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  #1 (permalink)  
Old May 9th, 2002, 08:40 AM
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Default SMART CASUAL VS. FORMAL

I see the words smart casual all over the place on these cruise boards and have used it myself. I'm ASSUMING that it means what you would wear to church, a day wedding or an upscale restaurant ( not a TGI Friday's).
So tell me why there are so many posters that feel that this type of clothing is inappropriate for formal night? Formal according to the dictionary is what you would wear to a "dinner party", I've attended many dinner parties and never once saw a tux or gown, I must be hanging out with the middle class types. I think that the cruise lines should be more spacific, why not just call it a "Black Tie Event" instead of formal night, I would then ignore the dining room and eat elsewhere, but since I'll be dressed for a dinner party, I will show up in my smart casual clothes on formal night. JMHO
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Old May 9th, 2002, 08:58 AM
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Default Re: SMART CASUAL VS. FORMAL

O.K. ...........Are you dressing "smart casual" or "formal?" There obviously is a difference in your opinion if I read your post correctly.

I don't think many people are going to care if you dress smart casual to formal night. You will not be alone, for sure. It is the jeans and t-shirt crowd that turns heads and instigates conversation.

Regards,
Thomas
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Old May 9th, 2002, 10:05 AM
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Default Re: SMART CASUAL VS. FORMAL

Sushi. Hi! The definition of the term "smart casual" seems to be at the crux of the question. I can only tell you how a couple of up-scale ships that have no formal nights but require "smart casual" or "country club casual" for dining room dinners define the term. For men, this means slacks (no jeans or shorts of any kind), a sports shirt with a collar ( no tees), socks, and shoes other than athletic shoes, such as dress loafers or tie shoes. By these ships' definition, a sportscoat and/or tie is not required, and is seldom seen in the dining room.Womens' rules are similar, plus the addition of a skirt and blouse (no tank tops) or appropriate dress. As you can see, "smart casual" so defined is not very formal and IMO would be out of place on a night designated "formal night". This particular line designates smart casual dress on all nights only on iteneraries such as Tahiti and Alaska, where the daily activities of the guests and the location of the cruise are deemed by the line to make traditional formal nights perhaps inappropriate. However, the same line does have traditional formal nights on other iteneraries, such as Europe, etc.
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Old May 10th, 2002, 08:17 AM
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Default Re: Re: SMART CASUAL VS. FORMAL

I agree! It's not the "smart" (or "business" or "resort") casual that ticks me off on formal night it's the shorts - jeans - t-shirts - flip flops. Just too big a disparity.
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Old May 10th, 2002, 11:24 AM
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Default Re: Re: SMART CASUAL VS. FORMAL

Unfortunately, RCI has formal and smart casual. I think that they intend for men to wear a tux and suit on formal nights and a sports coat or blazer on smart casual nights. If that is their intention, I think they have gone too far, and I intend to wear a nice shirt and slacks rather than a sports coat on such nights.
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Old May 10th, 2002, 08:28 PM
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Default Re: SMART CASUAL VS. FORMAL

Well... sorry to say I think you are correct about your dining company. Formal is formal. I don't think it is a matter of opinion. And, on board a ship, it is wonderful. A delightful elegance that transcends class and status... it is, in the opinion of many, a highlight of the cruise experience. Must you dress formally? Naw... many do not... but, in the eyes of many of your fellow passengers, if you do not, that "places" you. I guess it does get back to class, in a way.
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Old May 11th, 2002, 10:08 AM
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Default Re: SMART CASUAL VS. FORMAL

Hi, Ernie MCC. Of course formal means formal, which I have observed involves wearing a tux or dark suit. Wouldn't think of going to formal night any other way. It would make me look worse than I already do! Most of the discussion on "formal" has been initiated by those who want a cruise with no designated formal night, not the ability to go to formal night in inappropriate dress. And I think more cruises than do need to offer "no formal night" cruises to meet this demand. But many others like you really like the formal nights (sometimes I do too), so I have been asking why the lines don't offer some cruises with MORE formal occasions than just the two nights plus catpatin's reception that is the "standard drill" on a 7 day cruise to meet this demand. No answers. Do you know of any such cruises with more formal opportunities?
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Old May 13th, 2002, 07:38 AM
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Default Re: SMART CASUAL VS. FORMAL

Well... for one, there is a Transatlantic Crossing on the QE2. Of course, this is NOT a cruise, but a "crossing" (lots of differences). These crossings are generally 6 nights (a few are 7) between New York and Southampton. Of the 6 nights, 4 are formal... and the code lasts throughout the evening. It is just delightful.
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Old May 13th, 2002, 10:51 AM
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Default Re: Re: SMART CASUAL VS. FORMAL

I don't mind wearing a coat and tie once in a while, but you will never find me on the QE 2.
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Old May 13th, 2002, 11:15 AM
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Default Re: Re: Re: SMART CASUAL VS. FORMAL

To Paul B: This is my point exactly; that some prefer formality and some prefer informality. Sitll others might want formality at one time and not at another. There's no right or wrong here (except for dressing inappropriately up or down for the ship's designation); it's a matter of personal preferences. So it's good to know that the QE 2 is a highly formal experience on a ship (though not a cruise but a crossing). I'm still wondering if any true cruises are more formal than the usual two nights out of seven. They have "specialty cruises" like big band, baseball, adults only, and children-oriented cruises, as examples. Why not a "formal cruise"?

And, on the other hand, I'm still looking for more "smart casual" or "country club casual"than the ones I know about, which are Radisson's Paul Gauguin in Tahiti and their Navigator in Alaska.
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Old May 20th, 2002, 04:46 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: SMART CASUAL VS. FORMAL

Its not so much the formal nights that are a bother, its the 'informal' nights. Celebrity requires coat and tie on these nights too. They have 2 formal, 2 informal and 2 casual. I would be much happier with 2 formal and the rest casual. All this dressing up takes away from the fun of the formal nights. Its also too many clothes to pack!!

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Old May 21st, 2002, 10:12 AM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SMART CASUAL VS. FORMAL

RCI tries to do the same thing. However, on Radiance, many of the men started wearing s[orts shirts with collars and dress slacks on "smart casual" nights. I intend to do the same thing and leave my bulky sports coat at home.
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Old May 21st, 2002, 11:58 AM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SMART CASUAL VS. FORMAL

Celeb. requires a coat and tie on "informal nights" and has formal nights too? Wow, that is a lot of packing. Especially in , i.e. a Caribbean cruise where beach clothing gets so dirty so quickly that a large quanty of that must be packed also. Sounds like it would be easier on the guests if they just converted the "informal nights" to additional formal nights. This would ease the burden on guests of having to pack an additional "level" of clothing, and would quickly find a market among those cruisers who really love formal nights (and there are many).
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Old June 1st, 2002, 11:03 PM
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Default Re: SMART CASUAL VS. FORMAL

Sushi,

"I see the words smart casual all over the place on these cruise boards and have used it myself. I'm ASSUMING that it means what you would wear to church, a day wedding or an upscale restaurant ( not a TGI Friday's).
So tell me why there are so many posters that feel that this type of clothing is inappropriate for formal night? Formal according to the dictionary is what you would wear to a "dinner party", I've attended many dinner parties and never once saw a tux or gown, I must be hanging out with the middle class types. I think that the cruise lines should be more spacific, why not just call it a "Black Tie Event" instead of formal night, I would then ignore the dining room and eat elsewhere, but since I'll be dressed for a dinner party, I will show up in my smart casual clothes on formal night. JMHO"

First, you are making a serious mistake by assuming. You do know what happens when you ASS-U-ME, don't you???

Second, you need a new dictionary. The one that you have is misleading you.

In social etiquette, the designation of an event as "formal" means that proper attire is "black tie" (unless it's specified as "white tie") for gentlemen and an evening gown or formal cocktail dress for ladies. The designation of "semiformal" means that proper attire is normal business attire -- that is, a business suit or a coat and tie for gentlemen and a cocktail dress or women's suit for ladies. Anything else is considered to be "casual" attire. You can verify this in any book on social etiquette.

Most major cruise lines have modified the standard for "formal" attire by admitting a dark suit instead of a tuxedo or a dinner jacket for gentlemen as an accommodation to the fact that many gentlemen do not own tuxedos. In the last couple decades, however, times have changed. Now, many gentlemen don't own business suits, either, so they end up renting tuxedos anyway. The result is that tuxedos have become much more prevalent, and some cruise lines, seeing a chance to make money through on-board rentals, certainly are encouraging their return.

Social etiquette book does not define the terms such as "smart casual" and "country club casual" that some cruise lines might use to further clarify what sort of attire is expected on casual evenings, but these terms generally refer to the same attire that was expected on evenings designated as "casual" in the past. Basically, men wear a shirt with a collar, slacks, and dress shoes (coat and tie are optional) and women wear a dress or a blouse with a skirt or slacks. Blue jeans and T shirts are out.

Of course, you would have known this if you had bothered to read the information book provided by your cruise line that explains, among other things what the standards of dress are. When your cruise line provides information to you, take the time to READ IT. Don't ASS-U-ME!

Norm.
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Old June 1st, 2002, 11:07 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: SMART CASUAL VS. FORMAL

Paul,

Princess has done likewise -- that is, dropped semiformal nights and changed the designation from "casual" to "smart casual." There's no requirement for coat and tie in the "smart casual" designation.

Norm.
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Old June 1st, 2002, 11:13 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SMART CASUAL VS. FORMAL

Babe Ruth,

The real tradition of cruising is that all sea days were either formal or semiformal (not informal).

BTW, NCL now advertises a policy of "formal optonal" on all of their cruises. I don't know whether they split the ship into formal and casual areas on the "formal optional" nights or just have everybody together in disparate attire.

Norm.
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Old June 12th, 2002, 12:30 AM
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Default Re:to ErnieMCC; Formal nights

Ernie. Your posts have convinced me to buy a tux to fully experience formal nights. We are going on the RSSC Mariner from Niece, France to Rome this Sept. I don't think I would fit in on formal nights there (especially in Monte Carlo) without a tux. And, I will have it for future cruises, where maybe I will gain an understanding of the attraction of many cruisers to formal nights. Perhaps, you have gained a convert?

Thanks
Richard
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Old June 12th, 2002, 12:35 AM
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Default Re: Re:to ErnieMCC; Formal nights

Error, I meant the RSSC Navigator, not the Mariner. Sorry!
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Old June 12th, 2002, 03:17 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re:to ErnieMCC; Formal nights

Second error! It is the Mariner. Old age is heck, isn't it?
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Old June 12th, 2002, 03:22 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: SMART CASUAL VS. FORMAL

Babe Ruth, another cruise line that offers smart casual dining is the Windstar Line.
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Old June 21st, 2002, 05:04 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SMART CASUAL VS. FORMAL

Quick question about formal nights. On those nights, are you supposed to stay in your formal clothes for the whole evening? Does that mean for all the evening activities you need to be crippled in your high heels? oy. I wasn't sure. Something about wanting to change into more comfortable clothes after dinner that appealed to my husband and myself when we cruised on the Sun Princess a couple of weeks ago.
Thanks,
SueZ
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Old June 21st, 2002, 11:20 PM
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Default Re: SMART CASUAL VS. FORMAL

Yes, you really are expected to stay in those formal clothes for the evening ... and you'll look as spiffy as the rest of the passengers - and feel as elegant. Now if those high heels are crippling you, maybe you should bring lower heels (even flats) - no one said you should suffer. It is your cruise.

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Old July 25th, 2002, 05:07 PM
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Default Re: SMART CASUAL VS. FORMAL

Sushi wrote:

Formal> according to the dictionary is what you would wear to a "dinner
> party",


Must have been a dictionary edited by NCL or Carnival.
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