The last posting I see on this topic is from years ago and I know from experience, things have changed but the dress codes published by the cruiselines have not changed much.
I have been crusing with my son since about 2001. I have noticed over the years that children are allowed to dress less and less casual in the dining room. At our cruise last year on Carnival, jeans and collared shirts were acceptable with atheltic shoes in the dining room. Last time I bought him clothes for a cruise, that was about the only time he wore them. We are taking a cruise on Royal Carribean's Allure of the Seas in April, is Royal Carribean as relaxed? Please help before I spend $ on new clothes he won't wear twice (he's a teenager now). Also, Is a shirt and tie necessary for formal night?
That is funny - you say "less and less casual" - while most people would say the opposite, I believe.
This is from the RC web site:
There are three distinct types of evenings onboard: casual, smart casual and formal.
Suggested guidelines for these nights are:
Casual: Sport shirts and slacks for men, sundresses or pants for women
Smart Casual: Jackets and ties for men, dresses or pantsuits for women
Formal: Suits and ties or tuxedos for men, cocktail dresses for women
The number of smart casual and formal nights is at the ship's discretion.
Generally, most nights are smart casual, formal occurs every three or four days (twice on an seven night cruise).
The rest are casual.
Technically kids are given leeway. If you feel personally compelled to follow the rules then here they are - however if a child does not adhere to the rules he will still be allowed in as long as he is with properly dressed grownups and not just plain sloppy looking.
For formal night - I have not seen a ship where a tie is mandatory for years. However they are recommended. A collared shirt, preferably not a polo, with a jacket is highly recommended.
Now, I don't have kids so I hope someone who does will come along and answer this.
Allure is quite relaxed with the dress suggestions. Men get in on formal nights with slacks and a dress shirt with no tie or jacket. Our son likes to wear a suit though, so he is well within the suggested dress. The lines between casual and smart casual have become quite blurry and from my observations on several Royal Caribbean ships they have both come to mean simply 'casual' with virtually nobody wearing a jacket or tie on 'smart casual' nights, even though their dress code still has the jacket and tie listed. For better or worse, the truth is the dining room management doesn't want to endure the hassle of confronting guests as long as they are reasonably attired and not looking sloppy.
The above is even more true if you opt for My Time Dining since the ambience is akin to a land-based restaurant with people constantly coming and going.
So, my advice is to not spend a lot of money on new clothes for your son. Some Docker-style pants, a dress shirt, and some Izod style golf shirts will suffice. As for footwear, athletic shoes are fine. Just leave the flip flops in the cabin if going to dinner.
I did notice that there are still plenty of people that do dress to the 9's on formal evening. Also, many having their pics taken while all dressed up. While kids sure don't need suits, nice pants and shirt and dresses for the girls are pretty much the norm. No need to purchase a suit for your teen age son...It is actually a fun occasion and most enjoy it.
I agree that the line between casual and smart-casual has been blurred. I just got off the Millennium last week and there was little difference between smart casual nights and casual nights.
In regard to formal there were VERY few tuxedos on the three formal nights. There were a few more on the first night but less on each subsequent formal night. Most men were in suits or sports jackets and slacks. The Asian itinerary may have been a reason for the few number of tuxedos.
Take Dave's advice and pick up some Docker pants and polo type shirts for your son and that will cover casual and smart-casual nights. A shirt and tie will probably be fine for formal nights.
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Your teen will be fine on Formal night with dress pants, button down shirt no jacket or tie. Or even Docker pants would work. I have noticed many kids/teens wear Docker pants on formal night with a dressy shirt.
Formal nights are becoming more and more less formal.
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The issue for us is "How much to Pack". We travel from Northen VA to FL most of the time for a cruise and are luggage restricted. For example do you bring 12 dress shirts for a 12-day cruise, how many dinner gowns, how many suit jackets, etc.. I know some wear the same clothes most of the time but I'm not a fan of this. This is a vacation and the cruiselines should not expect everyone to bring tons of good clothes. Maybe way back when, when cruising was considered a luxury and only the wealthy could afford it. These are different times and a cruise is just another vacation choice. My 2 cents!!
And yes I know there is a buffet where dress-up is not requried but so what.
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Last edited by Headusher; January 17th, 2013 at 02:23 PM.
You would only actually need the number of dress shirts for the formal evenings, possibly 3-4 and you could wear the same suit, different shirt and ties. Yes, it is difficult to fly and cruise these days, with all the weight restrictions and charges for checked luggage, etc...Mix and match is the thing to do these days. I also like the ships that have self service laundry rooms, you can pack a bit less and not go home with luggage full of dirty clothes.
As a member of the Youth staff team with RCI, I would say that your son would be fine with smart pants and shirt to get into the restaurants.
Bear in mind that if he joins in with the teen program onboard then there is a prom night on the last formal night and many of the teens get dressed up and go down to dinner together, so I guess it depends what he likes doing.