Which Cruise Lines Have a Casual Dress Code?


As cruise holidays have become more accessible to the masses, long-held traditions have started to slip — including the rules surrounding acceptable cruise attire. Historically, cruise lines enforced strict dress codes requiring guests to wear formal attire when aboard the ship, but such policies have been gradually relaxed over the past few decades.

Compared to your average holiday however, cruise dress codes are still formal, with many lines requiring guests to wear suits and cocktail dresses to evening events. And while this is a tradition still favoured by many passengers, it can make others question whether a cruise is really right for them.

For those not keen on the idea of having to dress formally during their holiday, here we take a look at the Australian cruise lines that have adopted a casual dress code.

Carnival Cruise Line

After crafting a niche as the world’s most ‘fun’ cruise line, Carnival Cruise Line has ditched obligatory formal wear in keeping with its youthful on-board entertainment and dining venues. The cruise line has barely any restrictions on what’s considered appropriate attire, but asks that beachwear and shorts aren’t worn in the dining room. For those wanting to get dolled up to the nines, each Carnival ship offers two formal nights per weekly cruise — which aren’t compulsory to attend.

Norwegian Cruise Line

After a recent fleet-wide revamp, Norwegian Cruise Line has attempted to align itself with a contemporary and progressive image, much like P&O Australia. The result, among other things, is a reworked dress code that’s flexible enough for those not keen on formalities. Short, vests and t-shirts aren’t allowed in the main dining room, but jeans are fair game provided they aren’t cut offs. Unlike Carnival, NCL hosts no official formal nights, but guests are encouraged to get dressed up if they so wish.

Princess Cruises

Despite being one of the world’s oldest cruise lines Princess Cruises has a fairly flexible dress code, so those looking for casual needn’t be put off by the brand’s prestige. Jeans and other casual wear are permitted in the evenings, and while there are a number of formal nights which require tuxedos and cocktail gowns, casual cruisers can avoid all this by choosing to dine in the casual buffet venue.

woman in a cruise coctail party

Royal Caribbean

While Royal Caribbean haven’t ventured as far towards informal cruising as Carnival, they’re still considered one of the most modern, forward-thinking cruise lines at sea. In a bid to keep everyone happy, the line hosts casual and formal nights aboard each cruise, neither of which are obligatory. A few restrictions do apply however, even in casual venues, including no caps, tank tops or bathing suits. Fair enough.

Holland America Line

Holland America Line may not be as flexible as Carnival, NCL or Royal Caribbean, but it’s the luxury line with the most casual approach to cruise attire. Each HAL ship hosts one formal Gala Night per 7-night cruise, but there is a buffet option for those not looking to don their formalwear. Be aware however that t-shirts aren’t permitted after 6pm in public spaces, so you’ll need to at least one shirt, dress or blouse to go dining out on a night.

For a relaxing cruise holiday on the high seas, you can rely on Cruise1st Australia. With our huge range of cheap cruises and fast, efficient service, you can look forward to a seafaring voyage that’s 100% hassle-free. To find out more, visit the homepage or call us on 1300 857 345.


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