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I am going on a cruise!!! Help me, I have no clue what to wear

(51 Posts)
MissMillament Sun 11-May-14 21:11:07

OK, so we have booked our summer holiday - two week cruise to Northern ]] Peterburg, Copenhagen etc) and three of the nights are formal nights where black tie is encouraged (and I am keen to glam up to the max as I never get a chance to in RL).
But now I am panicing as we leave the day after school breaks up so I need to do all shopping for me and three teen girls (and DH) either online or in half term so I need help putting together capsule wardrobes.
I have ordered a couple of dresses online for formal nights
navy and purple
but have no shoes to go with.
Also I have a couple of day dresses but what else should I get, capsule wardrobe-wise? Linen trousers or something else? I have no nice tops at all. I would love a kind of Katherine Hepburnesque thing but am 5ft5, size 14 hourglass so need to work within my limitations. I reckon I need what, four bottoms, eight tops and a couple of dresses?
Any thoughts from anyone on how I can do this without bringing steamer trunks of luggage on board.
And any thoughts on what three teenage girls (12, 14, 17) might wear for formal nights on board - there will be three black tie nights over the course of the fortnight.
Thank you if you have managed to make it to the end of this post. I fear it reflects my mental confusion at this wardrobe challenge!

MissMillament Sun 11-May-14 21:13:03

Sorry that should read Northern Europe - Baltics - no idea what happened there.

guineapig1 Sun 11-May-14 21:20:36

Depends on which cruise line you're travelling with really. Some are far dressier on board than others. Either way, you'll need plenty of layers and flat shoes for going on shore. If you decide to do some excursions, they can be quite long depending on which you choose so being comfortable is essential. We did a Baltic cruise a couple of years ago, was amazing. You'll have a lovely time!

Wait4nothing Sun 11-May-14 21:21:28

Hey, I'm a young cruiser and also went as a teen.
Last year went on a 1 week cruise (only 1 formal night) and I took something like:
Navy lace dress with orange bag and orange heels
Navi flowery maxi with little cardi (wore navy daytime sandals)
1 pair of white linen and smarter beige trousers
Navy cardi
Navy, orange and white dressy tops (5) and jewellery
Another pair of dressy white sandals for day or night
Shorts, skirt and tops for the day (I also re-wore the maxi later in the week and some of the evening tops dressed down)
Was quite impressed with myself until I lost my only nighttime bag when drunk :s

helzapoppin2 Sun 11-May-14 21:22:15

Not much of a fashion maven, but I've been on few cruises. Just wanted to say that there are usually self service laundry facilities on board,which is very helpful.
Also, even on less formal nights, people can glam up a bit. I've seen people do it successfully by having a basic nice top and varying it with necklaces and scarves. For formal nights your choices are perfect. You may just want a shawl or something to pop on top for walks on deck.
Sorry, I won't offer advice on the girls as I've no experience.

Crutchlow35 Sun 11-May-14 21:24:07

The teens don't have to do formal night. They could go to the buffet but if they really do want to go then a skirt would be fine. Which cruise line? I'd have a look at the cruise critic website and the forms there for your actual sailing. You will also get an idea as to how formal formal night is. I have done formal night when it really is just a dress rather than ball gowns.

Check the ship doesn't have a laundry. Some do which makes things so much easier! You really need to mix and match a basic wardrobe rather than taking tonnes of stuff with you unles you see boarding in the uk which makes it a bit easier as you are not restricted to airline baggage.

jonicomelately Sun 11-May-14 21:26:20

Depends on the cruise line. Most of them are pretty informal with the odd formal night, where cocktail dress is fine.

jonicomelately Sun 11-May-14 21:26:51

We did the Baltic last year by the way and it was amazing.

MissMillament Sun 11-May-14 21:29:40

Guineapig - we are going with Celebrity - I think they are stricter re dresscodes than some, judging by what I have read online.
Wait4 - I like your capsule wardrobe - I thought navy would be a good base colour. Any tips for good quality tshirts/tops - I seem to have got stuck in an M&S rut?
Helza - thanks. I will definitely get a wrap.

Doilooklikeatourist Sun 11-May-14 21:30:52

We had a lovely cruise holiday a few years ago ( celebrity cruise line )
For formal nights ( 3 ) I took 2 long black evening dresses
I had pink strappy sandals from Clarks and an evening bag from monsoon
DD ( 13 at the time ) had a range of outfits from Hollister , Topshop , MissSelfridge etc
We did a Mediterranean cruise , was hot weather ! In the evening even on formal night , when out of the dining room I changed into flipflops with my posh frock , much to the shock of the Americans !
If you haven't already found it , a really helpful forum is

MissMillament Sun 11-May-14 21:31:51

Should clarify - we are boarding at Southampton so not restricted on luggage and we celebrate two big birthdays on board so the teens will want to dress up for formal dinners on those occasions. Also, we all like dressing up cos don't often get the chance. Eldest DD is planning to take her prom dress!

Doilooklikeatourist Sun 11-May-14 21:35:42
Or this link might work , or might not ?
There's loads of chat in the forum , some helpful , some not , quite entertaining though !

Sirzy Sun 11-May-14 21:35:55

I am going on a cruise in 2 weeks and got my formal dresses from Quiz and New Look (they don't have them in store but had some nice ones online)

For daytime I have got quite a few maxi dresses and some coloured cropped pants I will just wear with vests and cardis (hopefully won't need the cardis though!)

MissMillament Sun 11-May-14 21:36:03

Doilooklikeatourist - brilliant website - thank you. We are on Celebrity too. Did you find most people dressed up for formal nights? Am trying to persuade DH to wear black tie!

Wait4nothing Sun 11-May-14 21:43:06

Sorry can't offer advice on good quality tops - I go for cheap and cheerful.
Your girls will get away with any dresses as dressed up (prom dress is ideal for formal night). H&m gave some good bargains ATM - got myself a black lacy dress and a short skater style one for £13 & £8! Was over the moon (money's tight ATM).
My hubby wears black tie (though we do Thompson) then jeans/smarter trousers on other night. Mostly shirts but will go for a polo if he has sunburn!

MissMillament Sun 11-May-14 21:44:15

Thanks Sirzy. Have ordered this dress from Quiz for DD14. And this one blue lace and prom style for DD17.

Doilooklikeatourist Sun 11-May-14 21:44:49

Most dressed up .
DH took a dark suit and tie for formal nights ( DS age 15 had a suit and tie from Asda , looked fine ! )
We sat next to 2 American ladies and one of their son and DIL . The young couple worked onboard , he looked fantastic in his formal mess uniform . Epaulettes and everything ! ( and she was a dancer and looked beautiful )
It was lovely to dress up , I had my ( cough) 50th on board , and DDs 13th .
The children ate with us in the main dining room , then after the main corse met their ship mates in the buffet for loads of icecream and late night fun .
The teen club ran activities like midnight pool parties !
They had so much fun !
Best . Holiday . Ever .

MissMillament Sun 11-May-14 21:48:33

Link fail - have ordered this dress for DD14 - that Phase 8 dress is a bit old for her!

foxdongle Sun 11-May-14 22:37:07

Hi we are going with P and O in 2 weeks on the same cruise as sirzy
I've actually been looking at what I'm taking this afternoon-

black lace cocktail dress for formal night
3 maxi dresses that will do day or evening
2 sundresses
skirt and 2 tops
cardy and jacket
I'm taking wedges, sandals and a pair of heels

dd12 has got 2 maxi dresses and
2 knee length dresses (from new look sale)
skirt and 2 tops
shorts and t's
wedges and sandals.

btw - I love your navy dress

We went on one last year (Royal Caribbean International) and there was huge variation in how dressed up people were, even on formal night when it was everything from full length evening dresses to cocktail dresses to nice top and trousers. We are not dressers up so we went to the buffet for 2 out of the 3 formal nights, and changed out of our formal clothes the minute we left the dining room on the other one.

We took masses of clothes, it really wasn't a problem with storage, and we did need quite a lot of changes as it was very hot during the day and cool in the evenings. Flat, comfy shoes, even if you don't do lots of walking on shore you can clock up a lot of foot-miles just getting around the ship. Plus flip flops for by the pool.

MissMillament Mon 12-May-14 00:35:51

I have my eye on some quite nice Clarks sandals for the sightseeing stuff. I want some smartish linen trousers if I can find some that won't make me look like an unmade bed - or some well cut chino-style trousers. Anyone know where I should look - I am not much of a trouser person normally? Am hourglass so small(ish) waist and enormous arse hips.

Apatite1 Mon 12-May-14 10:59:58


I've been on celebrity, it's not as formal as Cunard, but go all glam for the formal nights, you won't be alone. The Baltics are great, so much to see esp in st Petersburg.

helzapoppin2 Mon 12-May-14 14:06:55

I really fancy that Baltic cruise, well jealous!

MissMillament Tue 13-May-14 20:28:40

I am so excited now. Less than 10 weeks to go!
Looking for some smart daywear now specifically trousers and tops and also cardigans so I can layer. Anyone seen anything that would suit a large-norked size 14-16?

Trumpton Wed 14-May-14 05:15:35

My favourite linen trousers are from Phase Eight . They are not too flappy and hold their shape well. I also never iron them.

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