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Nor. Cruise Line - "dress code" for dining

I hate packing clothes that I only need for one day/night. Per the info that Norwegian Cruise Line sent, (for ladies) slacks, jeans, skirts are appropriate for evening dining; however, there is ONE designated restaurant/ship for "dress up". For those who have expeience w/Norwegian, my question is: Does that mean "little black dress" dress-up? OR, would slacks/clam diggers/capri's be acceptable AND appropriate? This is a first time cruise for me and I really don't want to overpack as I know I'll be making purcheses throughout the cruise. Thanks so much for your input! (This is a western Caribbean cruise departing from NOLA)

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  1. My experience has been that you can dress to the ninth's if you want, but it's not absolutely necessary. Cruises are becoming less and less formal. No one will bat an eye if you come in slacks.

    1. I would suggest you bring one nice dress for a "dress-up" dinner. I'd warrant that wearing clamdiggers or capris in the "nice" restaurant onboard ship might make you a bit uncomfortable or self-conscious, as most women are likely to be in dresses and men in jackets or suits.

      1. While both Peter & Linda have given sound advice you might wand to post this question on a cruising message board. I like www.cruisecritic.com

        1. Thanks everyone! Guess I'll pack something dressy with all accessories as insurance. Great cruise board!

          1. We took a Norwegian Cruise to Alaska two years ago. There was one "dress up" restaurant, and it was "dress up" like little black dress-type dress up. You had to pay an additional fee in order to be able to eat there too. Is this the case with your restaurant?

            Anyway, I'd probably contact Norwegian directly with your question to be sure.

            5 Replies
            1. re: JenBoes

              Thanks Jen. Your answer is the "specific" one that I was looking for.

              NCL has not sent anything (nor can I fand anything on their website) about specific restaurants on specific ships. They just make a general statement that there is "one" dress-up restaurant on each ship. They don't even say anything about additonal fees or surcharges. But on the "cruise" link above, it does seem that NCL may have begun to charge for more than just one restaurant. Guess I'll find out come Jan.

              1. re: CocoaNut

                An additional fee? Wow, how chintzy.

                Our cruise with Celebrity was 'dress up' -- some people wore tuxes and gowns, but hubby had a dark suit and I had a short dress. We fit right in. It was included in the cruise package.

                No, I wouldn't do casual, business or otherwise.

                Can you call the cruise line? Or ask a travel agent?

                Have fun.

                1. re: dolores

                  Been on Celebrity many times. Tux or dark suit for "Formal Night". Choice of casual dining instead of formal dining room at all times.

                  The really cool thing about a cruise is that you do not have to pack and unpack every day although you go to a different island most every day. Go nuts, bring 2 dresses. If you really overshop, you can ship some purchases home.. Cruising is great travel for us, Enjoy!

                  They had an extra charge restaurant with fancy service and menu. Table side prep and such. It was pretty good but not outstanding enough to have to pay to supplement the 12 meals a day regular service.

                  1. re: dolores

                    It's not chintzy. Many cruises now have reservation only restaurants that you pay additional just like going to a regular restaurant, not included in the price of the cruise. Makes people feel a little more "superior" I guess.

                  2. re: CocoaNut

                    Cruisecritic has all that information and more, right down to recent menus. We were on the Spirit two years ago. There were at least four restaurants with an additional charge of $10-$20. Most were worth it, but you need to plan ahead and be ready to get reservations as soon as you board the ship. The Asian restaurant only had about 10 tables and sold out the first day.

                2. Rather than a "little black dress," perhaps separates might work? Since the weather is likely to be warm/hot, a nice skirt might be something you'd wear at times other than the formal night; you can pair it with a nicer blouse and accessories for that evening. Then at least it's not completely a single-use item. Have fun, in any case!

                  1. Bklynite is right--separates are the way to go. I did a Norwegian cruise 2 years ago, and it is very casual. If you're comfortable in a 'little black dress" that's fine, but a skirt or slacks with a "nicer" top is more than adequate. I always find that mix-and-match separates get me through very nicely, even on ships that have more formal dining. The days of gowns/cocktail dresses are gone, for better or worse!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Missyme

                      Thanks everyone for your input and website directives. You've all been a big help!

                    2. We were on NCL last year. You don't have to dress up. "Dressy" means no shorts or jeans.

                      There is a formal night but it is totally optional, meant if you want to dress up and get portraits taken and stuff. If you don't want to pack extra for it (like me) you can ignore it.

                      And several of the restaurants do indeed have an additional fee.

                      I'll second the recommendation to head over to cruisecritics. Awesome site.

                      1. I've been on 3 NCL cruises in the last 2 years. While the dress code is very relaxed, for dinner the main dining rooms and paid restaurants will not allow jeans or shorts no mater how nice they are. Skirts and dresses of any kind are acceptable at any time as are trousers. If you do wear a cocktail-type dress to dinner you will be one of the most well dressed depending on the time of year and port you leave from. My cruise from NYC over Easter last year was very, very casual. Hardly anyone dressed up for anything. Christmas cruise out of Miami was dressier in general.

                        However, I find it fun to dress nicely for dinners. I think NCL is a little too casual, and I like the old fashioned idea of dressing for dinner (It makes for a more special experience, IMO). By that I mean a dress or skirt, not formal wear which I think it over the top for a vacation.

                        1. There are two issues here: NCL may designate one night formal night. On that night, the folks who are seriously dressed up tend to patronize the main dining room and the French or steak house surcharge restaurants. Cruisers who don't want to dress up, simply patronize the more casual restaurants like the Tex-Mex place or the buffet. That night, after the meal, the cruisers are quite a mixed assortment of looks, but that is the new way of cruising.

                          On all the remaining nights of the cruise, the French and steak house restaurants tend to be somewhat dressier than all the other restaurants, but that hardly means little black dress. You've described the length of your slacks but nothing about the material, the shoes, the top or the jewelry you might wear. There's no requirement you wear a dress or skirt/top VS pants in the dressier restaurants. In fact, bring black slacks and on successive nights pair them with a lacy shawl, lots of tops and a variety of scarves. That way, you can probably avoid packing one-time only outfits.

                          Warning: Ships tend to keep their public rooms very, very, very cold.