The Murky Land Of Dinner Attire On A Cruise

One of the most frequently asked questions about the global world of cruise travel concerns the often murky land of dressing appropriately for dinner.  I’m not talking about dress code, suggested dress, cruise casual, gala attire, formal night or any other descriptive phrase applied by any cruise line.  They are all open to interpretation.  Example: Business Casual could mean anything, depending on the nature of a given business and the situation business has us in.  At a special event on our Holland America Cruise, we got the answer to that question and advice on other similarly critical topics.

Adam Glassman is the Creative Director of O, The Oprah Magazine was on board for “Love That” an at sea version of his popular fashion show on the Oprah Network.  Let’s jump right in with photos of the entire collection, said to handle all clothing situations for women:

Let’s jump right in with photos of the entire collection, said to handle all clothing situations for women:

“Mixing and matching is the key on a cruise,” said Glassman encouraging the well-attended event to “never bring something you’ll only wear once”.  Interestingly, Glassman’s packing list for ladies was remarkably similar to how I pack Lisa when we travel.  Leggings, camisoles, and sweater sets: already on our packing list.  Not on the list: washable white pants “everyone should have a pair and not worry about spilling something on them” among the short list of other items.  Seriously? Glassman would make a prime candidate for traveling with carry-on luggage only as we constantly advocate you do for a variety of reasons.

Seriously? Glassman would make a prime candidate for traveling with carry-on luggage only as we constantly advocate to do for a variety of reasons.

If all of the above sounds familiar, like Holland America Line has been down the fashion runway somewhere in the recent past, it is.  Fashion shows were a part of their Dancing With The Stars: At Sea Championship Sailings, another themed cruise that was quite popular for the entertainment value it brought to the table.


In that era, Stars from the ABC TV show came on board from time to time, mostly to kick it off and wrap it up, as we might expect.  But on every single Holland America Line sailing of every ship in the fleet, there was an opportunity to dance/learn to dance with ship crew entertainment dancer.  Passengers would begin with dance lessons then compete at the end of the cruise to be named winner of that particular sailing.  Those winners would compete for the grand prize winner from each ship in the fleet then go on to compete for the Championship Cruise where stars from the TV show were on board.

Part of that dance focus was a fashion focus that had Carson Kressley, motivational host of the TV show How to Look Good Naked and OWN’s Carson Nation, as well as a contestant on season 13 of Dancing with the Stars.

In other words, Holland America Line has a bit of history in the world of fashion as does sister Cunard Line, hosting fashion week events on occasional trans-Atlantic sailings of Queen Mary 2.

Two tips of particular interest

  • The Color White- White is a great color for anyone to wear around their face (shirt, scarf, etc)- everyone looks healthier.  A washable pair of white pants, also a good choice.
  • Sizing- When picking sizes in tops and bottoms, one or the other, but not both, should be loosely fitting. A loose-fitting top that extends below the mid section with tighter fitting leggings = good choice. There is a thinning principle at work here much like my favorite decorating tip “darkness covers a multitude of sins”. Both top and bottom loose fitting = “just a bigger version of yourself” said Glassman.  Also an impressive tip: find pants that fit and buy three pair of them as opposed to frequently trying to figure out sizing.

One of the best parts of Glassman’s presentation: inviting the audience to visit him in at the onboard O Store for personalized tips and help to select fashion right then and there.  Actually, one passenger at the presentation had already been there and looked great in an ensemble featured in the show.

The fashion element of our Share The Adventure Cruise is consistent a multi-layered focus on being our best from the inside out.    As we near the end of this sailing, I have to tell you, many of us will walk away with more than we came on board with in a couple very important ways…none of which has to do with extra weight gained due to the fabulous food.  That’s next.

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