Can I Sunbathe Topless on a Cruise?

If you’re headed on a cruise to Caribbean, it’s similar to being at the beach for your entire vacation. You have the pool, loungers, warm weather, and free-flowing drinks. No wonder some people like to let loose on their trip, be a little more wild on the vacation, and maybe show a little more skin.

Pool deck on cruise ship

It’s not unusual for some folks to be a little more revealing on the cruise ship than they might be at home. Or in some cases, many people are simply comfortable baring a little bit more — including sunbathing topless.

What about on a cruise ship? Are you allowed to go topless on the ship? We’ve already covered wearing a thong bikini on a cruise (it’s allowed), but what about not wearing a top at all?

Rules Regarding Toplessness

Truth is there are rumors that years ago topless sunbathing was common on cruise ships. Today — at least on cruises from North America — that’s not the case. In some cases it is explicitly against the rules. In addition, in practice it’s simply not done.

In fact, we went searching for the policies of a number of cruise lines in regards to topless tanning. Here’s what we found.

Carnival has no specific mention banning the practice. That said, they do have a broad statement in their rules of conduct for passengers:

“Carnival will not tolerate any behavior affecting the comfort, enjoyment, health, safety or well-being of other guests or our crew. We reserve the right to refuse or discontinue passage to anyone who, in Carnival’s judgment, is conducting themselves in a manner that adversely affects the cruise experience of others.”

Royal Caribbean does mention toplessness explicitly, but keeps the door open:

“Public nudity is not permitted and guests must be appropriately attired (including while on stateroom balconies if visible to others onboard, on other vessels or ashore). Topless sunbathing may be permitted on some ships and on some itineraries, but only in designated areas.”

Finally, Norwegian Cruise Lines flatly has rules against taking off your top:

“Pool, deck and theater chairs may not be reserved. Topless sunbathing is not permitted. Boom boxes or loud radios are not permitted.”

Sunbathing Topless if There Are No Rules

While some cruise lines lay out rules against the practice and others seem to avoid the issue, you might be wondering about topless tanning in the real world.

From personal experience, we’ve been on cruises from all the major lines mentioned above many times. And while some ships have exclusive sundecks high above the pool deck that seem more private and tailor-made for topless sunbathing, we have never seen anyone bare-chested getting sun.

That said, it is common to see people laying on their stomachs with the back of their swimsuit untied. But laying in a way that shows any nudity seems to be very rare.

What to Do If You Want to Sunbathe Topless

If you want to get some sun and the cruise line hasn’t made explicit that it’s against the rules, what should you do?

In this case, we suggest having a balcony cabin and sunning yourself in the (relative) privacy of your own balcony. It’s not as sun-drenched as the top of the ship but it does offer some seclusion.

If you want to get sun in a more public-area, then try some of the adults-only areas on the ship. You can ask the staff if it is allowed or simply test your luck. Adults-only areas of the ship will have fewer people and also won’t have any kids/teens that may make you uncomfortable.

Bottom line: If you want to sunbathe topless on a cruise, it’s not common at all. While you might be able to on some sailings, you’ll likely be more comfortable in the privacy of your own balcony or simply wearing your top at all times. Laying out on your stomach with the back of your swimsuit untied is no issue at all.

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