We are a family of 4, first time cruisers, on Grand Princess 4/14 to Caymans/Mexico. We are very excited but after reading all the messages about attire, I'm getting a lttle nervous. We are pretty casual dressers, especially on vacation. My husband doesn't own a tux & would not enjoy wearing one to dinner. Likewise with a suit & tie. He has plenty of docker type pants/nice collared knit shirts as well as nice shorts. I think my wardrobe is easier as I have several comfortable, long sleeveless (not formal) dresses. Apparently neither of us would be welcome on formal nights. Does anyone know what other choices we would have?
I can understand people feeling that us "casual dressers" are in some way ruining a part of their experience, and while I had no intention of wearing cut-offs for example, we do like to be comfortable on our only family vacation of the year. My kids (14 & 10) have nice shorts for dinner and mesh (basketball type) shorts for days on the boat or on shore. My daughter has no interest in dresses but likes capris (although she has none that currently fit). I'm not sure if I need to go out & buy clothes for them solely so they fit the dress code.
Maybe I'm making too much of the attire thing but I'm starting to worry that we will be completely out of place. Of all the things I considered before we chose a cruise for our vacation, attire was definately not one of them. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks
On the Grand there are only two formal nights on a 7 night cruise. On those two nights you could try the alternate restaurant, Desert Rose, or the Horizon Court, if indeed no one wants to dress up a bit.
If you change your minds and want to go with the formal dining room a tux is not a necessity for your husband, just a suit will do fine.
If you truly are after a completely casual dress experience perhaps next time you'll want to check out NCL, or Windstar, or even Windjammer.
Relax Pat, after all, that's what cruising is supposed to be...relaxing! I have a few suggestions that might help. Why not go to a used clothing store and purchase a nice suit or jacket for your husband & your son? I bought my son (then 13) a practically new jacket for $15.00 before he went on his first cruise. Like you, I'm sure, I could certainly afford to buy my son a new suit or jacket, but I simply didn't see the reason too. My son doesn't even wear suits or jackets to church. As fast as kids grow, why spend the big bucks for something he'd likely never where again? You can do the same for your daughter. You should be able to find a "Sunday dress" at a used clothing store. You mentioned your long dresses. How about dressing one up with heels, sparkly jewelry, and a nice wrap thrown over your shoulder? Viola' - you are all ready to go to the formal dinner. Honestly, the food & presentation at the formal dinners is something I'd advise you not to miss. My kids love the formal nights. I've been on 7 cruises, not Princess yet, and my husband has never been out of place wearing a suit vs. a tux. My sons have never been out of place wearing a navy jacket, tie and khaki pants. Have a ball on your trip!
Took my kids on 2 cruises when they were about yrs ages. A skirt and nice blouse will do for daughter. Dress shirt and tie (no jacket) for son is ok. Hubby does need a (preferably) dark suit but if he refuses a jacket and dressy turtleneck will pass. Shorts are NOT generally allowed in the dining room at dinner. Dockers, slacks, khakis are ok.
Pat, there's always the alternative restaurants and the food is very good regardless of where you eat. Yes, formal night in the dining room is nice and the food presentation is great, but the quality of the food isn't that much better that I'd make myself uncomfortable. I personally don't consider the food a big deal, but most people do.
My boyfriend hated to dress up. I told him I found second hand tuxes in a bargain store for only $20 and $5 for the shirt. He was shocked I would even consider buying second hand. He's rented used tuxes for weddings before and spent a lot more. I convinced him, he wore it and loved it. Now he looks forward to formal night and I'm dressing up more than I'd like to. I've created a monster.
You could always borrow suits or dresses or whatever from friends. I would take something with you at least. If you decide you'd like the dining room, you'll have something.
You have received some good alternate advise regarding where to dine and what to wear or go buy. No one mentioned that your Grand Princess itinerary offers Personal Choice dining. This sounds perfect for you and your family. I hope your agent detailed this for you. You dine when your choose (by reservation) at one of three selected dining rooms, wear what you choose (you don't have to wear formal attire), and dine with whom you choose. As mentioned, shorts are not permitted in any dining rooms after 6 p.m., but dockers, pants and shirt, sun dress, mini skirts, etc. will be OK. Your teens will be surprised at how many other teens will be dressed up! Ask them what they prefer. Other than the 2 formal nights, resort style casual is the recommended style in the evening for everyone on the Grand. Don't foreget to bring a nice Tropical shirt and outfit for each of you to wear on Tropical night. Or, when in St. Martin, you can make a purchase at one of the many stalls in the marketplace behind the old town hall.
By all means, if you want to go casual go casual. Skip formal night in the dining room and order room service or go to the other dining options for those two nights. However, I never enjoyed dressing for dinner until my lovely wife encouraged me to do so and now I look forward to it. In fact, I enjoy shopping for new clothes to take on the cruise as well. I must admit though, I must buy my wife two new outfits for every one of mine.
Shorts should not be worn in the dining room though. As mentioned, a sun dress or nice slacks for women and slacks and collared shirts for men.
Does anyone know if the 10 day Carnival Paradise cruise have any semi-formal? I know they have 2 formal nights and we are all set for that. I thought I read on one of the threads (can't remember where) that they did not.
But not sure if my husband needs to bring his suit for any semi formal nights. He has his tux for the formal nights.
Just don't want to have to carry something not needed.
Thanks for the information.
I suspect that you will feel "out of place" if you don't wear the expected attire on formal night. Had you asked before you booked, I would have recommended booking something else.
That said, Princess's seven-day cruises have two formal evenings and five "smart casual" evenings so hopefully your husband and your son can endure them. On the "smart casual" evenings, Dockers or slacks are fine for the men. Note, however, that bluejeans are not really appropriate.
As far as formalwear is concerned, many tuxedo shops offer "cruise special" packages where you can rent a complete outfit with two shirts, two ties, a vest, and a cummerbund for about $85. Alternatively, you can arrange such a rental directly through Princess -- in which case the tuxedos will show up in your cabin on embarkation day and you simply leave them there at the end fo the cruise, so you don't have to pack them. A rental would be an excellent option for your son since his size probably will change before your next cruise anyway.
If your husband has a dark -- and I do emphasize "dark" (navy, charcoal, or black, for example) -- suit, that would be acceptable on formal nights and would save the rental of the tuxedo.
Yes, there are always a few boors who show up in casual attire on formal night -- and they usually get a LOT of disapproving stares from other passengers. Don't subject your husband and your son to that treatment!