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What's the "real deal" on Princess' dress code?


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After 18 cruises since 2010 on Carnival we still enjoy the Carnival experience, but it's grown a little stale and my wife and I are looking for a change of scenery for our Decembrr voyage.

 

We're considering a 7-day Western Caribbean on the Enchanted.  One aspect of Carnival we like is the flexibility of their dress code, especially on their "fancier" evenings.  I can meet at least the minimum of the elgant night dress  code with a pair of khakis, button down shirt and (sometimes) a tie; seldom any jacket or blazer.  Some passengers are dressed better,  like they're directly out of central casting for the latest James Bond movie, others, not so much.  So I know the reality compared the the official published dress code.

 

That brings me to Princess.  I can read the published dress code (dark suit, tux), but those of you that sail Princess, what's the "real deal" compared to the published code?  Percentage of passengers in tuxes or suits?  What's the minimum acceptable you've seen?

 

Again, I don't need anyone to paste the published code; I have it.  I also don't want to hear "eat at the buffet if you don't want to dress up."  Not gonna happen.  If I absolutely,,positively have to dress up, fine.  But since I refuse to pay the airline extortion, err, excess bag fees, the fancy clothes will be the first to go if not absolutely needed.

 

CB

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Let me make a comment before the fashion police strike.  What I wear on "formal night" is a pair of dockers and a long sleeved shirt with collar and have been doing this for years.  I don't own a suit (that I can wear!) much less a tux (wore one once to get married many decades ago).  I refuse to wear a tie now that I am retired and really never did on any cruise.  Lately I have gone to a black pair of jeans and a short sleeved guayabera (aka Mexican wedding shirt).  I have never had a problem.  So your khakis and button down shirt will be acceptable sans tie.  I also wear the same on Carnival's elegant night.

 

Regular nights a pair of jeans or pants and a shirt (even tshirt) will be acceptable.  I have been on two Princess ships out of a US port in the last two years and they have been allowing shorts and tshirt on normal nights.  The only thing they seen to get fussy about is shorts on formal night and occasionally a hat but that seems to be allowed now.  

 

Have a great quiet cruise on Princess and see why we who are empty nesters are sailing on Princess ships.  If you like to imbibe Princess will allow one adult in the state room to buy the beverage package without making the other.  Also Princess will allow all the wine you can carry at embarkation or any port stop with the first bottle/adult allowed free and all the rest charged a $15 corking fee payable upon entering the ship.   

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I have never seen shorts after the first evening in traditional dining on Princess. However, I'm on longer cruises, not to the Caribbean so that may be the difference.  I don't have a problem with it, not my business, Princess issue not mine.

 

Satxdiver has it right though, I see men with khakis, dark jeans, nice short or long sleeve shirts, all the time, polo shirts, too.  It isn't an issue, neat looking, clean clothes, no baseball cap, good to go in my book!  Enjoy your cruise! 🙂 

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You have the printed dress code.   Not sure what you are expecting anyone to tell you here on CC.    There is no answer.   Wear what you want.    It is all up to who is at the door of the dining room the night you go in.  If you get turned away  then you have your answer for the ship you are on. 

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10 minutes ago, waltd said:

You have the printed dress code.   Not sure what you are expecting anyone to tell you here on CC.    There is no answer.   Wear what you want.    It is all up to who is at the door of the dining room the night you go in.  If you get turned away  then you have your answer for the ship you are on. 

 

It also depends on which ship, sailing out of which port.

Edited by brisalta
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My husband wears slacks, one of his  nice collared golf shirts. He may wear a sport coat for warmth if it's chilly. Hasn't packed a tie in years. Some pax love to dress truly formal on formal nights. Some dress like my husband. You'll be totally fine. Enjoy your 1st Princess cruise. ♡

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Observations. The dress code isn't one consistent policy and enforcement on every ship and every itinerary.

Men

Smart casual generally means long pants and slacks with a nice shirt such as a golf shirt, short or long sleeve sport shirt, island print shirts. Shorts normally permitted in DR on boarding day and the last evening. I have seen men turned away for wearing shorts on other days, especially formal nights. I have seen some men in T shirts in the DR. I have seen some turned away for wearing sleeveless shirts. You may be asked to remove a hat at any meal in the DR. Passengers are permitted into specialty dining restaurants any evening wearing smart casual. Some specialty dining, such as the Crab Shack, Salty Dog Gastropub, Planks & Steamers, Alfredo's (no charge) are casual every evening.

Amount of passengers dressed up for formal night depends on the itinerary. For a U.S. based warm weather itinerary you will probably see about 15% of the passengers in formal wear, another 70% or so in either a suit & tie, sport jacket and tie, sport jacket & no tie. The remaining are really dressed smart casual and are not turned away. Those in shorts are generally turned away and asked to change.

Women

Short and sweet. Women always seen to know what to wear. I have never witnessed a women turned away for improper clothing, although I expect it is possible.

 

Comment: The average age on a Princess cruise is "old" 50+, even older on long voyages. Dress is seldom an issue.

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7 hours ago, waltd said:

You have the printed dress code.   Not sure what you are expecting anyone to tell you here on CC.    There is no answer.   Wear what you want.    It is all up to who is at the door of the dining room the night you go in.  If you get turned away  then you have your answer for the ship you are on. 

They expect reality and the truth.

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I have been on two Princess Cruises.  The suggested dress code on formal night is suit and tie. The actual dress code on formal night is 75% dress shirt and slacks, 15% suit and tie, 10% mix of tux, dress shirt and tie.  This is what I have seen on my two sailings.  I have not seen anyone turned away for dress code violations.  On other nights, there are jeans, slacks, and suits.  Hope this helps. 

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Totally agree with the comments thus far, it can be hit and miss depending upon the ship. 

 

I'll start by saying that while we like to dress up we could care less if anyone else does.  On the other side of the coin I would think common sense says that gym shorts and ratty T-shirts (which we have seen in the dining room) may not be appropriate in the dining room on any night, especially if you like to sit with other passengers at a shared table.  I know that was not the question but just an observation we have made in the past.

 

Back to the original topic, several Maitre D's that we know say that formal night dress is one of the things that has become unmanageable for them.  Some want to enforce the rules but realize it is a losing proposition for them.  So if anyone is reasonably dressed on formal night (say dockers and a decent shirt), or in nice shorts and a golf shirt on regular nights, they are not prepared to get into an argument about it.  It really is a balancing act because if they turn away anyone they get grief, and if they let them in, one of the so called "fashion police" will give them grief.  

 

Totally aside from the argument, it appears that Princess may actually be attempting something that may appease everyone.  On our 15 day South America cruise in February on the Coral, we had 2 formal nights and 1 "Dress to Impress" evening in the dining room (normally we would have had 3 formals).  When we asked what Dress to Impress was, no one actually seemed to know - Head Waiters weighed in that this is being tried out to keep the formal aspect for those it is important to, while taking away the formal aspect for those who don't want to dress up.

 

Hope this helps.  Hope you get to enjoy your cruise!

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In 55 cruises we have only encountered issues on Cunard.

Every other ship we take polo shirts/dress shirt but no tie and slacks for my hubby. I take slacks and a nice blouse and occasionally a long dress ( only because it is made of a material that rolls up small and does not wrinkle)

We gave up carrying suits and vests except for Cunard voyages.It makes for heavy and cumbersome suitcases.

Hope that helps!!

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I'd say smaller and smaller numbers in tuxs. 20 years ago, DH used to bring his tux, 10 years ago a suit, now DH usually doesn't bring a jacket, due to packing space. He brought one for the 10 day (because we cruised with his Mom). 

On our 10 day Carib. in Feb (which had an older crowd), at most 25% in Tuxs, 50% in suits or coat/tie (navy blazer, etc.) and about 25% in pants/oxford/with or not tie. When walking around the ship, some chose to eat at buffet and not do formal-so there's still a mix of non-dressy people.

You'll feel appropriate in khakis, button down shirt and a tie for guys, dressy pants, dress, or skirt/top for ladies. I did not see anyone in MDR in nice shorts and a golf shirt on any nights. 

Edited by elaine5
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19 hours ago, bernardch said:

We're considering a 7-day Western Caribbean on the Enchanted.  One aspect of Carnival we like is the flexibility of their dress code, especially on their "fancier" evenings.  I can meet at least the minimum of the elgant night dress  code with a pair of khakis, button down shirt and (sometimes) a tie; seldom any jacket or blazer. 

This has been the way my DH dressed for the past 20 years on Princess without anyone saying a word. What they publish & what the reality on the ships is are two distinct things. 

Especially after this virus shutdown is over I'm sure it will be even more relaxed for fear of scaring off even more potential customers which is the last thing they'll need.

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Several hundred trips to the MDR and I can only recall one incident in which they actually warned somebody about their dress-- he was wearing a t-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops on a non-formal day... they told him to go back and change his shoes. He said he'd go back and change once they were seated, and they left it at that. No idea if he ever went back.

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After a couple of dozen cruises with Princess I've settled in to the following which is consistent with the vast majority of prior posts.  What OP describes would suffice any Princess ship I've been on (though I agree policies for dress, and just about everything else, vary ship to ship on Princess).

 

I wear:  

 

On Formal nights Dockers or the like, a (typically) long sleeved, collared shirt, loafers or the like.  After 40 years in business, I'm done with ties.  I own a blue blazer which will take me most anywhere, I pack it for cruises however only in cooler climates.

 

On Casual nights I stick with my dockers and switch over to a short sleeve shirt, often an Aloha variety or a golf polo.  The shoes remain my loafers.  

 

I've never been turned away nor seen anyone dressed as such turned away.  

 

 

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1 hour ago, WmFCoyote said:

I was just wondering if this advice also applies to cruises in Asia or Europe as most advice seems to come from cruisers who mainly sail the East and West Coast and the Caribbean

We have cruised in northern Europe and the British Aisles.  If there are a preponderance of North Americans and Aussies aboard the dress will be less formal.  Last cruise in Northern Europe there were a large number of Brits aboard and they dress more formal.  I had never seen (31 cruises on Princess and 16 on other cruise lines) so many men dressed in tux and women in long dresses.  I kept to my routine of black jeans and button down long sleeved dress shirt sans tie.  I did not have a problem but we do always get a table for 2 in traditional dinning.  We have not been to Asia yet.

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1 hour ago, WmFCoyote said:

I was just wondering if this advice also applies to cruises in Asia or Europe as most advice seems to come from cruisers who mainly sail the East and West Coast and the Caribbean

Although the recommendations for clothing are singular in nature with Princess, it has been well-documented that Alaska and Caribbean are two sectors with more relaxed dress on a percentage basis (basically from people reporting observations of the DR they are in). 

 

I am thinking things may be different again once the ships start sailing again.  What was may not be.  However, I do think Princess is going to still promote at least formal-optional evenings.  Just my guess.

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First everyone who has been on Princess must know that the "rules" are mere suggestions and not exactly followed. 

 

I overheard a maitre'd tell a pax that they cannot enforce the dress code as written as the head office will not let them.  On another occasion I was told that women can wear about anything and call it formal including flip flops (which I was complaining about).  

 

I was on the Star out of San Pedro to HI last fall and they were allowing shorts and tshirts in the MDR on normal nights.   Also being allowed was jeans on formal night and in fact very few in late TD were in formal clothes.

 

I was on the CB out of PE in late 2018 again in TD second seating.  They were allowing shorts and tshirt on regular nights and jeans and polo or Hawaiian type shirts on formal nights.  Again I did not see all that many in formal.  One thing I have noted in the last few years has been men in suits and no ties - new trend?  

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13 minutes ago, Steelers36 said:

Although the recommendations for clothing are singular in nature with Princess, it has been well-documented that Alaska and Caribbean are two sectors with more relaxed dress on a percentage basis (basically from people reporting observations of the DR they are in). 

 

I am thinking things may be different again once the ships start sailing again.  What was may not be.  However, I do think Princess is going to still promote at least formal-optional evenings.  Just my guess.

 Add Hawaii and the Mexican Riviera.   

 

On our South American cruises the dress has been towards informal but not as much as the cruises you mentioned.  One thing about South Americans is that they like to eat late (8:00 on) making long lines at that time.  

 

I agree that once Princess starts sailing again, conditions aboard (i.e. dress codes etc) may be different.  Most likely the pax cruising will be the regulars with few newbies aboard.  

Edited by satxdiver
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