Determining Your Cruising Style
By Viviane Temchine, Senior Cruise Consultant, The Cruise Web.
Cruising began as a means of transportation, a way to cross oceans. Passengers were either wealthy people flaunting their riches and their couture gowns in first class, or poor immigrants traveling in steerage with the few clothes they possessed.
Times have changed since the 1920s when long gowns and tuxedos were required after 6:00pm for first class passengers. Cruising in the 21st century is all about our need to feel relaxed while exploring new destinations on vacation. Cruising lets you get away from the restrictions of a “work” dress code. Each of the different cruise lines today offer a range of dress codes from super-casual and “country club” casual all the way to “elegant” dressing.
For most cruise lines, it basically comes down to casual attire during the day, bathing suits with cover-ups in the restaurants for breakfast and lunch, and no jeans and t-shirts in the dining room at dinner. On most evenings, men will feel comfortable in nice pants and collared shirts (think Polo shirts) and ladies can get away with almost anything, including dressy Bermuda shorts, capri pants, nice slacks, sweaters, blouses, dressy tees and sundresses.
Then there’s the occasional formal night. Think of it as an opportunity to celebrate – a wedding anniversary, a birthday or family reunion – and capture it in a photo you’ll treasure for years to come. Dressing up is half the fun.
If dressing up is not your thing, there are usually alternate dining venues on the ship where you can still wear your more casual look for dinner. Even on formal nights, tuxedos are not a must any more. A dark suit or sports jacket is fine on all but the most formal ships. Ladies, this is the time to wear the gown you’ve only worn once before, or your favorite cocktail dress or that sparkly top that makes you feel great.
It’s important to note that the difference between formal and casual cruising goes further than attire. For example, those craving the 5 star experience with butler service, smaller and more intimate ships, personalized pampering service, superb dining and suites with luxurious amenities and more all-inclusive features not offered by other cruise lines will love Crystal, Seabourn, Regent Seven Seas, Paul Gauguin and Silversea lines.
These cruise lines appeal to the sophisticated, seasoned traveler. This traveler doesn’t feel the need to put on dressy clothes, but values feeling comfortable in fashionable casual wear. This traveler wants the best and is willing to pay, knowing the value of having almost everything included.
The Premium cruise lines such as Celebrity, Holland America and Princess offer the money saving advantage of a larger cruise ship, in a more casual atmosphere and with a greater choice of on board activities. They still offer the opportunity for formal nights, mixed with theme nights, where everyone can party. The décor on the ships is more informal with brighter fabrics, brighter lights and more casual dining venues. These ships appeal to couples and families who expect an upgraded, more sophisticated cruise experience.
The Contemporary cruise lines such as Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean offer a wonderful, family-friendly and relaxed cruise atmosphere. These lines offer a greater variety of on board activities, with rock climbing, basketball courts, ice-skating rinks, water parks and much more to keep everyone happy and engaged during days at sea. Just because these ships are more casual does not mean that guests won’t have opportunities to dress up.
Remember, your dedicated cruise consultant will discuss your lifestyle, expectations and previous travel experience to guide you to the cruise line that will deliver the best cruise experience for you.