I would say HAL most formal, then Celebrity, then Princess, then Carnival, then Royal Caribbean, based on our experience. BUT I would also say--my husband wore a tux, and I wore a gown on all of them, and never did we feel overdressed!! (on formal night of course).
All of the major mid-priced lines will have two formal nights on a 7-night cruise. On NCL, there are more alternatives for those who do not wish to dress up. I see a larger number of men wearing tuxedos on Princess than Carnival and NCL. Celebrity has two additional nights where men are encouraged to wear sport coats. It's a little more formal than Princess. I haven't been on a HAL cruise.
I wear a tuxedo on formal nights. If I were in a dark suit, I wouldn't feel out of place on Princess.
Of the two lines, Celebrity & Princess, Celebrity is definitely the more formal of the 2.
On our recent Princess cruise in 7/03, 2 of our male friends wore tuxedos, but my husband wore a suit. There were more tuxedos and formal gowns on our 2 previous Celebrity cruises.
as the others have stated, Princess is more formal that Carnival and NCL. You will see women in long dresses, dressy cocktail/party dresses and dressy pantsuits, the men will have on tuxes or dark suits,same goes for kids and teenagers.
Princess is definitely more formal than say Carnival or NCL. I just returned from the Carnival Glory and was surprised at the way people dressed. In spite of reading the boards and comments, I was still somewhat amazed. I was on the Brilliance in March and did not see that many real casual people at dinner but it was a 10 day cruise.
I've been on 6 cruises in 3 yrs., 5 different lines, and I realize times are changing, but people on Carnival pushed the button to the max. I'm not talking young folks, or any particular group, just overall appearance was very casual. We sat with an older woman who wore shorts to dinner several nights, didn't change my dinner any but it did surprise me.
I just came back from the Western Carribean cruise on the Grand Princess last week (9/14 - 21). There were 2 formal nights and we work tuxedo's. There were plenty of men who wore suites, some with just sport coats.
They say you can't wear shorts in the dining rooms. We did on a couple of nights and had no problems.
Don't try shorts in the dining room on any Cunard ship or for that matter anything less then a suit on "infromal" nights...Dressin up doesn't bother me since part of the fun of a cruise is the dressing up, being served and having a goodtime. if I want to wear jeans, shorts or coverup to the dining room I would go to a beach resort...