First timer - Formal Night?

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#1
Lafayette, LA
22 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
Do people get really dressed up (i.e. wear heels) for the formal night? Can't decide if I should pack my 4-inchers or buy something shorter. It would be easier to just go with what I already have, but I don't really wanna stick out like sore thumb.

Thanks!
#2
NJ
7,276 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
It depends on the cruise line, the ship & to some extend the time of year.

For example, we were on the NCL Gem for New Year's Eve. It sailed from NYC. Even though NCL is known for Freestyle cruising meaning you never have to wear formal wear, for the holiday most people went all out.

From your other posts I think you will be sailing on Carnival's Elation. Carnival tends to be one of the more casual lines but you will still see everything from casual to church clothes to flyaway pants & sparkly tops to cocktail dresses to floor length gowns.

Wear what makes you feel comfortable but given that it's Carnival I don't think I'd go all out. I might pack a short cocktail dress but I would not wear (or pack) a ball gown.
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Trish
#3
USA
5,389 Posts
Joined May 2012
We have sailed on 4 Carnival cruises, so far. I only recall seeing a couple in formal attire once. She wore a ball gown and he wore a tux.

They looked amazing but out of place since they were the only couple dressed up so much.

I agree with the previous poster.
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#4
New Jersey
831 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
It really depends on what line your on, what time of year, and how sure of you are footing while walking at sea you are. We usually cruise when schools in session so there are more yet to start a family couples, empty nesters, and retiree passengers on board with the dress preferences run the full range from fancied up sundresses to ball gowns.
The shoes on the other hand seem to reflect how experienced the cruisers are:
the newbies are the ones in platform 6 inch heels being held steady by their companion if the seas are rough or carrying the shoes after having to walk the length of the ship ,
the mildly experienced cruisers tend to wear kits heels, or wear higher heels just to dinner then switch to flats for the evening activities,
while the more experienced cruisers tend to walk & dance competently and confidently in heels ranging from 3 to 5 inches.

If you where from NYC, Chicago, or another place where commuting by train is normal I would suggest wearing heeled shoes that you would be comfortable walking the aisle of the car to without grabbing the straps or seats while the train is in motion.
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#5
Virginia
20,673 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
We had a formal night (1 out of 7 nights) on a recent Disney cruise. Far less than half even got dressed up much less formal. I would leave the 4 inch heels home (not that I could even stand up in them) and use something you have. Maybe a nice looking pair of sandals. You could still dress up but also be comfortable.
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#6
Lancashire
2,830 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
Formal night's about the dress, not the heels. If you turn up in jeans and t-shirt you might get turned away, but there's no-one measuring your shoes.

On the line I travel with (P&O), most ladies wear posh outfits, but I've never noticed the shoes - I dare say if someone goes head over heels on the stairs I might reckon spot if they were wearing "glamorous" footwear that's not very practical, but otherwise I wouldn't notice. Wear what you like, it'll be wasted on the men! If you told us what line you were with, it might give us a clue to the answer to your question.
#7
Fredericksburg, va. USA
82,166 Posts
Joined May 2001
Most women will wear some sort of heels most nights...we want to look good! Not everyone wears stilletos, but still....something that looks good makes you feel good!
#8
Lafayette, LA
22 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
Thanks to all the answers... they helped solidify my decision. I'll be sailing on Carnival's Elation. While I'm comfortable on land in heels I think I'll just go out and buy wedges just to be on the safe side until I get a feel for everything.
#9
NY
738 Posts
Joined Oct 2012
Originally posted by GeesLouise90
Do people get really dressed up (i.e. wear heels) for the formal night? Can't decide if I should pack my 4-inchers or buy something shorter. It would be easier to just go with what I already have, but I don't really wanna stick out like sore thumb.

Thanks!
I would NEVER EVER wear heels on a cruise. But that's because I'm already 2 inches taller than my husband. Do whatever you want to do!
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#10
Iowa
740 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
I'd be a little concerned about breaking out the Manolos onboard (just in case there's some motion to the ocean), but a nice kitten heel or some dressy sandals could work for your formal night. That's usually what I pack.

And yeah, I'm one of those weirdos who actually does dress up on formal night. I rock the sequins and everything.
#11
Milton, Georgia
1,115 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
We have now done away with Formal Night. It takes an extra suite case to carry all of that stuff and I have enough pictures and video's of me pouring Champaigne on the stack of glasses in the main center of the ship. Did not do it on our last cruise on Carnival but may consider it on our upcoming Eastern Med Cruise 12 days on Princess.
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#12
Pepsicola FL
9,978 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Originally posted by GeesLouise90
Do people get really dressed up (i.e. wear heels) for the formal night? Can't decide if I should pack my 4-inchers or buy something shorter. It would be easier to just go with what I already have, but I don't really wanna stick out like sore thumb.

Thanks!
my idea of a heel is about half that.. on a good day.

wear whatever you are comfortable in as long as it looks dressier than a pair of flip flops.
#13
105,987 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
How formal night will be? A lot depends on the cruise line -- ship -- itinerary. Hard to say what it will be like on your cruise.

One thing I do know -- it seems like the ship is always rocking more on formal nights than on other nights.

There was a time when I wore floor length skirts with fancy tops with 2 inch heels.

Now that I have to use a walker/rollator -- I have to wear 3/4 length skirts and fancy flats. DH still wears a tuxedo.
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#14
SoCal Gal
5,093 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
I bring my 4-inch heels on every cruise. Even if I go more casual for formal night (cocktail dress or palazzo pants/top), I still wear my killer pumps.
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#15
Lancashire
2,830 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
Originally posted by cb at sea
Most women will wear some sort of heels most nights...we want to look good! Not everyone wears stilletos, but still....something that looks good makes you feel good!
But for quite a lot of women, heels don't make them look good. It just makes their bottom stick out. What's their reason for wearing high heels?
#16
York, PA
75 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
It's good to know I'm not the only one stressing about formal night! I'm planning on having my wedding dress cut and dyed for the cruise (fairly informal destination wedding type dress!) but it was the shoes that I was most concerned about!
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#17
South Arkansas
564 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
You will see every range of fashion on formal night - some of the ladies will look like they are about to compete in the evening gown competition of a beauty pageant - others will look like they are going to a business meeting - some like they're on their way to church. Men's attire will range from tuxedos (really only saw a few of those), to suits and ties, to khakis and a polo shirt.

Some even chose NOT to dress up and avoid the main dining rooms altogether (which is what my hubby and I are doing our next cruise - this is about relaxation for us, not stress over clothing choices !! )

If you enjoy getting all dressed up, go for it !! I imagine whatever you choose to wear (and be comfortable in), you will not stick out like a sore thumb !! Just go and have a great time
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#18
Lafayette, LA
22 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
Originally posted by dsrdsrdsr
But for quite a lot of women, heels don't make them look good. It just makes their bottom stick out. What's their reason for wearing high heels?
LOL! I'm pretty sure there's more to it than that... like elongated/toned legs and making us feel sexy which gives us confidence. But for the most part my bottom is the same... just higher with the added height.
#19
2,874 Posts
Joined Dec 2005
Originally posted by GeesLouise90
Do people get really dressed up (i.e. wear heels) for the formal night? Can't decide if I should pack my 4-inchers or buy something shorter. It would be easier to just go with what I already have, but I don't really wanna stick out like sore thumb.

Thanks!
You will not stick out like a sore thumb. And as a first timer I would try
formal night as it is one of the last traditions of travel by sea. But don't overdue it, that is, go buy a very expensive outfit when you have something nice already in the closet.

And I am not playing NannyGate with you but have at least one pair of everyday shoes that fully cover your foot...I don't want you breaking a toe when you are out and about the ship and ports.
#20
Lafayette, LA
22 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
Originally posted by Fredr
You will not stick out like a sore thumb. And as a first timer I would try
formal night as it is one of the last traditions of travel by sea. But don't overdue it, that is, go buy a very expensive outfit when you have something nice already in the closet.

And I am not playing NannyGate with you but have at least one pair of everyday shoes that fully cover your foot...I don't want you breaking a toe when you are out and about the ship and ports.

So flip flops are not a good choice? I wear those on a normal, out and about day. I like my feet to be free lol