What do you wear to meals on cruise ships? Standards vary by line.

ByRick Deutsch

What do you wear to meals on cruise ships? Standards vary by line.

This is not the 1990’s. Things change everywhere and that includes how to dress on cruise ships.

If you are reading this, you probably want to be a speaker. Free cruises for two are a good deal. If not, welcome – we provide a lot of real-people news that you can use.

OK, in the real ”old days” people wore a coat and tie all the time. Those days ended with the moon landing. Today, anything goes – within bounds. Not that long ago, we wore that uniform to work…then we saw casual Friday, then Hawaiian-shirt Friday…now if you show up in more than torn jeans and a TShirt you are subject to stares.

There are 4 classes of cruise ships: 1. All inclusive, 2. Luxury, 3. Contemporary, and 4. Premium.  If you can’t guess the difference, 1 & 2 are expensive. Think dressy. 3 & 4 are cheaper and they attract passengers that may not even own a tie, so they allow more basic clothes.

Class 4 ships entertain the “club med” crowd and don’t use speakers, so we’ll skip them. Here are the basic definitions:

Casual: Sport shirts and slacks for men, sundresses or pants for women.
Smart Casual: Jackets and ties for men, dresses or pantsuits for women.
Formal: Suits and ties or tuxedos for men, cocktail dresses for women.

Bare feet or bathing suits are not allowed at any time in the dining room and shorts are not permitted at dinner.

Formal Nights are being phased out. Hauling a 10-pound tuxedo monkey-suit cuts into the 50 lb airline limit. Many women (my wife) does not like to pack 2-3 gowns just to impress total strangers. I get by with a dark suit for my talks and the formal nights – if we even attend. Hamburgers by the pool work for us.

As a speaker, you represent the ship – look good at all times. Toss in 3 neckties and you answer the mail.  Ladies – you are on your own here. We have no women on staff at SpeakOnCruises. Send us an application!


The former Captain of the Costa Concordia will be wearing an orange suit – after appeals, he’s now marching off to serve 16-years in an Italian prison. READ the backgrounder.

ship captain

Francesco Schettino heads to prison.


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Rick Deutsch administrator