Formal attire

I'm going on a cruise in a few months. I haven't been on one in 3 years. Does anyone dress up for formal nights any more. The more I read the more it seems to be more casual. I would prefer to dress up but don't want to be the only one in a evening dress while others are casual. I remember my first cruise women had ball gowns and long evening dresses men were in suits and tuxes. I guess time has changed. What do you wear on formal nights?

14 Answers

Depending on the line (Cunard being the exception) the "formal" night requires nothing more than (for men) slacks and a shirt (Polo or dress shirt), ties and jackets optional.

That being said, you will still see a few tuxedos (ladies wear would of course be the equivalent), as well as jacket and ties.

Generally, I wear the same for formal night as I wear for the other nights -- jacket and tie. I have never felt out of place on Carnival, Princess or Celebrity.

Thank you BDRebel. I love to dress up for the occasion but dont want to be the only one. I appreciate your feed back

You will definitely not be the only one. You may be in the (large) minority, but you will be comfortable, happy and doing what you want to do!

I still enjoy dressing in sequins and heels. It may be a short dress and not a long formal but where else are you going to go on a Friday - Saturday night at home, and be able to dress up like this and enjoy the evening of having a good dinner and show and dancing ?!? Live it up ! You will fit in no matter what you wear. Wear what you want that makes you feel beautiful and dance the night away !!Wink Have a Fabulous Cruise and Formal Night !

I wear heels and a long dress for "elegant night". I have many left from the years my DH was active duty and I like the opportunity to dust them off and wear them. Yes, I tend to be in the minority, but always get compliments.

Unless I’m missing something, Cunard and Princess are the only two lines that still have real “formal” nights. Even the high end luxury lines have pretty much scaled back. We just got off a 22 day voyage on Princess, four formal nights. Almost everybody at least had ties on although there were a few regular collared shirts, there were even quite a few tuxes.

The industry is rather reluctant to say they have eliminated dress up, so there is a play on words regarding this issue, they would like to have it both ways. For instance, heretofore HAL’s dress codes said this: "On festive formal evenings, women usually wear cocktail dresses or gowns and men usually wear business suits or tuxedos. In order to complement your fellow guests, we ask that you observe the suggested dress code throughout the entire evening." This language didn’t set well with a few who didn’t want to “complement fellow guests” so the language was changed thusly: "For gentlemen, collared shirts and slacks are required in all fine dining restaurants." (Note: short sleeve polo shirts are the minimum dress with this standard).

We were on a Carnival ship last week with 2 elegant evenings. I didn’t see even one tux or gown, but most people dressed nicely - suits, sports jackets with dress pants or casual pants and button down shirts for men, and women in nice dresses - a few cocktail dresses, or a few in capris/pants with dressy tops. Most women wore casual to cocktail dresses that I saw. One fellow was seated near us wearing his baseball cap backwards. Jeans and T-shirts were also allowed on the elegant evenings in the MDR.

Thanks everyone. I appreciate your feedback. I think im going to do my norm and dress up. I dont get to do it often. I am going to go with the long elegant dress instead of the ball gown type. I feel if there is a elegant night and its in the cruise itinerary then it should be enforced, maybe not ball gowns and tuxes but definitely not jeans a tshirt and a ball cap!

Celebrity seems to have the way of "smart casual" which has downgraded the formal wear to relaxed business attire. Since I am holidaying, I don't wish to pack my luggage with a suit jacket and so I wear a nice buttoned shirt and slacks. We have enough restrictions on luggage costs these days to worry about filling our ounces of luggage with unnecessary jackets and dresses. But go with what makes you feel comfortable.

Speaking of Celebrity, back when they reduced their requirements for dress-up there was some interesting exchanges on the cruise haunt forums. My favorite: One guy posted: "I certainly won't miss "Formal" nights or the judgmental posts on these boards. Does the way the guy next to you is dressed really affect your ability to enjoy your cruise? Sit back, pour the wine, raise a glass to the good ol' days and enjoy the dinner you didn't have to cook." A lady responded: "I also don't have to cook at McDonalds - doesn't mean I want to eat there. And NO - I don't want to wear a formal evening gown at the same table while you are in jeans. What a joke that makes for all."


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