Check out my new updated post on dress codes
It seems to me that one of the highest anxieties about cruising for people new to cruises is the dress code. I recall before my first cruise wondering what type of dress I needed , what everyone else would be wearing. A desire to want to make sure I was wearing the right items to fit in with all the other cruisers!
Here I will specifically give you some tips about P&O cruises.
Do research the cruise line you’re choosing to cruise with, but don’t be anxious, cruising is so enjoyable, don’t let dress codes stress you out!
1. P&O has two dress codes.
P&O has two dress codes. Formal and smart casual. Formal is your black tie/ cocktail dress / ball dress, national dress, then Smart casual all other times. This can cover anything from smart unripped jeans and a top to a smart dress or trousers and a shirt, tie if you wish. However you usually would interpret smart casual. P&O cruises average 2 formal nights a week, we have been told in the past that Iona will have one formal night a week.
2. Dress codes start from around 18:00
Dress codes come into play from around 18:00 on board. Before then, anything goes! Within reason. Pool wear is acceptable around the pools, you’d be expected to cover up to enter food venues. However there is a grill, pizzeria and a grab and go counter by the pool so you could spend all day, including eating your lunch in your bikini should you so wish!
3. Formalwear is not compulsory.
Formal wear isn’t compulsory, though it is a big part of P&O cruises. People, on the whole seem to enjoy the Formal nights, most of the passengers on board join in with the dress code. Dress codes are applicable to the main dining rooms and most bars, you will be denied access if you don’t wear the dress code. If you don’t want to dress up, I suggest you eat in the buffet or even room service. It’s definitely manageable to cruise with P&O and not join in on formal nights, but do give it a try! You never know, you might enjoy it. I have to say I do love a formal night myself, I think what I enjoy the most is watching all the other passengers in their glad rags, looking glamorous and gorgeous dressed in their finery!
4. The minimum Formal wear expected.
Men on formal night can wear at the minimum a suit and tie, women on formal nights can wear a smart dress, or smart formal separates. If you don’t fancy a dickie bow, do not feel you have to. If you still want to join in with the formal wear, you can dress up and wear a smart tie.
5. You can buy formal wear on board!
You can buy formal wear on board in the shop. Don’t fear if you’ve forgotten your bow tie or a formal dress! You can treat yourself on board. There won’t be a massive amount of choice, but there will probably be far more choice that you expect on a ship! You may even have some on board credit you could use to treat yourself!
In conclusion, it is your cruise, you’ve worked hard for it, you wear what you feel comfortable in.
If you wish to experience the whole formal night experience get those glad rags on. If you’d rather stay casual then expect to head to the buffet or treat yourself to some room service for a few nights of your cruise.