What to Wear on a Panama Canal Cruise

Pack a swim suit or two for your Panama Canal cruise.

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If you're going on a Panama Canal Cruise and have no idea what to pack, don't worry! Because the weather is pretty predictable (sunny, balmy and beautiful), and the events are pre-planned, figuring out what to wear isn't going to be too stressful. So, as you cruise and stop between the Atlantic and the Pacific -- whether you're sunbathing in Acapulco or dancing in Costa Rica -- just make sure to be comfortable, and look as appropriate and as fabulous as possible.

Super Casual

Much of your time will be spent walking the deck, giggling with your friends while sipping cocktails at the bar or engaging in other casual activities. For these instances, don't go fancy. Wear a cover-up dress over your swimsuit with flip flops, or white denim shorts with a flowing cotton halter. You can even get out that patterned terry romper you haven't had the opportunity to wear yet. This is the time when flip-flops, cutoff shorts and skimpy tank tops are completely okay -- so take advantage of it!

Smart Casual

Even if you're going to a casual dinner or a late show on the boat (or off it), the fact that it will be held in the evening means that there's a little more formality involved, so absolutely no ripped shorts or bikini tops here. Try a strapless A-line dress in cotton or linen (something that breathes), or black skinny jeans with an embellished tunic. Wedges are great for in-the-middle occasions like these, as are dressy ballet flats.


Sometimes there will be fancier events, like cocktail hours or dances, where you need to be more dressed up. Your little black dress will of course work here, but don't be afraid to go all out with color (and higher heels). What about a bright colored, sleeveless chiffon dress with a fitted bodice and twirly skirt? Or a colorful maxi dress with a jeweled neckline? Then again, since you'll probably have an enviably gorgeous tan, go ahead and try something in white -- the contrast will make you look like a glowing goddess.

Other Necessary Items

Be sure to take along more than one swimsuit -- maybe even four or five -- so that you'll always have at least one dry one. Sunglasses, a straw hat or fedora, sunscreen, and comfortable walking shoes are also a must to protect your eyes, skin and feet. Also, to take precautions against potentially breezier weather during nighttime, pack a pashmina or cardigan, and even a warmer jacket in leather, denim or a heavier cotton.

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