CRACK THE DRESS CODE

How to nail the art of get­ting changed for din­ner

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - TRAVEL WISDOM CRUISING - HE­LEN HUTCHEON

Ama­jor sell­ing point for sea hol­i­days is that you only have to un­pack once. But what to pack? The dilemma of what to wear to din­ner and, it seems, just as im­por­tantly, what fel­low pas­sen­gers will be wear­ing, faces everyone as they pre­pare to pack for a cruise. Each day at sea, the dress code is pub­lished in the ship’s news­pa­per, usu­ally de­liv­ered to your cabin the night be­fore, but ob­vi­ously it’s too late then if you have for­got­ten some­thing you need.

When I worked as a jour­nal­ist in the pub­lic re­la­tions depart­ment of what was P&O-Ori­ent Lines in Syd­ney in the early ’60s it was all so easy.

That was the golden age of cruis­ing in Aus­tralia when first class re­ally was first class.

In those days you knew there would be many for­mal nights, when men wore din­ner suits, women long gowns and the Bri­tish of­fi­cers mess jackets with dec­o­ra­tions.

I trav­elled around Aus­tralia, com­per­ing fash­ion shows of ship­board wardrobes in depart­ment stores that are no longer with us, such as Farmer’s in Syd­ney and Boans in Perth.

I also wrote a pam­phlet called Woman’s World at Sea that said: “Know­ing what to wear when on the high seas, you’re sure to have a won­der­ful trip.”

One of my help­ful hints would up­set an­i­mal lib­bers today: “Don’t for­get a lit­tle fur wrap or woollen stole for af­ter-dance deck-strolling.”

There was lots of fur then and lots of deck-strolling.

A woman from New York who I met on a cruise had se­ri­ous jew­ellery.

A“I would prob­a­bly be mugged if I wore th­ese pieces back home, but I feel com­pletely safe at sea,” she said.

“Be­sides, no thief is likely to make a quick getaway jump­ing over­board.”

An­other woman trav­el­ling on Queen Mary 2 fa­mously booked an ad­di­tional suite just for her clothes.

Pas­sen­gers still dress to the nines on Cu­nard ships which have big band balls. In fact, QM2 has the largest ball­room afloat.

How­ever, dress has be­come much less for­mal in many of today’s cruise ships and some lines don’t even re­quire ties and jackets.

As every cruise line has a dress code – ex­cept for the nud­ist char­ters – ex­ec­u­tives of some lines that will be in Syd­ney this sum­mer have some ad­vice to of­fer.

THEME NIGHTS

We have five res­i­dent ships in Aus­tralia – in­clud­ing Pa­cific Jewel, Pa­cific Eden and Pa­cific Ex­plorer – and we have re­placed for­mal nights with theme par­ties.

There is the Gatsby Party, with all the glam­our of the roar­ing twen­ties, the Bianco White Party and the Back to School Party.

Cos­tumes are not a must, but they are en­cour­aged. STURE MYRMELL, P&O CRUISES AUS­TRALIA PRES­I­DENT

NO JACKET RE­QUIRED

Aus­tralians pre­fer a more ca­sual ap­proach when it comes to what to wear on board.

At NCL, we rec­om­mend the same dress code as any sun­shine re­sort, both dur­ing the day and in the evenings. Smart ca­sual is rec­om­mended for even­ing din­ing, but def­i­nitely there is no jacket or tie re­quire­ment. STEVE ODELL, SE­NIOR VICE PRES­I­DENT OF NOR­WE­GIAN CRUISE LINE

MIX AND MATCH

It’s all about fun in the sun for Royal Caribbean’s Ova­tion of the Seas, Ex­plorer, Voy­ager and Ra­di­ance of the Seas. Ca­sual clothes are per­fect for break­fast, lunch and din­ner in the Wind­jam­mer cafe.

Dress op­tions move be­tween ca­sual and smart ca­sual in the main din­ing room and most of the spe­cialty restau­rants at night.

There are typ­i­cally two for­mal nights for black-tie and cock­tail dresses. Re­sort ca­sual is the dress code for Aza­mara Jour­ney through­out the en­tire cruise.

Even­ing Chic nights aboard Celebrity Sol­stice give pas­sen­gers the chance to wear glam­orous clothes in the main din­ing room.

Sports coats and blaz­ers are op­tional, as well as black-tie and for­mal gowns which are avail­able for hire on board.

Smart ca­sual is the code for all other nights. ADAM ARM­STRONG, MAN­AG­ING DI­REC­TOR OF ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES

BLACK-TIE

As a cruise line with a long his­tory, for­mal nights are a great tra­di­tion of Hol­land Amer­ica Line. Our guests re­ally em­brace the ele­gance of a black-tie din­ner. At least one will be held on each sail­ing of Maas­dam and No­or­dam in Aus­tralia. TONY ARCHBOLD, DI­REC­TOR OF SALES FOR HOL­LAND AMER­ICA LINE

EVEN­ING GLAM­OUR

On every Princess cruise rang­ing from seven to 13 nights, there are two for­mal nights where men are re­quested to wear din­ner jackets or dark suits and women long gowns or cock­tail frocks.

A cruise is a spe­cial hol­i­day and get­ting into your finest gear makes it a spe­cial night.

When the code is “smart ca­sual” on other evenings, pas­sen­gers should dress as they would for a fine restau­rant ashore. STU­ART AL­LI­SON, PRES­I­DENT OF PRINCESS CRUISES AUS­TRALIA

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