A traveller asked for advice on the social media platform Reddit ahead of their first-ever cruise trip. The social media user explained: “My boyfriend and I are going on a cruise that leaves November 1. I read the dress code for normal dinner nights is ‘smart casual’.
“Men have to wear collared shirts, and ladies should wear skirts, dresses, pantsuits, or blouses.
“I’m not a huge girly girl and I don’t have lots of those things in my wardrobe. So I was wondering if they actually enforce the normal dinner night dress code.
“Obviously, we wouldn’t go in shorts and a t-shirt, but just want to know how they are with the normal dinner night dress code.”
Other users shared their experiences and warned against breaking the strict rules. Traveller @pyro_sporks explained: “It depends on the ship and the people working.
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“We’ve been turned away on Celebrity [Cruises] for not having a jacket on a formal night or for men wearing Teva-type sandals.”
However, they claimed they then went to the other entrance of the restaurant and “they didn’t say anything”.
“I would say if it’s formal night no shorts or a t-shirt no matter how nice they are,” they recommended.
Social media user @slammy-hammy shared a tip to avoid buying formal ahead of your trip clothes. They said: “On my last cruise, I got a black maxi dress and wore it with flip flops and changed necklaces or shawls so it looked different.
“I only wore it to dinner so I got a bunch of wears out of it before I ruined it by getting food all over it!”
Passenger @bethelns recommended: “Black jeans and a smart top is usually what I got away with. I wore dresses a lot as it was warm where I went.
“I wore the same dress for both formals (on a week-long cruise). You can always dress down and go for the buffet, but you will be missing out on some amazing food and experiences.”
Another traveller going on their first ever cruise asked: “I am curious if for casual days in the main dining room I’m good with cargo shorts and a polo?
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“Will bring pants and a jacket for the nice night but I get hot and would rather be comfy on my vacation. Is my wife good in jeans and a shirt? Or should we plan on eating in one of the other spots?”
Passenger @radrachelleigh explained that although it’s not always enforced, “shorts and flip flops are not allowed”.
Similarly, the cruise guest explained that jeans are not allowed on fancy nights.
However, @jwr410 opined: “It depends on the line, but in general, if you’re dressed reasonably well, no one is going to raise a fuss. You are a paying customer. They want you to have a good time.”
Cruise passenger @sweetmona1 added: “The wording smart casual and its description sound exactly like the description they used on the Celebrity Cruise I just got off yesterday.
“Really, almost anything goes. I own a lot of dresses – casual to dressy – but not a single blouse or pantsuit!
“On smart casual nights, I would wear either a casual dress or jeans and a tank top. Depending on the tank top and shoes, this can look very ‘smart’, but rest assured, there will be plenty of guests who really do just wear shorts and a t-shirt.
“As others have said, that may not fly in the main dining room (in particular the shorts on men), but is undoubtedly acceptable in the buffet and any casual eateries.”