Casual without party atmosphere?

Oct 12th, 2008, 11:23 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2004
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Casual without party atmosphere?

My family of four (2 young children) is planning to take a cruise in Jan/Feb and it will be our first cruise. I have done much reading already but am a bit stumped and wanted to pose a question to veteran cruisers. We would like a cruise experience that is reasonably high end (special occasion) but one where a family will be accepted (and there is less emphasis on formal nights). Which line / itinerary might be best suited for a high end experience, but without all of the formality? Celebrity appears to be the best fit for what I am looking for, but there appear to be multiple formal nights on most cruises. Your guidance is appreciated. We are open to itineraries, but limited to 7 - 10 days.
ronjrich is offline  
Oct 12th, 2008, 12:09 PM
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you might log onto to find more info.
Most ships have alternative restaurants if you do not wish to go to main dining room on formal nites...and folks are dressing less these days w/added airline baggage charges.
Simple blouse or top w/slacks or skirt would suffice w/pashima or jacket & blazer for the men.
Celebrity might be a good fit for you altho most veteran cruisers have their favorite cruiseline.
Rhea58 is offline  
Oct 12th, 2008, 03:21 PM
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If you want a more high end cruise line without the accent on formal check out Oceana

They have smaller ships and the food and service is excellent.
traveller69 is offline  
Oct 12th, 2008, 03:38 PM
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Forgot to mention their dress code is the same every day - "country club casual"
traveller69 is offline  
Oct 13th, 2008, 03:27 AM
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I would say go on Royal Caribean. Most 7 day cruiises have 2 formal nights. Sometimes my husband wears his tux to the 1st one then a jacket & tie the 2nd. There will be photographers on those night to take family portraits. Or, you can just go to the buffet wearing anything but a bathing suit Or, call room service. Celebrity is a good line but don't think they have much for children as passengers tend to be a bit older and the ship is more 'country club'. I have seen more men in a tux on Celebrity on formal nights than other ships.I don't think Oceana has any children's programs.
Princess is also good but I'd still say Royal Caribean is exactly what you are looking for. (We've been on every line but HAL, 50+ cruises over 25 years.)
bonniejns is offline  
Oct 13th, 2008, 10:20 AM
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We love Oceania, but it is not really well suited to a family unless you want to spend all your time with your childen (and many parents do) and they won't mind if there are no other children aboard and no children's activity program.
abram is offline  
Oct 13th, 2008, 01:49 PM
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"Formal nights" are a subject of some controversy here - and on most major cruiselines which would be comfortable for the kids, they exist. I think Celebrity would be a good fit, as well.

Formal nights, on the 2 Celebrity cruises we have taken, are not quite as formal as the literature indicates. While the brochures and websites picture passengers in tux and gowns, we have seen very few people dressed like this. If you wish to dress up and the kids can behave, it is sort of fun - and actually, the behavior expecgted of the kids in the dining room will not be different on formal nights.

You can select early dinner seating - more families eat then. Also, there are always other dinner options than the main dining room, and while some traditionalists expect passengers to remain formally dressed for the entire evening after dinner, most people do not. Or you could choose to farm the kids out to kids club or babysitter on one of the formal nights to have a nice dinner alone.
gail is offline  
Oct 14th, 2008, 06:03 AM
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I'd actually recommend a higher-end cabin on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship. Book one of the suites that has an extra attached inside cabin for the kids and take advantage of the quieter priviate pool area. You'll then have access to the great kids club and can pay extra for the better restaurants. It will come out cheaper for you in the end, and I think it's a good compromise.

Royal Caribbean is another (again, on a big ship like this, book a higher-end cabin for a more higher-end experience).

All of the upscale big-ship lines that have kids programs also have formal nights.

I think Celebrity would otherwise be a good choice, but people on Celebrity cruises do tend to dress up more, and that doesn't seem to suit you.

doug_stallings is offline  
Oct 14th, 2008, 07:23 AM
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Although we love Oceania, I would not recommend it for children. We've seen very few children on the cruises we have taken with them.

What about Disney cruises? Friends of ours took their grandchildren -- from teens to tots -- on one. They said there were all kinds of activities for all ages.
Katie2 is offline  
Oct 14th, 2008, 09:23 AM
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Katie2 has hit the nail on the head, and I don't know why I didn't think of this. Disney would be a very good compromise.
doug_stallings is offline  
Oct 14th, 2008, 10:17 AM
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Regent Seven Seas would be an excellent cruise line for you. It has a family-friendly atmosphere with kids' programs, kids' menus and it is casual luxury. I had the privilege of cruising Alaska with Regent and it was outstanding. Some people dressed up for formal nights, but it was always acceptable to wear a blazer and open shirt with dress slacks for men and dress slacks or skirt with blouse or sweater for ladies. The children on the cruise wore nice school clothes. The ships are all-suite and the cruise is all-inclusive, except for special wines, spa treatments. It was a lovely, relaxing, casual experience.

Best Regards,
limazulu is offline  
Oct 14th, 2008, 03:12 PM
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I think that Celebrity would be great. HAL is good, but, I'm 72 and a lot of the other passengers seem too old for me. But it is my favorite line. My "tux" is a navy blazer which I wear on the plane, and charcoal slacks, white shirt and tie. Some time I feel overdressed. I wouldn't worry about formal. The cruise lines are renting formal clothes, but they're not going to be fussy enough to lose bookings.
Aristotle is offline  
Feb 16th, 2009, 05:37 AM
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Thank you for all of your suggestions. Due to health issues, we had to postpone our cruise, however we are now lokinmg ahead to a cruise in Fall 09 and are focusing on a "bigger cabin" on either NCL or RCCL, as it seems to be the most cost efficient. There seem to be plenty of good options and we are looking forward to our trip. Thanks again for all of your replies.
ronjrich is offline  
Feb 18th, 2009, 11:23 AM
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You would probably like Disney lines.
bdjtbenson is offline  
Feb 19th, 2009, 10:42 AM
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Disney seems like the best bet! Must say, my son & new bride actually went on their honeymoon aboard Disney and, as they are huge Disney fans (Peter Pan?) they loved it! They found that the concept of adult areas/kids' area/combined areas was wonderful. The kids on board were so well taken care of and had so much fun, the parents actually had time to spend together and relax, too. Sounds like the best of both worlds!
MountRose is offline  
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