outfit for evening dining

Alternative evening outfit

Alternative evening outfit

Wear for a gala dinner or night at the opera

Wear for a gala dinner or night at the opera

Things to Consider

  • Your clothing choices will depend on your ports of call and the likely weather conditions.
  • For cruising in hotter climes opt for shorts and short-sleeved shirts in light natural fabrics.
  • In cooler destinations you'll prefer trousers, long-sleeved shirts and jackets in thicker weights.
  • Clever layering is the best way to cope with changeable weather conditions - e.g. wear a jacket over a fleece, over a t-shirt.
  • Consider the activities you plan to do off ship - there may be lots of included excursions. Will you need particular clothing or footwear?
  • Check the evening dress codes. River cruises tend not to have formally enforced codes, but there may be opportunities both on and off ship to dress up if you choose, e.g. a Captain's Gala Dinner or night out at a concert.
  • The amount of food you can eat on a cruise is all part of the appeal; we recommend you pack clothes with comfortable waistbands!
  • Pick a simple colour scheme of neutrals plus one or two statement shades if you like. Make sure all your clothes co-ordinate so they can be mixed and matched.
  • Remember you will need an outfit to travel in! Wear your bulkiest clothes and shoes where possible.
  • Download our complete packing list below for all quantities and a checklist of items.
  • Also see our River Cruise Capsule Wardrobe for Women

What We Would Pack For A River Cruise

Casual trousers

Casual Trousers or Shorts

These should be practical for days out. Consider the type of activities you will do - are they city-based or more rural/active? Choose fabrics that dry quickly in case of rain. Styles with detachable legs are a good option for varied temperatures. You might opt for shorts in hotter climes, but trousers are good protection against sun and insects.

Suggested buy: Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pant by Amazon

Smart-casual trousers

Smart-Casual Trousers

Choose a pair that are comfy for day wear (team with a t-shirt and walking shoes) but can also be worn to dinner with smart shoes and a shirt. Smart dark jeans would work well, or try a lighter Chino style in warmer weather.

Suggested buy: AG 'Protégé' Straight Leg Twill Pants by Nordstrom

Tailored shorts

Tailored Shorts

For warmer weather add in another pair of shorts. Make them tailored as an option for casual evening wear where permitted.

Suggested buy: RVCA Flat Front Twill Shorts by Nordstrom

Casual top

Casual Tops

Pack simple tops in your favourite colours that will match your trousers and shorts. Collared t-shirts or shirts can be worn for casual evenings, then wear by day for sightseeing. Depending on the climate choose from long or short-sleeved, or a mixture.

Suggested buy: Fruit of the Loom Cotton Polo Shirt by Amazon

Smart shirt

Smart Shirts

Choose smart shirts that can be dressed down with jeans or up with trousers. Short sleeved are fine in warmer weather. Include one that will go with your jacket, if applicable (see below).

Suggested buy: Russell Long Sleeve Fitted Shirt by Amazon


Fleece or Light Sweater

Even in hot weather the breezes can make it feel cool when sailing, whilst inside the air-con can also be chilly. A fleece is light, cosy and packs well - or opt for a smart sweater if that's more your style.

Suggested buy: The North Face Glacier 1/4 Zip Fleece by Amazon



Whilst river cruises don't usually have 'formal nights' there may be opportunities to dress smartly if you wish, such as a gala dinner or night out at a concert or the opera. A jacket can be teamed with your smart-casual trousers on such occasions. Don't forget your tie and cufflinks if that's your style.

Suggested buy: Trim Fit Graph Print Blazer by Nordstrom

Hotter Thor Shoes

Walking Shoes or Trainers

If you plan to do lots of walking on shore you'll need some active shoes. Closed-toe are best on dusty roads, and if you're heading off the beaten track do make sure you have something sturdy and supportive that are suited to the terrain.

Suggested buy: Thor Shoes by Hotter

Hotter Port Shoes

Deck Shoes

Take some smart non-slip comfy flats for daytime on deck, easy exploring off ship, and evening wear.

Suggested buy: Tobago Shoes by Hotter

Canvas Breezy Sun Hat


Essential for sun protection in hot weather or to keep out the cold and wet in cooler regions. It can be breezy on board, so choose a style that stays on securely - our Breezy Sun Hat features a chin strap, so it's great for outdoor pursuits.

Buy from us! Canvas Breezy Sun Hat by WhatToWearOnHoliday



It's extremely bright when the sun's out as the rays reflect off the water. If you want to admire the views then sunglasses are essential.

Suggested buy: Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer by Amazon



Good sunscreen is essential in hotter climes, and don't get caught out on cloudy days either - you can still get burnt. Remember that water will reflect the sun's rays too. Choose a product with a high SPF (protects from UVB rays) and also look for the star or PA rating which indicates protection from UVA.

Suggested buy: SPF 30 PA+++ Water Resistant Sunscreen by Murad

Packaway rain jacket

Packaway Jacket

A light packaway raincoat is a good idea to carry with you on day trips - it's ideal in case the weather changes quickly or you experience a sudden downpour. You can layer up underneath for warmth if necessary, or opt for a more substantial jacket in cooler climes.

Suggested buy: Result Waterproof Jacket by Amazon

Swim shorts


Essential for lazy days of sun-bathing.

Suggested buy: Sandbar Swim Trunks by MaddaFella

Fold Away Day Sack

Day Sack

You'll need a lightweight bag for all your sightseeing essentials. Our packaway day sack folds up into itself and fits easily in your suitcase when not in use. It's surprisingly roomy, showerproof and light to carry - even in hot weather.

Buy from us! Fold Away Day Sack by WhatToWearOnHoliday

Get a Full Packing List for a River Cruise Holiday

Our Members can download a suggested packing list for a River Cruise Holiday which covers ladies' and men's clothes for all seasons, plus a checklist for must-take items. Sign up or log in below.

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