Formal Nights - Yes or No

Do you like having Formal Nights on board?  Are there too many of them, too little or do just wish that they would be eliminated or made optional in the MDR?  For me, one is enough per week.  Gloria

17 Answers

I love the formal nights (to some extent). My issues with formal night depend on the cruise line I'm sailing. For example, to me, Carnival does a better job when it comes to the menu, decor and presentation for formal night dinner. When we sailed RCCL (twice last year), The menu didn't stand out (no lobster) as it should have and the passengers were dressed better than the dining room staff. I also agree that a one night formal night on a seven day cruise is enough. Formal night is always optional as there are specialty restaurants, the buffet or even cabin service to choose from onboard.

My wife and I prefer longer cruises, and we enjoy the Formal nights. We get pictures and everything. It's sorta like planning a "Date Night" while you are on Vacation... Nice clothes, dining, dancing, Champagne and nice long walks on the promenade....

Depends on the cruise line and itinerary. I had a blast during formal night on Cunard's QM2 a few years ago as the other passengers really get into the experience. On other ships, it seems like more and more passengers don't want to dress up and it's just not the same if a majority of folks aren't participating. One a week is probably enough, for the most part. I agree with Tim that some lines also do a better job of making it feel like the special occasion that it should.

On my last cruise with Carnival on the Liberty, the second formal night was the night we spent the day at Grand Turk at the beach & pool there right at the dock. We were all sunburned, hot, sticky and tired. Few people wanted to dress up. We did but noticed that most passengers wore shorts or casual wear. I can't say that I blamed them, though. It just didn't feel like a formal night to us. Perhaps Carnival should have chosen another night or just kept it to the one formal evening of the cruise.

Thanks everyone for contributing. Gloria

For me it depends on the cruise and the cruise line. I have noticed that in Europe more people dress up for formal night. On Celebrity in Europe, 10 night Greek Island cruise and the 14 night Rome to Florida I took my Tux with me and used it for the 3 formal nights. I just took 2 different vest, shirts, stud sets and ties so I got different looks out of one Tux, It was nice to have an elegant evening.

If I am on a 3 or 4 night Carnival cruise I just take a long sleeve dark shirt and nice jeans. For my upcoming 7 night Eastern Caribbean on Carnival I will only take a light shirt and tie, no suite , nothing dark for tropical islands.

I think that Formal night should be an option and if you choose not to attend you should still be able to get the surf and turf. Maybe have waiter service in part of the buffet without having to dress up and same food as MDR.

Perhaps Carnival should eliminate formal nights on short cruises. So many passengers are wearing shorts now into the dining room on formal nights. I also see passengers wearing baseball caps on other nights. Carnival does emphasize the dress code but passengers just ignore it. Maybe some short cruises should eliminate formal nights for those who hate to dress up or don't want to pack formal wear due to airline baggage weight restrictions? Gloria

Again, different strokes for different folks. I really enjoy the formal nights on Princess, They make everything seem so special especially when everyone gets involved. We plan our outfits before we go, But then we also bring jeans and T shirts and white socks for the sock-hop....

I don't agree that eliminating formal nights on even short cruises is the answer. It's not fair to the rest of the other passengers like myself that look forward to formal night. Carnival needs not only emphasize dress code in the dining room but need to also enforce it. Heck, I was turned away from the dining room on a Carnival vessel because my shirt didn't have a collar! I had to go back to my cabin and change shirts. No big deal. If luggage constraints are an issue, you are not forced to go to formal night. There ARE other options such as the buffet or even room service just to name a few. The dining room on a cruise ship is not the dining room at McDonalds. And Jusme, On a four night cruise aboard RCCL, there was a formal night but Surf & Turf was not on the menu that night. I was told by the waiter that RCCL eliminated Lobster on short cruises. As a matter of fact, the menu that night was almost a duplicate of the previous nights menu. Nothing "Formal" about RCCL's formal nights on short cruises.

I had surf and turf on RCCL on the 14 night Transatlantic cruise and on the 3 night Carnival. Why punish those of use that do not want to pack a tux for a short cruise and make us eat at the buffet? I think we pay the same amount as you do. I suggested having the same food with waiter service in the buffet.

I do not force people to dress up or dress down........ on European Cruises on Celebrity I take my Tux and made the kid take a dark suite (Celebrity was good enough to send the Taylor to the cabin to hem the slacks for the kid) . For Carnival, why wear a Tux in Wal Mart ?

For those that want formal go Cunard, they enforce the dress code. For casual go Carnival, but do not try and make people dress up just to get the good food. I wore a suite and tie to the office for a decade, now I'm retired do not have to dress up if I do not want to. I can remember as a little kid mom saying " Stockings, girdles and heals are to much work for vacation" That was back in the early 70's when they started to cruise back on Sitmar, Admiral and Princes "The love boat".

Pick a Cruise line that fits your style and your mood. With all the cruise lines going for different demographics pic the one that fits you.

I also get a bit peeved when I get formally dressed only to go to the MDR and the menu is nothing special. If cruise lines expect us to dress, they should have have special menus. Thanks everyone for contributing. It was fun to hear from each of you.


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