A Life on the Ocean Wave: Posh Frocks

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The Achille Lauro

Hello. My name is Emma and I go on cruises. Mostly, so far on P&O ships out of Southampton, but other perfectly good cruise companies are available. ;-) When I can, I con my parents into paying for my ticket.

When I travel, I blog. If you would like to read it all, it can be found at my PS. The Post have asked me to proffer some edited highlights of my ramblings, which I shall now inflict on you forthwith. Enjoy.

Posh Frocks and Overheating

Ah, phooey, it's a 'Formal Night'. It's all dickey bows and tuxes and beads and sequins and jewellery and makeup and heels and, let's not mince words here, hassle. Granted, we are expected to dress for dinner every night, except the day you board and the night before you disembark, when most people wear the clothes they'll be travelling in the next day. The lightest it gets is "Smart Casual". I saw someone the other night who took the "casual" bit of that a bit too literally and turned up to dinner in a t-shirt and shorts. Boy, is THAT a no-no! Smart casual is smart separates for girls and blazers for boys. That's as casual as it gets! There are several classifications – in order of formality: casual, smart casual, semi-formal, formal – I think that's all of them. Formals are a monumental hassle. It was even worse when I used to get my hair done for formal nights, but I don't bother with that any more, just do it myself. No one seems to notice any difference! But it's all about which dress to wear, which shoes, makeup, how to do the hair (Up? Down? Curly? Straight? Tied up? Loose? ), all that sort of girly nonsense. It's very nice the first few times – let's face it, we all like dressing up occasionally and feeling all spangly and special – but the novelty does wear off. Fast. This is only the second leg and I'm fed up already! Formal nights are SUCH a hassle that they are always put on sea days, so that we have time to prepare. There are over 20 of them on this cruise, which works out at about four a leg, I think. Sorry, not called legs now, called sectors. Silly me. The real annoyance is, that because the assumption is that the women wear less or thinner clothing, they turn the air con down and we all cook! It's bad enough for me, but what about the men in their dinner jackets?! Of course, the dress code doesn't apply all over the ship, but only in certain venues. It is possible to escape, should you so wish, and eat elsewhere and avoid certain entertainment venues where the dress code is required, but it's not the most sociable behaviour!

I know that some people avoid cruising specifically because of the formal nights. They don't want to be told what to wear or be forced to wear stuff they don't want to. Let's face it, we are supposed to be on holiday, here! However, not all cruise companies behave in this manner. You'd have to investigate in detail, but I'm pretty sure none of the American cruise lines have formal nights or dress codes. Not sure about the Scandinavian ones, though. But there's no need to deny yourself a wonderful holiday based solely on the existence of formal nights, surely?! And remember that, at least occasionally, it's nice to get togged up and feel all special. It is lovely to feel pretty and see all the beautiful outfits the women wear (and some of the men too! – you'd be amazed how creative you can be with a bow tie or a kilt!). It also makes for some lovely 'photoage', when you're all dressed up in your finery with your friends. Anyway, can't sit here blathering to you, I've got to get ready!

Emma in glad rags

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