Holland America’s Refined Dress Code

The word from Holland America that passengers can begin to dress down from formal wear is one more break from tradition that is, frankly, necessary for what has long been a traditional cruise line.

Translation: There’s a whole group of people coming who won’t come.

Think not?

We have two sons and a son-in-law. Never mind that they don’t wear suits, we’re not sure if more than one of them even owns a suit, and he does because it used to be a requisite for his job. That’s used to be.

Whether it’s Generation X or Y or Z that’s coming, formal cruising as it once was is shrinking. Cruise lines that don’t get on board — yes, perhaps even Cunard — risk having problems filling their ships. 


Holland America is just trying to get ahead of the curve, at least the curve that applies to traditional cruising.

Dress code for dinner went from tuxedos to dark suits, for the men, and now it’s gone to “gala attire” which in Holland America’s world means a jacket and tie on “gala nights.” That’s the “preferred” dress code which the cruise line admits is not enforced. For passengers who are calling this a change in policy, Holland America says no…it’s just a “refinement.”

It’s also just the beginning. Eventually, it’s our guess that “smart casual” will be the universal code for dressing up. That’s casual enough to keep people like our “three sons” from staying away.

And for women?

That’s another suitcase, one that we’re not opening.

In the news…

• Splashaway Bay aquatic park to be on new Harmony of the Seas next spring
• Curtis Stone's first restaurant at sea, SHARE, on two Princess ships this year

Today at portsandbows.com: Oceania — exciting times around the world

Norwegian Epic
11 nights
February 3, 2016
Barcelona (return): Cagliari, Palermo, Naples, Rome, Florence, Palma de Mallorca
Inside: $509
Cost per day: $46

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