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Petronillus

Gala Nights?

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I admit it: I'm a fair-weather friend. That is to say, I follow this board only when I'm anticipating a HAL cruise. So, I just learned, incidentally, that while I was away, "formal nights" were done away with in favor of "gala nights." The significance, I further learned, is that gentlemen are no longer expected wear business suit and tie (and, ideally, a tuxedo or other formal wear) for dining in the MDR, much less for the evening's subsequent on-board activities. If I'm understanding correctly, a collared shirt and chinos meet the new standard.

Is there more I should know?

Formal nights (i.e., with tuxedo, patent leather shoes, and all) was one of the things that, for me, made HAL special. Now would I be a small conspicuous (maybe even ridiculous?) minority if I showed up on "gala nights" decked out in my finery?

If this topic has been thoroughly hashed out in another thread, I'd appreciate it if one of you out there in CCland would point me to the relevant posting.

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7 minutes ago, Petronillus said:

I admit it: I'm a fair-weather friend. That is to say, I follow this board only when I'm anticipating a HAL cruise. So, I just learned, incidentally, that while I was away, "formal nights" were done away with in favor of "gala nights." The significance, I further learned, is that gentlemen are no longer expected wear business suit and tie (and, ideally, a tuxedo or other formal wear) for dining in the MDR, much less for the evening's subsequent on-board activities. If I'm understanding correctly, a collared shirt and chinos meet the new standard.

Is there more I should know?

Formal nights (i.e., with tuxedo, patent leather shoes, and all) was one of the things that, for me, made HAL special. Now would I be a small conspicuous (maybe even ridiculous?) minority if I showed up on "gala nights" decked out in my finery?

If this topic has been thoroughly hashed out in another thread, I'd appreciate it if one of you out there in CCland would point me to the relevant posting.

We were on the Koningsdam for 32 days in Jan/Feb 2018.  You will find some of the men in suit and tie and others in just collared shirt and slacks (that is me).  We will be on board again in 2019 - come on over and join in the Roll Call.

 

 

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Never a ridiculous choice to go all out on Gala Night - enough still do so you will not feel alone.

 

DH still brings tux (no patent shoes -that is passe or you could pack some velvet loafers if you must).  I brought out my long black velvet on the last night of our recent cruise, after wearing shorter cocktail dresses on earlier Gala Nights, - at that point we were celebrating the end of a very great cruise and that is how we showed it.  We did this for ourselves and in our own way to honor the wonderful attention we got in the main dining room from our stewards - late fixed dining, Maasdam cruise. 

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37 minutes ago, Petronillus said:

Now would I be a small conspicuous (maybe even ridiculous?) minority if I showed up on "gala nights" decked out in my finery?

 

 

My husband continues to wear a dark suit, tie, dress shoes for Gala nights.  Our recent-ish experiences have been that we see tuxes and suits, along with shirts and pants.  Wear your tux if you want; you will not look anachronistic imho. (based on our experiences in late fixed dining)

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I subscribe to the Oscar Wilde quote "You can never be overdressed or overeducated."

 

Gala nights official dress code, from the guide is now this: "Gala Nights evoke the grand traditions of cruising as guests dress to impress for special events on board, including a five-course gourmet dinner in the Dining Room.  For gentlemen, collared shirt and slacks are required in all fine dining restaurants .  For ladies, dressy attire is appropriate, dresses skirts and slacks are all acceptable."

 

My last HAL cruise was a 7 day Caribbean last winter, I saw a few gentleman in tuxedos, only a handful. About double that for ladies in longer gowns. Most had on cocktail dresses and most fellas did have on either jackets or ties for Gala Nights. There were also people in what I'd call just business casual or Sunday dress... but that was not taking anything away from my meal or my Gala night. They wore what they felt comfortable in, and I did the same. I wouldn't find a tuxedo ridiculous. 

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You won't be out of place getting all dolled up.  We normally have dressed up "fancy" (tux for husband, something long for me, but not formal style), and others have done the same.  The cruise we'll be on in a couple of weeks, we plan on dressing, but not as fancy.  Suit and tie for hubby and dress for me.  We just don't want the hassle of extra formal clothes this time, but we don't wish to be in jeans either.  

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Just returned from the 34 day EXC Maasdam cruise - I thought that there would be very few passengers in "formal" wear.  I was wrong; quite a few tuxedos & long gowns,   lots of suits & sport coats for men, cocktail dresses, sparkly tops for women - nothing really out of place.  Most passengers who didn't care to "dress up" went to the Lido.  Something for everyone...…..

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I am new to Holland America cruising and will be on a 7 day cruise next year.  I thought I read somewhere that there were 2 gala nights, each 7 days.  Is that correct?  Also - I am someone that plans on skipping gala night, which is why I ask.

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9 minutes ago, kas97 said:

I am new to Holland America cruising and will be on a 7 day cruise next year.  I thought I read somewhere that there were 2 gala nights, each 7 days.  Is that correct?  Also - I am someone that plans on skipping gala night, which is why I ask.

 

Yes, you are correct.  Generally on a 7-night cruise, there are 2 gala nights, usually on sea days.  If your cruise doesn't have 2 sea days, you can check with Seattle or start a thread closer to your cruise to learn which nights are designated as gala.

 

As for the OP's question about bringing formal wear, do what makes you feel comfortable and happy.  Is dressing up important to you?  It always was to DH and me, since we rarely dressed formally at home.  Dressing up made us feel special, and any staff we passed would smile and compliment us.  My son plans to dress in a tux during our Christmas cruise this year, and I have decided to wear a long gown one evening and for the 2nd gala night dress slacks and silk blouse with lace/sequin jacket.

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3 hours ago, iflyrc5 said:

We will be on board again in 2019 - come on over and join in the Roll Call.

 

 

By happy coincidence, we're on the same cruise! I'm already a member of our Roll Call. Am so looking forward to meeting you.

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2 hours ago, BJzink said:

Just returned from the 34 day EXC Maasdam cruise - I thought that there would be very few passengers in "formal" wear.  I was wrong; quite a few tuxedos & long gowns,   lots of suits & sport coats for men, cocktail dresses, sparkly tops for women - nothing really out of place.  Most passengers who didn't care to "dress up" went to the Lido.  Something for everyone...…..

That's so good to hear. It's a hassle to pack formalwear, but your comments make it seem worthwhile.

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I hope dress attire on gala nights doesn't go away.  I'm no longer a "younger" cruiser--neither in age, nor in number of cruises, and I have fond memories of full dress-up evenings--especially on the ships of a couple of smaller cruise lines that are now out of business.  We had, not only formal nights, but also theme nights--for example, " '50's night (poodle skirts and saddle shoes, and jeans with white socks and penny loafers, even stick-on tattoos.  I've Just ordered a new tuxedo suit, and I have enough different cummerbund-and-bowtie combinations--some of them VERY colorful--that I have a different "look" for every gala/formal night.  And I--being the walking anachronism that I am--I also got a new pair of patent dress shoes.

 

I never feel out of place or uncomfortable in full dress.  And, it might be just my imagination, but I'm pretty sure that I see some of the younger women--accompanied by their man wearing khakis, loafers, and polo shirts--glance my way and smile, maybe wishing their guy had dressed up just a little bit more.  If my lovely wife is going to take the little additional effort to look more sensational than usual, I think it's only fair that I put a little more into what I'm putting on.

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1 hour ago, Silverback969 said:

And, it might be just my imagination, but I'm pretty sure that I see some of the younger women--accompanied by their man wearing khakis, loafers, and polo shirts--glance my way and smile, maybe wishing their guy had dressed up just a little bit more.  If my lovely wife is going to take the little additional effort to look more sensational than usual, I think it's only fair that I put a little more into what I'm putting on.

Not your imagination!  On our last cruise, we saw a young lady in a drop-dead gorgeous gown---strapless, all white with bodice done in embroidered silk thread with a pattern of flowers accented with sequins.  A truly head-turning outfit.  Her husband/significant other wore an open dress shirt, no tie, and khakis and tennis shoes.  In all fairness to him, maybe his luggage was lost or not delivered to his cabin.  

 

Your second comment about dressing up to match your wife's "sensational" attire is very sweet.  Reminds me of my DH.  He complained about wearing that _ _ _ _ tux, but wear it he did, simply because I had gone to the extra trouble of dressing "to the nines."    

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Last Christmas we sailed on the Eurodam to the Caribbean for 14 days. On gala nights I wore a long dress and my husband wore a suit and tie.  There was quite a few people dressed the same and some men even wore Tuxedos. 

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I also wear a suit & tie & some times a white dinner jacket with bow tie. We don't normally get dressed up at home, so it's nice when we cruise to do some thing different.

Allan

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We’re just off Zuiderdam and while I agree there were both fancy and more casual dress on a Gala Night, it definitely skewed to the fancy. There were some tuxes, many nice suits or sport coat and slacks on men and many women dressed in beautiful attire. We enjoy dressing for dinner on the ship, so we were glad to see some glamour, but not alienation of those who chose to dress down a bit. And for those who didn’t want to engage in a Gala, there was always Lido or room service options.

Edited by gjkov
Correction

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On 10/26/2018 at 7:43 PM, sevenseasnomad said:

Your second comment about dressing up to match your wife's "sensational" attire is very sweet. 

Aww, shucks, Ma'am....

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The longer the cruise, the more likely you will find passengers who “dress to the nines” on Gala Nights.  So, it’s no surprise that the poster on the 34-day cruise saw lots of people dress up.  And, it’s no surprise that you will find very few people who dress up on a 7-night cruise. 

 

You will be in the minority  if you dress up for Gala Night, but who cares? 

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The main stream cruise lines have changed their Gala/Formal  night attire do to too much luggage on planes (1st checked bag now  $30 each &  2nd checked bag is now $40 each )  .Thus ,if both people check in 2 bags each the round trip bag checking cost  $140 . Thus ,the cruise lines do understand the need for less luggage & there for made up the newer rules .  Most of the time I wear my sport jacket on the plane so I have it with me  .I no longer bring ties  . Depending on the arriving climate ,mostly warmer climates ,I only use colored short sleeve shirts ;but ,I do have my sport jacket . My wife has also cut back .This now saves us $80 per cruise .We have 5 cruises booked in one year .Thus we save $400 in baggage fees :classic_biggrin:

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Gala/formal nights have been a non event for us for quite some time.  We switched to casual only some time ago at DW's suggestion.

 

Ease is travel (we only do carry on now) and the decline in the so called gala dinner event has meant that we have never missed it.   We no longer find anything special about it.  Now that our attire is acceptable on gala nights I doubt that we will be rushing down to the MDR on HAL or on any other cruise line. 

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Just off an 11 day cruise in Canada/NE ending in FLL.  Three Gala nights.  Most men wore suits (and tie), but a fair number with just sports jackets with/without tie.  Some just polo shirts and nice slacks.

 

My next cruise is LA to FLL, so am tempted to leave the jacket at home due to the hot weather.

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1 hour ago, iancal said:

Gala/formal nights have been a non event for us for quite some time.  We switched to casual only some time ago at DW's suggestion.

 

Ease is travel (we only do carry on now) and the decline in the so called gala dinner event has meant that we have never missed it.   We no longer find anything special about it.  Now that our attire is acceptable on gala nights I doubt that we will be rushing down to the MDR on HAL or on any other cruise line. 

While many say they don't want to miss Gala Nights because of the Special Menus, ie, lobster, those special menus, lobster, were available in the Lido.  If it's served on the buffet, it's not Special.

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On any itinerary Early/Open dining will be the most casual and Main/Fixed the most dressy. Longer cruises tend to be dressier than short ones.

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