If you are new to cruising, one of the first things that most women consider, is what to pack for clothes for the week. With most airlines charging for luggage now, smart packing is even more important so that you maximize what you bring for your Cruise Vacation. What you wear is truly dependent on the cruise line you choose, though all of the lines will state their form of dress policy on the daily communications once you are on-board. This unfortunately, doesn’t help much if you haven’t packed what you needed.
Norwegian Cruise Lines has marketed something called Freestyle Dining, which means no fixed dining times or pre-assigned seating. The caveat to this style of cruising being that if you don’t want to dress formally for dinner, you truly don’t have to as most dining rooms are suited to a smart casual dress code.
For other Cruise Lines, where there is assigned dining times and formal dining rooms, there will be anywhere between 1 to 3 formal nights during a cruise, depending on the time of year you are sailing. Most other guests will attire themselves in Formal wear to go to dinner and for the evening and so bringing the appropriate clothing will help you not feel out of place amongst the Tuxedo crowd.
There will certainly be those who chose to not dress up, but they normally choose to dine at the buffet that evening so it does not detract from the feel of the formal event. The most important thing to understand is the language of the dress policies, so you know what to pack.
“Smart Casual & Above” attire includes:
Ladies: Skirt or pants (no holes, rips or tears) with a sweater or blouse; dressy sandals or shoes. Gentlemen: Pants (no holes, rips or tears) with a collared sports shirt or sweater. Shirts must have sleeves and no open toed sandals. Think country club attire or something you would wear for a business work environment or to church.
“Formal” attire includes:
Ladies: Cocktail dress, gown, or dressy pantsuit. Gentlemen: Tuxedo, suit, formal kilts, traditional ethnic attire or dinner jacket with slacks. Think something you would wear to a Wedding or a New Years Eve celebration.
The dress code for the specialty restaurants is “Smart Casual & Above” for every night of the cruise, regardless of the evening dress code in the main restaurant. It is also the expected dress code in the Theater for evening performances, with one of the largest exceptions being Norwegian Cruise Lines, which has a much more laid back approach to the cruise experience and will allow shorts and sandals at performances.
The general rule is that on most cruise lines, T-shirts, swimsuits, pool cover ups, bare feet, tank tops, baseball caps and any type of pool wear are not allowed in the main restaurants or specialty restaurants, at any time. Shorts and flip-flops are not looked favorably upon in the evening hours, by other guests and depending on the venue, staff may ask you to attire yourself appropriately before entry or to choose another location which would suit your attire.
If there are any questions about the expected method of dress for the day once you are on-board, you will find the suggestion in the daily program on the front page, which is delivered to your stateroom every night and is also available at the Guest Relations Desk. This will be your guide to the correct attire each evening, so you can decide where you want to eat, what entertainment you would like to have and have it correspond to the attire you want to wear to feel comfortable.