Originally Posted by You
I thought the purpose of a cruise was to relax and enjoy life. During the day I read that shorts and a T are perfectly acceptable. Why does that become unacceptable once the sun goes down? I live in Texas and I wear T-shirt, shorts, and Tevas pretty much 24/7 unless the temp drops into the 50s or below when jeans and sneakers become comfortable. (I am very warm blooded I guess.)
I have never been on a cruise before, but I am stressing about taking one as I am very uncomfortable in slacks and dress shoes. I don't mind wearing a collared shirt if its not to hot, and I assume it would be cool enough at night, but my feet really bother me in almost any kind of shoe for long periods of time.
With regard to eveningwear aboard cruise ships, there are three significant factors at work.
>> 1. Historically, ocean voyages were the province of the upper class who were trained in social graces and, to some extent, modern cruising still reflects that legacy. Less than a decade ago, most of the major cruise lines still had either "informal" (sport coat and tie) or "semiformal" (business suit) evenings in addition to the "formal" (actually "modified formal," meaning either a tuxedo or dinner jacket outfit or a dark -- and I do mean DARK -- business sit) evenings that remain on every cruise.
>> 2. Modern society has become so casual in general that many people who really enjoy
dressing "to the nines" for special occasions have very few opportunities to do so at home, and thus have turned to cruising because
it provides opportunities to do so.
>> 3. The "formal" evenings provide an opportunity for the ship's photographers to sell formal portrait photographs to willing passengers, and thus generate significant revenue for the cruise line.
So I doubt that the "formal" or "dressy" evenings will go away any time soon.
That said, there is a segment of the population that prefers not to dress for dinner, and there are cruise lines that eagerly serve that segment of the population. Disney Cruises, Azamara Cruises, and Oceania Cruises offer "all casual" cruises, and Norwegian Cruise Line now advertises "formal optional" evenings, on which some of the ship's restaurants require dressier attire while others do not, rather than the more traditional "formal' evenings. Also, many of the major lines now offer some sort of casual dining option, which may be a buffet and does not necessarily feature the same menus as the main dining room, and some sort of casual entertainment, which may still be quite limited, for passengers who do not wish to dress for the evening.
That said, the reality is that all of the major cruise lines really do pull out all the stops on the "formal" evenings, when the main dining room serves its best menus and the entertainers stage the best production shows of the cruise. Additionally, at least some cruise lines hold very classy events on the "formal" evenings that don't occur on other nights. Thus, if you "opt out" of the "formal" evenings, you really will miss some of the most memorable moments of the cruise.
Now, nearly all of the major cruise lines do offer a formalwear rental service onboard for the convenience of passengers who don't own or prefer not to pack appropriate attire for those evenings. You simply submit your sizes and selections when you receive your pre-cruise information package (usually a week or so after you make your final payment), and the cruise line will deliver the outfit to your cabin on embarkation day. At the end of the cruise, simply leave the outfit in your cabin for pick-up.
Originally Posted by You
A friend of mine who is a regular cruiser recommended deck pants which he described as white linen pants. He said they where light and cool and they sound like they will be pretty dressy. Combine this with a nice shirt and it sounds good enough for the regular nights. I can see wearing my Tevas with this outfit during the day (or night) but would they be not OK in the dining room? (Tevas are a kind of high tech water proof sandal.)
Yes, the "deck pants" will be fine.
I recommend bringing polo or golf shirts rather than "T" shirts when you go on a cruise. Polo or golf shirts are casual enough to wear with your shorts or your bathing suit during the day, but the collar makes them dressy enough to wear to dinner on "casual" evenings.
Originally Posted by You
I was considering getting some 'deck shoes' also. Sounds like I may have to hit the Lido deck on formal night as there is no way I am packing a jacket and slacks. The only question is can I get the prime rib on the Lido deck?
You don't have to pack a jacket and slacks to participaten in the "formal" nights since you can rent formalwear onboard.
And I would not count on getting prime rib on the Lido deck.
OTOH, prime rib probably will be on the menu on "casual" evenings rather than on the "formal" evenings. On the "formal" evenings, the main dining room probably will serve up something more sophisticated, like Beef Wellington or Tournedos of Beef Tenderloin.