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Cruise Dress / Packing Recommendations for the best clothes for traveling on ships

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  #1  
Old May 21st, 2003, 04:00 PM
HollyCaryssa
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Default totally confused!

I am really confused.... for example, for a formal night, some people say it is ok to wear a really dressy dress "cinderella-like", some people say it is ok to wear a little dress just below the knee, some people say it is ok to wear fancy pants and a nice blouse... and royal caribbean says, recommends, you should wear a cocktail dress (by the way, I have no idea what a cocktail dress is). Then someone mentioned in their table there was an older couple dressed in their hawaiian shorts and shirts. I certainly donīt want to feel ridiculous if I feel under-or over-dressed. Can you PLEASE help me out. I am going on RCCL Navigator of the Seas in a month. And the dress codes are classifyed casual (sundress or pants), smart casual (dresses and pantsuits) and formal (cocktail dresses). And I definitely do NOT get the difference between the 3.

Thank you SO much!
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Old May 21st, 2003, 05:10 PM
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Default Re: totally confused!

Holly,
I can certainly see where you'd be confused. The "casual" is pretty simple, sun dress, or nice slacks and blouse, for the guys, docker type pants and polo shirts are the norm. Smart casual for the guys means a sports coat and nice pants and the ladies can wear dresses or pants suits.

Then there is formal and as you noticed a lot of different types of dress/pants were mentioned. You will see it all, long formal dress or short cocktail dresses(sparkly), just pack what you consider dressy and feel good in. I have a few short cocktail dresses in blue and black velvet and I've even worn a velvet pants suit on formal nite and that was also fine.

We did also notice on the one smart casual, most of the men did not wear sports jackets, so I think our next one, we'll leave that at home and husband will wear nice pants and shirt, seems that was the norm for that night.
Hope this was some help?

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Old May 21st, 2003, 10:35 PM
DanaB DanaB is offline
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Default Re: totally confused!

You will find many fashion statements represented at formal night. Everything you describe is okay, with the exception of the shorts. Fancy dresses, church dresses, ballgowns, Dressy seperates, pant suits, you name it.

Dana

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  #4  
Old May 21st, 2003, 10:53 PM
norm norm is offline
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Default Re: Re: totally confused!

Donna,

Smart casual for the guys means a sports coat and nice pants and the ladies can wear dresses or pants suits.

I have yet to see terms such as "smart casual" in any etiquette book. AFAIK, this term is Princess's invention intended to communicate that "casual" evening attire does not mean jeans and a T shirt. The explanation of "smart casual" evening attire in the latest editions of Princess's Cruise Answer Book (supplied in an information package that Princess provides upon receipt of final payment) is in fact identical to the explanation of "casual" evening attire in the earlier editions. It clearly says that a sport coat is optional for gentlemen.

Norm.
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Old May 21st, 2003, 11:09 PM
norm norm is offline
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Default Re: totally confused!

Holly,

Standards of dress tend to vary considerably among the various cruise lines, so what's normative on one line might be pushing the limits on another. In reading a board like this, the posts are all over the map because people are discussiong different lines -- and it's very confusing to people who are not fully aware of the differences. [b] The best advise always is to follow the guidelines that you receive from the line on which you are cruising. [/i] If you do that, you will always have approprate attire.

Royal Caribbean International has a reputation for being more casual than most, though it might not be as true now as it was five or ten years ago. According to standard social etiquette, "formal" means "black tie" -- a dinner jacket outfit or a tuxedo for gentlemen and an evening gown for ladies. About thirty years ago, most cruise lines modified the definition of "formal" to admit dark suits for gentlemen and formal cocktail dresses for ladies as an accommodation to the fact that most gentlemen simply did not own tuxedos and most ladies did not own evening gowns. Now, we find that many gentlemen don't own business suits and many ladies don't own cocktail dresses, either, so there's a trend back toward the traditional definition because gentlemen can rent a tuxedo or a dinner jacket outfit for a lot less than the cost of buying a suit.

Basically, a "cocktail dress" is a fancy party dress of about knee length, made of a decent material. In many cases, they are trimmed with sequins, lace, rhinestones, etc. If in doubt, go to the dress section of a major department store like J. C. Penney and ask the clerk to show you some cocktail dresses.

Have a great cruise!

Norm.
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  #6  
Old May 22nd, 2003, 10:23 AM
LisaK LisaK is offline
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Default Re: Re: totally confused!

Holly, don't be confused, the board has spelled it out really well for you. Think of it like this: Formal - you can go all the way with a long gown ( personally i would tend away from the frilly cinderella ball gown type dresses), something simple, elegant with a bit of sparkle, dressy pantsuits are fine - again add a bit of sparkle with the top. Cocktail dresses are dressy short dresses - something you would wear to an evening wedding at a country-club or hotel. Smart Casual - i hate this term - it gets people totally confused. Think of "Smart Casual" as something you would wear to a nice restaurant back home, or to a garden/outside wedding- a bit more dressed-up than casual, no t-shirts or shorts in the dining room please. Nice clean, non-ripped jeans are ok for casual nights, i just find them way to hot to wear.Norm wrote:

> Holly,
>
> Standards of dress tend to vary considerably among the various
> cruise lines, so what's normative on one line might be pushing
> the limits on another. In reading a board like this, the posts
> are all over the map because people are discussiong different
> lines -- and it's very confusing to people who are not fully
> aware of the differences. [b] The best advise always is to
> follow the guidelines that you receive from the line on which
> you are cruising. [/i] If you do that, you will always have
> approprate attire.
>
> Royal Caribbean International has a reputation for being more
> casual than most, though it might not be as true now as it was
> five or ten years ago. According to standard social etiquette,
> "formal" means "black tie" -- a dinner jacket outfit or a
> tuxedo for gentlemen and an evening gown for ladies. About
> thirty years ago, most cruise lines modified the definition of
> "formal" to admit dark suits for gentlemen and formal cocktail
> dresses for ladies as an accommodation to the fact that most
> gentlemen simply did not own tuxedos and most ladies did not
> own evening gowns. Now, we find that many gentlemen don't own
> business suits and many ladies don't own cocktail dresses,
> either, so there's a trend back toward the traditional
> definition because gentlemen can rent a tuxedo or a dinner
> jacket outfit for a lot less than the cost of buying a suit.
>
> Basically, a "cocktail dress" is a fancy party dress of about
> knee length, made of a decent material. In many cases, they
> are trimmed with sequins, lace, rhinestones, etc. If in doubt,
> go to the dress section of a major department store like J. C.
> Penney and ask the clerk to show you some cocktail dresses.
>
> Have a great cruise!
>
> Norm.
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  #7  
Old May 22nd, 2003, 08:40 PM
DFritz
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Default Re: totally confused!

Basically: Don't dress like a pig and use some common sense. If you wore it at the beach, or working at the barn, or going bowling, then don't wear it to dinner. Wear the best you have and that you feel good in. Leave the jeans, t-shirts , shorts, and bathing suits in the cabin and you will be just fine.
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  #8  
Old May 23rd, 2003, 07:43 PM
helicopter2213 helicopter2213 is offline
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Default Re: Re: Re: totally confused!

On our first cruise years ago I also was a little concerned about the word "formal", but believe me on every cruise since "formal" in most cases (especially for the women) means "formal". Long gowns mostly, glittery (though certainly not all are).
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Old May 23rd, 2003, 11:20 PM
norm norm is offline
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Default Re: Re: Re: totally confused!

Lisa,

Smart Casual - i hate this term - it gets people totally confused. Think of "Smart Casual" as something you would wear to a nice restaurant back home, or to a garden/outside wedding- a bit more dressed-up than casual, no t-shirts or shorts in the dining room please.

I could not agree with you more strongly regarding terms like "smart casual" and "resort casual" that some cruise lines have adopted to communicate that "casual" evening attire does not mean the same thing as "casual" daytime attire. AFAIK, though, Princess is the only cruise line to use the term "smart casual" -- and Princess's explanation of "smart casual" is identical to the same line's explanation of "casual" evening wear prior to adoption of the term "smart casual." Basically, gentlemen are expected to wear a shirt with a collar, slacks, socks, and dress shoes and ladies are expected to wear a blouse or top with a skirt or slacks and dress shoes. Sweaters and sport coats are optional, and neckties are not appropriate.

You're absolutely right in saying that t-shirts, shorts, and jeans are not appropriate evening wear on most cruise lines. Cargo pants, "sweats," jogging suits, etc., athletic socks, and sneakers of any kind (including so-called "tennis shoes," "track shoes," "running shoes," etc.) also are not appropriate evening wear.

Norm.
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  #10  
Old May 24th, 2003, 12:30 PM
Jay12 Jay12 is offline
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Default Re: Re: totally confused!

Besides the dining room, how should one dress for the Windjammer, etc? Can I wear Dockers shorts and a Polo shirt to all the other restaurants besides the Portofino and the main dining room? Stupid question, but it seems to me from many posts that Docker type shorts are banned everywhere. No one has actually said that..but that is the feeling I get.

Jay
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Old May 28th, 2003, 02:37 PM
LisaK LisaK is offline
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Default Re: Re: Re: totally confused!

Main dining room and alternative restaurants - no shorts. Cafes, Pizza places, Buffets or Bistro type restaurants - shorts are fine
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Old June 4th, 2003, 11:01 PM
Arlyng
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: totally confused!

We've been on two cruises to date, one Holland America , 2nd Royal Caribbean. On both trips, my husband went down to the local men's shop and rented a tux with two pair of pants, two shirts, two different vests/ties, and one coat. Holland America according to what we researched seemed a little more formal, so he rented a white tux jacket, on the Royal Caribbean it was a black tux jacket. The pants are 'expandable' and he appreciated the ability to enjoy his food, and adjusting the waistband if necessary.
I have four formal outfits, two long gowns, one evening jumpsuit and one copper toned skirt with top. I also have a black evening blouse with sequins that goes with the copper skirt. I took them all each time, they pack beautifully. We did ten day cruises and had three or four formal nights. I packed the tux and my evening wear in one large suitcase with tissue paper, immediately before leaving home. It remained packed for two days in transit the first cruise, and four days in transit the second cruise. When I unpacked on the cruise ship and hung everything up I had no wrinkles at all to worry about. I put the tissue paper into the empty suitcase and shoved it under the bed.
I take only a dark pair of heels and a light pair of heels for all outfits, with one black evening bag, as my formal outfits all work with the black heels and bag. When I was dressing less formally for dinners, I didn't carry a handbag or purse at all. I have a small leather wallet I slip into a pocket with a little spending cash and my cruise ship ID card just in case I see something I need to purchase. My tip is try to buy the formal outfits all in similar tones so that you don't need to pack extra shoes and handbags.
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  #13  
Old June 15th, 2003, 08:24 AM
Cher Cher is offline
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Default Re: Re: totally confused!

I think all of those things are ok....you can dress up as much as you want...I think that on casual nights....for women....sundresses or dress capris pants are common to see....men khakis and polo shirts are common. On formal nights...you see alot of different cloths...woman..you may still see sundresses, but you will also see short cocktail dresses all the way up to ball gowns. Men..you will still see the occasional khakis and polo shirts (not recommended...atleast where a tie), or shirt and tie, suit and tie, or even tuxes although not many. You where whatever you are comfortable in. My last cruise I wore a simple wrap dress on formal night and although I was comfortable in what I had on....I looked at the woman wearing the beautiful gowns and I thought....my next cruise....I'm going all out....when do I ever get to dress up??? And so in one week.....I'm gonna look fabulous! Have fun!
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Old June 16th, 2003, 03:39 PM
cruisequeen cruisequeen is offline
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Default Re: totally confused!

Some people dont understand that when it says no shorts - they should listen. I think as long as you are comfortable and don't wear something tacky, its ok. Some like to go all out and wear their fanciest clothes (Me included) But as long as you don't look like you just stepped out of the pool or in from a hike, no one really minds. Not everyone can afford to buy the type of clothes they recommend. Or want to since they may only use them once a year.
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Old November 16th, 2003, 07:20 PM
CruiseBee CruiseBee is offline
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Default Re: Re: totally confused!

I am a lady who wears "business casual" to work. For us, this is a pair of slack and a blouse. Some people wear heels, but I do not. Would this be acceptable for the regular ("casual") dinners on HAL in Alaska? (Do they dress more casually in Alaska?)
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Old November 16th, 2003, 09:20 PM
Arlyn Arlyn is offline
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Default Re: Re: Re: totally confused!

I would think that dress pants and a blouse would be casual, as I also wear similar clothing to work. When I'm attending a business meeting or conference, I usually wear a pant suit, and consider that a little more dressy. I go with what YOU are comfortable in. I have associates who would attend the same meeting in dress pants and a blouse, and who are comfortable in their outfits. The only thing I don't think I would wear to dinner at all is a pair of shorts or a pair of blue jeans. That's what I would wear to cut the lawn or paint the fence.
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Old November 22nd, 2003, 08:35 PM
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Default Re: totally confused!

Hi All,

I am cruising on the Golden on 12/6 to the Caribbean. I have one pair of cotton capris that are quite loose and come about mid-calf. I was planning on wearing them with a silk shell and a Tommy Bahama silk shirt as a kind of jacket. Would this be appropriate for a "smart casual dinner?" I've seen various posts about capris and whether they are appropriate for dinner or not. These are not the tight just below the knee type of capris. Can anyone help? Thanks much!

Pam
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  #18  
Old December 1st, 2003, 09:05 PM
kathyann kathyann is offline
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Default Re: totally confused!

Pam, based on what I saw people wearing on my HAL cruise last week, you'll be fine in what you described, particularly for a casual night. I saw things like that even on our formal nights (not saying I personally consider that appropriate for a "formal night", but rather to reassure you that you will not feel underdressed in that for a casual night). BTW, one of the things I was surprised by was the way many people dressed--definitely more casual than I expected. People just want to be comfortable and have a good time. Don't expect everyone to look like they did on "The Love Boat"!!
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