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  #1 (permalink)  
Old February 9th, 2005, 10:02 AM
Doris Miller
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Default Get rid of semi-formal nights!

I enjoy dressing up on a formal night once or twice durning a cruise. The rest of the days should be casual. Semi-formal's are a pain! If my husband wears a tux for the formal nights, he is expected to wear a coat and tie on a semi-formal night. It is a pain to pack all that for one night. We are just having him wear a shirt and tie for the semi, no suit! But I would still rather have another casual night. I have talked to quite a few people out there and most would enjoy less dressy nights. I know we could eat elsewhere but I think they should listen to the majority and what they want!
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Old February 9th, 2005, 10:28 AM
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Default Re: Get rid of semi-formal nights!

i agree. semi-formal nights are a pain. like yourself i enjoy really dressing up two or three times during a cruise, but semi-formal is kind of a 'nowhere land' as far as dressing goes, and to pack extra dress slacks, shoes, and sport coat is a problem, at least for me. on semiformal nights, i usually opt to dine in the lido. besides, on hal, i always wear nice trousers and a good casual, collared shirt for causual nights -- that is 'semiformal' enough for me.
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Old February 9th, 2005, 11:47 AM
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Default Re: Get rid of semi-formal nights!

I always just treat semi-formal night like another casual night. In fact, it wasn't until a few cruises ago that I even realized there was a semi-formal night (I guess I never read the pre-cruise documents closely enough!). There must be an awful lot of people who either don't know or don't care about semi-formal night because I have never felt out of place in my casual clothes.
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Old February 9th, 2005, 12:19 PM
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Default Re: Get rid of semi-formal nights!

okay, here we go again.

The very nature of cruises began as an elegant means of travel. Many of those of us who have been traveling, via cruises for 20+ years miss the days gone by of dressing up for dinner and dining in an elegant setting.

That being said, slacks and sundresses for woman , and collared shirts and slacks for the men are more than adequate for the non-formal nights. On formal night and all the men that in our group wear dark suits on the formal nights and look stunning.

Personally, I think jeans and shorts are inappopriate in the dining room, however, I know that the maitre d' often relaxes that on days in port if the departure is a bit late.

All I am saying is lets keep some of the elan in cruising so that it doesn't become simply a boat with drinks.

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Old February 9th, 2005, 12:40 PM
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Default Re: Get rid of semi-formal nights!

With the exception of the high end lines Semi-formal is for all intent and purposes gone. HAL used to, (maybe still does), have Formal, Semi-Formal, and Casual nights. I brought a sports coat for the semi-formal night and discovered that I was the ONLY one at my sitting that had a jacket on! Needless to say, I have not brought a sports coat again to any cruise. I wear a tux and dress well and for the evening but a jacket is not on my packing list any longer.
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Old February 9th, 2005, 12:40 PM
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Default Re: Get rid of semi-formal nights!

Most of the ships have 2 dinning rooms. Can't we figure something out? One dinning room can be formal/semi-formal. The other could be for slackers, slobs and loosers like me! I'd love to be able to wear my sweats to breakfast. My DH could wear his hat and my kids could wear their sandals.

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Old February 9th, 2005, 02:01 PM
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Default Re: Get rid of semi-formal nights!

Between Pebbs and HappyCruiser383 posts I am in total sympathy. Jim,, not sure on his angle but it looks like he's not into it.

Formal, semi formal, informal. I just want people to look as if they have made an effort!

I am comfortable with people that look as if they have taken the time to come to dinner. Its the "up yours" approach to both the line and fellow diners that winds me up!!

And before anyone says otherwise. The people that do it are well aware of exactly how they are presenting themselves. Looking to make a point? Looking to be confrontational, who knows their minds?

But if the line does not take a lead on behalf of its passengers with recommendations for dress that night,,,,,then itís a free for all.

Plus and my real point
I cannot have Christine going into a panic attack because she does not know what every other woman on the ship will be dressed like that night <g>

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Old February 9th, 2005, 03:36 PM
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Default Re: Get rid of semi-formal nights!

DavidB

I agree, the way you said it....I am only really put out when I see flip flops, sweat pants, crummy shorts, bathing suit cover ups, NASCAR/Budwieser t-shirts and hats and sneakers and believe me.....I have seen this in abundance.

My rule, in dining, is align your dress mode with or above the wait staff. If you are eating somewhere where the waiters are wearing hawiian shirt....wear a Hawiian shirt, but if the waiters are wearing tuxes, shouldn't you be a bit more dressed up?

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Old February 9th, 2005, 04:15 PM
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Default Re: Get rid of semi-formal nights!

I don't know what all the lines do, but the one I take the most has some itineraries that are all casual. And some itineraries have what they call casual, INFORMAL, and formal nights. Here, informal means all men need do is add a jacket to their casual dress and go. No tie required. Everyone seems to adhere to this. And, it is really not too bad.

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Old February 9th, 2005, 04:29 PM
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Default Re: Get rid of semi-formal nights!

Looks like Carnival had changed semi-formal to elegant casual - whatever that one means lol. Will take some extra "fancy duds" just in case - Only 24 days til the Pride - yeah!!! ttfn Jennifer
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Old February 9th, 2005, 04:30 PM
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Default Re: Get rid of semi-formal nights!

Hi Doris,
I totally agree with you on this subject as well. We did notice that Princess dropped this night and just have the formal and casual, I think thats the way to go. To pack another jacket along with a suit or tux for just one night is a waste. If we weren't planning on going to Chops on Jewel, we would of just left the jacket at home and treat that night like a casual, we noticed most do. In fact the last time my husband did pack and wear a jacket/tie on semi/formal night, he was in the miniority, most were in just shirts and pants.

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Old February 9th, 2005, 05:34 PM
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Default Re: Get rid of semi-formal nights!

Formal . . shmormal! Let's eat!

I can understand adhering to a dress policy at a fancy restaurant. If a person chooses to go there, they must dress appropiately.

We're just talking about eating food here aren't we folks? This country has gotten too fomal and snooty. Let's all just gather out front on the porch swing and sip some iced tea while grandpa plays his guittar! Relax a bit, ya know?

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Old February 9th, 2005, 06:30 PM
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Default Re: Get rid of semi-formal nights!

For what it's worth, I'd like to see the dressiest code (for men) to be sports coat and slacks. And I'd also like the more casual code to be enforced and to require men to wear at least slacks, loafers, and sports shirt (no jeans, shorts, flip flops, or T shirts) for evening dining. Luggage limitations on air lines are just too restrictive these days to allow packing formal wear --- along with all the other clothing and items needed for a cruise. This is especially true of longer cruises. And face it, it's a hassle to haul heavy luggage through customs. And in other parts of the airports, sky caps are all but extinct.

It is difficult to explain to some, but in my part of the country, I can go to the local Mercedes Benz Cub meeting in good jeans and not be out of place --- and nobody looks like a bum. Darn few of our restaurants even require a tie. Only working executives and professionals even own a dark suit (which they promptly lose upon retirement) and almost nobody owns a tux! So formal night is a bit of a "culture shock" to us.

But, no, I wouldn't object to formal nights if the luggage situation really allowed for it. These days, IMO, it does not.

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Old February 9th, 2005, 11:33 PM
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Default Re: Get rid of semi-formal nights!

I too am in favor of eliminating "Semi-formal" and having just Formal and Casual and having a clear definition of casual and Enforcing it. The terms "Smart Casual", "Sport Casual", "Country Club Casual" are too confusing. Are they casual? Are they semi-formal? Can I wear a polo shirt? Do I have to wear a jacket?

I just love the terms such as "Smart Casual". Does that mean you put your clothes in front of the Discovery Channel for an hour before you wear them? A "Sporty" outfit. Is that a Packers jersey and a pair of cleats?

Country Club Casual: Does it have to have a polo player and horse, penguin or Greg Norman logo on the front to qualify?

I wore a sport jacket on Royal Caribbean on "Smart Casual" night and I was basically looked at like I was from another planet. But then again with everyone making their own rules and the cruise lines and dining room staff not knowing or enforcing the rules it doesn't mean anything anyway.

I was evil because I didn't wear my blazer on all Smart Casual nights of a 10 night Princess cruise because even a blue blazer doesn't match everything.

Here are the mainstream cruise lines dress codes. Let's just say you need a Palm Pilot to keep track of each line. BTW: These are all current as of 2/9/05

Carnival:
Formal Wear: tuxedo (optional); suit and tie; sport coat, tie and slacks; evening gown; cocktail dress;
Casual Resort Wear: sport shirts and slacks; dresses; skirts; pantsuit

Princess:
There are two designations for attire.
Smart Casual, passengers dress as they would for a fine restaurant at home. Appropriate attire includes skirts/dresses, slacks, and sweaters or blouses for ladies and pants and open neck shirts for men. A jacket and tie is optional.
On Formal nights, appropriate attire includes evening gowns and cocktail dresses for ladies and tuxedos, slacks with dinner jackets, or suits for men.

HAL:
Comfortable, relaxed clothing is fine for evenings designated as casual; however, T-shirts, jeans, swimsuits, tank tops and shorts are not allowed in the dining room, Lido restaurant, or public areas during the evening hours.
During informal nights, dresses or pantsuits for women and jackets (tie optional) for men are standard.
On festive formal evenings, women usually wear cocktail dresses or gowns and men usually wear business suits or tuxedos.

Celebrity:
Formal attire calls for an evening gown or cocktail dress for ladies and a tuxedo, dinner jacket or dark suit for gentlemen.
On informal nights, ladies may wear an informal dress or pants and blouse, while gentlemen may wear a jacket and tie with slacks.
Casual nights call for casual, comfortable wear, so women may opt for a pantsuit or sporty outfit while gentlemen may choose a sport shirt and slacks.

Royal Caribbean:
Casual: Sport shirts and slacks for men, sundresses or pants for women
Smart Casual: Jackets and ties for men, dresses or pantsuits for women
Formal: Suits and ties or tuxedos for men, cocktail dresses for women.

NCL
Resort casual attire is always appropriate morning, noon and night. If you like, you can slip into a pair of khakis and a polo shirt, a skirt and blouse or a sundress for dinner. We do not allow jeans, T-shirts, shorts, cut-offs, tank tops, bare feet, etc. in any of the restaurants at dinner.

Radisson Seven Seas:
Casual wear includes open neck shirts, slacks and sport outfits.
For informal evenings, dresses or pantsuits, coats and ties are suggested.
Formal evening-wear is gowns and cocktail dresses, tuxedos, dinner jackets or dark suits

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Old February 10th, 2005, 12:16 AM
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Default Re: Get rid of semi-formal nights!

I agree folks, there is too much confusion (the confusion comes from not what we already know, but the cruise lines definitions)

for example, all of the definitions of "formal" said a tux is suggested, and a dark suit is ok. Formal means formal - tux - black tie. A business suit is business, it's what you wear to work. We had a national tv consultant come speak to us about what to wear at what meetings etc, and when, skin tones, colour co-ordination, do's dont's, what you can and can't get away with.
Anyway - daytime stuff is standard suit colours (sorry boys, no lime green) including dark blue grey and black, and gen rule the later the meeting in the evening the darker the colour. Same goes for business or semi-formal on board. Formal should remain "formal"

For what it's worth, I agree, formal and smart casual (enforced by the clothing police) should be the dress.

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Old February 10th, 2005, 11:01 AM
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Default Re: Get rid of semi-formal nights!

According to Mike's post informal and smart casual categories equal semi-formal, which I didn't see in the list anywhere.

I agree, casual and formal only.

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Old February 10th, 2005, 11:18 AM
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Default Re: Get rid of semi-formal nights!

I agree that the names the lines give their dress codes need to be brought more within the common understanding of those terms. But, am I the only one who does not care for Formal Nights (whether it allows dark suits or not)? Surely not, as every other discussion I've seen on this and other boards always brings much support from tne anti-formal night crowd! Of course, many cruisers also really like these formal nights, and I wouldn't like to see wheir wishes disregarded either.

My points? First, I'd like to see the larger ships have formal night in only one or more restaurants, while reserving other restaurants for casual or informal. Then, I'd like to see these ships drop the requirement, when formal night is held in some venues, that formal wear is required in all public areas after 6:00 PM. Large ships carry as many people as some small towns in my area, and just because there is a formal event on a night somewhere in such a town does not mean that all residents have to dress formal to go outside! Small ships should offer comparable sailing options, some having formal nights, and some not.

I don't want to see formal nights abolished on all cruises as, from what I see, about 50% of cruisers like them. 50% don't. But far more than 50% of all sailings of all lines have formal nights that are mandatory in most dining areas, as well as the WHOLE ship after 6:00 PM. I'd just like to see more options for those of us who don't want to pack a tux or dark suit, with all the shoes, shirts, ties, and etc. that go along with it.

Does anybody agree?
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Old February 10th, 2005, 01:15 PM
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Default Re: Get rid of semi-formal nights!

I also don't care for formal nights and would like to see more options available for casual diners that were equivalent to dining in the main dining room. I usually end up dining at the Lido Buffet, which was actually quite good on my last Princess cruise, but wasn't so good the last time on Carnival. I don't know about other lines, but on Princess and Carnival, I've never had a problem not being dressed formally around the rest of the ship after 6:00. So many people change right after dinner anyway. If there was an after-6:00 rule, it was widely ignored.
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Old February 10th, 2005, 07:45 PM
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Default Re: Get rid of semi-formal nights!

Thank you mike for your post! Kinda like a spread sheet of info.

I like the idea happycruiser had about a formal and casual dinning area. My husband and I would use the formal every night, but some people (especially those in larger parties with children) would rather not go through the hassel of getting every one dressed up. I think more people would be happy. Those who have been cruising for a long time would not be offended by another person's casual wear if they were in the formal dining area.

Not to mention my sister is at that age where she MUST try on 6 outfits before she decides what to wear so this would cut down on her number of suitcases.

Oh and the cruiseline could ask you at the time of booking which dining you would prefer. I think this would be a good gallup poll survey so they could work out the kinks;
what if some people want to have one formal night?
what if others want to have one casual, but the rest formal?
how many people would really rather have more formal nights?

One big problem though, as the younger crowd comes along many (unlike me who is younger) would prefer the casual route. Oh well just a thought....

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Old February 10th, 2005, 11:20 PM
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Default Re: Re: Get rid of semi-formal nights!

I believe there will always be two formal nights on seven day cruises on most lines because of the profit made from selling photographs.
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Old February 11th, 2005, 09:50 PM
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Default Re: Get rid of semi-formal nights!

My vote is with the formal and casual nights only. Eliminate the semi-formal - or whatever the heck they are calling it.

I hope the cruiselines never abandon the dress code on the less formal nights, though. I don't want a formal night on every night, but I do want the experience that dining in a nice restaurant brings and that DOES NOT include shorts and t-shirts!

dorothy

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Old February 11th, 2005, 11:13 PM
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Default Re: Get rid of semi-formal nights!

Another brilliant post by Dorothy! You go girl ! ! !

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Old February 14th, 2005, 10:14 PM
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Default Re: Get rid of semi-formal nights!

You think the guys have it bad deciding on what to wear on formal night, try wearing high heels when the ship is rocking!.

Have you noticed that every formal night is usually on a "sea day" and us ladies are trying to walk around in gowns or formal attire and "HIGH HEELS". Yikes.....I have enough trouble walking in any shoes when the ship is rocking, and it's not the pre-dinner martinis either! Maybe be I should wear a tux and flat shoes for formal night as well.

Hey guys....my hubby bought his "first ever" suit just three years ago after we went on our first cruise and he's 63.

Just today he was trying on tuxedos (didn't buy one though a little too expensive). But he is really into cuff links and french cuff shirts.

He now owns three suits and loves dressing up for formal nights. He's worse than a girl....anyway I'm not complaining, he looks so handsome all dressed up and we love formal nights.

Now if I can just not bring 10 pairs of shoes with me, I can fit his extra sports jacket in the suitcase.

Happy cruising to all whatever you want to wear!
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Old February 15th, 2005, 05:16 PM
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Default Re: Get rid of semi-formal nights!

How about trying to get your swollen feet INTO those high heels on the last formal night? Ouch! Maybe we could all wear our slippers that night??

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Old February 16th, 2005, 09:52 AM
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Default Re: Get rid of semi-formal nights!

So we have gone from cruising being an elegant form of travel to "a day at the beach, a night at the bowling alley".

And it is not just eating, it is dining....that is why it is called a dining room.

I know I make people steamed with my comments, but I don' t think we are way to snooty in the country, I think we are way to casual. I remember when you dressed up to go to the mall or to fly. Casual has its place, but so does dressy, and I think that if you go to a restaruant (or a dining room) and are greeted by a maitre d in a tux.....that should be a clue that this is a dressy place.

Why do you choose to cruise if you don't want to dress up....it is as much a part of cruising as drinks with umbrellas and sunsets on the Promenade.

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Old February 16th, 2005, 10:40 AM
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Default Re: Get rid of semi-formal nights!

pebbs:

First, let me assure that on the "all casual" cruises we've taken, nobody dressed like they were in a bowling alley. Also, it is clear that having formal nights on cruises is something that is very popular with a good number of cruisers, maybe 50%. The other 50% don't really care for them. One obvious solution would be for a line that ran, for example, a W. Caribbean "season" of 7 night cruises to alternate. One week the cruise could be all casual. The next week could have formal nights, perhaps more than the two that are customary. And so on. So everyone could be able to cruise "their way."

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Old February 16th, 2005, 12:38 PM
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Default Re: Get rid of semi-formal nights!

Everyone *can* have "their way" - it's called dining in the restaurant (buffet style) that doesn't HAVE a formal dress code.

dorothy

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Old February 16th, 2005, 12:48 PM
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Default Re: Get rid of semi-formal nights!

Pebbs "Why do you choose to cruise if you don't want to dress up" I chose cruising so I could see many places for my vacation dollar. I wanted choices not a typical "resort" lounge. 9 bars and a designated driver was nice too! It certainly wasn't just because we could dress up.

I agree that cruises are known for formal and fancy but that reputation was developed back in the Titanic days. Back in the 1800's! This is 2005. Having a choice is a great thing.

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Old February 16th, 2005, 01:26 PM
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Default Re: Get rid of semi-formal nights!

Pebbs agree with your scentiment to an extent, but not completely

HappyCruiser, dressing and feeling good is not a reputation from the past. A lot of people still like doing it today, its a big part of the vacation for a lot of us.

So its back to the old saying "pick the line and pick the ships" were people think and react like you......and thats for both camps of opinion.
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Old February 16th, 2005, 02:38 PM
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Default Re: Get rid of semi-formal nights!

Well, I don't really think that folks who don't like to dress up on a cruise need to be treated like second class citizens and sent to the buffet! Further, on formal night, many ships extend the dress code to ALL public areas after 6:00 PM. And with some guests, it's not a matter of not wanting to dress up, especially on European cruises where it seems most appropriate. Rather, it's a matter of not wanting to haul all that luggage half way around the world --- in light of all the luggage handling we in the traveling public seem to have to do ourselves these days. Dressing up for dinner on ocean liners is the historical basis for formal night. But have you ever seen the big steamer trunks that guests had carried onboard by porters? Can't get those on the plane, and I haven't seen much in the way of porterage BEFORE one gets to the ship.

I've followed the "dress up or not" debate on the cruise boards for four years now, and it seems like at least 50% of cruisers don't really like to dress up on cruises. The only problem is that far fewer than 50% of all sailings are "casual only" So us "casual types" aren't given our proportionate share of cruise opportunities. In the few sailings where it is offered, "all casual" is most popular!

And, around 50% of cruisers seem to really like formal nights. But on most sailings, they are accorded only one or two a week. For these cruisers, sailings with more formal nights should be offered ---- maybe all nights. I'll bet these sailings would be popular a well. As these would involve more selective and lighter packing, I might even enjoy these as well!

Bottom line, I wish cruise lines would quit trying to have "one size fits all" cruise experiences. It doesn't work, as the cruising public is too diverse in likes and dislikes.

Thanks,
Richard
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