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Old December 7th, 2006, 08:00 PM
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Default Very tensed about the formal nights.

Hi all Experienced cruisers,

We, the family of 6 (with my parents and kids)are booked on Royal Caribean 7 day cruise for Mexico going to sail out in couple of days. And I am terrified about the formal night and the dress code for that.
You see, we grew up in India and neither my mom or I have ever worn the "formal gowns/cocktail dresses"...ever!!! I could still try to do that, but there is no chance that my mom would wear it. She usually wears traditional Indian dress and here in California nobody gives it a second look. So I am really...REALLY tensed about those nights on the cruise. One of the ladies have posted on her formal dress picture that she wants to wear. WOW...that dress is gorgeous but I would never be comfortable to buy and wear that as I know I would almost never wear that ever again. So how crucial is the dress code..for Royal Caribean at least? Can my mom not wear a dressy Indian attire instead? I know this would shock you all, but I would rather ask it here than get the looks on board.

Are the kids not expected to attend the formal nights? I'd hate to leave them behind..after all its a family time! And are the dress code rules same for them as well? How is a 2 yr old supposed to 'behave' on the formal table?

With so many questions and anxieties I am tending to let go of the formal nights all together? Can we do that? I understand there are 2 formal, 1 semiformal night on RCI. I don't want to, but then I'd much rather do that and save myself some mental stress. This factor is taking away the focus from my "vacation and relaxing" part of the cruise. (if there is something like that! )
Any tips and suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated...PLEASE!!!!
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Old December 7th, 2006, 08:24 PM
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Please, please, don't stress so much! Here are my 2 cents worth...

Your mom's dressy Indian attire will be fine. I have seen so many different dresses on formal night. I have seen everything from very formal dresses to a simple cocktail dress. Use you own judgement with what you will be comfortable with. Regarding your children, they should also dress nice, but a suit is not necessary for a boy, but slacks and button shirt. Maybe a sweater vest. A girl should be in a "party dress."

Please don't stress over this issue. Should you just become overwhelmed by all of it, you can opt out and just do the casual dining that evening. Make this your last option, though.

As to whether or not the children should be included. By all means, they are included in the dining room. We had our 2 1/2 year old grandaughter on our last cruise. We were with our son, DIL and the baby. We were seated at a table for just us, which was ideal. The baby was very good during dinner, but I certainly wouldn't want to interrupt anyone elses dinner. If she had started to cry, we would have taken her from the dining room until she calmed down.

I hope this helps you. Also, just for example, for formal nights I have worn everything from a very formal long, sequined gown, to evening pants, with a satin shell, and a matching over-shirt.
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Old December 7th, 2006, 09:14 PM
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I agree, not to stress. You can still dress and attend the 2 formal evenings and wear something that you are comfortable wearing. You can find a simple cocktail dress that you could wear again at home to a fancy function, wedding, etc.

Also, yes, kids are included in the formal evenings, makes for a nice family evening and lots of fun to dine together after a busy day either onboard or in a port of call.

By "formal" doesn't necessarily mean you have to have a long ball gown, just a nice simple black dress will do nicely and you can dress it up with jewlery, etc.

Have fun and try to go and enjoy the formal evenings in the dining room, its one of the highlights of cruising.
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Old December 7th, 2006, 09:16 PM
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Hi cruiser1,

Welcome to Cruisemates!

As ready2gonow said, please don't get stressed about this! Some of the most beautiful and interesting dress I've seen at formal nights have been from different countries (Indian saris, Scottish kilts, etc.).

Your mother will be fine and if you (and your children) want to wear traditional Indian dress, you'll be fine, too.

A well rested two year old should be okay at the formal dinner, but, as ready2gonow said, if she/he starts fussing have someone take her/him out of the dining room to calm down.

The crew love babies and children, so they may keep your children so entertained that they don't fuss!

I'm sure you and your family will have a wonderful cruise!
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Old December 7th, 2006, 09:27 PM
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Fern, No stressing allowed on cruises! The wonderful thing about cruising is that there are so many different cultures, nationalities and races. The mixture of people to me is great. I believe that traditional Indian dress will be just fine for formal night. I believe it will be a great cultural expression. I sometimes wear traditional African attire and feel totally comfortable. Relax and you and your family have a great cruise.
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Old December 7th, 2006, 10:42 PM
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Default Re: Very tensed about the formal nights.

cruiser1,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You"
We, the family of 6 (with my parents and kids)are booked on Royal Caribean 7 day cruise for Mexico going to sail out in couple of days. And I am terrified about the formal night and the dress code for that.
You see, we grew up in India and neither my mom or I have ever worn the "formal gowns/cocktail dresses"...ever!!! I could still try to do that, but there is no chance that my mom would wear it. She usually wears traditional Indian dress and here in California nobody gives it a second look. So I am really...REALLY tensed about those nights on the cruise. One of the ladies have posted on her formal dress picture that she wants to wear. WOW...that dress is gorgeous but I would never be comfortable to buy and wear that as I know I would almost never wear that ever again. So how crucial is the dress code..for Royal Caribean at least? Can my mom not wear a dressy Indian attire instead? I know this would shock you all, but I would rather ask it here than get the looks on board.
Your traditional Indian formal dress will be fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
Are the kids not expected to attend the formal nights? I'd hate to leave them behind..after all its a family time! And are the dress code rules same for them as well? How is a 2 yr old supposed to 'behave' on the formal table?
By the norms of social etiquette, the prescribed dress code is for everybody unless the cruise line explicitly prescribes different attire for children. Note, also, that most cruise lines state the prescribed evening dress applies throughout the ship, except for designated casual areas.

Now, what really happens may be a different matter, and it depends how the line enforces (or fails to enforce) its dress codes. I have seen people come to the theater or show lounge in "casual' attire on "formal" evenings and walk right in because nobody stopped them. I have also seen children -- and even teenagers -- come to dinner on "formal" evenings in a dress shirt, slacks, and a necktie, but no jacket. This is NOT proper, but it will happen if the cruise line does nothing to stop it.

I have no specific advice as to how to handle a two year old in the dining room, where dinner lasts a couple hours whether it's a "formal" evening or not. Many parents take their children up to the children's center after the children eat (and the waitstaff are very good about bringing their food at their pace), but the complication is that the children's programs now start at age three (3) on most cruise lines so a two year old will be too young to particpate. Your best bet may well be to arrange for the two year old to spend the week with the other set of grandparents or with other relatives or friends that you trust who are not going on the cruise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
With so many questions and anxieties I am tending to let go of the formal nights all together? Can we do that? I understand there are 2 formal, 1 semiformal night on RCI. I don't want to, but then I'd much rather do that and save myself some mental stress. This factor is taking away the focus from my "vacation and relaxing" part of the cruise. (if there is something like that! )
Any tips and suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated...PLEASE!!!!
First, take a deep breath and relax. There's no reason whatsoever to panic.

I believe that Royal Caribbean has dropped the "semiformal" evening so seven night cruises now have two (2) "formal" evenings and five (5) "casual" evenings. Nonetheless, as I noted earlier, the main dining room serves a full dinner (usually five courses) even on "casual" evenings, so dinner is a fairly major event. You might find it beneficial to take your children to a restaurant that serves that type of meal a few times well before the crusise, partly to assess how well they handle it and partly to teach them what to do in that situation.

FWIW, I am aware of some parents who booked second seating so they can take their children to the buffet, which is casual, during first seating when the children's center closes for dinner, then take their children to the evening program at the children's center before going to the dining room for their own dinner. Unfortunately, you still have to deal with the fact that the two year old is too young for the children's program....

In any case, have a great cruise!

Norm.
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Old December 8th, 2006, 10:30 AM
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as the others have told you take a deep breath relax and don't stress over your formal night attire.
Traditional Indian Formal attire will be perfect for any and all family members who choose to dress that way.
As for the little ones - go to your local thrift store (Goodwill, Salvation Army etc) and see if you can pick up a suit or a suit coat and dress pants. You can even pick up a suit or dress pants, shirt, tie at WalMart.
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Old December 8th, 2006, 01:17 PM
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I agree. It is part of the fun of cruising to see all the different types of attire from around the world. Your formal wear from your own culture will be not only appropriate, but greatly admired! Even the kids would be great in that if they have it. Otherwise, don't worry about their clothing. Most people totally understand that little ones need to wear things they can get dirty, because they will. That's what children everywhere do! Just be considerate of others and if they start to fuss, take them out of the room for a time to calm then down. I think you will be surprised by how most of your fellow passengers will react with pleasure to you and your family!
Happy and low stress cruising!
Marty
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Old December 8th, 2006, 04:54 PM
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Yep, your Indian style dress would be fine! And frankly? You'll probably be better dressed than some of the women in the dining room!

The styles of Indian dresses are absolutely stunning! The colors alone are dazzling.

You'll be fine with what the folks suggested - there's no need to go out & buy a dress just for the dining room.

Have a good cruise!

Advise your mother however that the food may not be as spicy/flavorful as she may be use to. If need be, feel free to bring your spices from home.
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Old December 8th, 2006, 11:21 PM
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Thank you..thank you ....thank you all.
You guys are so wonderful. Posting here on CuiseMates has taken a lot of stress off my brain regarding this. Now actually I am looking forward to the formal nights (hopefully the kids will let us enjoy that too), but the dress part has been sorted out more than satisfactorily. I guess that is not such big deal after all..and now I am sure I'll enjoy the cruise. Will let you know too once I come back.
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Old December 21st, 2006, 01:08 AM
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Hey you all,
We are back from our Royal Caribean cruise and..WOW... was that a wonderful experience!!! Loved it!
The original question about formal attire...that event went quite well and people including the waiters and all were very friendly. No one had any problems with our children...especially my 2 yr old had almost become the Princess around our table. She was taken to sing all the birthday songs around our table by our waiter and also got to blow the candles on some occasions!

Attire was not an issue at all for anyone of us...we were quite comfortable in what we wore. In fact after some ideas from this forum we actually also made a theme about Indian Dressy attire on one of the days. It was fun.

The only thing was not it was not as relaxing vacation because of the kids. There are no programs for children under 3 years on Royal Caribean. So she was always under my supervision. I didn't do in room babysitting. But would try to do the cruising on some other child oriented cruise lines in the future, may be Disney. Dont know when...but boy was that expensive all together....I mean there are lot of additional expenses that 'just happen'. So I think we would have to wait for quite a while before our next cruise!
But all in all it was a wonderful experience for the beginers like us. Thank you all for easing my mind into that.
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Old December 21st, 2006, 11:36 AM
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I am so glad that you had a good time. Did you get any pictures that you can share? Especially your formal Indian attire. Would love to see that, since the styles and colors are always so gorgeous!
Marty
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Old December 21st, 2006, 04:48 PM
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Cruiser1: Thank you very much for reporting back and letting everyone know how it went. Many people become very anxious over formal evening dress and children and your experience answered quite a few questions.

I'm glad you had a good time and also let people know about some of the positives and negatives of cruising with young children.

Take care,
Mike
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Old December 21st, 2006, 11:57 PM
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cruiser1,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
Hey you all,
We are back from our Royal Caribean cruise and..WOW... was that a wonderful experience!!! Loved it!
The original question about formal attire...that event went quite well and people including the waiters and all were very friendly. No one had any problems with our children...especially my 2 yr old had almost become the Princess around our table. She was taken to sing all the birthday songs around our table by our waiter and also got to blow the candles on some occasions!

Attire was not an issue at all for anyone of us...we were quite comfortable in what we wore. In fact after some ideas from this forum we actually also made a theme about Indian Dressy attire on one of the days. It was fun.
I'm glad to hear that you had a terrific time and that your Indian formal attire worked out well!

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
The only thing was not it was not as relaxing vacation because of the kids. There are no programs for children under 3 years on Royal Caribean. So she was always under my supervision. I didn't do in room babysitting. But would try to do the cruising on some other child oriented cruise lines in the future, may be Disney. Dont know when...but boy was that expensive all together....I mean there are lot of additional expenses that 'just happen'. So I think we would have to wait for quite a while before our next cruise!
But all in all it was a wonderful experience for the beginers like us. Thank you all for easing my mind into that.
On the positive side, your daughter will be three, and thus able to participate fully in the children's program, by this time next year, so you won't have to supervise her so constantly.

By way of background, the children's programs on most major cruise lines started at age 2 until about four or five years ago -- but with a requirement that children had to be "potty trained." Apparently this got to be a problem because many children, with workng parents, are now getting "potty trained" later than in the past so a lot of the two year olds were still having frequent "accidents" that required the counsellors to call the parents to come and take care of the problem, and of course many parents were less than cooperative about doing so. Thus, the cruise lines decided to make the eligibility a year later so the staff of the childrens program would not have to deal with the problem.

But I do hope that you will consider another cruise sometime after your daughter's third birhday!

Norm.
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Old January 6th, 2007, 05:54 AM
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Default What were some of the unexpected charges?

What were some of the unexpected charges you mentioned?

Thanks,

Brian
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Old January 6th, 2007, 05:45 PM
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Default Re: What were some of the unexpected charges?

Brian,

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What were some of the unexpected charges you mentioned?
I can only speculate, but there are plenty of opportunities to leave money behind on a cruise ship. For example, it's very easy to sip your favorite beverages by the pool all day and in the various lounges and other entertainment venues all evening. It's also very easy to sip three or four glasses of expensive wine with dinner, to buy nice things in the ship's shops, to have a few "treatments" at the spa (which adds a tip of 15% to every "treatment"), to gamble at the casino (you can get chips on your shipboard account), to play bingo, to buy yet another great photo, to take very expensive shore excursions, to put your tips on your shipboard account, to dine in exotic specialty restaurants that charge a lot extra, etc. And none of it costs anything -- that is, until you leave the ship!

But if you are sensible, you can have a wonderful vacation with very little expense on a cruise ship. Here are a few simple tips.

>> 1. Drink sodas ($2 including tip) rather than alcoholic beverages ($5.00 and up).

>> 2. At dinner, buy wine by the bottle rather than by the glass, and don't let your dining staff refill your glass after you start the main course. The staff will recork the bottle and save what's left for the next evening.

>> 3. Be sensible in your choice of shore excursions. A tour on land typically costs $30 to $50. A flightseeing tour costs $150 to $250 or more.

>> 4. Avoid bingo and the casino, unless you really do know a strategy that puts the odds in your favor. From the ship's beancounters' perspective, these are profit centers.

>> 5. Avoid the spa, too. A soak in a hot tub or a swim in the ocean would have more genuine benefits than most spa treatments.

Do that, and you won't have so much "sticker shock" when you get your itemized bill on the last night of the cruise!

Norm.
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