I am a single male who just returned from a 5 night cruise on the Celebrity Horizon. In anticipation, I anxiously read all of the various message boards to make sure I had the right clothes. While I didn't want to dress for dinner because I wear a suit everyday and that isn't my idea of a vacation, I realized that there was a certain suggested dress code when I signed up for the cruise & I intended to abide by it. Because of the information I read on here and other sites, I anticipated the dinner dress to be much more formal than it was and I took WAY too many clothes. In an effort to help others who like my self take the stuff they read on here too much to heart, I am going to give my observations on dress.
The Celebrity information said there would be one formal night, two informal nights and two casual nights. In reality there was one formal night, one informal night and three casual nights. On formal night, the second night which was also the captain's reception, there were a FEW tuxedos, many suits of all colors and shades and a few sport coats and nice slacks. While the sportcoats were in the definate minority I don't think anyone gave them a second thought and they did not particularly seem out of place. I did see one gentleman wear a sport shirt, dark jeans and a navy sport coat. HE WAS NOT TURNED AWAY FROM THE DINING ROOM but he was refused entrance into the captains' reception, apparently by the captain himself. (I'm sure he was crushed not to see the spectacle of the officers desending the grand stairway!) On the informal night which was the next to the last night and was the night of the main midnight buffet and the parade of the baked Alaska (yes, first time cruisers, you heard me right - the parade of the baked Alaska!!) sport coats were the predominate mode of dress for the men although again they were NOT worn by everyone and I don't think you would feel too out of place in a sport shirt and nice pants. Obviously the casual nights were just that - casual. Sports shirts and nice pants with some jeans. I didn't see anyone wear shorts to the dining room on any evening. While the cruise line suggested that the dinner attire continue throughout the evening, that was misleading too. MANY people changed into something more comfortable although most did not wear clothes as casual as they did during the day.
I also took too many nice clothes to wear during the day. I needed more jean shorts (yes, gasp, jean shorts) and fewer nicer shorts. This is particulary true since on the days at sea I never got out of my bathing suit (it looks like kakhi shorts) until time to get dressed for the evening. I needed more nice t-shirts and fewer Polo shirts. All sorts of dress was seen throughout the ship during the day. While most people tried to be somewhat modest whild not at the pool others made not effort at that whatsoever. Even I, Mr. I want to be casual on my vacation, was amazed at some of the things that I saw being worn particularly on women.
I hope this helps those of you that have questions as to what to wear on your cruise. Be comfortable and don't be fooled into thinking you have to dress like the Rockefellers or be forced to eat with the crew. If you want to wear jeans just don't plan on going to the Captain's reception although it is good for a few laughs.
Thanks for the comments.....my sister and I have been obsessing about this area for the last 2 weeks. We're on the Summit on 5/31...
I was curious...did you eat only in the main dining room or did you try out the alternative restaurants? We are both very casual dressers and our travel agent told us that blue jeans were fine in the alternative dining restaurants. Ever since I've been reading these boards, I've been concerned that he was mistaken. We definitely plan to dress up for the dining room but would rather no do that every night.
You gave great comments regarding the men's dress......could you comment a bit on the women?
I ate in the dining room every night so I couldn't tell you what was worn in the one alternative restaurant in the evenings. I don't know how many alternative restaurants there are on the Summit but I know from others that the Normandie Restaurant is as formal as the dining room if not more so. I am sure there are informal restaurants too. It is my impression that jeans would be acceptable in these other restaurants but I do not know for sure.
Sorry I didn't pay that much attention to the women's dress in the evenings but again I don't think it is as formal as you probably have been led to believe. I think dressy pants would be acceptable except perhaps on the most formal nights.
I am certainly not the Fashion Police (and wouldn't care to know anyone with such a self-appointed badge) but I am a woman.
I say "no" to jeans for one main reason. They don't have elastic waists which are a blessing as the cruise wears on. Also, they take up more room to pack. I like looser, light fabric pants.
After a gazillion (well, maybe not that many) cruises, I can tell you that I have never taken anything resembling a formal gown on a cruise. Most of my dressy outfits are pants things, but dressy.
A good goal is to strike a happy medium between the ladies who have the cunning little outfits embroidered with achors and life rings (usually worn with gold-toned belts and matching sandals) and the ones who wear tube tops and cut-offs during the day.
Don't be blue, Jean, and please don't obsess. You and your sister will be fine.
I've read similar postings about how people dress on shorter cruises (less than 7 nights). It seems people pack less. I feel everyone overpacks on 7 night cruises. One dark suit is enough for a man, and one dress for a woman. There's nothing wrong with wearing the same thing twice.
Marnie is right, it seems everyone tends to overpack for 7+ days. I just finished packing for a 12 day and got it all in one large suitcase. By taking a short black skirt and a longer blue skirt, and 2-3 different tops to go with them, I create a lot more room in my suitcase and can mix and match the items to get the 8 nights of dress I need (excluding 2 formal nights, first night always come as are, and luau night on maui). I do the same with daywear, and if I need to wash clothes, I just get up early and do it one morning while everyone is sleeping off the night before. I do also take a 2nd suitcase packed with other things like wine, liquor(don't tell), camera, etc. but leave room to pack my vacation purchases - also more room because liquor and wine not coming home.
As every experienced cruiser will tell you - pack only 1/3 to 1/2 of what you think you will need.
Adherence to the published dress code depends on the length of the cruise and the line you are cruising on. The longer the cruise the more well-off the passengers (they can afford the longer, pricer, cruises). Don't go on any cruise under 7 day in length.
The status of the cruise line is the other important factor. I sail Holland America and my last 10 day cruise revealed that more men wore tuxedos than suits. I was one of the ones in a dark suit, but as soon as I loose a bit of weight and can fit into my tux, I 'll join the other penguins on deck.
The dressy experience is part of the ambiance I enjoy from cruising. I too, take too many cloths on my cruises, but I am learning to pack lighter. However, I will not dress like a slob to compliment other cruisers that do not have as high standards as I have. I have moved up the cruise line scale to a line that reflects the quality of life standards that I appreciate.
To be quality oriented is not being snobish; It is to be true to your values and reflect them in the way you carry yourself. Sloppy cruise dressers don't interest me. I go to where the dress standards are higher and the people seem to be nicer. A cruise ship is a semi-public place. However, some people don't consider this and treat the cruise experience as akin to changing the oil in your car or cleaning out a stopped-up toilet. And they dress accordingly!
Don't give in to the slobs in life. Stand tall and be noticed as a person of strength and character. The others are slidding downhill. Let them crowd the mass-market lines. Step up to quality.
"For each, there is a time and purpose under Heaven"