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Old February 20th, 2011, 10:20 PM
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Arrow Dressing for the Cruise...

Hello all. I was talking with my kiddos today and mentioned the whole 'formal night' thing, and one of them tried to say that she was NOT dressing up! I told her yes she was, because one has to dress up to go to the main dining room on certain nights and we want the 'whole experience.' I don't want to skip formal nights just because dressing up is a pain or is too much luggage, etc. I am going to have to decide which specialty dining places I want to try. I am concerned that scheduling will be difficult, because I also plan to see every show there is and do as many other activities as possible.

One of the problems I am having is that I will have a completely different body by the time our cruise rolls around. I have been following Weight Watchers since January of last year, and plan to continue following the plan until I reach my goal. Since Jan. 19, 2010, I have lost almost 90 lbs. Unfortunately, I still have a lot to go, but it is completely do-able: if I lose 8lbs a month between now and the cruise, I can hit goal weight by then. I am really enjoying fantasizing about cruising at goal weight- rock climbing, deck lounging, night club dancing! Shorts, sundresses, mini-skirts and skorts. Little black dress. I will have to set aside some $$ to get myself an awesome new wardrobe right before we go, but it will be so great.

I also mentioned that I'd have to get Little Man (my 9 yr old son) some nice dress clothes, perhaps a suit, and he informed me that, "I am not wearing all that CRAP!" I informed him he was mistaken.

Anyway. I read somebody's comment about hillbillies on another thread and although I thought they were being facetious, I am still concerned about looking like po' folks. Despite the fact that this little adventure is going to wind up costing me a total of $6000 or so, I fear I will end up looking like Ma Kettle who just rolled into town on the egg money!

Oh well. Over a year to adjust either my perpective, my confidence, or my wardrobe. Or all three.

Thanks for letting me ramble.
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Old February 21st, 2011, 07:07 AM
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Elegance is the term m'dear.. elegance.
Some ladies overdo things & look like a Xmas tree, men also miss the formal point & wear too many multicoloured things. On the cruises I have been on kids just wear SMART casual clothes but of course they look cute in little suits & seem to enjoy it too. I do wonder if those who refuse to join in the dress themes ever feel embarrassed when they enter a magnificent MDR.
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Old February 21st, 2011, 09:03 AM
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Do not obsess or even worry about looking "Hillbilly". It is always hard to get kids to "dress up". Depending on the cruise line there is no need for your son to wear a suit. Formal nights are becoming a thing of the past on many lines.

Take care,
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Old February 21st, 2011, 09:12 AM
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May I ask which line you have booked or proposing to book?

Annie
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Old February 21st, 2011, 09:28 AM
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A nice shirt and tie, could serve your son well, if a suit creates issues with your son, & packing, and it could save on nerves
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Old February 21st, 2011, 09:56 AM
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firs thing, congrats on the weight loss, and good luck, way to go. You hit right on target with "little black dress" for yourself, totally perfect for formal nights, heels, jewelry good to go, as for the kiddos, a suit really isn't necessary for the boys, a nice pair of dockers type pants, a button-down shirt and a tie if you can manage that would do just fine, if however you want to get a suit, hit the thrift stores Salvation Army, Goodwill, you can usually get amazing deals on kids suits especially ones that may have been worn only a couple of times and then growth spurt, suit doesn't fit. As for your daughter a simple dress, doesn't have to be anything frilly, fancy or frou-frou, a bright tropical print flowy dress with a pair of cute flats or even kitten heels, or a cute little skirt with a silky top
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Old February 21st, 2011, 10:10 AM
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Annie- We're on the Allure, May 27, 2012- Eastern itinerary.

John- Elegance. Thanks. I'll remember that!

Mike- Thanks. Especially for this kid! He often seems to think wearing pants is going to far!

Trip and Lisa- Great, thanks. Dockers, button down shirt, tie if possible. Sounds do-able.

Thanks for the ideas for the girls as well. One of them has a really cute little dress that I think she's looking forward to the occasion to wear. (She swears she's not having anything to do with prom!) The other one is the one who balked at the idea of dressing up. I think she plans to spend the entire week in the pool. I'm so looking forward to shopping with them for this! hee hee!

15 months. SIGH!!!!!
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Old February 21st, 2011, 10:17 AM
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firs thing, congrats on the weight loss, and good luck, way to go. You hit right on target with "little black dress" for yourself, totally perfect for formal nights, heels, jewelry good to go, as for the kiddos, a suit really isn't necessary for the boys, a nice pair of dockers type pants, a button-down shirt and a tie if you can manage that would do just fine, if however you want to get a suit, hit the thrift stores Salvation Army, Goodwill, you can usually get amazing deals on kids suits especially ones that may have been worn only a couple of times and then growth spurt, suit doesn't fit. As for your daughter a simple dress, doesn't have to be anything frilly, fancy or frou-frou, a bright tropical print flowy dress with a pair of cute flats or even kitten heels, or a cute little skirt with a silky top
Lisa
You are so good at this - is this your day-job ?; that is a compliment BTW.

On a slightly different note, my nephew was adamant he was having no pics of his graduation; his mother was stressing herself out; I said drop the subject and watch this space ..... he had his pics taken - he actually suggested it.

I suspect your children may warm to the idea if left alone.

Annie
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 10:01 AM
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thanks Annie, started my career as a travel agent so i do have some insight, have been cruising for a long time, have a great mentor in our Trip, and its all about making observations, listening to others, common sense and being able to try to sort thru some of the "garbage"
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 11:51 AM
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I don't mean to be presumptious - but if I may.....

From your posts, I get the impression that you are saving for this cruise. Please do not let it kill you financially for fear of what others will think.

For your little guy, get him two nice pairs of cotton dockers (something he can wear again) and a few nice collared shirts. Please do NOT waste your money on buying him a suit that he may never wear again. No one will judge you by your chidlren, and even if they do ... PHOOEY on them!

As for your daughter, let her get a nice sundress. That will work fine.

I don't mean to tell you how to parent, but if your kids protest, let them eat at the buffet that night. Why let the dress code affect your cruise?

As for you my dear, congratulations on the weight loss plans!!!! Kudos to you. I'd wait until closer to your cruise. You may get some nice end-0f-summer sales this year or next, where you can get a deal on some nice dresses. Go for staples like a little black dress that you an wear a few times, changing your accessories - jewellery, scarves, jackets, to get a different loook.

Don't waste your money on holiday-clothes, especially for the kids. Just remember, it all adds up, and you can put the money towards your next cruise holiday
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 07:23 PM
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Queen of Oakville,

Quote:
Originally Posted by you View Post
For your little guy, get him two nice pairs of cotton dockers (something he can wear again) and a few nice collared shirts. Please do NOT waste your money on buying him a suit that he may never wear again. No one will judge you by your chidlren, and even if they do ... PHOOEY on them!

As for your daughter, let her get a nice sundress. That will work fine.

I don't mean to tell you how to parent, but if your kids protest, let them eat at the buffet that night. Why let the dress code affect your cruise?
Teaching children manners and basic social etiquette, including proper dress for various social occasions, is a fundmanental responsibility of parenting that too many adults shirk now -- which is why, as adults, their children continue to display abject ignorance thereof. I, for one, applaud the OP and many other dedicated parents who take this responsibility seriously and who take advantage of the "formal" evenings on a cruise to teaching their children the right way.

Norm.
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 08:09 PM
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OklaCruiserMom,

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Originally Posted by You View Post
Hello all. I was talking with my kiddos today and mentioned the whole 'formal night' thing, and one of them tried to say that she was NOT dressing up! I told her yes she was, because one has to dress up to go to the main dining room on certain nights and we want the 'whole experience.' I don't want to skip formal nights just because dressing up is a pain or is too much luggage, etc. I am going to have to decide which specialty dining places I want to try. I am concerned that scheduling will be difficult, because I also plan to see every show there is and do as many other activities as possible.

...

I also mentioned that I'd have to get Little Man (my 9 yr old son) some nice dress clothes, perhaps a suit, and he informed me that, "I am not wearing all that CRAP!" I informed him he was mistaken.
First, I applaud you for teaching your children the right way. When they discover that cruise ships put on the best menus and the best shows of the cruise on the "formal" evenings, they probably won't be so rebellious next time!

That said, I do agree that it's not worth spending large sums on dress clothing that your children won't wear again.

>> For your son, you might find that it costs a lot less to rent a suit from a formalwear shop than to buy a suit. If he won't have enough other occasions to wear a suit before he outgrows it to make back the higher cost, renting would be more economical than buying. (Note that rentals typically include dress shoes, so you need to include the cost of dress shoes in the total purchase price if your son does not have them, and that most formalwear shops will include two shirts and two sets of accessories in the basic price of the rental if you tell them that it's for a cruise.)

>> For your daughters, I agree with the suggestion that a nice "party dress" that they will be able to wear on other occasions would be the best investment. They also probably will outgrow the dresses before they wear them out. They should have a couple different sets of jewelry and accessories to give their dresses a different "look" for each "formal" evening.

Also, don't buy anything yet because your children probably will outgrow it before next January!

Alternatively, if you really want to buy the suit and the snazzy dress clothes for your children, you could consider arranging some special dress-up events -- perhaps a party for a "milestone" birthday or wedding anniversary, attendance at a concert of classical music that requires proper attire, the opening a new exhibit at a local art museum, or a gala evening to benefit some charity, for example, where such dress would be the norm -- before and after your cruise so your children would get maximum use out of whatever dress clothing you buy for them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by you
One of the problems I am having is that I will have a completely different body by the time our cruise rolls around. I have been following Weight Watchers since January of last year, and plan to continue following the plan until I reach my goal. Since Jan. 19, 2010, I have lost almost 90 lbs. Unfortunately, I still have a lot to go, but it is completely do-able: if I lose 8lbs a month between now and the cruise, I can hit goal weight by then. I am really enjoying fantasizing about cruising at goal weight- rock climbing, deck lounging, night club dancing! Shorts, sundresses, mini-skirts and skorts. Little black dress. I will have to set aside some $$ to get myself an awesome new wardrobe right before we go, but it will be so great.
Congratulations! That's no small achievement!

And to you, I'll make the same recommendation: don't go overboard. A simple dress of suitable length with some simple jewelry (perhaps a cubic zirconia necklace and matching earrings, for example) can look quite elegant indeed! Gaudiness is not elegant.

Also, bear in mind that your weight might not be stabilized even if you attain your goal just before the cruise. It would be unfortunate to invest several hundred dollars in a dress and then not be able to wear it to a wedding a couple months later. It's much better to buy something less expensive and wait to buy something more expensive until you are sure that your weight has stabilized.

Finally, I should mention that Royal Caribbean Intenational's standards of dress for the "formal" evenings are not as "formal" as some of the other lines. IIRC, it's quite acceptable for gents to wear a sport coat, dress shirt, tie, and dress slacks rather than a suit or a "black tie" outfit.

Have a great cruise!

Norm.
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Old February 23rd, 2011, 12:30 AM
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Hello again! Just reading the last few posts. I appreciate the responses and input. Just thought I'd throw a couple of things out there:

First- we do go to church, so if I bought my son a suit, he would probably get *some* use out of it before he outgrew it. Still, I really doubt I'll get him one, because I don't usually make him dress up for church either! Lol. Ours is pretty casual, and he wears jeans and t-shirts or cotton shirts with collars basically all the time.

Also, the girls will be 18 when we go- If I bought them anything any time soon, there's not much chance they'd outgrow it between now and then unless they just suddenly got fat, which they won't.

As for myself- I am sooooo not the type to go all crazy and buy a lot of clothes, particularly fancy and/or expensive clothes. I will buy a few things that actually fit, when we are within a couple of months of our trip, which is in May of next year. But they will be from places like Cato or Goodies or JC Penney or Ross. Not really a huge outlay of funds.

Yeah, I definitely wasn't planning to go shopping right now- just sort of thinking ahead. And I have to confess, I wasn't really thinking of making them follow the formal night dress code just because I was trying to make a point about social ettiquette. I wanted them to experience what it was like to get dressed up a little bit fancy for a night and dine in an elegant setting, with other elegant people, to do something a little bit special, you know. I do think when we were having the conversation, I might have told them 'That's just the way they do things on a cruise, and we have to do what everyone else is doing- that's just what you do.' So maybe I did sort of put that social ettiquette idea out there, but mostly I'm thinking of it being an experience for them, if that makes sense.
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Old February 23rd, 2011, 01:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Rev22:17 View Post
Queen of Oakville,



Teaching children manners and basic social etiquette, including proper dress for various social occasions, is a fundmanental responsibility of parenting that too many adults shirk now -- which is why, as adults, their children continue to display abject ignorance thereof. I, for one, applaud the OP and many other dedicated parents who take this responsibility seriously and who take advantage of the "formal" evenings on a cruise to teaching their children the right way.

Norm.
Ya know, this rings to some of what I was saying in another "what to wear" thread on here. I guess I was just raised different. I personally enjoy the chance to put on a suit. I look *good* in a suit, so why not. When I was on Imagination last year, I went a little over the top, but not in a bad way. Black on black, with a tie that hits of red kind of flame, but not really. It looked sharp, and I got tons of compliments from my tablemates, my bartenders, and so on down the line. In fact, I think before my next cruise, I will invest in a new *good* suit. Right now I have a mix of pants and a jacket bought separatly from Target. Nordstrom Rack here has some really nice Calvin Klein suits at a very affordable price.
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Old February 23rd, 2011, 08:33 AM
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you have lots of time to plan and hit the sales! shop for your summer clothes at the end of season clearance sales, and hit the holiday clearance racks after the holidays for some awesome deals on "party" clothes
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Old February 24th, 2011, 07:52 PM
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OklaCruiserMom,

Quote:
Originally Posted by you View Post
First- we do go to church, so if I bought my son a suit, he would probably get *some* use out of it before he outgrew it. Still, I really doubt I'll get him one, because I don't usually make him dress up for church either! Lol. Ours is pretty casual, and he wears jeans and t-shirts or cotton shirts with collars basically all the time.
Yes, many churches are very casual now. As a lad, I always had dress clothes -- either a suit or a sport jacket and a pair of slacks -- to wear to church, as well as to weddings and other special occasions, but times have changed. Now, it's mostly "smart casual" at my church. But I offered up the options precisely because I did not know your situation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by you
Also, the girls will be 18 when we go- If I bought them anything any time soon, there's not much chance they'd outgrow it between now and then unless they just suddenly got fat, which they won't.
In that case, you might offer them a couple options.

>> 1. If they attend their high school proms, they can bring their prom dress(es) to wear on the "formal" evenings.

>> 2. The other option would be to buy each of them a nice cocktail dress that they can take to college or that they can have to wear on other occasions. If they are going to college, they probably will want to attend one or two fairly dressy events per semester because many student activities and living groups do hold such events. If they instead are joining the work force after they graduate, they may need to dress appropriately for company social events. Either way, they will have occasions to use a nice cocktail dress.

Quote:
Originally Posted by you
As for myself- I am sooooo not the type to go all crazy and buy a lot of clothes, particularly fancy and/or expensive clothes. I will buy a few things that actually fit, when we are within a couple of months of our trip, which is in May of next year. But they will be from places like Cato or Goodies or JC Penney or Ross. Not really a huge outlay of funds.
JTOL, you might do well to check your local consignment shops when the time comes. There are many women who buy a dress, wear it once, and then sell it through a consignment shop for about half of what they paid for it. If you find a shop that has a dress in your size, you'll get a real bargain on a dress with a lot of useful life left in it. If your weight hasn't stabilized and subsequently changes, you'll be able to sell it again through the same consignment shop and recover nearly your whole investment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by you
Yeah, I definitely wasn't planning to go shopping right now- just sort of thinking ahead. And I have to confess, I wasn't really thinking of making them follow the formal night dress code just because I was trying to make a point about social ettiquette. I wanted them to experience what it was like to get dressed up a little bit fancy for a night and dine in an elegant setting, with other elegant people, to do something a little bit special, you know. I do think when we were having the conversation, I might have told them 'That's just the way they do things on a cruise, and we have to do what everyone else is doing- that's just what you do.' So maybe I did sort of put that social ettiquette idea out there, but mostly I'm thinking of it being an experience for them, if that makes sense.
I think that social etiquette, culture, and good taste are interrelated. Teaching your children to appreciate the elegant ambiance of a "formal" evening is part of the picture. There's no doubt that proper dress is a major contributor to that ambiance.

Norm.
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Old February 25th, 2011, 12:11 AM
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Thanks! I appreciate your input and suggestions. The only thing that's flying over my head is, What does JTOL stand for??? I'm sure it's probably embarrassingly obvious, but it's just not coming to me!

ETA:

But I *was* wondering, honestly, how formally do people really dress? Do you actually see many tuxes and evening gowns, or is it more relaxed? I still like the idea of the little black dress for myself, but the last couple of days I've been looking at pictures of formal dresses in my favorite color- yellow (swoon) and I haven't gotten my heart set on buying one for the cruise yet, but I'm wondering how they'd go over. None of them look like something from Footloose or Gone With the Wind, of course. Maybe I can post a couple of pictures:

These are some of my favorites. (Attachments to post, I hope)
Attached Images
File Type: jpg yellow formal.jpg (96.3 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg yellow formal 4 fave.jpg (27.3 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg yellow formal 2.jpg (49.2 KB, 7 views)
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Last edited by OklaCruiserMom; February 25th, 2011 at 12:21 AM.
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Old February 25th, 2011, 12:21 AM
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Originally Posted by OklaCruiserMom View Post
Thanks! I appreciate your input and suggestions. The only thing that's flying over my head is, What does JTOL stand for??? I'm sure it's probably embarrassingly obvious, but it's just not coming to me!
It's short for just thinking out loud
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Old February 25th, 2011, 12:25 AM
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! Got it, thanks! I would have never come up with that. I just edited the post to show some formal dresses I love. In case you missed them.
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Old February 25th, 2011, 01:04 AM
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Congrats on the weight loss!! that is a lot of hard work you deserve a cruise after that my Husband lost 70 and he looks so different, we are leaving on a cruise in 8 days and still waiting for him to go get new cloths that will fit him.. and for me I wear little black dress"s and change them up with some bling, we never go all out with really fancy formal, by the time we could wear it again it would be out dated lol
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Old February 25th, 2011, 08:30 AM
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OklaCruiserMom- those dresses are all gorgeous!!! for me personally i think that the first one would be something that you would see on the red carpet at the Oscars, maybe a bit too much(but thats just my opinion) , LOVE the short one,- very sexyb and the halter dress is beautiful and classy.
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Old February 25th, 2011, 07:02 PM
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OklaCruiserMom,

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Originally Posted by You View Post
Thanks! I appreciate your input and suggestions. The only thing that's flying over my head is, What does JTOL stand for??? I'm sure it's probably embarrassingly obvious, but it's just not coming to me!
"JTOL" is one of a slew of acronyms and abbreviations for common phrases that have gained acceptance on the 'net. They originally developed to save typing, bandwidth, and storage. Here are a few that you might encounter or perhaps find it expedient to use.

AFAIAC = As Far As I Am Concerned
AFAIK = As Far As I Know
BIL = Brother-In-Law
BTW = By The Way
C U L8R = See You Later
DD = Dear Daughter
DH = Dear Husband
DS = Dear Son
DW = Dear Wife
FIL = Father-In-Law
FWIW = For What It's Worth
FYI = For Your Information
IIRC = If I Remember Correctly
IMHO = In My Humble Opinion
IMNSHO = In My Not So Humble Opinion
JM$0.02 = Just My Two Cents
JTOL = Just Thinking Out Loud
MIL = Mother-In-Law
PITA = Pain In The A**
SIL = Sister-In-Law
TTFN = Ta-Ta For Now

This is far from a complete list, but it does include much of what you are likely to encounter. If you see something else, just ask and somebody will explain it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
But I *was* wondering, honestly, how formally do people really dress? Do you actually see many tuxes and evening gowns, or is it more relaxed?
The honest answer is that it varies widely by cruise line, destination, and length of cruise.

>> 1. The more "upscale" lines tend to be considerably dressier than the less "upscale" lines.

>> 2. The "formal" evenings on longer cruises tend to be dressier than the "formal" evenings on shorter cruises on any given line.

>> 3. Cruises to Europe and "Transatlantic" cruises tend to be dressier than cruises to other destinations.

But the best advice always is to follow to the letter the dress guidelines issued by your cruise line. If you do so, you'll be dressed properly even if many of the other passengers are not.

Norm.
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Old March 1st, 2011, 02:03 PM
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Queen of Oakville,



Teaching children manners and basic social etiquette, including proper dress for various social occasions, is a fundmanental responsibility of parenting that too many adults shirk now -- which is why, as adults, their children continue to display abject ignorance thereof. I, for one, applaud the OP and many other dedicated parents who take this responsibility seriously and who take advantage of the "formal" evenings on a cruise to teaching their children the right way.

Norm.

Norm,

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.

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.
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Old March 1st, 2011, 07:58 PM
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Queen of Oakville,

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Originally Posted by You View Post
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.

Quote:
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.

Norm.
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