When you think cruise fashion you may think old ladies in sweater sets and walking shoes, however the past several years have seen a boom in cruises that offer something for everyone – including style-conscious travelers. So if your idea of the perfect cruise is fashion forward and trendy, read on…

Fashion Onboard

Recent years have seen well-known labels come to the decks of cruise ships. Many shops onboard cruise ships – particularly the large ones – are diverse in their fashion offerings and are duty-free.

The world’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, has an actual Coach store onboard. In addition to handbags, Fashionistas can shop in the onboard boutique Prince & Green, which carries labels such as Betsey Johnson and Kenneth Cole; plus the eco-friendly store Willow, which offers casual sportswear and organic cotton separates.

The uber-luxury line Crystal Cruises offers a galore of top designers in their onboard boutique Apropos. Just be forewarned – getting on that ship is going to cost you. But butler service and five-star dining should help make it worth your while.

Fashion On Shore

For itineraries that will let you shop ’til you drop, check out Carnival Cruise Line’s Caribbean sailings, which have plenty of duty-free shopping meccas in the regions popular ports-of-call. St. Thomas in particular is as known for its duty-free shops as it is for its stunning beaches, lush foliage, and turquoise waters. Pick an itinerary that visits St. Thomas and head to the island’s historic downtown center in the capital of Charlotte Amalie and get ready to be awash in jewelry, watches, more jewelry, clothing, and more jewelry. Plus, Carnival sailings can be found for as low as $399 for a 7-night cruise – which gives you extra money to spend while in port.

European fashion more your style? Head overseas and sail on one of the many Mediterranean cruise itineraries that stop at famously fashionable cities such as Rome and Barcelona. If London and Paris are more on your mind, Baltic cruises offer stops at these two fashion hubs, usually with Scandinavia ports-of-call part of the itinerary as well.

Some of this Fashionista’s favorite oversea fashion haunts? The massive, multi-story Topshop flagship store located in the Oxford Circus area of London; as well as lively, tree-lined Las Ramblas street in Barcelona – an array of fun shopping is interspersed down the street and is perfect for fashion souvenir shopping (plus, there’s plenty of dining and drinking options along Las Ramblas to take a break from lifting all those heavy shopping bags). And for designer-label shopping, it doesn’t get much better than the beautiful Champs Elysées street in Paris which houses everything from Gucci to Louis Vuitton.

Showcasing your Fashion

Plenty of opportunities to put your best stiletto forward abounds on cruises. Cruise lines such as Celebrity Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line up the ante when it comes to onboard cuisine and entertainment options.

Celebrity Cruises contemporary and sophisticated Solstice-class of ships offers all sorts of dining options – everything from a creperie to a steakhouse to exotic Asian fare to French gourmet. Each dining area, including the main formal dining room, offers a unique atmosphere so you can pick and choose from your outfits to dress up for each venue in a different way. In the main dining room, they also offer formal nights on most itineraries, which is a fun excuse to dress up like you’re going to a gala (hint: it’s also a great time to bring out those cute bridesmaid dresses hanging in your closet that are pretty, but too dressy to wear to anything in everyday life).

Lively Norwegian Cruise Line doesn’t care what you wear to dinner – part of their “Freestyle” way of cruising, but they do offer lots of lounges and club venues for dressing up for a night “out on the town” after dinner. The line’s newest cruise ship, the Norwegian Epic, has Bliss Ultra Lounge, which is a strobe light, DJ-pumping club whose floor sparkles as you enter before turning into an expansive dance floor perfect for putting on your LBD or bright color frock and boogieing all night long.

And in port, whether it’s in the salty air of the Caribbean, the laid back sunshine of the Mediterranean, or the bustling breeze of the Baltic, don’t forget that’s also the time to show off your style. The Caribbean is a great place to showcase your favorite sundresses or shorts, while Europe is a place where you can delve it into your chic side and don big sunglasses, classy linen pants, and a stylish scarf.

So whether you’re ready to maximize your credit cards or just simply find a fun and destination-filled way to show off your favorite clothing items, there’s a cruise out there waiting for a Fashionista like you to step onboard.

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