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Formal wear constitutes a tuxedo or a dark suit, he would definitely need to wear a jacket. Tuxedos are available for hire on board. As for your son I would image a nice shirt, tie and long trousers would be fine and perhaps his school shoes. You would not need to wear formal clothes if you opted for the buffet in the Horizon Court on formal nights.
Lots of sound advise given. bet you must have just paid your final balance for the cruise(We pay ours on monday for the new year) so this is the best bit getting your bits and pieces. and just looking at those warm sunny ports of call! have fun .
Pilgrim gives good advice. Sandals !!!!! You sound as though it is important for you to feel that you will fit in. Especially over Xmas you will find it formal and you would i feel, feel 'uncomfortably out of it' if you do not go with the right dress. Smart casual nights require jacket and tie with long sleeved shirts. My husband bought a dinner suit from MAKRO for £50 or you can hire the dinner suit, formal shirt, evening tie, cumerbund, then all he needs are some plain black shoes . The benefit of hiring is you have more room in the suitcase as well !! Shorts are never right for the evening and you will find boys will be in suits or long trousers/blazer (not school)with white shirts and often bow ties or highland dress on formal nights. The children are very smart so your 11 yr old WILL want to be the same regardless of what he feels before the event! Dont fret, get the cabin steward to polish the school shoes and you will have some lovely family photos to remember your wonderful holiday.
Matalan also sell 'budget' priced dinner suits. My husband wore a dark lounge suit for our first cruise and when we decided we liked cruising bought a suit from 'Suits You'. He now prefers it to his lounge suit.
If you are dining in the restaurant: Formal - dark suit/shirt/tie/shoes for him; dress/skirt or evening trousers and top for you. Semi-formal - jacket/trousers/shirt/tie/shoes for him; smart dress/skirt/trousers/top for you. Informal - more or less 'come as you are' but still no shorts/sandals/grotty trainers (smart jeans OK, but no 'distressed'ones). Don't worry about it too much, it's your holiday so have a good time.
You can buy a DJ in Tesco for a few quid, or I sold DHs old on on eBay for £15 so look there too. As others have said - you will stick out like a sore thumb if you do not follow the dress code, and you will feel unformfortable and self conscious with everyone looking at you and pointing, and muttering under their breath about your lack of dresscode. OK a bit melodramatic perhaps but I hope it gets the idea across....
The opposite also applies. I have been reading US reviews on dress code where smart casual on Princess cruises does not necessarily mean jacket and tie. Then again I suppose it's easier to dress down than up if you haven,t the kit!
You would be amazed how you can adapt a school uniform to look like a Dinner Suit. For my son I use his black School Trousers and His black School Shoes. Add a simple plain white collared school shirt with a black dickie bow. If you really want to finish it off go and buy a cheap black school balzer from somewhere like BHS. For you husband as it is close to Christmas why not look in the Charity Shops for a Dinner Suit. You can pick up some really good quality ones at Charity Shop Prices.
For your husband BHS have a good range of plain dark suits which can easily be dressed up with a plain white evening shirt and a bow tie to make very presentable evening attire. There should be an autumn sale coming along soon so wait a while. Given your weight limit on baggage you should aim for mix and match so the same suit with a coloured shirt and a tie that stands out will cover semi formal evenings. Black shoes will be essential though. Have a great cruise.
It does look like everyone is suggesting that you adapt and conform to what others will be wearing, no one likes to be the odd one out. There are some excellent suggestions here and as far as your husband is concerned should last him for loads of cruises unfortunately children grow but clever adaptation should see you through but stay away, in the evenings, from crocs and trainers and never let him wear socks with sandals at any time. ... Ida.
We have been on two Princess cruises this year and there were no semi-formal nights - just formal and smart casual (so less clothes to bother about for your husband!). Whether this would change over the Christmas period, I do not know but you will be informed about the dress code when you receive your tickets. On a 10-day cruise there were two formal and on a 19-day, three formal, the remainder smart casual. I would estimate half the men in DJs and half in dark suits. Children do 'dress up' on formal nights, but smart trousers, shirt, tie and shoes is fine. Enjoy your cruise, the Caribbean is fabulous.