Home YOU ASK - WE ANSWER Do We Need to Go Formal on a Cruise?
Do We Need to Go Formal on a Cruise? PDF Print E-mail

Q: We’re a couple in our late 50s, and have signed on for a seven-day cruise with our church group. Most of the others in the trip are retirees and older than we are. We’ve just been told everyone has to dress up formal with tux and gown for dinner each evening. We know cruises are much more relaxed these days, and don’t want to lug all those extra clothes with us. It also means extra costs for baggage checking on the airline, and the laundry bill on the ship will be sky high. We want to go on the cruise, but can we ignore the dress up order?

Old couple from early 20th Century


A: If formality is the rule on the cruise, you’ll have to comply or make everyone else angry with you. The other members of the group consider dressing up one of the most romantic, traditional aspects of cruising. However, there are ways to make the dress-up a bit easier to take. Pack just one tux and one gown.

Change accessories for the gown each night, with scarves, belts, jewelry and different hair styles. For the tux, take several colored bow ties, and wear white trousers instead of black on several nights. You don’t need to eat in the formal dining room every night. Try other shipboard restaurants and buffets where you can go casual.

Cut back on the laundry bill by taking all wash’n’wear clothing into the cabin’s shower with you every night, and hanging it up to dry while you sleep. If you can be a bit creative, you’ll have a great cruise without offending the older members of your group.

Stay in-the-know about the latest Sports, Life, Money, Tech, and Travel stories. You'll get your first 2 months of USA TODAY for $25 (charged monthly). All print subscribers receive the e-Newspaper included with their subscription.