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Celebrity Cruises are to change their dress code. Here’s what they say in the FAQ section on their website:-

For sailings departing December 4, 2015, and beyond, Formal Night gets a modern luxury reboot. Say goodbye to Formal Night, and hello to Evening Chic. It’s your time to shine—your way. Get glamorous. Get chic. Be sophisticated.

Now, on up to two nights on every cruise, Evening Chic activities are being introduced, and Evening Chic attire is replacing Formal attire. While dressier than Smart Casual, Evening Chic is intended to be less dressy than Formal attire.

Women should feel comfortable wearing:

  • A cocktail dress
  • Skirt, pants or designer jeans with an elegant top

Men should feel comfortable wearing:

  • Pants or designer jeans with a dress shirt, button-down shirt or sweater
  • Optional sport coat or blazer

This was announced yesterday (9 November) on their website and picked up by Cruise Critic, where there have been some negative comments. I’ll be honest, I don’t think this is such a terrible step – I feel fairly certain that it won’t be the end of civilisation as we know it.

I won’t bother going through all the lines and document all their dress codes, but it is interesting that many of the premium and luxury lines already don’t require formal evening wear. Here’s what I’ve gleaned:-

  • Oceania Cruises simply says that they offer a “country club casual ambience; tuxedos and gowns are never required”;
  • Azamara Club Cruises says “we encourage guests to follow a ‘resort casual’ dress code, following good taste and common sense“. Going on, they do say that in some of their special restaurants, “many guests enjoy dressing up. Formal evening wear (tuxedoes and gowns) is not expected. We recommend that men bring a sport coat or suit…. For women, dining attire includes dresses, skirts, blouses with pants and capris and other appropriate attire“. Azamara is of course part of the Royal Caribbean group along with Celebrity, but the Azamara advice reads as if it’s been in place for a while and isn’t new;
  • Regent Seven seas says “the recommended onboard dress in the evenings is Elegant Casual….. including skirt, or slacks with blouse or sweater, pant suit or dress for ladies; slacks and collared shirt for gentlemen Sports jackets are optional“. They do go on to say that “on sailings of 16 nights or more, Formal or Semi-formal attire is optional… guests are welcome to dress as per the Elegant Casual dress code or opt for a more formal choice of clothing including gowns and cocktail dresses for ladies, tuxedos, dinner jackets or dark suits for gentlemen“. So they do still suggest formal wear, but don’t require it;
  • Crystal Cruises is similar. The principal evening dress code is “Crystal Casual”, which for men is defined as open collar shirt, collared polo shirt, button-down shirt/dress shirt (no ties required), dress pants or “European smart trousers” (what are these, I wonder?) and sport coat. Then they have “Black Tie Optional” evenings, on which they ask that “at least a jacket be worn by men for dinner“.
  • And finally, Seabourn follows the same pattern: Elegant Casual most of the time, and with the occasional formal night on which men are asked to wear either a dinner suit or a “slacks and jacket”, and ladies an evening gown or other formal attire “in the restaurant”. They do use the word “required”, but they also say “Dress in other dining venues is Elegant Casual“.

So that’s it. I think Azamara say it best: “….following good taste and common sense“. I would be perfectly happy cruising in an environment where that was followed.

Off course, I also recognise that there are lines where the Formal Night will continue. P&O, obviously, and (probably to an even greater degree) Cunard. You pay your money and take your choice….. I think we might be heading back to celebrity in a year or so.

5 Responses to “Dress Code Changes…..”

  1. rosie says:

    Thing is on the other lines I think smart casual will still be very smart. As Celebrity is mainstream the word casual will probably be more to the fore. The fact they say jeans are allowed sums it up

    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the comment, Rosie.

      We’ve done some cruises with Celebrity – their Med fly-cruises (we haven’t done of the ex-Southampton cruises). On the cruises we did, we were struck with just how smartly the (mainly American) passengers dressed.

  2. Mike says:

    Oh really Tom! We were on Princess and on formal night a guy (Yank) joined our table wearing a pink jumpsuit. Personally I find the Americans dress down and that is why so many ‘Premium and Luxury’ cruise line which cater for the Yanks have been pushed into allowing jeans to be worn on the ‘Chic’ evenings. Sadly it is the way it’s going, dress down to the lowest common denominator. Guess Cunard and P&O will follow, after all they are an American Company. Hey, Benidorm will soon be the fashionable resort to head for.

    Mike, with more than 100 cruises.

    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the comment, Mike

      I have to say that’s not what we saw on Celebrity when we were on their ships. In fact, as far as the ladies were concerned, Val thought that the standard of dresses was far better than she had seen on P&O. And lots of serious jewellery, of course. But the formal nights were well observed. Thesis what I wrote when we were on Celebrity Solstice in 2009: “The dress code was pretty well observed – I would say there was a small majority of men in dinner suits, with almost all the remainder wearing business suits; there were very few men not wearing one or the other. The ladies, of course, were without exception dressed very elegantly.”

      My experience of meeting Americans has been that they are unfailingly polite and in fact eager to fit in. We’ve cruised with Americans and have visited the US a number of times, most recently this year.

  3. Mike says:

    A lot has happened in the cruise industry during the past 6 years, standards have fallen, sadly, all an attempt to fill the huge amount of tonnage rolled out since 2009. Just my opinion! Agree the Yanks are friendly folk.


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