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Old 01-31-2007, 01:29 PM
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As I mentioned in another thread, some friends and I are planning on a cruise next year, so I've been reading up and researching some things in preparation for it.

One of the things I seem to read a lot has to do with dress codes. I do understand that there are "formal nights" and "casual nights," and I think I understand the formal nights for the most part.

What has been of concern to me are some comments I've read that imply "casual nights" may not be as casual as their name would indicate. I've read people talking about casual slacks, polo shirts, no jeans... that kind of thing. This could be a problem for me.

I'm a thrift-store kinda guy; I wear jeans, sometimes a bit tattered, sneakers, sweatshirts, etc. and my head is often covered by a wool cap. This is all I've got in my wardrobe. I do have one nice suit, and that'll do me fine for the formal nights. But now I'm concerned I won't be as comfortable as I'd like to be on the casual nights.

So I have two questions:
Generally speaking, how restrictive are typical casual nights on cruises (just your average cruise, not the high-end ones)?

Which dining areas do these dress codes usually apply to on these nights? I mean, it's not like if I don't have the right clothes, they're not gonna let me eat, right?


Thanks for any info you can provide. I'm a cruise virgin.
- Ryan
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Old 01-31-2007, 02:00 PM
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Ryan-

All casual nights are no jeans EXCEPT for cruises that leave from Galveston.. where they adhere to Texas culture saying the jeans can be a formal attire. But even in that case, you are not going to get away with tatered jeans.

And a wool cap? In a 4 star resturant? You do NOT where a hat at the dinner table.. period even the cowboys remove their formal hats.

You can wear what ever you want at the buffets, so if you absolutely refuse to wear casual pants for dinner, you can eat there as an option. But if you skip the dinners in the dinning room you truly would be missing out on a big part of the cruising experience.

Here is my advice-- go to the thrift store and buy one or two pairs of dockers type casual pants and a couple of shirts with collars. You don't have to wear them the whole time.. put them on, go to dinner, go back to the cabin and change back into your jeans. That way a pair or two of pants will work for the whole cruise. Pull the wool cap off for dinner too... You won't regret the effort.
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Old 01-31-2007, 02:08 PM
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The main dining rooms and extra-fee restaurants have dress codes. Bear in mind that these usually are for dinner seatings only. Breakfast and lunch in the dining room are more casual, with shorts, t-shirts, sandals, etc., allowed. But for the dinner seating I'm afraid that tattered blue jeans, wool caps, and sweat shirts are not acceptable. Casual dress indeed does mean some sort of non-blue jean pants, a collared shirt, and no hats. And I have seen people denied entry to the dining room if they look too "casual". However, Jim is correct in that on some cruises a good pair of blue jeans is acceptable - good meaning no holes or excessive fading.

The buffet restaurant on virtually all ships these days has a dinner option - and this is quite popular with many people. Even for dinner, the buffet will not have much of a dress code - shorts, t-shirts, tattered jeans, etc., are okay. There are some who take a cruise and never step foot in the main dining rooms because they simply don't want to wear a suit, or even dockers and a polo. These people eat all the meals in the buffet. I think they are missing out, but to each his own.

Bottom line is that if you show up for dinner in the main dining room in the wardrobe you listed, you very likely will find yourself being asked to change.
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Old 01-31-2007, 02:26 PM
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Ahh okay, so this is specific to the main dining area, akin to a nice upscale restaurant. I was only afraid it was a blanket policy. Relieved to know it's not.

As for removing my cap, please don't misunderstand me. I may not dress very fancy, but I do know well enough to remove my hats indoors (except maybe at work on bad hair days) and to leave them home altogether if I'm going to be someplace that requires formal dress.

After reading those descriptions directed back at me, I realize I must have given off the impression that I'm a complete slob. I dress well; I do own and often wear collared shirts (albeit not polos or dress shirts) and I own several pairs of non-jean pants (albeit not nice enough to wear to an upscale restaurant). it's just that I abandoned the whole polos-'n'-khakis look after high school (it was a private school), and I've never looked back since. Luckily, my job affords me the luxury of dressing however I wish, as it's a very casual atmosphere here.

In any case, thank you for the tips. I (and my friends as well, I'm sure) will more than likely want to spend a couple nights in the dining room, as buffets can get old very quickly. I guess I'll have to dust off my more casual "interview" clothes and toss 'em in the laundry.
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Old 01-31-2007, 02:29 PM
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Well put by Jim and Dave. My suggestion also is to just buy something to wear. You'll be glad you did. For less than a hundred bucks all your concerns are gone.

Sonny
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Old 01-31-2007, 02:39 PM
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For under a hundred bucks is very true. I don't wear cheap clothes, but I also don't pass up a bargain. I recently found an on-line deal at Old Navy where they were selling polo shirts for $5 each. I bought "a lot" of them, and they are great shirts - certainly good enough for me to use on my cruises. Old Navy was clearing out some inventory and I lucked out.
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Old 01-31-2007, 02:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Beers:
For under a hundred bucks is very true. I don't wear cheap clothes, but I also don't pass up a bargain. I recently found an on-line deal at Old Navy where they were selling polo shirts for $5 each. I bought "a lot" of them, and they are great shirts - certainly good enough for me to use on my cruises. Old Navy was clearing out some inventory and I lucked out.
Sounds like a plan to me!
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Old 01-31-2007, 04:01 PM
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My husband is a jeans guy too. He packed his suit for formal night and we bought him 2 pairs of Dockers. That was more than enough for a 7 day cruise.

And though recently he went on a spree and bought 7 new shirts, he usually buys them at thrift stores.
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Old 02-01-2007, 04:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Auburnsiren:
My husband is a jeans guy too. He packed his suit for formal night and we bought him 2 pairs of Dockers. That was more than enough for a 7 day cruise.

And though recently he went on a spree and bought 7 new shirts, he usually buys them at thrift stores.
Hahaha, good to know I'm not alone here. If your husband can enjoy himself, I'm sure I'll be able to deal with the situation too. It's not THAT bad after all, I suppose.
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Old 02-02-2007, 09:38 PM
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Hey...my husband is ajeans kind of guy too...he is also worried that he wont be comfprtable in the dining room, but after a friend told him that he got to eat steak every night in the main dining room when he went on his cruise, my hubby has changed his mind. He has a suit, and one or two pair of dress pants. Not sure when your cruise is, but around father's day, one of the well known stores usually has men's khakis and dress pants on sale. I also shop the thrift stores and can usually find him some nice shirts. Hope you enjoy your trip!
 
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