Posts Tagged ‘formal’

What should I wear on a cruise?

August 11, 2012

Since the cruise ships first became fashionable, the question soon arose, “what should I wear”.  Back in those days, passengers would arrive at the dock with special “steamer trunks” designed to take a whole selection of clothes.

With the introduction of aeroplanes and long distance flights, cruising lost the need and interest of the masses, with passengers bound for America and beyond now travelling by plane.  The transatlantic steam ships became less attractive.

However, we have seen a resurgence of the cruise industry, the aeroplane did not destroy the cruise industry, in fact it had revitalized it.

Passengers now fly to faraway shores and board huge cruise ships, designed not to travel point to point at the best speed in comfort, but to sail around areas of interest whilst offering the passenger fantastic foods and extravagant shows.

However, as we are all aware, the restrictions on flight luggage means the modern cruise traveller has to be more discerning.  No longer can passengers take twelve trunks, more often they are restricted to one 20 – 25kg suitcase.

So whilst the plane has returned cruising to the masses, it has created a wardrobe dilemma, what should I wear on a cruise, especially as there is not much space.

Male passengers are fortunate as many other men will not compare clothes and spot a repeat selection.  Day time men are accepted in casual shorts and t shirts, or jeans especially if going ashore.  Some thought should be given to shore excursions if these include religious buildings or restaurants as these will have set dress codes.  Evenings, although Tuxedos are still seen on ships, these are often only worn on the formal nights and these are now becoming less common, as ships relax dress codes and some ships reduce or remove formal nights.  The best option for gentlemen is a good dark suit and shirt with tie.  Most ships are still smart after 6pm, and this will not look out of place.

Women are harder to consider.  Formal evening wear is nearly always a must, even on the more relaxed ships; many women prefer to dress up and why not, a cruise is the perfect place to show off a fantastic outfit or a new pair of shoes.  The problem is the weight and size restrictions will mean compromises, however some space savings can be made with wraps and cover up sarongs which can be mixed and matched.  The evening dress conundrum can be answered with some beautiful long cotton dresses (although care needs to be made on packing to avoid too much ironing on-board).  A good way to plan outfits is to think of what you would wear to a expensive restaurant in town.  A combination of separates creates outfits which can be mixed and matched, giving the illusion of a larger wardrobe plus plenty of lightweight accessories that will complement the look.

Why not take a look at My Cruise Wardrobe, they have an outstanding selection of outfits, both poolside and evening wear suitable for cruising along with advice.

Alternatively, you can visit to read more about various  cruise ships and cruise destinations.

Is formal wear and formal nights becoming less popular on cruise ships?

August 9, 2012

When planning and booking a cruise holiday, is the chance to dress up part of the holiday attraction.

Many cruise ships are focussing on a more casual basis to enable passengers the choice whether to participate in the formal nights or not.

This can be seen in a number of ways, with the increase in buffet style restaurants, the removal of some of the formal nights, the removal of enforced dress codes after 6pm.

Personally, having sailed on over 17 cruises around different parts of the world, I would argue no.  Many passengers still look forward to those special nights, when the “posh frocks” and smart tuxedos appear.  Admittedly, there are a growing number of people opting to avoid the formal dinner and dine in the alternate restaurants, but in terms of percentage of total passengers, I would guess this number is less than 20%.  Now on a large new ship carrying 3,000 passengers, this is 600 people, but  this is not a majority.

Indeed, if there is one element of a cruise that still draws the gasps, the photo opportunities and the glamour of cruising; the formal nights are still loved by many.  You only have to glance at the photo gallery after a formal night, to glance at the familiar faces, seen around ship for the previous days, to suddenly notice the big beaming smiles and sparkling eyes, as the photographers have captured those special moments as a couple or family have been “snapped” as they enjoy the evening dressed in their finery.  In fact, it is probably these pictures which will grace a wall at home or mantelpiece.

I personally enjoy seeing the variety, from the full tuxedo, the full Scottish outfit including kilt to the official blazer of a former armed unit or organisation.  The trail of children following their parents, each immaculately groomed, always watched with a mental estimate on how these must have taken to prepare and indeed how long they remain that way. Each well presented by a proud wearer. Yes, passing to other areas of the ship, I will notice the occasional open shirt and top at the buffets and bar, but these do not stand out.   Even the waiters and waitresses, changed from their normal smart serving outfits, sport the working versions of fine evening wear.

As passenger preferences change, and cruise lines try to match passenger expectations to their services, I believe that the market will adapt to some ships specialising in casual cruising, whilst some retain or indeed capitalise on the fact that some passengers enjoy and insist on the magic of a formal night.

This can already be seen on some lines such as the Island Escape, operated by Island Cruises or EasyCruise One, operated by Easy Cruise.  These  ships have little or no formal nights, and the atmosphere created is intended to be less formal .

Websites such as have been created to give passengers an insight into the ships themselves, whilst websites such as have been made to highlight some of the fabulous outfits that can be worn on ships, be they formal or informal.

Whatever ship you decide to cruise on, cruising is very addictive and one cruise will soon become more.