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Old May 25th, 2003, 12:36 AM
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Default formal nights really so strict?

Hello
My boyfriend and I are leaving on the western carrib. cruise next friday, we are pretty laid back, young folks (21 and 24) and had just planned on skipping the formal nights and eating in the buffet. After reading this board I am afraid of formal nights! Are you really required to dress up just for the buffet, and in all public areas? I don't want to offend anyone, but I didn't think it would be a big deal just to wear casual clothes and eat in the buffet.
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Old May 25th, 2003, 02:06 AM
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Default Re: formal nights really so strict?

Liz... Don't worry, it's NOT true. Formal nights do usually feature their top menus in the dining room, and it would be a shame to skip them, rather than dress up a bit to go.

However, if that's what you chose, you can make reservations and dine at the buffet, in casual clothes with no problem.

And even though the ship's dress code does mention formal clothing is required in all public areas throughout the evening, it is NOT enforced, and it's quite common to see many people changing into more casual attire after dinner.

It may not be what a few of the purists like to see, but at present, those are the facts!

I highly recommend making an effort to dress up and dine in the dining room, and enjoy the ambience, but you WILL NOT be shunned, if you choose to dress casual and eat at the buffet.

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Old May 25th, 2003, 11:44 AM
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Default Re: formal nights really so strict?

I'm planning on going casual on formal nights because I will not be travelling with my wife. I will be alone and see no reason to dress up. It would be different if my wife was with me, then we would probably dress for the occasion, but since I have no one to share the occasion with, I will be eating in the buffet. I'm sure there are many people who don't want to dress formal.
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Old May 25th, 2003, 12:24 PM
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Default Re: Re: formal nights really so strict?

Kuki--

Have you capitulated?

As recently as a few months ago you were saying that your biggest pet peeve in cruising is that the rules are not enforced.

Now you are saying that since the rules aren't enforced it's OK to ignore them. It seems to me that it's hard to justify complaining when you advise people to wink at the rules.

Celebrity asks for formal nights to be observed in the lounges, show roooms, etc., throughout the evening. Naturally, a whole lot of people don't comply. So does that make it OK to turn the evening into a night at the sports bar?

AR
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Old May 25th, 2003, 12:32 PM
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Default Re: Re: formal nights really so strict?

Earl--

Are there others to be considered besides yourself?

Seems to be something of a self-centered attitude.

Naturally, you can do whatever you want to, but some others in your position might conclude that the best way to have a good time in the circumstances might be to get into the spirit of the evening, meet some people, and go with the flow.

AR
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Old May 25th, 2003, 01:21 PM
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Default Re: formal nights really so strict?

AR...not capitulating at all. I still think on formal nights people entering the dining room should be dressed appropriately, and still think people should follow the suggested dress code.

It is the cruise lines offering the casual alternate dining. Once they make that offer, it's difficult to tell people they can not make use of any of the ship's other public rooms.

If the cruise line were to choose to enforce their own policies I'd back them 100%. I was stating the reality of the situation, not my personal preference.

When I see the cruise line actually turn someone away from the dining room for being dressed inappropriately, according to their guidelines, I'll report it. Until then, the facts are the facts.

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Old May 25th, 2003, 01:27 PM
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Default Re: formal nights really so strict?

Amen, Kuki. When lines like Celebrity offer a casual alternative to formal nights, you cannot expect people who choose to avail themselves of that option to go back to their cabins and sit on their hands the rest of the night! They have just as much right to go see the shows, etc. as those who ate in the dining room and are dressed more formally.

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Old May 25th, 2003, 03:06 PM
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Default Re: formal nights really so strict?

Some folks need to get updated and current.

Yes, Celebrity personnel are enforcing the dresscodes during formal nights in the public lounges and the Celebrity theater.

So....... if you are planning on skipping the dining room on formal nights ... don't be surprised or shocked.

It has often amazed me that people will go and book a Celebrity cruise and moan and groan about formal nights. Celebrity... from day one... has been known as being more dressy than the other mass market lines.

Oh.. btw... in the various ship's DAILIES.... the dresscode is no longer REQUESTED....
it is REQUIRED!!

Results may vary depending on who the senior officers.. especially the Hotel Manager...are.... some are really clamping down.
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Old May 25th, 2003, 03:37 PM
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Default Re: formal nights really so strict?

Well Babette... we can wish that it were true. I did notice, and comment, that the daily stated REQUIRED dress codes.
However, on our 14 day Connie cruise (which ended May 10, so is pretty current<G>), not only wasn't there enforcement in the public rooms, it wasn't enforced in the dining room. We saw folks who weren't even wearing ties admitted to the dining room on formal nights.

I do agree, and have said it often here, people should look to cruise lines who's "suggested rules of behavior" most closely match what they are looking for in a cruise vacation, rather than hope the cruise line adapts to what they want.

BUT... until the cruise lines take steps to back up their "suggested rules of behavior and dress" some people will continue to assume they don't mean it.

If the cruise lines set and enforce boundaries, it will also make it easier for people to clearly see the differences and book their cruises accordingly.

With the upgrades Celebrity has made with their enhancement program I do believe they have set themselves apart from the other premium brands. Having the courage to take it the extra step and actually enforce their rules of behavior, would be another upgrade in my opinion. Though I haven't seen that happening yet.

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Old May 25th, 2003, 05:24 PM
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Default Re: Re: formal nights really so strict?

Babette--

I'm with Kuki on this one. While he was on the Connie transatlantic I was on the Millie transatlantic and the "results" were the same: you could go where you wanna go and do what you wanna do in whatever duds you wanna do it in.

Everything from jeans on formal night to little kids running up and down the aisles interrupting the late shows in the theater with no adult supervision in sight.

We did draw the line when a guy came in and sat next to us in the deck 10 cafeteria shirtless. We registered our complaint, but it took a full 20 minutes for it to go far enough up the chain of command for somebody to tell him to leave and go put a shirt on.

So perhaps they're cracking down on the other seven ships, but apparently not on the Connie and Millie. They're talking a good game but I've yet to see any serious enforcement.

AR
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Old May 25th, 2003, 06:13 PM
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Default Re: Re: formal nights really so strict?

Kuki,

However, if that's what you chose, you can make reservations and dine at the buffet, in casual clothes with no problem.

I have yet to see anything official from Celebrity, Princess, or any other cruise line saying that the prescribed evening attire is not required for dinner the buffet restaurant, even though it's certainly widely assumed that such is the case. Have you seen anything official in this regard?

And even though the ship's dress code does mention formal clothing is required in all public areas throughout the evening, it is NOT enforced, and it's quite common to see many people changing into more casual attire after dinner.

I have no doubt that this was the case on your cruise. OTOH, like other responders in this thread, I have seen reports indicating that Celebrity Cruises is implementing a policy of strict enforcement of evening dress standards. Under the circumstances, the assumptions that either (1) your ship's policy is fleet-wide or (2) your ship won't implement a new policy in this regard by its next cruise seem risky. The only prudent advice seems to be that all passengers should conform to the dress code.

Norm.
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Old May 25th, 2003, 06:39 PM
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Default Re: formal nights really so strict?

have yet to see anything official from Celebrity, Princess, or any other cruise line saying that the prescribed evening attire is not required for dinner the buffet restaurant, even though it's certainly widely assumed that such is the case. Have you seen anything official in this regard?

Norm.. what I've seen is people in shorts and t shirts dining in the Lido Deck buffets on all the ships I've sailed, since they began offering alternate evening dining.
I do recall it being called casual alternate dining in one of the daily newsletter, but I don't recall which.
Regardless of what they call it, the fact is it is casual dining. You won't find anyone in a tux dining there formal nights.

I have no doubt that this was the case on your cruise. OTOH, like other responders in this thread, I have seen reports indicating that Celebrity Cruises is implementing a policy of strict enforcement of evening dress standards

Rather than "hearing reports" of what they're doing, I'd wait to see posts from people who have recently sailed Celebrirty and witnessed people being turned away, before I believed that was the case.

I know before Carnival bought Princess and broke your heart, you posted alot on the Princess message board about that line maintaining dress code standards as well. Yet the reality was, they did no better job in dealing with this matter than other lines.

When/if the enforcement comes I'd be amongst those applauding the move. However, I wouldn't give them credit for doing so, before the facts are proven. We've seen these things in print in cruise line brochures and information packets for much too long where it's just wasting ink.

Simply... saying it's so, or wishing it's so, doesn't make it so. Their actions will make it so, not just having officers give it lip service, when discussing it with inquisitive passengers.

I have sailed Celebrity twice in the past 13 months, and have absolutely enjoyed the line, and the atmosphere, and will share raves about all the positives. But I can not go along with making it something it's not.



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Old May 26th, 2003, 08:20 PM
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Default Re: Re: formal nights really so strict?

Kuki,

When/if the enforcement comes I'd be amongst those applauding the move. However, I wouldn't give them credit for doing so, before the facts are proven. We've seen these things in print in cruise line brochures and information packets for much too long where it's just wasting ink.

Simply... saying it's so, or wishing it's so, doesn't make it so. Their actions will make it so, not just having officers give it lip service, when discussing it with inquisitive passengers.


I agree with your thrust here, but I also invite your attention to the earlier post in this thread by Babette. Posts in other threads on this board also have reported that the staff on some of Celebrity's ships are enforcing dress codes now.

I have sailed Celebrity twice in the past 13 months, and have absolutely enjoyed the line, and the atmosphere, and will share raves about all the positives. But I can not go along with making it something it's not.

Again, I think we agree in principle. It appears that, at best, Celebrity's practice with regard to enforcement of dress codes currently is a mixed bag, with some ships enforcing dress codes strictly and others are not. This sort of mixed bag is fairly normal druing a transition period that oocurs whenever a cruise line is in adopts a change in policy because it takes a certain amount of time to train the crews of all ships in the new way of doing things. The important question is which way the change in policy is going, as it's only a matter of time -- perhaps two or three months -- until the new policy becomes the universal practice throughout that cruise line's fleet.

Norm.
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Old May 27th, 2003, 11:58 AM
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Default Re: Re: Re: formal nights really so strict?

Norm--

I have no doubt that somebody in the front office has put out a memo about stricter enforcement.

However, I'm not nearly as optimistic as you that it will take hold.

Certainly, no enforcement activities of any kind will be undertaken by any staff member who earns his/her living via tips, for obvious reasons. As for the bosses, they're torn between enforcement and not angering people, and it's always easier not to anger people.

First tenet of management: mid-managers tend to take the course of least resistance. If the boss isn't on board, you don't do anything to risk getting written up negatively on an evaluation. Put another way, you'll never be SINGLED OUT for not enforcing the rules, but you sure as hell might be for doing so.

So it's likely to wind up being a short flurry of spotty enforcement, then back to business as usual.

AR
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Old May 27th, 2003, 06:22 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: formal nights really so strict?

AR,

Certainly, no enforcement activities of any kind will be undertaken by any staff member who earns his/her living via tips, for obvious reasons. As for the bosses, they're torn between enforcement and not angering people, and it's always easier not to anger people.

Recent posts in forums like this one and recent letters in magazines like Cruise Travel certainly indicate that more than a few people get quite upset by lack of enforcement of rules -- whether it be people who can't get a deck chair by the pool because somebody is reserving the vacant ones, people frustrated by the deterioration of the formal atmosphere on formal nights due to inappropriate attire, or any of a myriad of other rules. The passengers who are incensed by lack of enforcement might well be less visible due to the lack of direct confrontation of such individuals, but that does not diminish their anger -- and it just may come out in the form of diminished tips in general, negative comments and lower grading on evaluation forms, or in other ways that are somewhat difficult to quantify because there's nothing to which anybody can make a comparison.

First tenet of management: mid-managers tend to take the course of least resistance. If the boss isn't on board, you don't do anything to risk getting written up negatively on an evaluation. Put another way, you'll never be SINGLED OUT for not enforcing the rules, but you sure as hell might be for doing so.

If I were the manager of a cruise line, any crew member who acted appropriately to enforce the rules and torqued off a customer in the process would get a bonus for that very fact -- and any passenger who gave a difficult time to a crew member about complying with the rules would be off the ship in the next port of call.

Fundamentally, this is a safety issue. If the rules and the authority of the ship's officers and staff don't mean anything, there's certain to be chaos during a real causualty -- and that chaos can result in loss of life. The authority of the ship's rules, officers, and staff simply cannot be open to question or challenge.

Norm.
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Old May 28th, 2003, 12:28 AM
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Default Re: formal nights really so strict?

I agree that formal dress code should be enforced in the dining room, but we always change into more comfortable clothes after dinner. Not grungy-- "church" clothes that are very nice. They better not tell us we can't go into the theater in clothes we would normally wear to the theater at home. The whole idea is ludicrous. We paid for a cruise that includes nightly entertainment and we are going in. If they get nasty about it, that will be the last Celebrity cruise we will go on. If enough people quit cruising with them over stupid, picky rules,--they'll change them. $$$talks. How can they expect people who eat in a casual buffet or have room service to then put on formals and suits or tuxes just to go anywhere else on the ship? It makes no sense. Are we all sheep?
This continuing dress code debate has made me apprehensive about our Celebrity Aaska cruise this summer on Summit. We've sailed twice on RCI's Explorer and I've never seen anyone inappropriately dressed on formal nights in the dining room. The formal dress code doesn't extend to the rest of the ship and people in the theater seemed to be dressed nicely, some still in formalwear, some not.
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Old May 28th, 2003, 06:12 PM
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Default Re: Re: formal nights really so strict?

Kathie,

The formal dress code doesn't extend to the rest of the ship and people in the theater seemed to be dressed nicely, some still in formalwear, some not.

Such policies actually may vary radically from cruise line to cruise line. On my last several cruises with Princess, for example, there were clear notes in the Princess Patter stating that "The evening dress code applies thoughout the ship from 6:00 PM onward" or something similar. When a line makes such a statement, it's clear that your statement is not applicable to the line in quesiton.

I'm not sure where Celebrity's policies lie in this regard, but I would expect that Celebity would tend toward the idea of a formal evening rather than only formal attire for dinner.

Norm.
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Old May 28th, 2003, 06:44 PM
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Default Re: formal nights really so strict?

Norm....
And like Celebrity, on Princess the dress codes are not enforced. The public rooms are accessed by folks no matter how they're dressed.

Strict enforcement could actually be interesting. All those with late seating would be forced to stay in their cabins before dinner <G>

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Old May 28th, 2003, 10:26 PM
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Default Re: Re: formal nights really so strict?

Kathie--

Fine by me if you want to go on RCI or any other line.

It's called "formal NIGHT," not "formal dinner."

Being sheep has nothing to do with it. If I'm at a formal event at a hotel, I don't go rushing up to my room to change clothes between dinner and the evening's program. That's silly. I don't find my tux particularly constraining. Once I've gone to the trouble of putting it on, I have no great urge to run off and change, plus I like the atmosphere of "formal NIGHT," and would hope fellow passengers would adhere to the spirit of it as well.

But, of course, as you say, you've paid your money and you can do anything you please. That's what makes America great, and it's what makes Americans so well-loved the world around. And it's why the cruise lines will not take up the courage of their convictions.

Because they wouldn't want to anger you.

AR
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Old May 31st, 2003, 12:11 AM
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Default Re: Re: formal nights really so strict?

Kuki,

Strict enforcement could actually be interesting. All those with late seating would be forced to stay in their cabins before dinner <G>

No, one might dress for dinner and go to a lounge for a pre-dinner dance or perhaps a stroll around the promenade followed by a beverage of one's choice....

The reality is that there does seem to be a transition window between 5:00, when some passengers at first sitting start appearing in their eveningwear, and 7:30 or so, when the last passengers with second sitting who arrived in the casino or the pools before 6:00 tend to drift back to their cabins to don their evening attire.

Norm.
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Old June 8th, 2003, 07:36 PM
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Default Re: formal nights really so strict?

I have been on many cruises from Seawind to Seabourn, and I can tell you that MANY of us change clothes after dinner. I have two tuxes and a white dinner jacket, so am not constrained in that regard. However, I do not enjoy staying in a tux after dinner. I have also been on fancier ships than Celebrity where less than 60% of the men were in tuxes. Most were, however, in dark suits; but some, sadly, were in plaid pants and coats. Bad anywhere.
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Old June 8th, 2003, 09:36 PM
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Default Re: formal nights really so strict?

Kuki's right - I was on the CONNIE transat too and the enforcement was minimal if at all. There seems no rhyme or reason - we were on the MERCURY on a 7 day cruise this past Fall and they were enforcing it: the theatre was a "no go" for those who didn't get into the spirit. On a trip where it seemed a ot more casual overall.

Even the "Ocean Liners" extra-fare restaurant specified different dress depending on the night - albeit a bit spiffier than the main dining room - saying on your reservation confirmation on a "casual" night that a jacket was required and on another that "jacket and tie" were the order of the day. Or night.

That said, I've never seen anyone turned away from a ship's dining room if they conform even minimally - a jacket and tie on formal night, jeans (even when they say khakis) on informal. I HAVE, otoh, been required to wear an ill-fitting blazer in order to eat a sandwich in the dining room at the St. Regis in Washington, where we were staying ON A SUNDAY EVENING IN AUGUST. It wasn't like Bill and Hil were gonna stop by for a snack...or put on a soup-stained tie to conform to the rules some restaurants on land set. I figure I'm more subversive sitting there in it, making their rules look a lot more foolish than I could possibly do.

You know folks, this is a debate I could care less about - if you want to surround yourself with the formally dressed, go to the SF Opera in San Francisco or the Symphony in Berlin. Or the Acadamy awards if you can scare up an invite. Likewise, if the "hang loose" look is more "you" how 'bout a NASCAR event or the inside the track at the Kentucky Derby? If "whoever" is clean and neat, I think that's OK, even as I'm in the tux: what they look like, apart from any egregious departures from the norm is about THEM, not you, so why get in a swit?

If you feel like "I had to dress up so they should too" well, that's not quite the right 'tude for a nice night out, now is it? If you see it as visual pollution - messing with your Edwardian elegance fantasies a la Leo crashing the first class dining room on the Titanic - well, I do feel sorry for you there - the cruise cost a lot more than the $8 you paid to see the movie...but come back to earth and if you must, pose in front of that brown sheet, now standard on every ship at sea, of the stairway and buy the picture.

Today, people go to Broadway shows and the NY Philharmonic dressed just about any old way they like and the jokes are just as funny or fall as flat, the music soars or lands with a thud and it has nothing to do with the way people are dressed.

Do I like "formal" nights? I must as I have two tuxes and two dinner jackets and enough occasions to wear 'em on land too. And I'm not in a band. Or the Masons. But do I insist you do too, or want you to avoid something, if you don't? Come on.
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