Do many military men wear their class A's on formal evenings? My husband is active duty army, but doesn't want to wear his class A's because he thinks he will look out of place. We leave July 1st on the Carnival Glory. He's not one for dressing up anyway, but I think his class A's would be fine and I would be proud to be by his side.
This question keeps recurring, so I might as well address it completely.
1. The uniform regulations of all services say that members should wear the uniform that is equivalent to the requested attire for civilians when attending social functions. The respective services' uniform regulations also prescribe acceptable substitutes for members who are not required to posess certain optional uniforms.
2. Formal evenings on cruise ships are 'black tie" social functions, so the equivalent uniform is the "dinner dress jacket," "evening dress," or "mess dress" (black tie) uniform that corresponds to the season or climate (ordinarily the summer uniform since most cruises are either in the summertime or in the tropics). In most uniformed services, the regulations require only officers of pay grade O-4 (rank of Lieutenant Commander or Major) and above and members in certain diplomatic assignments (White House, embassies, etc.) to posess these uniforms. Other personnel may wear the prescribed substitutes.
3. In most services, the "Class A" uniform is a ceremonial uniform. It is not the proper uniform to wear for formal evenings unless it's prescribed as the authorized substitute for the "mess dress" uniform and the member is not required to posess the "mess dress" uniform.
The current uniform regulations of the respective services prescribe the following uniforms and substitutes. The Air Force regulations seem less clear than those of other services as to when various uniforms are worn, so I'm taking an educated guess as to the prescribed substitute.
>> U. S. Army: White Mess; substitutes (in order of precedence): Army White with Bow Tie, Army Blue with Bow Tie, Army Green with Bow Tie (enlisted only)
>> U. S. Navy and U. S. Coast Guard: Dinner Dress White Jacket; substitute: Dinner Dress White
>> U. S. Marine Corps: Officers -- Evening Dress B; substitute: Blue-White Dress A; Staff NCO's -- Evening Dress; NCO and below: Blue Dress A
>> U. S. Air Force: Mess Dress; apparent substitute: Semiformal Dress with Bow Tie
Have a great cruise!