One of the hardest things to decide about a Disney Cruise is what to pack to wear to dinner! Daytime is simple – swim suits and cover-ups and comfy summer active wear. But when it’s time to come out of the sun and get cleaned up for dinner, that’s when packing can become tricky.
Packing for Henry and Andy was definitely the easiest. (Andy packs his own suitcase so that truly was the simplest of all!) A few pairs of khakis and dress pants was all they needed to rotate throughout the time on the ship. Add polo shirts and button-ups and PACKED! The girls weren’t too hard either. Although I did pack a different dress for each evening. On the 7-night cruise, they could have repeated something, but in all honesty…most of their clothes ended up with dinner or ice cream on them somewhere during the meal!
In my opinion a sweater is critical. The girls each packed one white sweater. The restaurants tend to be cool and if you walk around the deck at night it can also be a bit chilly if it’s windy.
You will see in the photos that there is a mix in the kids’ shoes. They all started with nicer sandals and dress shoes at the beginning of each cruise. But by the end of the time on the ship, they were all wearing flip-flops or Crocs to dinner.
During Caribbean cruises, there usually is one Pirate Night. On our first cruise, only the kids brought costumes. However, I was surprised by how many of the adults actually got into it as well. Probably 50%. So for our second cruise Andy and I joined in on the fun and dressed-up as well. The kids LOVED that the most, seeing us in costume.
Our first cruise was a 4-night and our second cruise was a 7-night. On Disney’s cruise website they post the description for the different categories of dining attire – so be sure to see what is online for a most recent description. Cruise casual basically means no swimwear or tank tops. And you will see a wide range between what people are wearing. Part of this depends on when you receive your luggage! On the first night a lot of people did not change out of their travel clothes. I did put on a summer dress and felt a bit overdressed but only because the family dining at our table with us had on shorts and a jean skirt and regular t-shirts but they were still within “dress code”.
(Side note: If you do NOT want to be placed with strangers at your table, be sure to mark that option or call and verify. On our first cruise, we only sat with family. On our second cruise we were paired with another family we did not know. Our situation worked out well because they were super nice and it was fun to chat about our different days/activities, etc. Just be sure you know what to expect!)
The optional dress-up/formal/semi-formal nights seemed more noticeable on the 7-night cruise. I did not feel under-dressed in my “normal” summer dress attire, but probably 50% again took advantage of “dressing for prom” in order to get formal family photos. The above right photo is NOT from formal night, but instead the night Andy and I went to the adult-only restaurant (see website for those specific attire guidelines). However, that’s more like what people were wearing for the dressier nights plus a jacket and/or suit for the men.
And the best thing about our last cruise was that we went during October. One evening was Halloween costume night. Even all of the characters were dressed-up and the kids got to trick-or-treat around the ship. It was a lot of fun.
When I’m asked what I packed for dinner attire, I feel I can sum it up in relation to going to my Catholic church. (You may or may not agree!) Jeans and shorts seemed fine for casual dining nights like Saturday evening mass. Pack normal Sunday church clothes for the other dinners. And then grab your Easter or Christmas (or fancy Cocktail) outfit for the adult restaurants and/or formal night.