Queen of Oakville,
Originally Posted by You
While I do generally agree with you. My point to the OP was " Please do not let it kill you financially for fear of what others will think."
Unless I have confused her with another poster (and if I have, I do apologize) .... she is a single mother of 3 who has been saving to take her children on this dream holiday. I don't see the point of her wasting her hard earned money to dress her children up, for fear of what others will think (my words not hers).
While I am, generally, a proponent of dress codes, and meet or exceed them for the most part; one also has to be financially responsible, and even if the clothing expenditure just adds to a few hundred dollars; the OP has to decide how to best use that money to the benefit of her family. I'm certainly not telling her how to spend her money .... just trying to point out that she can get by WRT to dress-code, without breaking the bank.
I generally agree with your thrust -- which exactly is why I suggested several wasy to minimize the financial impact by either (1) directly minimizing the cash outlay or (2) ensuring that the expenditures would have a life beyond the end of the cruise.
But let's face reality. By the time you spend perhaps $2000 on cruise fare, $2000 on air fare, perhaps $1000 on shore excursions, $100 on "soda stickers" for those who are under age, and perhaps another $500 on souvenirs and other shipboard expenses for a famliy of four, another $100 to rent an outfit for the boy really is "in the noise." If the girls went to their high school proms, they can wear their prom dresses and shoes for the "formal" evenings, at no cost whatsoever. If not, get them something that they also can wear to weddings, funerals, and other events so it's not just for the cruise.
Originally Posted by You
It is also worth mentioning that she is cruising Allure. While I can't speak to Allure, I can speak to RC, and dress-code compliance has gone down in recent years - despite what their websit FAQ says, and she doesn't need to over-dress her family; hoping to fit in.
I agree that one should not overdress. IIRC, Royal Caribbean's standard of dress for "formal" evenings now admits a sport coat, dress shirt, slacks, and tie for gents, but I don't know of any company that rents such outfits. Alas, a nine-year-old is still growing, and it won't pay to buy anything that he'll outgrow before he has another occasion to wear it. The less expensive option is a rental, and that means either a suit or a "black tie" outfit, unless one gets lucky and finds a jacket and pants in his size in a consignment or thrift shop.