Little did we realize when we booked our Mediterranean Cruise last December that we would all have to buy entirely new wardrobes. Cruising, it seems, has not let go of some of the old ways typical of travel back in The Golden Age.
On our 12-day cruise, we have been told there will be three “formal” nights, three “smart-casual” nights, and six “casual” nights in the main dining room. There are other options other than the main dining room but only the MDR offers a choice of seating times. I refuse to cut short my shore time to race back to the ship for a 5:30 dinner seating or be stuck with a buffet/cafeteria line-up in the Windjammer Cafe.
If I’m honest, I have to confess that my kids’ summer wardrobe consist of micro-short denim shorts (girl child) and down-to-the-knees baggy board shorts (boy child). It is made quite clear on the Royal Caribbean website that none of the above selections would be welcome in any dining facility on the ship except maybe the Teen Discotheque.
So armed with comfortable walking shoes (just purchased) and a cooler to keep the smoking hot Visa card in, we ventured forth to the Eaton Centre on Saturday with the RC acceptable attire list for each night clenched in our sweaty fists. As luck would have it, we quickly found ourself amid thousands of other shoppers indulging in Summer Sale Madness.
For our daughter, I bought handfuls of frothy cotton sundresses for sightseeing and “casual” nights, all for under $15. She got a skirt for $9 at Zara. While none of these items will likely make it much past summer, they’re perfect “cruise wear.” She already had a fancy cocktail dress from grad and we bought her another, her first quintissential LBD at Guess for 50% off its regular price. Her new teeny-weeny bikini was also purchased at about 40% off. It never ceases to amaze me how they can charge so much for so little material…
Boy child needed more “dress” slacks and shirts AND some decent dress shoes as all he had were hiking sandals and skateboarding shoes. Thankfully, good old Sears came through again. Now, for husband: he has suits galore and more ties than he’ll ever wear again in this day and age of “business casual.” However, he does not own something called a “sport coat” – I think it’s something my father used to wear when dining at the country club. Needless to say, my husband had no idea what to look for and the uber-youthful employees at various stores had NO IDEA what we were talking about, even at The Bay. He went to Banana Republic Men but sadly, that shop was unaware of the Summer Sale Madness going on around them. We need things but we have limits…
By the end of the afternoon, salespeople were getting 3rd degree burns from our burning hot credit cards and it was time to stop. We know, even after indulging in such insanity, that we probably still don’t have everything we need. On “smart-casual” night, we may have to smuggle food to my jacket-less husband out in the hallway.
Of all of us, I was amazed to find that I was the best “kitted-out” in terms of formal and “smart-casual” items – me, who regularly stands in front of my closet just before our quarterly date nights declaring she has nothing to wear. I will never be able to use that excuse again. Oh well, after this cruise, we’ll not be able to afford to go anywhere for years to come so my usual uniform of jeans and a tee-shirt will suffice.
Five days to go!!!!!