I don't think so. I contract is only legally binding if it is SIGNED. Printing it in a brochure without any acknowledgement from me that I have even seen the brochure does not bind me to anything. Printing it on cruise tickets that I only receive AFTER it is too late to get a refund also is not legally binding.
I'm not really arguing this point in relation to the cruiseship's rules. They have the right to make any rules they want and to enforce them or not enforce them at their discretion. But I am wondering about the more serious issues such as cancelled cruises and missed ports. Saying "it was in your contract" doesn't really mean anything when they have no proof that I ever even seen the contract or knew that it existed.
Basically what it boils down to is that if you know the rules and policies, and don't like them, don't book the cruise. We did our last cruise knowing we did not want to do formal nights, so we ate at the buffet every night and had at least three options there that were on the main dining room menu. This cruise, we are taking formal wear. We understand the policies and are willing to abide by them.
Also, not everybody signs all the paperwork at checkin. On my last cruise, the only thing I personally signed was for my shipboard account. My sister had booked the cruise and she may have signed something more, but her signature doesn't bind ME to anything.
A cruise contract is similar to an airline "contract" - yes, you enter into an airline "contract" every time you fly! That you don't even know it's there, that you don't bother to read the fine print (on your airline ticket, in the cruise brochure or in your cruise documents), that you don't sign anything or knowingly agree to any terms and stipulations isn't an issue - it's a contract, it doesn't require your signature and the parties who enter into it are bound by it. You enter into that contract once you pay your money. It is, in effect, a contract of adhesion - meaning it's a take it or leave it deal and you don't get to negotiate the terms. If you don't like the terms, don't enter into it.
I think that the dress code should be enforced. Why can't people be bothered to look nice for a few nights out of their lives? Being on a cruise is a special occasion, and I think it's fun to dress up and look nice. I know this is a bit of topic, but people on the airplane need to look at themselves in the mirror before they get on the plane. I've seen people get on the plane wearing their pajamas or a ratty t-shirt, old jeans, and dirty tennis shoes. My mom was a flight attendent for 31 years, and she always tells me about how people used to dress up and look nice when they went on the airplane. Flying used to be luxurious, but now it's just another mode of transportation. People used to look classy, but now, people look like slobs. Same with cruises. People think they can look however they want to look, because they paid for their ticket. I'm not saying that it "ruins my dinner" because some people aren't dressed up, but if I took the time to look presentable, why can't you?
"I have never heard of a contract that is valid when both parties don't know the terms prior to entering into it. I would love to see if this "contract" would hold up in court.
You can't "take it or leave it" when you don't even know what "it" is."
Ah, but both parties do (or at least should!) know the terms and conditions of the contract. Not only are they published in the cruiselines' brochures, but you can request them from any cruiseline prior to booking. They are also clearly printed in the cruise documents passengers receive prior to sailing. The cruiselines meet their obligation by publishing the terms and conditions of the cruise contract; it's not their fault if passengers don't bother to read them.
So in a practical sense, Luv2cruise, you can choose to "take IT or leave "IT" because you, as a passenger, are given ample notice with respect to what "IT" is.
And by the way, the cruise contract is most assuredly a legally binding contract that will hold up in a court of law. If you don't believe it, call a lawyer and ask.
As a seasoned cruiser, I do know that a contract exists and I know where to find it. However, if I were a first time cruiser, I may not know that there even is a contract that I am binding myself to by simply booking a cruise. I have never been told my any TA or cruiseline representative where this contract could be found. I have booked cruises before without ever seeing a cruiseline brochure and the pre-cruise documents are only received AFTER final payment is due (and it is too late for a refund). If I were a first time cruiser, I may very well think that the only contract that I am binding myself to is the verbal agreement that I made with the TA which is "I give you XXXX amount of money and you book me a certain level cabin".
Whether it would be binding in court or not, I don't know. But if it is, the cruiselines (and perhaps the airlines) are getting away with something that absolutely no other industry gets away with. No other business gets away with taking your money and then, after the fact, saying "by the way, there's a contract out there that we never told you about and that you may not even have known existed, but you just bound yourself to it and if you don't like it, tough, we already have your money".
If this is legal, it shouldn't be. And, again, I'm not talking about in relation to minor issues like dress codes and swimming pool rules. I'm talking about the more serious issues that are covered in this contract such as cancelled cruises, missed ports, bumped passengers, etc.
If you think the cruise contact has no been challenged in court already, you're wrong. The contract also states that law suits must be filed where their head office is located, and indeed even that has been upheld.
Like you say... no one had sued over the dress codes (but that may be coming if they enforced them and someone sued because they were made to feel bad<G>).
There have been suits for compensation of itinerary changes, cancellation policies, etc.
I have heard the phrase "Your cruise is what you make of it" so many times. Well I am here to tell you that I will dress up on formal night, because I enjoy it (it reminds me of going to the Prom, lol!) However, there is no way in heck I will allow what someone else wears to dinner take anything away from my cruise experience. Please wear what you like. Shoot, come naked for all I care (only if you have a nice body though, don't want to lose my apetite lol!)
Honestly if the clothes others wear detract from my cruise experience, how would I handle a real problem?
You'll find d/h in a tux and I'll be in a nice cocktail gown, come as you are, you're welcome at our table.
" I have never heard of a contract that is valid when both parties don't know the terms prior to entering into it. I would love to see if this "contract" would hold up in court.
You can't "take it or leave it" when you don't even know what "it" is."
Since as far back as I can remember, I've always understood that Ignorance of the Law is NO DEFENCE. Let's take that to an extreme. If one was on trial for Murder, could claiming that one had not read (let alone signed) the law(s) governing the Killing of another human being be grounds for dismissal of the charge? I think not!
Likewise Contracts of Service, that are printed and set out in a Public Place to which anyone can have access, are deemed enforceable in Law.
By responding to this subject I have agreed to abide by a Contract, as set out by CruiseMates, even though I have signed nothing.
The fact that this is a problem is indicative that some folks want to dress per the guidelines and others want to remain casual every night. I'm not surprised to see folks weighing in on both sides of the argument. The cruise lines can accommodate both if they provide more dining venues, e..g one floor of the dining room is casual, one is per the current guidelines, add more alternative dining options. What complicates doing this is customers being assigned to the same wait staff each night. For example, we would take advantage of the more relaxed restaurant to save time, however we also like the formal dining room. Maybe some variation on NCL's freestyle dining would work, possibly like Princess's. You can sign up for assigned/traditional dinner or "personal choice". I've also noticed that RCL has started turning the WindJammer buffet into a casual restaurant at night, with food that is nearly the same as what is served in the main dining room. We really like that, however having a server would top it off nicely.
Bottom line is it is up to the cruiselines and for people to book on the line that offers them each option. In that sense they should enforce the dress code be it casual or dress or evcen formal. Let the market deciede
It all still boils down to the fact that will the cruise lines enforce their own dress codes even when they offer casual alternative restaurants? Will the Maitre D have the authority to turn away a couple who are dressed casual nice but want to get into the formal dress required night dining room? This scenario will present itself and that is why i think that there should be a dining room designated as formal only for one or two nights on a 7 day cruise, and it should be by reservation only, formal dress required.
Its not just on formal nights either. If the cruise line specifies no shorts, t-shirts in the main dining rooms during dinner hours then that should mean no shorts and ti-shirts in the main dining rooms during dinner hours, period, that's pretty clear cut, if you show up to eat in the main dining room in shorts and a t-shirt expect the Maitre D to turn you away and direct you to the bistro, buffet or cafe.
Wow, so many people have very strong feelings on this subject. My vote in NO on dress codes. There are 4 men in my family. After saving for a very long time to pay for our cruise we can't afford to rent a tux for each of them. We will dress nicely (not in our underware like I read on someones post). I have also read that we should choose another dining option, well you can't get a steak in the buffet. Hope you all have as much fun on your cruise as I plan on having.
Not weighing in on which dining room you should choose, but you actually can get steak on the buffet on RCCL. Much of the food in the dining room is available on the buffet. I still contend that the best solution is more options at dinner, and then enforce the recommended dress for that choice.
Just returned from the Glory and the sign at the entrance stated in large letters that "Dress code enforced". I even saw some people stopped and asked if they could help them as they entered the room as they were not properly attired beinging in shorts etc. Maybe the lines are starting to enforce the dress code after all.
Cheryl - just so that you know, on a cruise line formal isn't limited to tuxedos. Suits, blazers with dress pants, dress shirt & tie are fine.
Formal night is very special on a cruise ship, as long as you have dress clothes - think something that you would wear to an evening wedding you will be just fine, don't miss it.
I do resent the post the implied that if you get dressed-up for formal night you are uppity and snooty, obviously you have not meet myself, husband, son and our cruise circle of friends. We are hard-working, good natured "common folk" who like to get dressed up for special occasions. We totally love the whole ambiance of formal nights on a cruise ship.
I have been to several land restaurants where there are dress codes enforced, as well as bars and clubs. If I wasn't dressed appropriately for these places, they wouldn't have let me in. Also, if I wasn't dressed appropriately and wasn't allowed in, I would simply go somewhere else. My point is, if I don't like it, I don't go. And if I don't know the rules, it's not my fault. And if I make a reservation at a restaurant that requires formal attire without knowing their rules, when I get there and they don't let me in, it IS my fault for not checking. Same idea, different scenario: I go to a foreign country with only American dollars. When I booked my trip no one let me know that the country used a different form of currency. I can't spend any of my money in this country. Is that the country's fault? Is it the service which I booked my trip through's fault? Nope. It's mine.
SO, it's not the cruise line's fault that you don't know their rules. Never go blindly into a trip without knowing what you're getting into.
Nor is the attempt to circumvent the system a RIGHT.
The information is there, everwhere, you just need to look.
All of the Celebrity brochures not only explain the dress codes, but inforn how many formal and informal nights you can expect on each itinerary. The explain the suggested wear for each night, as well as a statement of adhearance for ambience and respect of fellow passengers.
You will also find this information on the website. the only conflict I have noticed is the necktie vs no necktie. Some information suggests shirt, tie, and jacket , others suggest shirt and jacket. My train of thought is that you do wear a tie with a shirt and jacket...but thats a grey area that should be clarified.
IN ADDITION to the dress codes listed, there is a reference to ALTERNATIVE dining options for those who do not want to dress for dinner.
The cruise line is not shunning, neglecting, or turning away those who do not want to dress, they are PROVIDING a venue for them. In other words as a customer you have the choice to dress or not for dinner, in turn the cruiseline is giving you the choice follow their rules and dine in the main restaurant, or not abide by their suggestions and dine in a more casual setting venue, which by the way is the same quality of service, and most if not all have the same or similar menues. If they do not, you can ask for something different and THEY WILL oblige you.
So this "I'll do what I want, I paid for it", "It's not fair", "I refuse to dress" attitude is nothing but bull-crap from selfish, inconsiderate, boorish people who cry foul when they cannot get their own way and need total anarchy to be able to enjoy a family vacation to the spoils of everyone else.
Many upscale restaurants have at least a jacket requirement, and if you don't have one many will rent you one...If you don't have a tux or suit on a cruise you can rent one. But for the good quality tuxes at Penny's now, and the low priced affordable suits and sportscoats that are now abundant...there is really no excuse. A dark suit can be used for weddings, funerals, business...etc A tux is a little more restricted, but still a good thing to have if you cruise a lot. The alternative is a dinnerjack. For about 100.00 you can get a nice offwhit/whit jacket wear it with black pants and shoes, a white shirt, bow tie...alsao FORMAL. Most men own black pants, belt shoes, white shirt...spring for an inexpensive jacket and bow tie and you have the James Bond look...its not that difficult to do and your fellow cruisers will compliment and appreciate your effort.
My only gripe is with TA's that do not tell first timers, or simply don't care to let their customers know what is appropriate.
Most recent cruises:
Celebrity Century - CocoCay 01/12/06
Celebrity Mercury - Mexican Riviera 03/17/06
Celebrity Mercury - Alaska 09/08/06
Celebrity Century - Freeport 01/04/07
RCL Monarch OTS - Ensenada 01/11/07
Celebrity Zenith - W. Caribbean 03/23/07
Azamara Quest - CocoCay 10/24/07
Celebrity Century - W. Caribbean 01/03/08
Celebrity Galaxy - Mediterannean 06/09/08
Celebrity Millenium - PNW 09/19/08
Dave - EXACTLY! - but some people just don't "get" it. It still mystifies me that people think there are no rules when it comes to vacations. It doesn't matter if you go to a nice land based restaurant in your hometown, at a vacation destination or on a cruise, if that restaurant has a dress code you are expected to abide by it, and if you don't be prepared to be turned away at the door, plain and simple. End of Discussion