In a move sure to raise hackles among those who prefer cruising's more traditional ambience, Norwegian Cruise Line is the first cruise line to adopt a dining room dress policy that's truly informal -- jeans are actually allowed if not also encouraged. It says so. In a press release distributed to travel agencies this week (upon first reading it we actually checked our calendars to make sure it somehow wasn't April Fool's Day), the line outlines its dress restrictions: "At night, it's relaxed. Casual shirts and pants, even nice jeans (that’s new) for guys. For women, it’s slacks or jeans (also new), dresses, shirts and tops. Shirts and nice shorts are fine for kids under 12."
For those who feel dinner to be a formal affair, one restaurant -- typically the aft-facing main dining room (but it might vary by ship) -- will always be designated jeans-free. But on a ship like Norwegian Jewel, with 10 venues for eating -- including a sushi joint, an Italian restaurant, a steakhouse and a French restaurant -- that amounts to the majority of options being all casual, all the time.
A closer look at the written policies of other mainstream lines indicates a hesitation to formally outlaw jean wearing at dinnertime. Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Celebrity have avoided explicitly forbidding denim-at-dinner, merely indicating what should be worn: sport shirts and slacks for men; sundresses or pants for women. These guidelines, of course, apply to casual nights onboard; the same rules for formal evenings still apply.
Only Princess has made a solid commitment, officially prohibiting jeans from the dining room.
--by Dan Askin, Assistant Editor
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NCL Dining Rooms Officially Adopt "Jeans Allowed" Policy
August 6, 2007