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Old May 26th, 2006, 10:28 AM
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Default Solution to formal night dilemma

Morning all. I am shiny new to cruisemates and cruising. Our first is next month on a two week land/cruise Alaskan adventure on the Princess Sapphire. I have thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of this forum, (have gleaned an enormous amount of practical and usefull information) and have decided to dive into the breach and address what seems to be one of the most contentious and devisive topics of cruising; yes I speak of formal night attire.

I have what appears on the surface, an equitable solution to this and if I am the 1000th to suggest it please pardon my newbie ignorance.

On the first night of the cruise, the ship can provide a simple RSVP card that passengers can fill out regarding their intentions in donning formal or casual clothes on the formal evenings. This card could be placed on doorknobs, collected and then tallied by the ship to produce a percentage breakdown of the guests personal preferences. The ship could then divide the different restaurants into the appropriate ratios so that each group of passengers could dine in their environment of choice.

Does this seem reasonable and does anyone know if a ship has ever attempted to implement such a system?

Brewster
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Old May 26th, 2006, 10:56 AM
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hi Brewster Welcome and thumbs up for diving into the breach. HAHAHA

That sounds like a good idea. Its for this reason that they have dining options in place already. Nobody has to dress up. They can go to alternate dining whenever they want. Those who want to join in on formal dining can do that every night if they want to as well.
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Old May 26th, 2006, 11:57 AM
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Thanks so very much for the warm welcome Dina. I am aware of the alternative dining choices but have read so many bickering posts between the two camps; formal vs. casual, (Jets vs. Sharks?) and what is and is not appropriate, that I thought designated restaurants might act as a fair compromise so that everyone could dine on those nights with like minded dinnermates.

I would like to say again how impressed I am with this board and the wealth of information that I have been able to procur for my trip. As I said, my first cruise is not until next month but as a result of this forum I feel I know more about the different aspects of ships, cruising and the overall experience than my TA. (For example: I know what a TA is.) Unfortunately, he has been rather lukewarm in providing salient information to a novice like myself, to the point he has incurred the moniker of 'My tepid travel guy.' You guys have proved invaluable!

Brewster
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Old May 26th, 2006, 02:33 PM
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Brewster, I can feel and understand your dilemma. God I've been in this cruising game for years and still get mixed up regarding how my fellow passengers range of acceptability goes.

Put it this way, we have a few camps going on here, and I will try to put them in their boxes.

#1: Formal is formal and on the threat of being an outcast and unacceptable as a person, you must obey the rules that are not enforced by the lines....but they as individual ignore that part. So no grey area there…..but you must obey .

#2: Smart, clean, tidy people in turning up who want to just dine as per what they paid for in the dining room on those nights, and without all the fuss... Why should they be banished or feel uncomfortable,,,well we are back to the reaction of #1 box of opinion. And such passengers are bullied, not to their face of course, easier doing it on here

#3 Some people like myself look at and listen to the individual. clean, presentable, an interesting, intelligent person. They are welcome to my table in whatever you wear. It’s been my choice to nearly cut my neck off in a formal shirt and tie, you don’t want too, fine. Cool.

And that’s the real laugh....most of them turn up in dress attire that smells of moth balls or is so old that in a good breeze would fall apart as their "formal" attire is getting on a bit. Ever eat diner with the smell of mothballs?

So,. I will do formal on formal nights as is my choice, but will not look down my nose at other passengers that are clean, smart, and intelligent, but happen not to turn up that night in a monkey suit or ball gown.

The only plus side is that in the next 15-20 years, this will not even be an argument as times will have changed and this hang up from the times that most of the complainers would have been in steerage, will not be an issue.

So no, keep your questionnaire, as this is people’s vacations and not a ballot on having paid my money can I go to the dining room tonight.

Keep posting Brewster and welcome
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Old May 26th, 2006, 03:57 PM
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I am one of those who has been on so many cruises, that formal nights have lost all appeal. If I am cruising with a newbie, I will dress for formal night, so they can get the full experience, however, after dinner (I always do late seating), I will go back to my cabin and change into something like capris or a nice wrap skirt.

If I choose not to dress for formal night, I eat in the Lido deck buffet as to not deteriorate the 'feel' of the atmosphere in the main dining rooms.

On the ships with the supper clubs, I will take one semi-formal dress and book that experience for the formal night.

I do not look down on those who choose not to dress for dinner, but I do have the attitude that this is my vacation and I will dress how I feel, but appropriately (I follow dress codes for dining rooms). It is also the other 2500 passengers vacations and I respect that, so I don't visit the dining rooms on formal night without proper attire.

I have never personally encountered anyone who was upset because more people didn't dress for fomal night, or changed after dinner into shorts, but apparently they are out there - as you can tell from some of the posts on this board.

If I am respectful of your choice to dress up, then all I ask is that you be respectful of my choice not to. I will not invade your dining room, but no where does it state that I have to be in formal wear to visit all public locations on the ship. If someone gets so angry that I am not in a sequined gown while playing blackjack, then they have some major stress issues in their life....

David, I too, fall into your number three category. I don't care what you wear as long as it is clean, presentable, and you don't spit in my food...

Jodi
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Old May 26th, 2006, 04:42 PM
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I am in the #3 crowd with you David.

I would much rather look at my plate than look at the others in the dining room and then get upset if everyone is not dressed according to my standards.

I have frequently noticed the pleasant smell of mothballs on the first formal night, and, on one occasion, seen the dry cleaners tag still hanging on another diner's sleeve. I didn't dare tell him about it.

I really don't believe that the " clothes police" are in the majority among cruisers. It appears so on this board because they shout the loudest and complain about the completely fictional dirty, smelly, cut-off jeans, muscle shirt, cap wearing individual in the formal dining room. They also use terms such as the great unwashed, trailer trash or buffoons to describe poeple who don't meet their standards.

Neither wealth, status nor mode of dress determine the true worth of a person.

David, perhaps some day we may be at the same dinner table and they will serve haggis!
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Old May 30th, 2006, 10:02 AM
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Hmmm - thought I'd try to express my feeling on this ongoing discussion:

I am one that thinks you should dress up for formal night. Maybe not an evening gown & tux but at least your "Sunday Best". Otherwise, why designate each nights attire? I don't like to see folks enter the dining room on formal night in their jeans, polo shirts or Skorts. I think it is disrespectful in a way. If I am asked to a formal wedding, I dress approperiately. You are "asked" to a formal dinner by the cruise line and I think one should respect that invitation, if they choose to accept it, and dress for the occassion.
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Old May 30th, 2006, 11:26 AM
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In my observances the VAST majority of cruisers abide by the dress code and dress accordingly.
Technically the dress code is for the entire evening.
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Old May 30th, 2006, 08:53 PM
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Lisa, I agree that the vast amount of cruisers abide by the dress code.
However, after dinner, particularly for the main sitting, a very large group changes into more casual clothing to attend the show or go into the casino and lounges. This is more true for men than women, since it is easy to shed a suit coat and dress shirt and replace them with a more comfortable sports shirt. You can make the argument that a suit and tie should be comfortable, but for many of us it such attire is hot and stuffy.

When the cruise lines permit their passengers to dress casually on formal nights to dine at the buffet, you can not realistically expect them to try to enforce a formal dress code at the entrance of the theatre or casino. The casino, in particular, exists only to earn money for the cruise line. If they turn away customers for not following a formal dress code, they may be turning away cruisers who will not came back to gamble.

I still believe that one of the main reasons that cruise ships have retained formal nights is for the purpose of making money from photos. If this sounds cynical, remember that cruise lines are a profit making business.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 08:46 AM
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I have to agree with Paul B. It seemed that more focus was on taking as many formal pictures as possible on formal night. I wasn't into taking pictures so I people watched until it was time for dinner. I ate dinner not really paying attention what others were wearing. After dinner depending on what was happening on the ship, I would go to my room and change into something I would wear on the Lido deck. I like dressing up but that doesn't mean I want to stay in it all night.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 12:32 PM
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Another newbie jumping into the discussion! I was about to say the "fray" but I think this topic has been debated in a most civil manner.

I agree with PaulB about the money-making aspects of formal nights. After all, who wants to pose for all those pix in capris or a sundress?

I like to play dress up on formal nights, but I also like to go back to my room and change before heading to the casino or shows. I just don't feel I can party down in high heels and sequins.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 01:56 PM
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i think Brewster has a really good idea. I would like to take it one step further. Make formal night by reservation only, proper attire required,and expect the Matire D to refuse entrance to you if you are not properly dressed - the dining room and staff would be decked out in their best and the menu should be extra special. Since the vast majority of passengers do dress accordingly for formal nights, this shouldn't have to happen, but i think its a good fall-back plan.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 03:08 PM
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we are among those who enjoy formal nights. We chose our favorite cruise line based upon several things, formal nights and designated dining times being major factors. The RSVP idea really does have merit.
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Old June 1st, 2006, 09:08 AM
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I have to agree, the topic, often a source of rightous indignation by those on both sides of the issue, is being discussed in a calm atmosphere.

We come down on the side of formal attire. Why? Because we enjoy it.

One observation we have made over the years....how uncomfortable some folks appear that were not prepared for formal nights. Often times we rant and rave about "imporper" dress but we have observed some folks that either did not have a clue or possibly could not afford the expense of formal attire. No matter which side of the issue you take, this is sad because it is their vacation too and they are uncomfortable.

NCL's answer to formal night is to designate one of their dining venues for formal attire....It seems to work out well.

Maybe the original poster has the state of an intereting idea...ship's with multiple dining venues could offer one of the restaurants for casual and then all would be happy.
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Old June 1st, 2006, 12:52 PM
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Lisa, I like your idea!
Reservations for formal night -- all others can go their own way.
Those of us who enjoy dressing up will have an elegant dinner. Those who want to stay casual can eat in another restaurant or buffet.
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Old June 1st, 2006, 04:04 PM
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Excuse me,,,I paid the same price as you, maybe more depending on my cabin. Why should I hide in a buffet area to dine that night because I dont have a tux on?

Your telling me that even if I am wearing a $500 pair of slacks and a $200 open neck shirt, that I cannot eat in the dining room because a club has taken over for the night?

Think about it, it dont work in todays society. And before I'm accused of whatever that was a statement not from me, but from potentially another passenger
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Old June 1st, 2006, 04:06 PM
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Default formal nights

We usually dress up once on our cruises, and then go back to stateroom to change clothes.. (we dine at the later seating). I have noticed quite a few people on formal nights wearing very nice clothes, but not fancy and nothing has been said about them.. skagway..
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Old June 1st, 2006, 04:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidBgood
Excuse me,,,I paid the same price as you, maybe more depending on my cabin. Why should I hide in a buffet area to dine that night because I dont have a tux on?

Your telling me that even if I am wearing a $500 pair of slacks and a $200 open neck shirt, that I cannot eat in the dining room because a club has taken over for the night?

Think about it, it dont work in todays society. And before I'm accused of whatever that was a statement not from me, but from potentially another passenger
My daughter pays upwards of $200 for jeans ... I don't think she belongs in a dining room on formal night.

What if someone had a $300 baseball cap ... should he be able to wear it at the table in the dining room?
What if I bought that million-dollar diamond-studded bra from VS? Does that entitle me to waltz into the dining room wearing nothing else?

Money does not equal class. Just because you're in the penthouse suite, it doesn't entitle you to do as you please and thumb your nose at dress codes.

To me, that is the problem in today's society: People think that money entitles them to behave in any manner they choose.

I think formal nights should be an alternative for those who enjoy them, and those who don't can dine elsewhere.
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Old June 1st, 2006, 05:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidBgood
Excuse me,,,I paid the same price as you, maybe more depending on my cabin. Why should I hide in a buffet area to dine that night because I dont have a tux on?

Your telling me that even if I am wearing a $500 pair of slacks and a $200 open neck shirt, that I cannot eat in the dining room because a club has taken over for the night?

Think about it, it dont work in todays society. And before I'm accused of whatever that was a statement not from me, but from potentially another passenger
The whole "I paid for my cruise so I'll do what I want" never ceases to amaze me. With SO MANY cruising choices out there, why would someone cruise on a line with formal nights if they don't want to participate, but don't want to be restricted because they don't? You don't have to wear a tux! A jacket and tie works on most cruiselines, even on formal night. You don't have to "hide" anywhere.And, there's always room service. I think most cruiselines send out information with the tickets explaining the various dress codes, and it's also on their website.
It's no different than the guy without a shirt and man-boobs who decides he doesn't want to put on a shirt to go from the pool to the Lido for lunch because "he paid for his cruise and he'll do what he wants"....
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Old June 1st, 2006, 05:56 PM
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Good Ol DavidB....has the world's largest paddle.

He uses it to stir the pot.

Let's answer his question directly:

If you spent $200 for THAT shirt, you got ripped off.

If you spent $500 for THOSE jeans, you got ripped off.

Seriously, David, re-read the postings..the idea is NOT to discriminate but to offer OPTIONS. I thought you were the great supporter of options.

Let everyone do their own thing, etc.

Well, if a ship with multiple dining rooms can offer a variety of venues and the SAME menu...then I would think you would be the #1 supporter of such a concept.
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Old June 1st, 2006, 06:44 PM
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I like the idea and think on future cruise mate group cruises, this be implemented as a "beta-test"..I bet the dining room staff will love it so much they will suggest it to the home office

I always remember on one of my first cruises our table mates who were on their first cruise and his wife put it the best

"this is a once in a life time experience that our children paid for so it's not to much to ask my husband to dress up for one night"

I enjoy formal night but don't cast judgement on my fellow passengers who elect not to dress up. Life is to short to stress out about that and I paid too much money to worry about it
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Old June 1st, 2006, 11:40 PM
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I don't wear baseball caps inside any dining room, but is someone gave me one that cost $300 , I might just have to wear it.

Many ships have just one large dining room, so their would be no way they could offer an option. I guess the ships with two dining rooms could have one formal and one casual, but the cruise lines make too much money from photos to do that.

in my experience (22 cruises), I have never noticed anyone dressed outlandishly on formal nights. However, I don't really care what others wear, and I look at what is on my plate rather than at the other diners.

Good taste starts with the food!!!
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Old June 2nd, 2006, 01:28 PM
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Perhaps the ships with only one large dining venue [HAL comes to mind] could make the upper dining room formal on those one of two nights, and the lower dining room informal or casual.

Texasmunk, thanks for the info on the pot-stirrer! I have not been lurking long enough to know the Who's Who on the board.
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Old June 3rd, 2006, 02:55 PM
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Ha ha ha

Okay, hey you got me going (is that a song title).

Me... I'm happy in a tux, formal suit or just casual if the mood suits me.

But I will not be dictated too as that attire was MY choice. I am still the same person in all those attires. I take part..so dont kick me to hard.

I only know that I have met some wonderful, caring, interesting individuals in my 30 years of cruising that could turn up buck naked if they like, and as long as we can chat and laugh during dinner. Welcome

Whats happening here is not that individual, people thing, but a bunch of folks that will acccept the biggest A'hole in the world to their table.......Why as people or individuals you are ok with us because you had a tux on So its ace for them, they must be nice people

You go cruising as many times as Paul B and I, and you tend to find its the words that come out of peoples mouths that make the cruise and your table for dinning, not the fact of how they dress up.

Yes,, have the formal nights, but get away from you cannot eat with us because you "aint in the right gear mate".

Cruising is about the people you meet, not how you dress.

Talk to people as I have done, you meet and make some really good friends.

Life and the people you like are bigger than that
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Old June 3rd, 2006, 06:20 PM
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We have cruised numerous times and we usually do one formal night...which my husband complains about loudly. I have finally decided to give in and on our next cruise we are not bringing any formal outfits. We are eating at the buffet on the 2 formal nights. My husband's feeling is that we both must be very dressed up for work every day and on vacation he would prefer to relax. I hate buffets so I wish the cruise line would have one dining room on formal nights where guests could dress in smart casual. Maybe it is time for a three choices: formal dining room, smart casual dining room, and buffet.
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Old June 3rd, 2006, 06:46 PM
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Dina,

There is alternative dining if you don't wish to dress up, but who wants to bypass the delicious food for pizza just because you wish to be comfortable and not feel like you're at work on your VACATION????

I think Brewster has a great idea!!! Personally I think it would be fascinating to find out which room had more passengers!
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Old June 3rd, 2006, 07:01 PM
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This is not rocket science. If you don't want to do formal nights, then opt for Windjammer or some line that doesn not have formal nights. If people didn't like formal nights they wouldn't have them --hello. truth is, it's tradition, and it's part of cruising. If you don't like it, go to club Med. And please, stop saying tuxes -- most men don't wear tuxes on formal night anymore.
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Old June 5th, 2006, 10:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeanS
Dina,

There is alternative dining if you don't wish to dress up, but who wants to bypass the delicious food for pizza just because you wish to be comfortable and not feel like you're at work on your VACATION????

I think Brewster has a great idea!!! Personally I think it would be fascinating to find out which room had more passengers!
Umm.. I think ya picked the wrong poster here but I'll answer any way.

I agree with you. But I also saw some of the same dishes in the buffett that they served in the formal dining room. I admit its not the same thing but I thought it was real nice that they were on both. I ate all of my dinners in the formal dining room. I don't mind dressing up.
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Old June 5th, 2006, 05:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richstacy
This is not rocket science. If you don't want to do formal nights, then opt for Windjammer or some line that doesn not have formal nights. If people didn't like formal nights they wouldn't have them --hello. truth is, it's tradition, and it's part of cruising. If you don't like it, go to club Med. And please, stop saying tuxes -- most men don't wear tuxes on formal night anymore.
I have to agree with the tradition part.
But I don't think people who dislike formal nights need to opt for Windjammer. And for some people, Windjammer is not an option. For instance, they do not take people with mobility problems.

People who dislike formal nights should just choose another venue for dinner if they can't follow the code.
I object to the attitude "It's my cruise, I can dress how I want" as far as formal night.
Hey, even at Disney World people get turned away from the high-end restaurants if they are not dressed properly.
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Old June 6th, 2006, 11:53 PM
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I agree with Brewster. I would have suggested the same thing, but he beat me to it. I, too, am a Newbie. Hmmm, maybe it takes a Newbie to offer a fresh perspective...

At my country club there are two different dining rooms -- one is the Formal Dining Room where men must have suits and ties on and the women must be in a dress or nice suit and the other Grill Room where golfers or those who are dressed casually may dine. The service and the food are the same for both dining areas. What I find interesting is that even though they offer the formal option, most people opt to eat in the Grill Room even on Sunday after church when they are dressed nicely. I have never seen the Formal Dining Room overflowing with people; the most I ever see in there are a few older couples and the occasional family who is celebrating a special occasion. So, I think that maybe those who really enjoy the formal aspect of the cruises may be fewer than is reflected on this board. It seems to me that the country club crowd where I live is no different than the type of people that can afford a cruise.

What bothers me about requiring people to dress a certain way for the dining room is, from what I understand from reading posts, is that the service and the food are not comparable in other dining areas as one would get in the dining room. I am going on a RCI ship to Alaska and unless I'm reading the material wrong, there aren't that many other free or inclusive options on that particular ship. There are other nice restaraunts, but one has to pay extra to eat there. And frankly, I have not heard outstanding things about the food in any other inclusive dining area other than the dining room. Therefore, I think it's unfair to force people to eat at a buffet because they don't own formalwear. Regarless of the size of your stateroom, everyone still paid a good deal of money to take a cruise.
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