Do I have to dress up on a cruise?
During the day, it’s time to relax.
Shorts and T shirts – depending on whereabouts in the world you are, of course. And whatever you’re comfortable in.
During the evening, dress code is usually smarter. The exact style of dress was communicated to us each day via the ship’s newsletter.
Some cruise lines are totally formal evenings.
Others are totally casual.
Typically, you’ll find there are some formal “black tie” nights, and some casual dress nights.
And maybe some semi-formal nights.
On formal nights, ladies would typically wear a cocktail dress, ball-gown or a smart trouser suit. Gentlemen would wear a dinner jacket or tuxedo (but a dark business suit is acceptable). Formal national dress is normally acceptable too. On our cruise, we saw a few men wearing kilts (see if you can spot one in the photograph above).
Evening casual attire typically is casual separates or dresses for ladies, and open-neck shirts and casual trousers (but not shorts) for men.
If you have a semi-formal night, ladies typically would wear tailored trousers and separates or even a stylish dress, whilst men would normally wear a shirt (open neck is perfectly acceptable) and trousers with a jacket such as a blazer or sports jacket.
The dress code can vary from cruise line to cruise line – and even ship to ship.
For instance, on our first cruise on P&O Azura, we had 4 formal, 4 semi formal nights, and the remainder were casual-dress.
However, on a subsequent cruise on her sister ship, Ventura, we had only formal and casual nights.
On our Norwegian cruise with Hurtigruten, each evening was smart casual. There were no formal nights. That saved on luggage!
Sometimes on a cruise, a special themed night is arranged.
On our Caribbean cruise, we had a Caribbean themed night, where everyone dressed in Caribbean attire. And on our Iberian cruise, we had a Tropical themed night.
Browsing the local market stalls on shore excursions, it was interesting to meet fellow cruisers looking for a suitable shirt.
Here’s a photo of my wife and myself on the Caribbean themed night.
I bought my shirt from a market stall on the island of Aruba, and the garlands were courtesy of P&O.
So don’t worry if you don’t have a Caribbean shirt or dress. You’ll usually find hundreds on the market stalls when you venture ashore.
Now let’s look at dining on a cruise…