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  #1 (permalink)  
Old December 9th, 2009, 05:17 PM
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Default seeking point of reference for formal dress

Hi everyone (waves to all the friendly people!)

I am in the planning stages for our first cruise. I have always wanted to cruise and now that we are retired we are going to go for it! Our dream cruise is a crossing on a Cunarder and a tour of the Mediterranean but first we are going to do a micro-cruise to Alaska to make sure we will love it as much as we hope we will. We have traveled extensively world-wide, but usually in the cargo holds of C-130's!

I am hoping there are retired military here who will understand the frame of reference.

I've been reading til my eyes cross and I think I have the formal thing figured out but thought maybe someone on here could verify my assumptions: I think it is the same as a formal military dining-in in terms of dress, with tuxedoes or dinner jackets rather than mess dress. Correct?

I am also assuming that the dress codes for the casual are similar to what is expected in a military (Air Force) dining facility - but maybe not as strict on the open-toe shoes and exposed underarms!

So I am planning on a simple, tasteful and elegant evening dress for myself and a tuxedo for my spouse with "good enough for sunday" rounding out the wardrobe. We like dressing up and are looking forward to it.

Sorry if this question sounds a bit goofy but for 22 years there was never a question about what to wear, just check the regs!

Thank you
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Old December 10th, 2009, 11:09 AM
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You can dress as formal or informal as you choose. You can wear evening gowns and tuxs and not be out of place. Casual nights are much less formal then the mess hall. You can wear slacks with a nice top and your hubby wear dockers with a nice shirt if you choose. I choose to dress in cocktail dresses and slacks on my cruises for dinner but then I choose not to take any "pictures" on the cruise either. You may want to do that for your first cruise. Have a great time planning.
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Old December 10th, 2009, 03:01 PM
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A lot depends on the cruise line you select. And they all have places in their on line websites that give you their guidelines.
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Old December 15th, 2009, 06:30 PM
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I have seen military personal in Class A's but I have never seen one in mess dress aboard ship.

Tuxes & dark suits are most civlians' attire.
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Old December 18th, 2009, 01:12 PM
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Military dress clothes are perfectly acceptable for formal night.

Otherwise, It depends on what cruise line you are on. Probably a good idea to gfo to the board for the line you are on and see what people say there.

On Celebrity, Princess and Holland America you will find most men in dark suits - tuxes are almost retro, people are not wearing them much anymore.

On Carnival, NCL and Royal Caribbean you will find some people will do little more than a jacket with a collared shirt on formal night.

BTW: always wear slacks in the dining room, never jeans or shorts. Also wear collared shirts, never t-shirts.

All the above is for men...

Ladies have more leeway - almost anything goes for formal - except for casual pants. Dark colors always work better, but if you have a formal outfit of lighter colors that is great. I am just saying you can away with a more casual look if it is black than if it is pink.

Open-toed shoes are fine, short heels better than flats, just no sandals. I guess i shoud not go on for ladies, Im out of my realm.

Be sure to look for special discounts for military and retired military!
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Old December 19th, 2009, 04:06 PM
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Paul, NCL allows jeans now. At least they did on the Pearl. If you wanted to wear jeans you went to the Indigo Room or a specialty restaurant instead of the Summer Palace. If you wanted to participate in formal night, you ate in the Summer Palace. Other restuarants were resort casual every night, jeans accepted.
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Old December 19th, 2009, 06:37 PM
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thanks for the update m.o.m.

Somehow jeans just dont seem right for a dining room.
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Old December 20th, 2009, 01:04 PM
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If you enjoy dressing up, take a tux or rent one from the cruiseline (see their website). If, like me, dressing up is a bother AND you still want to attend formal nights, take a black suit (you can pack it on the plane by wearing all or part of it). The suit makes three outfits - a full suit, a coat with other slacks, suit pants with a casual shirt. Finally, you can take no formal clothes and simply skip formal night by not eating in the MDR.

I've seen people wearing inappropriately casual clothes to the MDR on formal nights but I recommend at least a sport coat and tie so as to not spoil the night for those who love dressing up.

P.S.: Your dress uniform is, OF COURSE, considered to be formal wear. I thank you for your service to the country. If you consider it easy enough to pack, go for it. But the simple black suit may be easier to pack.
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Old December 20th, 2009, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul Motter View Post
thanks for the update m.o.m.

Somehow jeans just dont seem right for a dining room.
I agree, but I did appreciate that NCL now gives people a choice. The two main dining rooms, the Summer Palace and the Indigo Room, shared a galley, so had the same exact food. This kept those who did not want to dress, from "crashing" the formal dining room on formal night.

Also, I guess, because people could dress in resort casual, you did not see a large number of people "dumbing down" after dinner and changing into their shorts, sloganed tees and flip flops. They stayed in their button down collared shirts and khakis or dockers, so over all it looked MUCH better than my last few cruises did that had formal night.

Now I still prefer HAL to NCL, but I did like that NCL did this.
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Old December 22nd, 2009, 01:10 AM
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Default thanks!

Thank you so much everyone for the great info.

Personally I am looking forward to the formal nights! We hope to do a crossing on the QM2 next year and I'm really excited about that! I think we will save the ultra-formal mess dress uniform for that.

I like the idea of a dark suit and mixing it up to get more mileage from it. With what airlines charge for checked bags now the more multi-purpose the wardrobe the better I'm thinking.

If we have half as much ON the cruise as we are having planning for it this will be pretty skippy! :-D
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Old December 22nd, 2009, 01:37 PM
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Roxy, if you are planning sailing on the QM2 then yes, traditional formal attire will definately apply, dress uniform definately and a long formal dress or a very dressy cocktail dress
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Old December 28th, 2009, 07:35 PM
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RoxyDoxy,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
I am hoping there are retired military here who will understand the frame of reference.

I've been reading til my eyes cross and I think I have the formal thing figured out but thought maybe someone on here could verify my assumptions: I think it is the same as a formal military dining-in in terms of dress, with tuxedoes or dinner jackets rather than mess dress. Correct?
On most cruise lines, the standard of dress for "formal" evenings is "modified black tie" (which means that a dark business suit is an acceptable substitute for those who do not own a tuxedo or a dinner jacket outfit, commonly called "black tie"). The correct equivalent uniform, therefore, is the "black tie" uniform, commonly called "mess dress" (IIRC, officially called "Evening Dress" in the Marines and "Dinner Dress White/Blue Jacket" in the Navy). Most cruises are in the tropics or the summertime, so the white jacket is proper for services that have it, but the dark jacket is proper for cruise to Europe in the spring or fall. Members of the armed forces who are not required to posess that uniform rightfully substitute the prescribed alternative (Dinner Dress White/Blue in the Navy). On Carnival's "Elegant" evenings, the "Service Dress" uniform would appear to be the nearest equivalent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
I am also assuming that the dress codes for the casual are similar to what is expected in a military (Air Force) dining facility - but maybe not as strict on the open-toe shoes and exposed underarms!
For gents, a shirt with a collar and a pair of dress slacks or khakis, with socks and dress shoes, is in order. For ladies, a nice "top" and a skirt or slacks, with dressy shoes (nylons optional) will suffice. A sweater or jacket or, for ladies, a shawl is optional.

Norm.
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Old March 24th, 2010, 05:42 PM
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Most definitely it depends on the cruise line & the nationality too, some lines are very hot on the formal attire, Cunard spring to mind. I have heard that Americans & Australians are not as keen on dressing up as say the Brits.
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Old March 25th, 2010, 07:57 PM
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johnthed0g,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You View Post
Most definitely it depends on the cruise line & the nationality too, some lines are very hot on the formal attire, Cunard spring to mind. I have heard that Americans & Australians are not as keen on dressing up as say the Brits.
We're far from monolithic.

>> There are some Americans who want it as casual as they can get it, and who think that jeans and a "T" shirt should be acceptable attire at a "black tie" event.

>> And then there are some Americans who so bemoan the loss of elegance as our society has grown so casual that they seek out cruise lines that still have true "formal" evenings on which they can "dress to the nines" without feeling out of place.

Norm.
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Old March 28th, 2010, 08:27 AM
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I agree, but I did appreciate that NCL now gives people a choice. The two main dining rooms, the Summer Palace and the Indigo Room, shared a galley, so had the same exact food. This kept those who did not want to dress, from "crashing" the formal dining room on formal night.

Also, I guess, because people could dress in resort casual, you did not see a large number of people "dumbing down" after dinner and changing into their shorts, sloganed tees and flip flops. They stayed in their button down collared shirts and khakis or dockers, so over all it looked MUCH better than my last few cruises did that had formal night.

Now I still prefer HAL to NCL, but I did like that NCL did this.
I don't like that NCL recently started allowing shorts at dinner,since my cruise in Nov. 2008. I am hoping they will still keep one restaurant with a smart causal dress code. Does anyone know if you are to dress better for the one dining room?
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Last edited by momofmeg; March 28th, 2010 at 08:37 AM.
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Old March 28th, 2010, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Rev22:17 View Post
johnthed0g,



We're far from monolithic.

>> There are some Americans who want it as casual as they can get it, and who think that jeans and a "T" shirt should be acceptable attire at a "black tie" event.

>> And then there are some Americans who so bemoan the loss of elegance as our society has grown so casual that they seek out cruise lines that still have true "formal" evenings on which they can "dress to the nines" without feeling out of place.

Norm.
Norm, since most ships have 2 dining rooms, or at least a dining room that is on two decks-if not two dining rooms-I can't understand why they can't have a dining area where you dress nicer, and then have another dining area for the more causal dressers. (besides the lido, as that is the gripe, people want to have lobster and dress super casual, their excuse for not dressing to suggested code when they come to the main dining room)
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Old March 28th, 2010, 09:54 AM
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I always thought the idea of a "formal" night was exactly that, the night is formal throughout the ship as a theme, not people just dressing as they like depending where they dine.
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Old March 28th, 2010, 12:56 PM
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I always thought the idea of a "formal" night was exactly that, the night is formal throughout the ship as a theme, not people just dressing as they like depending where they dine.
Supposedly still so, but unfortunately many "dumb down" after dinner to their shorts and Birkenstocks or Crocs. One HAL cruise, I saw a young woman in Daisy Dukes (very short cut off denim jeans that barely cover the behind) and a midriff top on formal night around 9 pm in the piano bar.

On other cruises, (one Carnival and one RCI) people wore their jeans, sloganed tees and tennis shoes to dinner on formal night. Now HAL would never allow that in their main dining room, but it seems they can't prevent people dressing down after dinner.

So,since people do this anyway, I am am fine if they designate dining areas for how you dress.This would actually be an improvement to the way things are now.
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Old March 28th, 2010, 01:44 PM
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I suppose so....I don't understand it though.
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Old March 28th, 2010, 01:56 PM
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I suppose so....I don't understand it though.
Unfortunately, if you want to go to dinner and eat with people even dressed smart casual, now you have to go more upscale than mainstream, or even mainstream premium lines. The masses just do not want to dress up at all, and those of us who like the ambiance of formal night are in the minority.
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Old March 28th, 2010, 02:13 PM
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Well... I can understand to a degree that they don't want to dress for dinner, what I don't get is why, having dressed up for dinner, they want to go to the bother of going back to the cabin to change again.
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Old March 28th, 2010, 03:05 PM
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Well... I can understand to a degree that they don't want to dress for dinner, what I don't get is why, having dressed up for dinner, they want to go to the bother of going back to the cabin to change again.
Because they pick out uncomfortable clothng, shoes that hurt, etc. Young women, especially, will pick out a gown that they need a strapless bra. (which becomes very painful after an hour or 2) I learned a long time ago to pick out dressy clothing that is also comfortable. I also have dress shoes that are very comfortable, and I don't find these things an unnecessary expense,as there are always weddings and other occasions where I will also wear this clothing.
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Old April 6th, 2010, 07:54 PM
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momofmeg,

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Norm, since most ships have 2 dining rooms, or at least a dining room that is on two decks-if not two dining rooms-I can't understand why they can't have a dining area where you dress nicer, and then have another dining area for the more causal dressers. (besides the lido, as that is the gripe, people want to have lobster and dress super casual, their excuse for not dressing to suggested code when they come to the main dining room)
The division of a main dining room, or two or more main dining rooms, between "formal" and "casual" probably would be a management nightmare for all of the lines that still offer "traditional" dining (that is, fixed tables with assigned first and second seatings). Invariably passengers who want the ambiance of a "formal" evening would be seated in the "casual" area or dining room and vice versa.

On ships with multilevel showrooms, it probably would be quite easy to direct those who "dress down" to the balcony, but what about the other evening entertainment? It's rather difficult to split a piano lounge, or a lounge featuring Karioke, or a lounge with a live combo for dancing, into "dressy" and "casual" areas.

Overall, the more practical solution seems to be differentiation between cruise lines, with each cruise line enforcing its prescribed standards of evening dress strictly. It would be very easy to put a standard box bearing a notice like

Quote:
Originally Posted by Example Notice for Very Dressy Cruise Line
ABC Cruises features the elegance of true "formal" evenings. Our staff serve passengers who do not wear the proper evening attire only in limited "alternative casual" venues that are separate from the main dining and entertainment areas. Passengers who wish a more casual cruise experience should consider our sister lines, RST Cruises and XYZ cruises.
or

Quote:
Originally Posted by Example of Notice for "Smart Casual" Cruise Line
RST Cruises offers the casual elegance of "smart casual" evening attire every night of your cruise. Our staff serve passengers wearing denim fabrics, "T" shirts, or shorts only in limited alternative venues that are separate from the main dining and entertainment areas. Passengers who prefer a dressier cruise experience should consider our sister line ABC Cruises, while passengers who prefer a less dressy cruise should consider our sister line XYZ Cruises.
or

Quote:
Originally Posted by Example of Notice for "Anything Goes" Cruise Line
XYZ Cruises offers a relaxed casual atmosphere in which jeans or shorts and "T" shirts are always acceptable attire. Of course, passengers who wish to dress up for a special occasion are always welcome to do so. Passengers who prefer a dressier cruise experience should consider our sister lines ABC Cruises and RST Cruises.
in a prominent location in the line's brochures (probably in the upper right corner of the first inside page) and on the home page of the line's web site to help prospective passengers make appropriate choices.

Of course, there will always be those awkward situations in which she wants "black tie" and he wants "jeans and T shirt"....

Norm.
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Old April 11th, 2010, 09:10 AM
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That is a good idea Norm. If the cruise lines are very upfront about the dress code first cruisers would have an easier time finding a line that suits thier needs.
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Old April 13th, 2010, 08:20 PM
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katlady,

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That is a good idea Norm. If the cruise lines are very upfront about the dress code first cruisers would have an easier time finding a line that suits thier needs.
Actually, the photos in the brochures usually are a reliable indicator of the standards of dress and the ambiance that each cruise line sets.

More fundamentally, I have an issue with unenforced rules in general. Failure to enforce rules in a consistent and fair manner breeds the attitude that the rules, and the authority that enacts them, don't matter. This attitude translates into people ignoring authority -- which could be deadly aboard ship, and especially so in an emergency.

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Old May 14th, 2010, 06:29 AM
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The allurebridal I think is the only one fit for a wedding, but as it is to be a more casual wedding you don't want to necessarily be dressed so formally. The others you choose, however, felt to "prom dressy" and would not be appropriate for a wedding.
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Old June 20th, 2010, 03:28 PM
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Crikey, Norm. If the brochure photo's are a valid indicator, then I can't cruise until I lose weight, and lose some years off of my age! But, seriously, I think the brochures always seem to show dressier models than the reality. Especially, Carnival and NCL. I actually have 2 cruise wardrobes. One for HAL, one for Carnival and NCL. Huge different between them.
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Old June 20th, 2010, 08:12 PM
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Crikey, Norm. If the brochure photo's are a valid indicator, then I can't cruise until I lose weight, and lose some years off of my age! But, seriously, I think the brochures always seem to show dressier models than the reality. Especially, Carnival and NCL. I actually have 2 cruise wardrobes. One for HAL, one for Carnival and NCL. Huge different between them.
Marty
Marty, you are SO funny ! I love your "down to earth" opinions (they match mine !).
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 05:52 PM
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Marty,

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Originally Posted by You View Post
Crikey, Norm. If the brochure photo's are a valid indicator, then I can't cruise until I lose weight, and lose some years off of my age! But, seriously, I think the brochures always seem to show dressier models than the reality. Especially, Carnival and NCL. I actually have 2 cruise wardrobes. One for HAL, one for Carnival and NCL. Huge different between them.
Perhaps you misunderstood. I said that the photos are a reliable indicator of the standard that the line sets.

I did not say that the photos in the brochures are a reliable indicator of what the riff-raff onboard actually do.

Of course, ladies and gentlemen actually do dress in the manner prescribed by the line and thus in the manner pictured in the brochure.

Which means that what you see onboard any given line is a pretty good indicator of the mix between riff-raff and polite society that the cruise line actually draws....

Norm.
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Rev22:17 View Post
Marty,



Perhaps you misunderstood. I said that the photos are a reliable indicator of the standard that the line sets.

I did not say that the photos in the brochures are a reliable indicator of what the riff-raff onboard actually do.

Of course, ladies and gentlemen actually do dress in the manner prescribed by the line and thus in the manner pictured in the brochure.

Which means that what you see onboard any given line is a pretty good indicator of the mix between riff-raff and polite society that the cruise line actually draws....

Norm.
Well, I don't quite know how to respond to your post . It sounds as if you are saying that people who don't dress to the "brochure" standard's are "riff-raff" . I know you're all for formal dress when appropriate, but I can't believe you'd call someone "riff-raff" for not dressing to your standards ?

I consider myself "polite society" even when I'm dressed in shorts or jeans.

I'm hoping that I misunderstood!
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The Point DRESS CODE--NON-Formal nights karessamom Ask CruiseMates Staff 2 July 13th, 2005 05:10 PM
formal dress dee-lynn Cruise Dress / Packing 1 January 19th, 2004 10:30 AM
Formal dress Don G Cruise Dress / Packing 0 April 7th, 2003 04:53 PM
Formal Dress TONY Princess Cruise Lines 6 January 20th, 2002 09:04 PM


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