A traveler asked for advice on the social media platform Reddit prior to their very first cruise trip. The social media user explained: “My boyfriend and I are going on a cruise departing November 1. I read that the dress code for normal dinner nights is ‘smart casual’.
“Men should wear collared shirts and women should wear skirts, dresses, pantsuits or blouses.
“I’m not a huge girly girl and I don’t have a lot of those things in my wardrobe. So I was wondering if they actually enforce the normal dress code for dinner.
“Of course we wouldn’t go in shorts and a t-shirt, but just want to know how they are with the normal dress code for dinner.”
Other users shared their experiences and warned against breaking the strict rules. Traveler @pyro_sporks explained: “It depends on the ship and the people working.
“We were rejected for Celebrity [Cruises] for not having a jacket on a formal evening or for men wearing Teva-esque sandals.”
However, they claimed that they then went to the other entrance to the restaurant and “they said nothing”.
“I’d say if it’s a formal evening, no shorts or a t-shirt, no matter how beautiful they are,” they advised.
Social media user @slammy-hammy shared a tip to avoid buying formal attire for your trip. They said, “On my last cruise I got a black maxi dress and wore it with flip flops and altered necklaces or scarves so it looked different.
“I only wore it to dinner so I got a lot of wear and tear from it before ruining it by getting food all over it!”
Passenger @bethelns recommended: “Black jeans and a smart top are usually what I get away with. I wore a lot of dresses because it was warm where I went.
“I wore the same dress for both formalities (on a week-long cruise). You can always dress up and go for the buffet, but then you’ll miss out on some amazing dishes and experiences.”
Another first-time cruiser asked, “I wonder if I’m okay with cargo shorts and a polo shirt for casual days in the main dining room?
“Shall I bring a pair of trousers and a jacket for the nice evening, but I get warm and would rather be comfortable on my vacation. Is my wife good in jeans and a shirt? Or should we plan on going on one of the other places to eat?”
Passenger @radrachelleigh explained that while it is not always enforced, “shorts and flip flops are not allowed”.
Likewise, the cruise guest explained that jeans are not allowed on fancy evenings.
However, @jwr410 opined: “It depends on the line, but in general, if you’re dressed reasonably well, no one will make a fuss. You’re a paying customer. They want you to have a good time.”
Cruise passenger @sweetmona1 added: “The wording smart casual and its description sounds exactly like the description they used on the Celebrity Cruise I got off yesterday.
“Really, almost anything is possible. I have a lot of dresses – from casual to chic – but not a single blouse or trouser suit!
“On smart casual evenings I would either wear 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 guys who really just wear shorts and a t-shirt.
“As others have said, that’s not allowed in the main dining room (particularly the men’s shorts), but is undoubtedly acceptable in the buffet and all casual eateries.”