Chowing Down on the High Seas with Formal Versus Smart Casual Wear for Dining
Formal dining normally on a cruise ship requires evening gowns, cocktail dresses, or elegant pantsuits for women. A tuxedo, dark suit, or dinner jacket and slacks would be required for men. While smart casual means dresses, skirts, slacks, sweaters with pants for the women and open collar shirts for the men. If you don’t enjoy formal wear, then please read on.
Normally, 3 days of formal wear at the evening meal would be required on a cruise of 15 days. So, the cruise patron would be expected to wear formal wear to the evening meal at the main dining room and the specialty restaurants.
A way to get around the formal wear need is to go to the buffet restaurant on formal attire night. Just get on your khakis and head to the buffet for a good night of chowing down, without the stuffy clothes! Most buffet restaurants on cruise ships are open from around 5 AM to near midnight, so you can eat when you like to eat. The daily cruise newspaper provided to you the night before details the next day’s events and informs you if the next day is formal or smart casual day.
Another choice you will have for evening meals is “anytime dining”. If you don’t select “anytime dining,” you will normally have only two-time periods to select from for your evening dining. With “anytime dining,” you can normally make a reservation for the main dining room anytime the facility is open. Most cruise lines allow you to book the same time and table for the entirety of the trip, so you can dine with the same people during the cruise or mix it up.
Some cruise lines offer free room service while others charge, so make sure you check it out. Most of the specialty restaurants are around $30 per person per meal.
My advice is to pack one set of formal wear and go formal a couple of nights. Or you can forget the formal wear altogether and go to the buffet on formal nights. The buffet is usually tasty and the desserts are always excellent. The buffet usually has 6 to 8 desserts, plus cookies. You will get plenty of good food to eat no matter your choice.
Normal Cruise Ship Attire
Normal wear on the ship is khaki shorts or pants and crew or t-shirts. You normally don’t see many people in jeans during the evening. Swimwear is not allowed in the restaurants normally.
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Princess Cruises Dining
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