Manager’s Insight – Formal vs. Casual
By Don Dean, Director of Finance and Human Resources, The Cruise Web.
Over the last six newsletters we have been introducing our Management Team in this column. I am Don Dean, the Director of Finance and Human Resources at The Cruise Web.
By the time you are reading this newsletter, I will be cruising on the Island Princess as part of an industry event sponsored by Princess Cruises and Cunard Line. As my wife, Sara, and I began focusing on the itinerary for the cruise, we had a conversation about the scheduled formal dining evening. Much of the conversation turned nostalgic as we reminisced about how travel has changed over the years and much of that change related to attire. I recalled that as a newly minted accounting graduate the first accounting firm for which I worked had a dress code of suit and tie for business travel; which for me resulted in wearing a tie during several cross country flights and even on trips deep into Mexico during the summer. Given that as a collegian the universal dress code was blue jeans, t-shirts, and long hair; those first business trips in a tie were a challenge.
Over time, business travel attire became less formal as a sport coat and dress slacks became the accepted norm (tie optional, but if you were ambitious you followed the lead of the senior member traveling), and eventually sport coat with jeans was enough to identify you as a traveling business person which was worth an occasional perk or special service touch. On a recent Monday morning flight, I noted that the norm has changed further. As on this full flight, there was only one tie visible and there were very few ways to distinguish the business travelers from the vacationers (with the exception of a few vacationers who were more appropriately dressed for the beach than a three hour flight).
All this nostalgic conversation resulted in Sara and I realizing how seldom formal events occur and, as a result, we are looking forward to the formal night on the cruise and the opportunity to “put on the Ritz” for an evening. Such an opportunity has become a rare event compared to the regularly scheduled “Black Tie” business events of my early career which have morphed into “Business Casual” events. With that said, Sara and I did decide that “Smart Casual” for the other evenings was probably more to our liking and more suitable to our wardrobes. When I mentioned this conversation to a friend, he commented that his cruise dining preference was neither formal nor informal but was room service in a balcony cabin where the dress code was dictated by what you preferred to wear or preferred not to wear. What’s your preference?
Director of Finance and Human Resources
The Cruise Web, Inc.