Surveyed Cruisers Miss Etiquette

We’re not quite sure when dress etiquette started undergoing what has become a dramatic change, but it seemed to us that it started with Casual Fridays. That would place it in the ‘90s, when the dot-com boom began to consume the way business was done, even at the highest levels.

Dot.com meant California (Silicon Valley) and the “C’ in California has always had a double meaning, “Casual” being the other one. It quickly spread and Casual Fridays were the one day of the week that workers — even managers — could dress down, as opposed to dressing up. It penetrated every business including, eventually, the cruise business.

When you go on a cruise ship today, you’ll likely see passengers wearing pretty much whatever they want. This is light years from when “proper” attire was compulsory in the dining rooms of the cruise world, etiquette that has gradually regressed to “no shorts and Cunard diningtank tops” although we’ve been on cruise ships where that’s not enforced.

This is topical this week because of a survey from Great Britain. It was conducted by Cruise.co.uk and among the discoveries was one that 70 per cent of the passengers/respondents want a return to “formal evenings” on cruise ships.

Now, this is the British, who discovered Casual Fridays some time after North Americans did and who generally consider themselves more “proper” than the rest of us when it comes to things like manners and etiquette. Cunard, the cruise company that the British upper-crust most identifies with (even though it’s owned by Carnival), is the last bastion of formal dress…although  (for men) suits and ties have replaced tuxedos in the compulsory department.

There is a generation, maybe two, of people accustomed to dressing casually for work — not just on Fridays. Returning to “formal evenings” on cruise ships to appease the formally-friendly elderly demographic will risk chasing away the young families that cruise lines crave.

In short, get used to golf shirts for men and capri pants for women, and blue jeans (ripped perhaps) for both when you sit down to enjoy your evening meal on a cruise ship.

That genie is out of the bottle.

Today at portsandbows.com: Getting up to date on cruise news

Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas
7 nights
January 4, 2015
Galveston (return): FalmouthGeorge TownGrand CaymanCozumel
Inside: $335
Cost per day: $47
www.royalcaribbean.com

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