The 8 Best Swimsuits And Coverups For Cruises (UK)

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A great swimsuit and coverup can mean the difference between dancing with a cocktail at the sailaway party – or staying under your towel until the last minute before sheepishly entering the water.

When you treat yourself to some quality swimwear, you’re not just buying pretty clothing. You’re buying the confidence that comes with being well-supported and comfortable!

These past few years I’ve found swimsuit shopping to be more and more frustrating, as everything seems to be designed for people in their 20s who don’t need any help holding things in the right place!

So, I’ve created this list of my favourite swimsuits with hidden support, clever draping and adjustable straps that flatter every figure. For transparency – I was gifted some of the swimsuits in this guide.

I’m a size 12 (UK) but I’ve included options for everyone – from size 6 to 24. I’ve also included my favourite coverups that are just perfect for the sunset bar…

1. Marbella Black Sequin Swimsuit

Me wearing Marbella Black Sequin Swimsuit

Check price: Marbella Black Sequin Swimsuit

Made by the iconic British swimwear brand Seaspray, the Marbella is the best swimsuit I’ve ever owned. I love the thick fabric that sucks me in around the middle (whilst being stretchy and comfortable enough to fit in a decent serving from the lunchtime buffet!)

The beautiful sequin detailing around the waist gives serious mermaid vibes. The removable straps make this suit secure for swimming as well as sunbathing without tan lines on my shoulders.

There’s also a version with fixed straps. Or, if black’s not your colour, you can get it in blue.

Style it with…

Me wearing Marbella Sequin Chiffon Maxi Kaftan

Check price: Marbella Sequin Chiffon Maxi Kaftan

I’m so happy I found this sparkly kaftan! The sequin detail matches my Marbella swimsuit perfectly, but it will also match any of your other black, blue or turquoise costumes to create the perfect cruise capsule wardrobe.

The sheer fabric is light enough to keep you perfectly cool, but opaque enough that you’ll feel confident wearing it to the buffet for lunch (so long as your costume is dry).

2. Bora Bora Blue Bikini

Me wearing Bora Bora Blue Bikini

Check price: Bora Bora Blue Bikini

If you like to come back from your cruise with a tanned tummy as I often do, then I highly recommend the Bora Bora bikini from Seaspray.

The super supportive top comes in sizes 32C to 38G, and there’s a removable strap to give extra peace of mind if your ship has waterslides!

I love how the bottoms are gathered at the sides to offer a smooth silhouette and the fabric is super soft and shimmery.

Style it with…

Me wearing Bora Bora Blue Bikini and Pareo

Check price: Bora Bora Pareo

This beautiful tropical palm print pareo is the perfect versatile coverup. You can tie it around your waist for a shot of extra confidence as pop to the bar, or wrap it around you like a dress as you head to lunch.

I love to wear this pareo with my blue or black swimsuits, or if you love this print, Seaspray also makes Bora Bora print swimsuits, which are just stunning.

3. Chloe Black Swimsuit

Me wearing Chloe Black Swimsuit

Check price: Chloe Black Swimsuit

When it comes to simple, classic swimsuits, the Chloe is it. A cruise staple, if you only pack one swimming costume, this is the one I would recommend.

It offers tummy control, adjustable straps and a clever, stretchy ruched design. This swimsuit comes in a choice of five colours, eight sizes and two different lengths – offering a super flattering fit for everybody.

Made with the latest Lycra LastingFit technology, this swimsuit will be your best friend for years to come.

Style it with…

Me wearing Adina Long Sleeve Crochet Maxi Kaftan

Check price: Adina Crochet Maxi Kaftan

Crochet is huge for 2024 and I’m obsessed with this timeless crotchet kaftan. With a tie waist and long length, it’s flattering and comfortable enough that I’ll wear it on summer shore excursions as well as on the ship.

I’m 5 foot 5 and have the regular length. If you’re any taller than me, there’s also a longer length that will skim your ankles.

The fabric is soft and cool, ideal for when you want to keep your skin out of the hot sun.

4. Zambia Turquoise Bikini

Me wearing the Seaspray Zambia Turquoise Bikini

Check price: Zambia Turquoise Bikini

I love the colour and fabric of this beautiful turquoise bikini.

The bra-sized underwired top is extra-supportive with a detachable strap and the briefs are really flattering with ruched detailing and a choice of high-waist and midi options.

Style it with…

Me wearing Zambia Pareo

Check price: Zambia Pareo

The subtle leopard print of this sarong goes perfectly with the bikini. I love the tassel trim and the softness of the chiffon.

This wrap also goes perfectly with the Zambia printed swimsuits and bikinis which are all lovely as well. Unlike cheaper mass-produced swimwear, with Seaspray pieces the animal print is always in just the right spot to be the most flattering. I love that attention to detail!

5. Fuller Bust Apex Swimsuit

Model wearing Fuller Bust Apex Swimsuit

Check price: Apex Swimsuit

I realise that everyone has different challenges when it comes to swimwear. And for those with larger chests (and smaller budgets!) Ivory Rose is a brand that I want to draw your attention to.

I love the gorgeous purple colour of this unpadded yet supportive swimsuit that comes in bra sizes from 30DD to 38G. They have lots more affordable swimming costumes and bikinis too.

6. Pichola Swimsuit

Model wearing Pichola Swimsuit

Check price: Pichola Swimsuit

Another great brand that fuller-busted ladies will no doubt be familiar with already is Bravissimo. Much more than just bras, they offer a fantastic range of swimwear too.

I love the pattern of this tropical one-piece, which is available in sizes 32D to 42H. It has hidden side support which pushes everything forwards, and adjustable ties at the sides so you can control how much coverage you want at the hips.

7. MSC Coral Rash Vest

Model wearingh MSC Coral Rash Vest

Check price: MSC Coral Rash Vest and Board Shorts

If you’ve ever been on the FlowRider surf simulator on a Royal Caribbean cruise, you’ll know that a bikini is not advised!

To avoid embarrassment as you’re inevitably thrown off the board into the rushing water, a rash vest and board shorts are recommended.

When it comes to surf-quality swimwear, FatFace is a great British brand to choose. I love the print of this set, which is also comes as a swimsuit or bikini in sizes 6 to 24.

8. Paradise Cove Tankini

 Model wearing Paradise Cove Tankini

Check price: Paradise Cover Tankini Top and Swim Briefs

I recently discovered Joe Browns, who offer a fantastic range of holiday clothes that are just perfect for cruises.

I love the print of this tankini set and that fact that it comes in so many options, with a bikini top, swim skirt and swimsuit to choose from!

Things to consider when choosing swimwear for a cruise

Choosing swimwear for a cruise can be a bit more challenging than choosing swimwear for the hotel pool or the beach. Here are some things to think about…

The vibe of your ship

Each cruise ship is different. And while a thong bikini and glitter fishnet coverup might fit perfectly on a Virgin Voyages cruise, if you turn up on a Cunard ship wearing that, you might raise some eyebrows.

Topless sunbathing is perfectly acceptable on many beaches in the Mediterranean, but the same can’t be said of cruise ships. And if your cruise has kids on board, it’s generally best not to let too much hang out.

Activities onboard

Cruise ships have all kinds of fun activities onboard like waterslides and even surfing simulators. If you plan to take part in these, you’ll need to make sure your swimwear is up to the job.

Icon of the Seas

I like to spend a lot of time in the hot tub and I find the chemicals will quickly ruin any swimsuits that are made of cheaper fabrics.

Rules regarding coverups

On the pool deck, it’s perfectly acceptable to go to the bar or ice cream machine wearing just your swimwear, although many ladies do opt for a coverup to feel more confident.

Most cruise ships have poolside cafes offering burgers, fries and pizzas and you’ll probably want to pop on a coverup to grab your food from here too.

poolside snack

Then, there’s the buffet, which is the most popular spot to eat lunch. Swimwear isn’t allowed here, but if yours is dry and hidden under a coverup then you don’t need to get changed out of your swimsuit when you go for breakfast or lunch.

And finally, you may choose to eat breakfast or lunch in the main dining room. This will be a sit-down meal with several courses, so you’ll want to pop on a sundress or some shorts and a t-shirt for the occasion.

The Bottom Line

The most important thing when choosing swimwear for your cruise is that you feel comfortable.

Everyone has their own challenges when dressing for the pool deck. Some are two sizes bigger at the bottom than the top (or vice versa), many are taller or shorter than average, or you may have stretchmarks, scars and cellulite that you’d prefer not to show.

I used to buy cheap supermarket or high street swimsuits, but they were never that flattering and would usually stretch or fade after just one cruise. Nowadays, I’d much rather invest in quality pieces that will look great for years to come. And I hope that this guide will help you to do the same.

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Cruise Mummy

Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.

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3 thoughts on “The 8 Best Swimsuits And Coverups For Cruises (UK)”

  1. Hi jenny.I have been allocated my obstructed sea view cabin,on the ventura’s 14 night canary islands jaunt.I placed a bid for a balcony cabin at their request 8 weeks ago,but have had no feedback to date from p@o cruises.please advise/any tips on how to upgrade before departure or maybe once on-board.kind regards Garrie.

    • As soon as you get on board, head to guest services and ask if any balconies are available. There is usually someone who cancels at the last minute. I have done this before with P&O and it was the cheapest way to upgrade as well. Jenni

  2. Hi cruise mummy.
    Just wondered what you thought about nor regulations on P.O ships, no spirits and increase in drinks package.
    We booked our cruise 12 months ago and now have to pay more for drinks package and not allowed to take our favourite tipple on board. Really angry we have only just found out

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