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karrie020852

How Formal is Formal Night?

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3 hours ago, mtnesterz said:

Princess states the dress code plainly on their website. You are not asked to dress for yourself, but the occasion and by extension, the enjoyment of everyone.

 

Other cruise lines take a more casual approach and perhaps they see the times.  People want to travel lighter, a carry-on if possible.  Formal wear takes a lot of space. Princess does not enforce the dress code, but many think they should enforce it as Cunard does. Passengers who simply don't want to dress for dinner might enjoy the experience of a more casual cruise line.

 

On Princess, a man will feel under-dressed wearing a sportcoat and tie, but he will fit in acceptably. A suit hits the mark. A tux or dinner jacket is pleasantly distinctive. Others wrote above that it is OK to dress casually, but you might feel very out of place.

Most passengers do not consider themselves to be part of the entertainment.  Princess has formal nights for those who wish to dress formally.  Yet they allow less than formal wear for those who do not wish to dress formally.  This is the best of both worlds.  If most passengers wanted a dress code like Cunard, then one would see more formal dress on Princess.  

 

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1 hour ago, kywildcatfanone said:

That's not what I said.

 

Ultimately this is Princess fault for not enforcing their own guidelines.  If they did, this wouldn't be an endless discussion on this board.

I will agree that Princess is at fault for not enforcing their own guidelines.  But the endless discussion here I believe comes from new cruisers asking questions.  There will always be new cruisers wanting guidance, and isnt that part of the purpose of Cruise Critic?  Many gave me much asked for advice before my first cruise, and I was glad for it.

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5 hours ago, mtnesterz said:

Princess states the dress code plainly on their website. You are not asked to dress for yourself, but the occasion and by extension, the enjoyment of everyone.

 

Other cruise lines take a more casual approach and perhaps they see the times.  People want to travel lighter, a carry-on if possible.  Formal wear takes a lot of space. Princess does not enforce the dress code, but many think they should enforce it as Cunard does. Passengers who simply don't want to dress for dinner might enjoy the experience of a more casual cruise line.

 

On Princess, a man will feel under-dressed wearing a sportcoat and tie, but he will fit in acceptably. A suit hits the mark. A tux or dinner jacket is pleasantly distinctive. Others wrote above that it is OK to dress casually, but you might feel very out of place.

I do not feel out of place wearing nice pants, a long sleeve shirt and a tie with my athletic shoes.

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4 hours ago, stoneharborlady said:

But the endless discussion here I believe comes from new cruisers asking questions.  There will always be new cruisers wanting guidance, and isnt that part of the purpose of Cruise Critic?  Many gave me much asked for advice before my first cruise, and I was glad for it.

Very true.  I was not considering the new cruisers, but the arguments that occur between frequent cruisers.   But that is also what I share what my experiences are rather than what the guidelines state. Both are valid, the expectations and the reality.

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On 1/21/2020 at 2:00 PM, Justalone said:


I am new to cruising.
So, what about footwear?  Does it matter. No one looks at feet.

You are required to wear footwear in the MDR. 

 

I have been asked to leave the buffet area for being barefooted.  They say it is a health issue, but I do not understand that.  Somehow my bare feet are more likely to spread germs than shoes or sandals? Or my bare feet are likely to absorb germs or parasites from the floor of the buffet area than they are from the floor of the pool area or spa?  But the rules are what they are.  

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On 1/21/2020 at 1:17 PM, karrie020852 said:

First time on a Princess Cruise. Going to the Panama Canal. Just how formal are formal nights? Do we I have to wear a formal gown and my DH a tuxedo?

 

Hi Karrie:  

 

As you can tell, you've hit on a sore point with some on this forum.  Given that you're new to this board I'll take your question exactly as asked and respond with my own experience.

 

 

How many:  Assuming you're doing a complete canal transit of 15 or so days you'll have 3 formal nights on your cruise.  10 day partial transits will have only 2 formal nights.

 

"Do we have to wear a formal gown and my DH a tuxedo?":  

You'll certainly find plenty of company if you choose to dress this way - if you enjoy doing so go for it!  

The majority however will be wearing:  For ladies - some form of dress or dressy top with nice pants or a skirt.  There's a lot of leeway here and short of wearing something entirely inappropriate you'll hear nothing from anyone.  For gentlemen - either a business suit or sport coat / collared shirt / slacks.  Many will wear a tie, though I do not.  A fair number will wear a long sleeve shirt (tie or no) with slacks but no jacket.  Shorts, hats, tank tops and other sorts of 'beachwear' are against the dress code though some report having gotten into the dining room with any or all of these things, my sense is you're not trying to test practices, only understand them.  

 

I hope you find this response helpful.  Happy to offer further real world feedback if you have further questions.

 

Most importantly - enjoy your cruise!

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Thank you all for responding. I certainly didn't mean to open a can of worms! This is only our 3rd cruise...the 1st to the Caribbean. I had received an email from Princess Cruise Line stating that for formal nights women wore cocktail dresses or formal wear and men wore suits or tuxes.  We have neither formal wear or tuxes, but wanted to make sure we would be appropriate. We have always dressed nicely for dinner whether it was formal night or not and take a really nice outfit for formal nights. I do plan to wear a dress, (not a formal) or nice slacks and top and my husband has a sports coat and nice slacks.  We are looking forward to our cruise and are counting the days! Thanks again!

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NO one has said that bib overalls or shorts were appropriate at night for dinner!

Some of us live in cities where NO one dresses in suits for any dinner!

We do not feel out of place without one. We feel comfortable!

It has nothing to do with saving money on checked luggage since we often drive to the port!

It has to do with how we dress and tuxes and suits have not been in my hurband's wardrobe since he retired!!

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1 hour ago, karrie020852 said:

Thank you all for responding. I certainly didn't mean to open a can of worms! This is only our 3rd cruise...the 1st to the Caribbean. I had received an email from Princess Cruise Line stating that for formal nights women wore cocktail dresses or formal wear and men wore suits or tuxes.  We have neither formal wear or tuxes, but wanted to make sure we would be appropriate. We have always dressed nicely for dinner whether it was formal night or not and take a really nice outfit for formal nights. I do plan to wear a dress, (not a formal) or nice slacks and top and my husband has a sports coat and nice slacks.  We are looking forward to our cruise and are counting the days! Thanks again!

I've posted some formal polls here in the past, and there has been a shift over the years from very formal (tux/long sparkly dress) to what used to be considered semi-formal (suit and tie / cocktail/black dress/ slacks and nice top).   Personally I wear a suit and tie, which takes up no more room than a tux.

 

What you have chosen for dining also will affect the attire.  My observation is people who have chosen Traditional dining tend to dress a little fancier, however in our last cruise Dec. 2019 I saw very few men in tuxedos in the Traditional dining room - most wearing suit and tie.   Women tend to look good in whatever well dressed attire they choose to wear and it has never been an issue - you'll be fine.   One other thing - bring a tie to wear with the sport coat unless he wears a turtleneck. The tie can always be taken off if uncomfortable.

 

The key to enjoying the "Formal evening" is to enjoy dressing up for each other, as the intent is to provide an atmosphere that is somewhat special and even romantic.   Consider it as being out on a really nice date with each other, and have a great time.

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3 hours ago, karrie020852 said:

Thank you all for responding. I certainly didn't mean to open a can of worms! This is only our 3rd cruise...the 1st to the Caribbean. I had received an email from Princess Cruise Line stating that for formal nights women wore cocktail dresses or formal wear and men wore suits or tuxes.  We have neither formal wear or tuxes, but wanted to make sure we would be appropriate. We have always dressed nicely for dinner whether it was formal night or not and take a really nice outfit for formal nights. I do plan to wear a dress, (not a formal) or nice slacks and top and my husband has a sports coat and nice slacks.  We are looking forward to our cruise and are counting the days! Thanks again!

Perfect!

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7 hours ago, Mike45LC said:

You are required to wear footwear in the MDR. 

 

I have been asked to leave the buffet area for being barefooted.  They say it is a health issue, but I do not understand that.  Somehow my bare feet are more likely to spread germs than shoes or sandals? Or my bare feet are likely to absorb germs or parasites from the floor of the buffet area than they are from the floor of the pool area or spa?  But the rules are what they are.  

I would not do that.  It is more likely for YOUR health.  What if something had fallen on the floor and you step on it (sharp I mean).  Who knows what else could happen?  Something falls on your toe.  List could go on.  Most establishments require footwear and even have signs.  Should be no surprise on a cruise ship.

 

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Currently on the Regal they'll accept just about any decent dress on formal nights in the DR. Including a Tux or just dress pants & any shirt. They very accommodating about what is allowed. 

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On 1/21/2020 at 5:33 PM, FM said:

So no jeans on formal nights? Short-sleeved polos allowed? 

Absolutely 

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On 1/21/2020 at 4:56 PM, loge23 said:

No shorts, jeans, or tees in the MDR!

At least not on formal nights.

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On 1/22/2020 at 9:22 AM, mtnesterz said:

Princess states the dress code plainly on their website. You are not asked to dress for yourself, but the occasion and by extension, the enjoyment of everyone.

 

Other cruise lines take a more casual approach and perhaps they see the times.  People want to travel lighter, a carry-on if possible.  Formal wear takes a lot of space. Princess does not enforce the dress code, but many think they should enforce it as Cunard does. Passengers who simply don't want to dress for dinner might enjoy the experience of a more casual cruise line.

 

On Princess, a man will feel under-dressed wearing a sportcoat and tie, but he will fit in acceptably. A suit hits the mark. A tux or dinner jacket is pleasantly distinctive. Others wrote above that it is OK to dress casually, but you might feel very out of place.

Sorry, I can't seem to find where on my reservation that it states I must dress for "the enjoyment of everyone".  Is there some sort of vote that's taken when you get on the ship?  I enjoy not dressing formally and there are many others like me - would we be everyone?  If so, our everyone gets enjoyment from everyone being able to dress they way they choose - formally or informally.

 

"Passengers who simply don't want to dress for dinner might enjoy the experience of a more casual cruise line." - Right!  Or those passengers who simply insist that everyone must dress formally might enjoy the experience of eating in their rooms."

"On Princess, a man will feel under-dressed wearing a sportcoat and tie . . . it is OK to dress casually, but you might feel very out of place."  - I disagree.  People who dress casually don't care what other people wear therefore, by definition, they would never feel out of place.

Passengers - do not be intimidated to dress the way others feel you should dress - it's your vacation and you paid for it - enjoy it in casual clothes or formal clothes.

 

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Here's one...what's the rule regarding the theater?  DW and I typically take 7 day cruises and have a habit of fully participating in one formal night, but opting for a casual evening with Lido food for the other formal night.  One's enough.  We might dress up for the second just to take a quick photo if we missed a desired photo location or lines were too long on the first night, but even if we do that we go at the moment they open and then back to the cabin for a quick change back into casual.

 

With Lido food we're typically done quickly and it makes for an easy opportunity to catch the evening show.  We keep our casual dressed selves out of the way of the festivities until this point, but it's tough to get to the theater without being a little out place along the way.  Not too bad though with the right route.  By the time we get to the theater we're not alone in our casual gear but definitely outnumbered.  I've pulled this move in smart casual but also done it in shorts & a t-shirt on a particularly hot & humid evening.  The people in their formal wear are obviously just carryover from dinner and I don't think any official dress code applies in the theater, but I could be wrong.  I usually sit there and just appreciate how much more comfortable I am than all these people in suits, no one's ever said anything nor do I even recall any notable nasty looks, but I'm curious what others think.

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19 minutes ago, PMGS247 said:

Here's one...what's the rule regarding the theater? ...The people in their formal wear are obviously just carryover from dinner and I don't think any official dress code applies in the theater, but I could be wrong.  I usually sit there and just appreciate how much more comfortable I am than all these people in suits, no one's ever said anything nor do I even recall any notable nasty looks, but I'm curious what others think.

 

The rule in the theater and in the rest of the ship not including the MDR on formal nights is to have on clothing but not swim suits, bare chests or bare feet.  I often go to the theater on formal night when it is hot and humid in shorts, t-shirt and flip flops.  I have no problem parading through the common areas to get to the theater in this attire.  

 

Formal night on Princess means everything from dockers, button shirt and athletic shoes to tux.  Do not be so quick about not going to the MDR on formal night because you do not want to dress more formal.  We escaped the photographer long time ago and now refuse to let them take our picture anywhere on or off the ship.

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The so called dress code only applies to the MDR not anywhere else.

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On 1/21/2020 at 4:17 PM, karrie020852 said:

First time on a Princess Cruise. Going to the Panama Canal. Just how formal are formal nights? Do we I have to wear a formal gown and my DH a tuxedo?

No, you don't.  That sort of formal wear has generally, but not totally, disappeared, so to speak.  On our first Princess cruise (Dawn P, 2000) there was an attractive older woman (50s?  I was younger then <g>) who wore a full-length formal with bouffant skirt and I assume her husband wore a tux.  She looked like a princess <g>.  Never saw any woman dress like that on our subsequent 30 Princess cruises, nor on our 20 cruises on similar cruise lines.  My go-to outfit consists of velvet pants and a fancy top.  Husband wears a business suit, white shirt and tie.  These days it seems like you'll see almost anything on formal nights.  As a rule, we don't eat in the dining rooms, but perhaps they are "fussier" about dress on formal nights.

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On one of our cruises last year, I overheard a pax complaining to the maitre'd about the lax enforcement of "dress code" on formal nights.  The maitre'd said that he was not able to strictly enforce the code due to the corporate office preventing it.  He could only stop the worst abusers of the code.  

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LOL - the last time I packed a suit was on our last Princess cruise 12 years ago, to/from Hawaii.  Subsequently all our cruising has been with either Disney or Celebrity.  Did wear jacket/dress pants for special dining occasions such as Palo and Remy aboard Disney.  But I have no interest in dressing up for formal nights anymore, even though I have a very (very) nice suit (from Harry Rosen).  The ship is more of a destination for us now when cruising the Caribbean as we have visited many of the islands multiple times.  Even with our most recent cruise aboard the Celebrity Edge, I just dressed smart casual attire.  We're just curious as to how Princess has changed in the past decade + … and thus gave the nod to the Sky this time, vs the Norwegian Encore which we had also booked for the same time period.  So I'll just see how formal nights are aboard Princess, with just my smart casual attire 😎

Edited by FM

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2 hours ago, BarbinMich said:

 As a rule, we don't eat in the dining rooms, but perhaps they are "fussier" about dress on formal nights.

 

The formal nights are for the main dining rooms.

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18 hours ago, satxdiver said:

On one of our cruises last year, I overheard a pax complaining to the maitre'd about the lax enforcement of "dress code" on formal nights.  The maitre'd said that he was not able to strictly enforce the code due to the corporate office preventing it.  He could only stop the worst abusers of the code.  

Over the last year or so I've seen the change in the what they allow in the DR's on the Regal. 

Today just about anything that's comfortable is allowed on formal nights & even shorts are being tolerated on casual evenings. 

Of course you won't see everyone with shorts on but at least a few dozen of the guys wore them the other night.

My DR was going to wear his but decided against it since the DR is always cold. 

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We have not been on a Princess cruise in the dining room for dinner where they allowed shorts or t-shirts except, they will allow shorts to be worn the first night since some folks may not have not had their suitcases delivered to their cabin.  We are sailing on the Caribbean Princess on Feb 2, so we shall see if the dress code has changed in this regard.

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On 1/21/2020 at 5:00 PM, karrie020852 said:

Thank you! I was hoping that we didn't have wear formal attire. The other cruises we've been on were about the same as your answers. Whew😃

 

Happily, you only need to wear formal if you wish.  
Enjoy!  :)

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