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MudderBear

What is a gala night?

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I love to dress up (long dresses for me, tux for him)....but I'm doing a land/sea Alaska cruise.  Don't want to carry extra clothing.  This is our first cruise.  What exactly is a gala night?  Just dinner but people dress up???

 

Thanks.

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We are heading to Alaska this year with HAL for the 7th time. Over the years with dress code changes and airline luggage charges we’ve gone from cocktail attire for me and a suit for my husband to pants and a dressy top for me and a dress shirt and khaki pants for him. Especially on Alaska cruises my experience is few dress up much. Officially from HAL: 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. On Gala Nights in fine dining restaurants, collared shirts and slacks are required for gentlemen. For ladies, elegant dresses, skirts, or slacks are all acceptable.

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Some people dress up like the formal nights of old, some dress up a little, and some just go like it's any other night. We go with the middle level.

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Yes...it's just that some will dress up.  There is no "ball" or any other ceremony!

 

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Gala Nights are an homage to a time when ocean liner guests dressed for dinner and treated the evenings as a grand affair. For a glimpse of this time see below:

  

 

 

Remember, for first class folks, dressing for the evening is essential:

 

 

 

Now, in common practice today, Gala Night is what you choose to make of it. You will see people in all levels of dress for the evening. From black tie and tails to slacks and a blazer. The dress rules are "loosely" enforced but you'll see most everyone making an attempt to look nice for the evening. There are photographers around to take photos of the dress up and the dinner menu is special that evening. HAL usually has two Gala Nights per 7-day cruise (Silver and Gold) and the Gold evening usually features lobster and filet on the menu. It's quite nice.

Edited by SumoCitrus

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9 minutes ago, SumoCitrus said:

From black tie and tails ...

Have you ever seen tails worn on a cruise? I haven't! 😃

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Just now, catl331 said:

Have you ever seen tails worn on a cruise? I haven't! 😃

 

Yes. Koningsdam to Norway in 2018. A Dutch family made it a point to reeeeeeally dress up on Gala Night. They were a hoot.

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I've done every thing from chiffon palazzo pants and a sparkly top with snappy heels all the way up to a full length satin and velvet gown. Husband does a tux but switches up his accessories. Now our teen son has his own tux too and our toddler daughter, well she loves to play dress up and with me and two grandmas, the child doesn't lack for frilly dresses. I treat myself to a hair updo in the salon too. We do all this because one of our favorite souvenirs of our cruises are the pictures. I have some fantastic  pics from over the years. But yes, Gala night gear is a whole suitcase for the 4 of us. And we are definitely in the minority but thats fine. IRL doesn't allow us to dress up much so its fun. Gala night also allows for some fun. This last cruise I saw a guy rockin a gold lame tux. I've seen some velvet smoking jackets too. 

Edited by fatcat04

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You will find that the majority of the people will be dressed the same every evening especially on an Alaskan cruise.

 

Slacks and a collared shirt for the men.  Either slacks or dresses for the ladies with a nice top.

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13 minutes ago, SumoCitrus said:

 

Yes. Koningsdam to Norway in 2018. A Dutch family made it a point to reeeeeeally dress up on Gala Night. They were a hoot.

Gala in The Netherlands means: white tie (tails) and long evening (gala) dress.  White tie is still usual at court dinners and balls, nobility balls and in several student circles. Black tie (smoking)  alsmost totally replaced the white one. 

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Every cruise I go on I see fewer people dress up for Gala Night. On my last cruise in Alaska last August, the vast majority of the people were dressed the same as any other night.

I used to enjoy wearing a tux, but have given it up, and now enjoy not having to bring any sort of suit along. It is also nice to not have worry if it is going to get wrinkled in a suitcase.

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on an Alaskan cruise - gala night means Long sleeve camo shirts LOL  --- many get dressed up but it's optional.

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40 minutes ago, esimon said:

on an Alaskan cruise - gala night means Long sleeve camo shirts LOL  --- many get dressed up but it's optional.

 

LOL!  My dogs just looked at me wondering why I was laughing so hard.  Good one!

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1 hour ago, esimon said:

on an Alaskan cruise - gala night means Long sleeve camo shirts LOL  --- many get dressed up but it's optional.

 

You're confusing Louisiana for Alaska.  For Alaska cruises, it's long sleeve flannel shirts.  😉

 

5 hours ago, MudderBear said:

I love to dress up (long dresses for me, tux for him)....but I'm doing a land/sea Alaska cruise.  Don't want to carry extra clothing.  This is our first cruise.  What exactly is a gala night?  Just dinner but people dress up???

 

Thanks.

 

On my last HAL Alaska cruise, I ditched my suit for the second gala night because so few people were dressed up for the first one.  Suits were the minority and I maybe saw 1 tux.  

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my husband wears a tux and i wear sparkles -  it's fun -  Camo and flannel in Alaska -  very different crowd -  many men who will never be on another cruise LOL

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6 hours ago, catl331 said:

Have you ever seen tails worn on a cruise? I haven't! 😃

 

Not even on the QM2.

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For Caribbean cruises, Gala night dress up requires that you wear the jeans WITHOUT the holes in the knees and your ball cap is not worn backwards !!

Edited by TAD2005

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20 minutes ago, TAD2005 said:

For Caribbean cruises, Gala night dress up requires that you wear the jeans WITHOUT the holes in the knees and your ball cap is not worn backwards !!

You got that exactly backwards.  Dressing up for Gala Night requires jeans with holes and it is imperative that the baseball be worn backwards.  Snuff cans in the back pocket are de rigueur.  You can wear the cap facing forward but only if it is a Skoal Baseball Cap.

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Gala nights today for us means a not to be missed menu in the MDR.  This is the night when they kick it up a notch w/the food.  Every night is good but gala night is the night for the surf and turf.....It's not the night to book Tamarind or Canaletto.  

 

I now wear the same thing to dinner every evening.....My kaki pants and a dress shirt.  And I'm fine with leaving the coat and tie at home...although it was an adjustment in the beginning.

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We took our sons, their spouses and grands on an Alaska Cruise in 2019.  We said they had to "dress up" for the first gala night.  The boys (sons and grandson) showed up in coats and ties and the wives and granddaughters had sparkly dresses.  You could tell it was a special evening.  They were on best behavior (no bickering among the youngsters).  It was a fun evening.  

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13 hours ago, FlaMariner said:

Gala nights today for us means a not to be missed menu in the MDR.  This is the night when they kick it up a notch w/the food.  Every night is good but gala night is the night for the surf and turf.....It's not the night to book Tamarind or Canaletto.  

 

I now wear the same thing to dinner every evening.....My kaki pants and a dress shirt.  And I'm fine with leaving the coat and tie at home...although it was an adjustment in the beginning.

FWIW, that 'not to be missed menu in the MDR', the surf and turf, etc., were also available on the buffet on our last two cruises.  

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I always wear a coat and tie.  We usually do the early seating.  I wonder if the attire is a bit more formal at the late seating?

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We did our first HAL cruise last month.  We normally cruise Princess.  Frankly, I was shocked at how people were dressed on Gala night.  For some reason, I thought they would be more formal than Princess.  I'd say half the men wore suits and maybe a fourth of the ladies wore something more than a "going to church" dress.  My husband wore a suit and I had palazzo pants and a couple sparkly tops.  The men next to us wore jeans every night and the women never dressed up. We were just surprised.

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1 hour ago, Arrowinc said:

 I wonder if the attire is a bit more formal at the late seating?

I think Main (late) Fixed is the most formal, followed by late Open, and the least formal is Open Early.

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For DW and I...we plan for gala nights and usually get our one picture per cruise all dressed up.  I bring my kilt and accessories, and believe me when I say it's heavier than any tux!

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