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In-water lounge chairs might be the right spot to soak up the rays on a nude cruise.
Sunbathing in the buff? You can do it on a nude cruise (Photo: Kyle Valenta)

Nude Cruises: 13 Questions We All Have

In-water lounge chairs might be the right spot to soak up the rays on a nude cruise.
Sunbathing in the buff? You can do it on a nude cruise (Photo: Kyle Valenta)
Contributor
Ryn Pfeuffer

Last updated
Apr 1, 2024

Read time
6 min read

Nude cruises – clothing-free and clothing-optional – are a popular and growing vacation choice, according to the American Association for Nude Recreation, North America's oldest and largest organization dedicated to promoting, enhancing and protecting the freedom to enjoy nude recreation in appropriate settings.

Back in 1991, Nancy Tiemann bravely approached cruise lines with a groundbreaking idea for nude cruises. While she initially faced disinterest and skepticism, today her vision flourishes as Bare Necessities Tour and Travel (just one of many current providers). Their clothing-optional adventures across the Caribbean, Mediterranean, South Pacific, Australia and the Greek Isles have captivated travelers, contributing to the $533-million-per-year nude travel industry.

If you're considering a nude cruise – or just want to learn more about what clothing-optional cruises are like – let us help you answer some of the most frequently asked questions.

Who offers nude cruises?

Pool deck on a mainstream cruise ship like the one's chartered by nude cruise companies.
Many mainstream cruise ships are chartered by companies offering nude cruises (Photo: Norwegian Cruise Line)

Nude and clothing-optional cruises are offered through third-party operators – like Bare Necessities or Castaways Travel -- which buy out entire ships. These charters take place on many cruise lines and to many destinations, though most tend to focus on warm weather climates.

You can find clothing-optional and nude cruises on both large, mainstream lines, as well as many smaller, upscale or boutique cruise companies. If you're nudity averse, though, worry not: You won't accidentally end up on a nude cruise. These cruises can only be booked as part of a charter group and not directly through a cruise line.

Bliss Cruise, LLV, and Desire Cruises reign as other top choices in the nude cruise arena, though offerings by these companies often have swingers' cruise elements. Bliss was born in 2014 through a collaboration with three industry partners, set sail to pioneer adult, clothing-optional luxury ships exclusively for couples seeking worldwide adventures. Temptation added an all-inclusive Caribbean Cruise to the mix in 2020, injecting fresh energy into the nude cruise experience.

Who goes on nude cruises?

The demographic on nude cruises is broad, with adults of all ages sailing. According to the AANR, nude recreation enthusiasts typically are active, college-educated people between the ages of 35 and 65 who enjoy outdoor recreation and activities.

A number of nude cruise passengers are repeat customers. Bare Necessities reports that 70% of its clients are repeat cruisers, so annual voyages tend to feel a bit like a reunion for past passengers.

Is nudity required on a nude cruise?

While nudity isn't mandatory, it's a nudist-friendly environment where individuals can dress according to their comfort level. So, if you're going through the trouble of finding a nude cruise, you might as well bare it all, right?

The AANR suggests taking a "clothed when practical, nude when appropriate" approach to visits to nude resorts or beaches. The same approach would apply to cruise ships. Some ease into nudity gradually, starting with minimal clothing until they feel at ease. Just don't forget the sunscreen! Apply generously, especially in those less-exposed areas prone to burning.

Is a nude cruise the same as a sex cruise?

Nude cruises and sex cruises are not at all the same thing — for the most part. While there is some crossover with certain cruise providers (like Desire), there is a distinct difference between a nude and a swingers' cruise.

A nudist embraces nudity in non-sexual settings for comfort and body acceptance. Sex figures minimally, if at all, in the reasons most people take a nude cruise. A nude cruise is not a sex, or swingers', cruise.

Swingers engage in consensual sexual activities with others outside their committed relationship for recreational purposes. While you might see public nudity on a swingers' cruise, it's often not a requirement.

In case you're curious about swingers' cruises, check out our breakdown to what what you can expect on a swingers' cruise.

What kind of activities are there on nude cruises?

Expect a diverse range of activities, including art classes featuring nude models, body painting lessons, and various entertainment options that embrace the nudist atmosphere. At night, themed parties, like '80s nights or costume events, are common. Charter groups may organize specific themed parties, adding more excitement to the cruise.

Do you eat naked on a nude cruise? Is there a dress code?

Balcony and sea view. Dining while naked on your private balcony is allowed on most nude cruises.
Yes, you can dine while naked from the comfort of your balcony on a nude cruise (Photo: Jorge Oliver)

Main dining rooms and specialty restaurants almost always require clothing on nude cruises, but buffet areas might be more relaxed. Special-themed dinners or events may have specific dress codes.

Always follow the captain's announcements regarding when clothing is required, especially during port visits or formal events like the captain's cocktail party. You can read more on what to pack below.

Are shore excursions clothing-optional on nude cruises, too?

Nude excursions may be offered at specific destinations during your cruise, especially on private cruise line islands. Unless it's explicitly stated in your cruise guide, shore excursions require clothing as per the destination's rules.

Are there kids onboard?

No, nude cruises have an adults-only policy and you won't see children onboard.

Do I need a towel?

You can't just park your naked backside wherever you want on a nude cruise. Having a towel to sit on while you're cruising nude is an unspoken rule. Towels are typically provided onboard, but bringing your own can make locating one less of a hassle.

What's appropriate cruising-while-naked etiquette?

If you're a nude cruise novice, you might wonder how to act when you — and everyone around you — is in the buff. Respect is essential, and you should interact with others the way you would if you were fully clothed.

Keep in mind that unauthorized photography or prolonged staring isn't acceptable on a nude cruise. Always seek permission before taking photos in group settings, and be mindful of others' comfort.

What should I pack for a nude cruise?

Pack attire suitable for dinners and shore excursions — essentially the same things you'd pack for a normal cruise (though with maybe a little less space in your luggage for poolside activities, certain fitness classes and so on).

You'll want to check the theme party situation on your nude cruise before you go, as you will want outfits and, perhaps, some body paint to match the vibe. Also note if there are any formal nights where you'll need not only clothing, but nice clothing.

Additionally, sunscreen and hats are essential in your luggage. As mentioned, packing your own towel might come in handy, too. For your keycard needs, don't forget a lanyard or a small crossbody or fanny pack (see below).

Does the crew wear clothing?

Yes, the crew members remain clothed during a nude cruise.

Where do I keep my key while I'm nude?

There's more than one way to keep track of your cruise key card, even while cruising naked.
No pockets while nude? No problem. Pack a lanyard or crossbody bag (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Consider carrying your cabin key card in a lanyard for convenience, as it's required for onboard purchases and accessing your room, especially without pockets. You can also bring a small crossbody bag or fanny pack that's comfortable to wear during the day.

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