Formality

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Q&A with Peter Shanks, President & Managing Director Cunard Line



Peter Shanks
President & Managing Director



Special Event: Peter Shanks was here answering your questions about Cunard Line. Check in to see what he had to say!

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#1
London
184 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
Are you going to Kill the Cunard that most returning guests know and love by reducing the Formality of the dress code?
#2
BH13 - England
2,342 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Would like the dress codes to be enforced at the entrance to Dining Rooms - The dumming down with the dress code being declared as "advised" is not the way forward for old school cruisers.
#3
71 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
I totally agree. We love the formality of Cunard and would hate it to become more relaxed. The only thing my husband does dislike is having to wear a jacket on Smart Casual nights. P & O allow a smart shirt/trousers with or without tie as wished. On warmer cruises being allowed to go without a jacket but still looking very smart in open necked shirt and nice trousers is a nice change for him and more comfortable. The rest, Formal, Informal with jacket and tie is fine.
#4
DALLAS TEXAS USA
593 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
I am "suggesting" to my son to get a white dinner jacket for our trip on the QE through the Panama Canal in March. Would that be a waste of money for him?
#5
Lytham, NW England
143 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
We would love to try Cunard, but until the dress code is relaxed, we will have to sail elsewhere.

I would think this is something Cunard will have to consider at some point, the younger market generally wish for a more relaxed cruise.

Just my view
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#6
71 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
Hi, A White Tux would not be at all out of place. My husband takes one and lots of other men wear them too. You can't be too dressed up on Cunard. Tell your son to go for it!
#7
Brisbane, Australia
459 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Hi Waldorf

My husband was not so sure about wearing a jacket every night but he was fine. I think it is lovely and a refreshing change from other cruise lines. You should give it ago. Its like a bygone era that we get to experience. Love it
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#8
DALLAS TEXAS USA
593 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
Originally posted by eatsallinsects
I am "suggesting" to my son to get a white dinner jacket for our trip on the QE through the Panama Canal in March. Would that be a waste of money for him?
* * * * *
Should have added that I was thinking primarily about the suitability of the white jacket for the part of the world and the time of the year.
#9
71 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
It doesn't matter what time of year you go on Cunard, a white jacket/tux is fine. We went to the Med in summer with Cunard and he was able to wear his white tux comfortably. Hope that is what you meant.
#11
154 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
Please do retain the dress code and enforce it as it is one of the pleasures which set Cunard apart. That is to say it is not the clothing but rather the requirement that one put oneself together which attracts others who enjoy an atmosphere of refined conviviality. Without the code, it would be a quick descent into the land of the party ships where the code is "foot covering required after 6:00p.m."
#12
West Hollywood, CA
1,422 Posts
Joined May 2000
As one of the younger set, who wears jeans to work everyday, I love dressing up on Cunard. There are plenty of lines that you can wear whatever you want. There are so few that still require one to dress well at dinner. Its the only competitive advantage left!

If Cunard goes casual, then I'd just as well sail Celebrity
#13
Lancashire, England
859 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Originally posted by waldorf
We would love to try Cunard, but until the dress code is relaxed, we will have to sail elsewhere.

I would think this is something Cunard will have to consider at some point, the younger market generally wish for a more relaxed cruise.

Just my view
Agree entirely. Whilst it is undoubtedly true that many like to sail with Cunard because of the formailty, it is equally true that many avoid doing so for the same reason. I suspect that the latter outnumber the former.
#14
Surrey UK
7,369 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
I welcome the formality of Cunard and think that it was a mistake to reduce the formal nights on a transatlantic crossing from 4 to 3. There are so many alternative lines available if a passenger doesn't want to adhere to the Cunard' dress codes. Let's not reduce the ships to the lowest common denominator!
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I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

John Masefield


My blog can be found at http://thecapnpugwash.wordpress.com/

QE2 1 cruise 7 days
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NCL 1 cruise 14 days
Fred Olsen 2 cruises 26 days
MSC 4 cruises 55 days
HAL 1 cruise 7 days

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#15
Mississauga ON
1,595 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
One of the excuses I've heard for not enforcing the dress code in the restaurants is that "staff risk losing gratuities". Have there been any marketing studies whether a mandatory service charge instead of supposedly-voluntary gratuties would be an acceptable trade-off? I believe I'm not alone in feeling the present system is no way for a premium cruise line to treat either loyal customers or loyal staff.
#16
50 Posts
Joined Feb 2013
Formality is part of our DNA - but not all we do is Formal. I can certainly reassure you that Cunard will not give up our Formal Evenings - they are very special and a chance for Ladies, Gentelmen and their children too to have a very special night. Some luxury cruise lines have moved to Formal/Optional which I would just find confusing - it's either a formal night or not. The ambience in the dining rooms and bars on a formal night is terrfic - it is similar to a special night out at home - and there are fewer and fewer of those opportunities these days. At the same tme - many people want to relax on holiday - and whilst we have 2 or 3 formal nights on a voyage - guests can also relax with our 'Elegant Casual' evenings. I sense as we go forward , whilst maintaining the Formal nights then we may see the Elegant Casual approach becoming more popular and a chance to relax as we would going out with friends at home. But for us - the Formal night is something very important and we do it properly - a rarity in today's growing cruise market. Peter
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Peter Shanks
President and Managing Director
Cunard Line
#17
Surrey UK
7,369 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
Originally posted by Peter Shanks
Formality is part of our DNA - but not all we do is Formal. I can certainly reassure you that Cunard will not give up our Formal Evenings - they are very special and a chance for Ladies, Gentelmen and their children too to have a very special night. Some luxury cruise lines have moved to Formal/Optional which I would just find confusing - it's either a formal night or not. The ambience in the dining rooms and bars on a formal night is terrfic - it is similar to a special night out at home - and there are fewer and fewer of those opportunities these days. At the same tme - many people want to relax on holiday - and whilst we have 2 or 3 formal nights on a voyage - guests can also relax with our 'Elegant Casual' evenings. I sense as we go forward , whilst maintaining the Formal nights then we may see the Elegant Casual approach becoming more popular and a chance to relax as we would going out with friends at home. But for us - the Formal night is something very important and we do it properly - a rarity in today's growing cruise market. Peter
All that you say is correct and the fact that there are reduced formal nights is still a great shame when as you say "the Elegant Casual approach becoming more popular and a chance to relax as we would going out with friends at home." Surely if we wanted to just don a jaclet as we might at home, we wouldn't make the effort and expend the money to board a Cunard ship. We like formality and it brings us back time after time, if you become like one of the myriad other lines this may not be so.
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E: [email protected]

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

John Masefield


My blog can be found at http://thecapnpugwash.wordpress.com/

QE2 1 cruise 7 days
QM2 41 Transatlantics c263 days
QM2 5 cruises 38 days
QE 5 cruises 46 days
QV 6 cruises 74 days
P&O 8 cruises 135 days
Celebrity 1 cruise 12 days
RCIL 1 cruise 18 days
NCL 1 cruise 14 days
Fred Olsen 2 cruises 26 days
MSC 4 cruises 55 days
HAL 1 cruise 7 days

Future trips
#18
UK
302 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
Firstly, I agree with Capnpugwash, we travel with Cunard for the formality and will be disappointed if Cunard goes more "Elegant Casual". Secondly, have you travelled on one of your ships recently? When I was last on Queen Elizabeth, last June, one night was designated "Semi-Formal/Optional Formal". Like you, I found this confusing! Thankfully, due to the Cruise Critic Roll Call group, who all agreed to go "Formal", I felt confident to do the same.
#19
50 Posts
Joined Feb 2013
We do not intend to reduce or dilute either the style or the number of our Formal nights - they remain very important to us and very much enjoyed by our guests. Not sure what happened on the Queen Elizabeth - it may have been on one of the short 2 night voyages to Hamburg. Sometimes for operational reasons our team onboard need to make adjustments as they see best - but please be assured that Cunard Formal is and will be Cunard Formal. Best Regards. Peter
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Peter Shanks
President and Managing Director
Cunard Line
#20
UK
302 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
Originally posted by Peter Shanks
We do not intend to reduce or dilute either the style or the number of our Formal nights - they remain very important to us and very much enjoyed by our guests. Not sure what happened on the Queen Elizabeth - it may have been on one of the short 2 night voyages to Hamburg. Sometimes for operational reasons our team onboard need to make adjustments as they see best - but please be assured that Cunard Formal is and will be Cunard Formal. Best Regards. Peter
Thank you, the more formal nights the better as far as we're concerned. We haven't yet been to Hamburg but would love to go as I understand that the reception and send off are both wonderful to experience. You are correct though, the time we were offered "Semi Formal/Optional Formal" was on a mini cruise.