Dress codes on cruises

(31 Posts)

We've booked a fortnight Med cruise with Royal Caribbean this summer somewhat on impulse and am now starting to wonder if it was the right thing for us. Our normal holidays are camping and self catering cottages, we have never holidayed in a hotel.

I couldn't find anything on the RC website about dress codes pre-booking, so assumed it was one of those things that doesn't happen any more. A bit of googling tonight says otherwise. DH and I don't really do dressing up, except for weddings. I live in jeans, DH lives in chinos and rugby shirts, he has one suit, which is winter weight. I have no cocktail or evening wear at all. So, now starting to panic a bit. Can we go in other restaurants and avoid the formal nights? Or are we going to have to bite the bullet and buy a lot of clothes that are likely to never get worn again. Are we going to feel like fish out of water? Beginning to wonder what on earth we have done.

Crutchlow35 Sat 06-Apr-13 09:10:20

Yes, you can just go to the buffet on formal nights so if dressing up is not for you then don't stress. I love cruises. Join cruise critic forums. It will have separate boards for your ship and cruise. You can ask lots of questions and read about previous cruises to get an idea of your 2 weeks.

Crutchlow35 Sat 06-Apr-13 09:11:54

However, I would suggest buying a pair of smart trousers if you don't have them to wear for some evenings in the restaurant on non formal nights. If you appear at the restaurant for dinner in jeans some cruise lines will frown. Buffet is fine to wear what you like.

Suzieismyname Sat 06-Apr-13 09:19:35

We went on a week long cruise a few years ago with RC. It was great. There was only a dress code for the evening meal and I think it was 2x formal, 3x semi-formal and 2x casual. Take a smart pair of trousers and shirt and tie for DH and a pretty dress for you and you'll be fine for all except the formal nights. There will be a buffet restaurant you can eat in in those nights.

Cavort Sat 06-Apr-13 09:23:28

I have cruised with RC 3 times and you will absolutely love it! In my experience, everyone has their own definition of what 'formal' actually means and so long as you don't look scruffy on these nights I doubt you'd be turned away for being more dressed down than others. Or as the previous poster has said, you can always avoid it completely and go to the buffet restaurant.

Thanks all - the info on the RC website is a bit sketchy as regards eating, it talks about all these restaurants but doesn't really give you the feel of where you eat and when. Do you have to pay if you eat at restaurants other than the main one? Food is another concern anyway as DS has Asperger's Syndrome and eats a very restricted diet, so we may need to eat anywhere that serves pasta in order to keep him happy. The booking line was very reassuring about being able to meet his needs though.

When I say I live in jeans it isn't entirely true, especially in summer, but linen trousers, the occasional sundress etc are my usual summer wear. DH tends to wear polo shirts and chino shorts. I think we will probably go out and buy replacements for some of these as it will be nice to have new for the holidays and they will still get worn, but I don't want to spend a lot on cocktail dresses/jackets which will realistically not get worn again (we are past the age of going to lots of weddings and we are not likely to be able to afford to cruise again every year). Having said that we are going to a wedding this summer. so I might persuade DH he needs a new summer suit and I could justify a dress. Would he be out of place in a light coloured suit in the evenings? I do think we would skip the formal nights to be honest.

I am looking forward to it, it is going to be so different to our previous holidays and ticks all the boxes really, we have chosen it because I like exploring and DH likes lazing by pools, the DCs like both, DH and I dislike flying, plus we live near Southampton. Just a few jitters about what is expected etc.

Suzieismyname Sat 06-Apr-13 10:29:40

Sounds perfect for you! Unless things have changed since I went in 2007 you only had to pay extra if you wanted to go to the Italian restaurant. We did that on our anniversary night. It was a flat charge of $20 or something though rather than paying for the whole meal again.

forevergreek Sat 06-Apr-13 10:30:52

In high star hotels ( so roughly the same), the general rule of is:
no shorts or sandals for men. So jeans if smart would be acceptable with a casual shirt for example. This is usually smart casual.

For women there's generally no rule but beach wear would be frowned upon ( as in short beach dress with flip flops)

So I would say no shorts or flip flops for anyone. But smart chinos and polo shirt/ rugby top as mentioned will be fine for smart casual. Chinos and a shirt will pass smart smart.

My main worry to be honest is that other holidays may look a little dull afterwards and we probably won't be able to afford to do it again!

malteserzz Sat 06-Apr-13 10:58:30

Cruise critic is a brilliant forum have a look on there. I've not been with royal Caribbean but love cruising you'll have a great time !

Fluffy1234 Sat 06-Apr-13 13:28:56

My DH hates getting dressed up on holiday as has to wears a suit for work. He wears chinos, white work shirt and a tie for formal nights and looks fine. For non formal chinos and a short sleeve shirt. I wore summer dresses each evening( which were new but all from the local £5 shop) and on formal nights wore a black dress and added a bit of bling. This was because on previous cruises I noticed women often wore black evening wear with dimonti jewellery. I felt as if I fitted it. We went on a royal Caribbean cruise last year and for women for dinner I noticed three quarter trousers, maxi dresses, summery shift dresses and during the day shorts and beach dresses. We also had a white night which was fun. People just wore anything white they had. It was really njce in the restaurant with so much white. You don't need to spend lots of money on clothes and certainly don't need to skip the formal evenings.

Fluffy1234 Sat 06-Apr-13 13:50:57

Forgot to add as you know have no luggage restriction your DH could take his suit. Although it's winter weight the restaurants are all air conditioned and get a bit nippy so that could save him buying a new one- more money for the yummy cocktails!

ArtyFartyQueen Sat 06-Apr-13 14:00:09

Have you or DH got any kind similar sized friends who you could borrow a suit and maybe a couple of nice dresses for a couple of the formal nights? You might find that when you get on the cruise that you would like to go to one or two

PollyEthelEileen Sat 06-Apr-13 18:42:19

We are cruising this summer and were just talking about what we need to buy today.

A lot of cruises don't specify a dress code these days, but I think it is still nice to make an effort. I plan to wear a dress for dinner each evening (taking 3 and wearing them more than once). DH will wear chinos and a ghastly shirt - I don't think he has plans for a summer suit unless he could get it ultra cheap or could wear it to work. The DDs will all wear dresses in the evening. I don't think we need to take anything sparkly for a gala evening.

I think we only have one daytime on board, so it will be shorts and vests for our shore excursions.

I don't plan to pack jeans or anything particularly practical unless the weather forecast at the time dictates otherwise.

You are all very helpful, thank you. Arty - DH is a very unusual size (5'2" with shoulders nearly as wide) so borrowing a suit for him is probably not an option. He could probably do with a lighter weight one, he used to have one which got used for weddings, christenings, occasional work use. Otherwise new chinos and shirts sound like enough.

I do have one or two dresses in the back of my wardrobe that fit, I think I just need to get my head round the whole thing, our normal holiday being camping / holiday cottage means I have very rarely done the dressing for dinner thing (we mainly tend to eat out in pubs and pizza places etc at home too).

We haven't had a foreign holiday anywhere warmer than the UK for years, so fairly lacking in the beachwear department as well. We have also not had an entire fortnight holiday in 10 years, only single weeks, so packing for a fortnight is yet another new challenge. Going to have to hit the shops aren't I? grin.

Off to check out CruiseCritic now, had a few quick peeks but it seems a bit overwhelming, I need to dedicate a bit more time to this I think.

Fluffy1234 Sat 06-Apr-13 19:27:17

I've been on a few cruises with three different companies so if you have any questions please ask and I may be able to help. What I love is the feeling of being looked after and pampered from the minute you walk in the cruise terminal right through until you disembark.

I suspect I am going to have a LOT of questions!

PollyEthelEileen Sat 06-Apr-13 20:01:58

Who knows, this must be such an adventure for you. It is for us too, as our latest holidays have been fairly basic (Centerparcs was the pinnacle).

You have already spent a fortune for the cruise. Add another 3x£20 for dresses from Debenhams.

Yes, I feel a bit outside my comfort zone if I'm honest Polly.

Just registered on Cruise Critic - there's an awful lot of info on there isn't there!

malteserzz Sat 06-Apr-13 20:58:52

I've done a couple of med cruises so if you need any advice on what to do in the ports just ask, cruiseline excursions are so expensive you can do things much cheaper by planning it yourself. Just make sure that you get back to the ship on time !

I was thinking DIY excursions where you stay close to the ship and know you can get back on time, eg Gibraltar, not sure I want to risk it for ports with longer journeys like Rome, imagine how stressed you could get!

Crutchlow35 Sat 06-Apr-13 21:09:24

Do not DIY for Rome. Definitely go organised for there. Cruise critic is vast but when you find the right but it has a wealth of information and insider tips. I am sure you will have a great time. What is your intenerary?

For Rome I would say get their transport there and back and explore the city yourselves. If they are late in getting you back it is down to them and not you.

It's Gibralter, Cannes, Rome, Livorno, Genoa, Malaga, Lisbon. DCs are 9 and 7 so excursions need to be child friendly.

malteserzz Sat 06-Apr-13 21:37:52

In Rome we used smartcruisetours they met you from the ship and you could either do a transfer with them or a tour. We did the tour which was great and so much cheaper than the cruise one ! I'd recommend them

In Gibraltar there were lots of taxis offering tours as soon as you got off the ship think we paid around £25 each for a half day tour up the rock to see the monkeys and down the caves etc

Cannes is lovely just to wander around yourselves

Thanks Malteserzz, some good tips there. How does it work when the ship docks, do they announce the times and you have to go to the exits? Do you have to sign on and off the ship so they know who is on board? Does pretty well everyone get off at the ports, or do some people just stay on board and make the most of the facilities being quiet?

I've started thinking more detail about the clothing stuff now, and realising the DCs are going to need to upgrade their wardrobes a bit too, DS only ever wears crocs or trainers, fine during the day but perhaps not in the evening. He also lives in tee-shirts, might have to find him some polo shirts. DD has a couple of dresses, but they are all very much beach dresses or winterweight (wool, corduroy etc).

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