Hot on the Forums: Baring it All in the Sauna?

March 7, 2014 | By | 15 Comments

When it comes to dress code, our forums are packed with everything from tips and advice to gripes and grumbles. But what do you do when it comes to what not to wear — are you happy to bare all in your birthday suit, should you spare your blushes in a swimsuit or do a bit of creative origami with a towel?
It’s a valid question posed by Mandis on the Cruise Critic message boards, who asked: “My personal trainer said that it would be great to use the steam room and sauna for 10 minutes each per day followed by a cold shower. I have never done either.  Is it OK to wear a bathing suit? I Googled what to wear and couldn’t find a real answer. I know to bring a towel to sit on but that was all I could find on what people wear. I wouldn’t be comfortable if I was sitting in there surrounded with other women wearing nothing.”
It seems that cruise ship sauna etiquette has plenty of embarrassment potential for all concerned. It’s not just down to how comfortable you feel, but how uncomfortable others might be if you decide not to preserve your modesty.
“One morning, another man opened the door while I was enjoying the sauna in my birthday suit, took one look at me and bolted,” recalled one respondent.
The consensus of opinion seems to be that “proper” protocol in Scandinavian countries where the sauna was invented is to wear nothing at all — even in mixed saunas and steam rooms.
Some members deemed swimsuits sticky and unhygienic and others said a strategically placed towel was the best option.
“Wear whatever you feel comfortable in”, said Bananaface. “Some will be in bathing suits, some towels, and some nude.”
Coeven added: “I saw a few crew who were nude, at least I thought they were crew, they were speaking Italian, of course I could not tell their rank!”
Curiosity got the better of one member who asked: “Nude? Which cruise were you on?”
So what do you wear in the sauna — a swimsuit, a towel or nothing but a smile? Let us know in the comments below.


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    15 Responses to “Hot on the Forums: Baring it All in the Sauna?”

    1. H. Andersen
      March 7th, 2014 @ 1:28 pm

      If the sauna/steam room is in the same gender locker area I am nude

    2. Vfangue
      March 7th, 2014 @ 2:31 pm

      I’m a bit overweight and feel more comfortable in the steam/sauna room wrapped in a towel. In a hottub, I’ll be in a swimsuit. I’m not offended by others in the nude.

    3. Scott Lara
      March 7th, 2014 @ 2:35 pm

      Here’s the deal. Life is too short. Go ahead and drop the clothing!

    4. Michelle
      March 7th, 2014 @ 2:54 pm

      Nude. Is natural. Sit on a towel!

    5. Shirley Gauthier
      March 7th, 2014 @ 5:21 pm

      The only thing I would wear would be a smile. If I am wearing nothing but a smile and you come in and your uncomfortable that is your challenge. Wearing an uncomfortable swimsuit so others can be comfortable makes no sense to me.

      A towel to sit on. If your uncomfortable nude then how about bringing two towels…one to sit on and one to wrap around yourself. Your towel won’t make me uncomfortable and were all happy.

    6. Maggi Lunde
      March 7th, 2014 @ 6:05 pm


    7. Staccs
      March 7th, 2014 @ 6:39 pm

      Agree with Scott Lara, life is to short. If it is gender separated in lockers rooms who cares, drop the towel. If it is co-ed, I’m on the fence. Some people don’t know how to control themselves or respect others and my girlfriend has mentioned how people have tried to hit on her or start at her body parts, making her feel unsafe.

    8. Donna Cheney
      March 7th, 2014 @ 9:33 pm

      Seems to me on the Seranade of th Sea which we just came off of there was a sign proper attire. The rooms were not coed that being said in a single sex one wear what your comfortable in. Coed I would opt for a swim suit or large towel.

    9. Gabe
      March 8th, 2014 @ 10:46 am

      Nude should be the only way one uses a sauna.

    10. Steve
      March 8th, 2014 @ 11:13 am

      Nude is the only way to be in a sauna or steamroom. Who wants a clingy swimsuit stuck to you. The whole idea is to relax.

    11. P. Hinds
      March 8th, 2014 @ 4:01 pm

      I have spent time in a number of scandinavian saunas and I have to say that it is most comfortable sitting on a towel with another available on the lap to wipe the face and chest.

      Since the I have used were family or unisex I would think users should be used to no bathing suits. I would say for shipboard use they need to enforce sitting on a towel (sanitary reasons) and to disinfect regularly.

    12. Mark
      March 8th, 2014 @ 4:58 pm

      First make sure what the rules are at each sauna you visit. If it’s clothing-optional then great, don’t worry about others being uptight, as Shirley said, it’s their issue to resolve. We really need to get over the fear of simple nudity in this country. Saunas are a great place to start because you’re there to be quiet and sweat out toxins, not look around. So relax, breathe (don’t gasp), sip water quietly (don’t gulp) and don’t stay in too long because that can be dangerous.

    13. Jan
      March 13th, 2014 @ 2:17 pm

      Okay, at my age, I have my share of surgical scars and prefer to wrap in a towel. Sometimes I unwrap to wipe my face, but in general I wrap in a large enough towel to comfortably sit and cover the doctors’ “slice and dice.”

    14. Shirley Gauthier
      March 14th, 2014 @ 8:05 am

      Jan…when you mentioned your surgical scares I smiled because as a nudist I am always asked “what about the people who go to nudist venues just to look?” Well with scars, wrinkles, cellulite, birth marks and imperfections those lookie loo’s are quickly bored. Now it is tattoo’s getting all the attention!

    15. eab
      October 6th, 2014 @ 12:32 am

      Nude, sit on towel

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