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What does “cruise casual” really mean?

What does cruise casual really mean?

Shortly before I left for my cruise to Norway, I came across a rather fierce discussion on Disney Cruise Line’s Facebook page regarding “cruise casual.” Cruise casual is a term that’s never really entered my vocabulary. You see, I love to dress up and bemoan the fact that I don’t get to do so nearly enough. I attribute this to the fact that society has become too casual a place and secondly, I live in Pittsburgh, a city where you rarely see people dressed up (sports jerseys are the preferred attire, sadly).

On every cruise I’ve taken, I’ve always packed articles to wear for just dinner. You see, I can dress casual all the time. I rarely have the occasion to put on a dress or fancy skirt. And as my cruise in June was a seven night one, in Europe no less, I actually went “slightly” overboard and ended up buying three new dresses to take with me.

What does "cruise casual" really mean?

Jeans and a top-my standard attire.

Personally, it’s not a lot of effort to put on a casual dress (by casual I mean something that’s not prom/fancy ball attire). The same I feel applies for men to put on casual slacks (i.e. not jeans) along with a collared shirt, whether it’s a button down or a cotton Polo style.

In the Facebook discussion post, a woman actually wrote how annoyed/disappointed she was when people on her cruise came to breakfast in their pajamas. While I’ve seen this quite a bit at hotels (usually chain ones), it’s always been children. Although I find it slightly odd and tacky, I do remind myself that it’s a hotel breakfast bar, not an actual restaurant. However, according to this woman, the adults were in their pajamas as well on the cruise. I don’t know about you but I don’t really show myself wearing my pajamas outside of my own house. And even though I just wear t-shirts and plain lounge pants to bed, it’s pretty obvious they’re my pajamas. So the fact that grown men and women did this in such a public space is just absurd, although the more absurd thing was reading the comments from people who actually stood up for the pajama wearing adults, essentially saying it was their vacation and they could do whatever the hell they wanted.

But this leads me to my next point, which is adults wearing pajamas to breakfast is an utterly narcissistic move. It’s the same thing as people who go to a public movie theater and talk out loud during the film. In both cases people treat public spaces like their own private ones. It’s great that they’re dressed “comfortably,” but I didn’t pay thousands of dollars for a nice vacation to see people too sloppy and lazy to bother changing into jeans and a shirt.

While thankfully I didn’t see anyone in pajamas at the “breakfast table,” when it was cruise casual nights, most people came to dinner dressed in what they had been wearing all day. I’m not going to lie, I do wish more people would not be so lazy when it comes to “dressing up,” especially since dressing up in today’s society basically means no jeans and a t-shirt.

The one thing I will draw the line at is stockings. Even though I’m pale as a ghost, stockings are not something I want to have to wear while I’m on a cruise and with the exception of the formal night, I eschewed them the rest of the trip.

Besides its delicious food, one of the reasons why I enjoy Disney Cruise’s adults only restaurants is the fact that both Palo and Remy have dress codes, although Remy’s is a lot tougher (men have to wear a suit). For me, it’s nice to see people who don’t mind having to dress up and want to enjoy a nice meal while dressed as such.

At the end of the day, my cruise came down to me-I wore what I wanted and enjoyed doing so. Although thankfully there were enough other like minded people who had business casual attire for the cruise casual nights and really decked themselves out on the formal nights. I like putting on clothing I rarely wear on a regular basis and will continue to do this on any future cruise I’m on.

P.S. For all the people who say they don’t want to pack extra (i.e. cart nicer clothing), on my recent cruise when I was gone for 9 nights, both D and I did quite fine with one suitcase a piece for our main luggage (and this was even with carting bulkier cold weather apparel which takes up more room!). Dressing classy doesn’t mean you need to be bogged down with extra bags. If you are, you’re clearly in need of a class on how to efficiently pack.

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  • Reply
    August 4, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    I totally agree that we can often be too casual these days. I think dressing up can make things that little bit more fun and turn it into more of an event. I love that you bought new dresses for your cruise.

    I’ll have to show my husband some of your cruise pics; he doesn’t believe that Disney cruises could be classy or not be entirely themed or aimed towards children. He normally wears suits when we have evenings out, and people sometimes act like it’s something so strange!
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    • Reply
      August 5, 2015 at 4:18 pm

      I went a tad overboard but between it being my birthday and it was a completely new travel experience, I thought why the heck not? 🙂

      I think a lot of people have misconceptions about Disney cruises. While some elements are entirely Disney themed, others are not at all or if they are, it’s more subtle. Dinners however have nothing to do with the characters etc. And if you are an adult cruising sans kids, there’s a lot for just adults (personally I love the adults only pool area). Good for your husband wanting to dress classy!

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