I say the answer is to buy. In the UK you can get a tux for under £100 at places like http://www.slatermenswear.com/ and for £200 you will get something very nice. In the US there are dozens of places that sell Tux under $150. This way you also known that you will have a suit that fits.
Cunard are quite expensive to rent from, I do not remember the exact price but if you are going to do more that one cruise, buying is cheaper.
The other option is to rent from a dress hire shop in your own town. There is always going to give you a formal dress outfit for the week for the same price as two weekends.
The formal shops where I live sell used tuxes for about $150. I may buy one before my next cruise--renting one cost almost as much.
Nice tux shirts often show up at Marshalls and other discount stores, or at outlet stores (like Armanis outlets).
On my first (Caronia) cruise, my wife and I were staying in England for the week after the cruise, and since it was prime tux-renting season (late May), the local stores would not rent a tux to me. We called Cunard, and they said I could rent a tux on board, so I reserved one in my size. Then, the night before we left to fly over to London, Cunard called (from England) to say that there would be no tux rental on the ship. In a panic, I went to Lord & Taylor that night and bought a black suit, and the seamstress hemmed the pants while I waited.
When we boarded two days later, Caronia had tuxes available for rental, including a full selection in my size!
I've never quite understood how all this misinformation occurred, but suffice it say that I have a black suit in my closet that doesn't get much wearin'!
Jon, thank you for your input. We did pursue buying a tux from a local source, plus renting from a formalwear shop. As luck would have it, on another travel board, a travel agent responded to my question. She took 18 people on a QM2 trip the middle of June and assured me that a tux was NOT necessary, that a darkj suit would suffice. Also, she said that during the day, casual wear was the norm, that most people wore work-out clothing. This is a relief for us, as we do not want to lug along a tux with all the rest of the attire. But thanks for the info!
Sorry, but no matter what the travel agent said, at least 90 percent of the male passengers wore tuxes on formal nights on the QM2, and I was the only passenger (aside from children) not in a tux on the formal night on the Caronia. I was wearing a black Calvin Klein suit, but I still felt like I stood out like a sore thumb.
So, no, a tuxedo is not mandatory , but who wants to look like they can't handle wearing one? If you're dealing with a lot of attire already, what's one more hanger?
As for daytime clothing, I don't know what cruise your travel agent was on, but work-out clothes were definitely NOT the norm. Country-club casual is more like it.
I think this travel agent is being very misleading.
gabriel is quite right, my husband always wears a tux on formal nights as do most of the men onboard and formal is very formal, gowns for the women. i only wore "work out" clothes to cover my swimwear between the pool and my cabin otherwise we wore smart shorts and tees. i think this travel agent must have been on a different ship to the one we have all been on. a tux doesn't take up much room so i wouldn't worry about it.
What do you mean this isn't how they eat onboard?
Queen Elizabeth 2 - Trans-Atlantic 2001
Queen Mary 2 - Caribbean - 2004
Queen Mary 2 - Mediterranean - 2004
Cunard, QE2 and now QM2, following in the QE2 tradition, are known for their formality. Why would someone book on QM2, pay the big bucks, and then not have a tux? I paid $200 for my used tux and have gotten more than my money's worth out of it when sailing on QE2 and soon QM2.
Last year, we had a travel agent and her husband at our table. He had a blue blazer on every night, and Weejuns for shoes. He was 100% out-of-place. He and his wife skipped dinner two of the formal nights and even made a rather uncomfortable "joke" about his lack of formal wear. We all wondered if she was one of those travel agents who told her clients that formal wear wasn't really needed on QE2.
I don't understand why people book Cunard, pay for the Cunard formality, and then fight having to appear in formal wear, or nice day wear, themselves. Beats me?
I was also told prior to my first QE2 trip that I would only really need a dark suit. I am so glad I sprang for the used tux! I would have felt out-of-place.
These last couple of fellows are right, it was my experience that 95% of the gentlemen wore their tuxes on formal nights, and some even on the Informal (semi-formal) nights. The were dark suits yes, but the vast majority of the men were in tuxes. I was on the 10 May Caribbean sailing which I thought might be a little less formal than a crossing. Our two seatmates at dinner -- two gentlemen from Austrailia even wore their Indian Formal "Raja" Suits one night for a birthday celebration on the optional formal night.
My husband got a great deal on a tux on sale which he'll wear on cruises and to the daughter's weddings, so we figured you couldn't beat the $160.00 he paid for it.
Daytimes were definitely NOT workout clothes. Even in dressy long shorts and nice polo shirts one could feel not dressed up enough depending on what venue you were visiting. Most people were definitely in nice resort clothing all day.
My suggestion -- leave the sweatsuits home and pack the tux.
Dressing in formal wear after six PM on a Cunard ship is like putting on your play clothes. You will fit right in, be relaxed, and ready to kick up your heels. If you have on a dark suit, you will feel left out and a bit awkward -- left standing on the sidelines watching everyone else have all the fun.
Not wearing a tux on Cunard would be like wearing a tux to a basketball game. Everyone else at the game will have on jeans and sweat shirts and having a great time. You, in the tux at the game, will feel stilted and out-of-place. It is the opposite on Cunard. Having on the sweats and jeans or dark suit will make you feel left-out.
Dressing up on Cunard is fun and allows you the freedom to "get down!" and have the time of your life!