What to wear onboard
There are bound to be some questionable fashion choices on display when you embark on a cruising
holiday. There are also specific dress codes to adhere to, depending on the time of day, cruise line and onboard venue you are in at the time. Shore excursions are also important to be dressed accordingly for the activity you are participating in.
We recommend always wearing comfortable footwear off the ship during excursions and take a light sweater in case you are not back until after sunset! Of course, it all depends on which region you are sailing in. After all, your attire on excursions in Northern Europe will be completely different to getting off the ship during summer in Hawaii, so always dress according to the weather and excursion.
Across many, if not all the cruise lines, they enforce a dress code policy of no t-shirts, swimwear, robes, bare feet and baseball caps in any of the main or specialty dining venues, and bars inside the ship. This dress code does not apply around the pool.
Cruise lines all have similar if not the same dress codes and standards, however there are some that are different. For example, NCL does not have a strict formal dress code, and instead have become renowned for embracing a cruise casual and relaxed atmosphere onboard. Cruise casual is widely accepted throughout the ship and its venues during the day, however there are some fine dining venues onboard that requires a smarter casual approach with collared shirts for men as an example. During the day, and in the buffet, you can dress casually, and they even have a Dress Up or Not night where some passengers can choose to dress up and take a portrait with their family, partner or even with the Captain!
Cunard has a lovely balance of relaxed smart casual attire during the day, to having the chance to dress up for the evening. As the sun goes down, the style onboard Cunard goes up! Each night onboard, you must wear smart attire in most of the bar, restaurant & entertainment venues with men requiring a jacket or sports coat at dinner. Cunard host Gala evenings which are the highlight of the voyage for many passengers. You are invited to dress up in formalwear, with men in suits and woman in gowns when the clock strikes 6pm, usually a couple of times for every 7-night voyage. If you do not wish to participate in the Gala Event, and spend your evenings in a more relaxed environment, there are a selection of casual dining venues that you can enjoy.
Celebrity Cruises has chosen to replace their formal dress code to Evening Chic, which is dressier than smart casual, however less dressy than traditional formal attire. Onboard Celebrity for Evening Chic, women can wear cocktail dresses, skirts, pants and elegant tops and the men to wear pants, long sleeve shirt with optional sport coat or blazer.
MSC, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruises etc all have formal and non-formal nights onboard where the traditional cruise formal dress code applies of suits and ties, tuxedos, cocktail dresses or evening gowns. During the day returns to casual and smart casual dress code, depending on the onboard venue.
What not to wear
Pyjamas at Dinner
Passengers that eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in their pyjamas are undeniably taking comfort to the next level. If relaxation is the agenda of the day, why not head to the onboard day spa, have a dip in the pool or soak up some sun.
Fluffy Slippers Everywhere
Following on from pyjamas, fluffy slippers in the shape of bunnies, cows, moose, pigs and almost every animal out there, is erring on the extremely casual side of cruise fashion. Though it can be very tempting to show off your super cute slippers, it might be wise to save them for your cabin.
Your Birthday Suit at the Pool
Once again, it’s no surprise that passengers want to feel relaxed and comfortable while onboard.
It’s your holiday, after all. However, when your comfort comes at the expense of other passengers’ sense of peace, contentment and delicious breakfast, it might be best to keep your kit on and put up with some tan lines.
Socks and Nothing Else in Your Cabin
Getting cosy and enjoying some peaceful downtime is what your cabin is designed for, right? However, if your cabin has a balcony or window, you might want to keep in mind that you may have an outdoor audience! Stripping down and feeling the cool sea air on your skin may seem like a good idea, but it could cost you your dignity.
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