How formal are "formal" nights on Caribbean cruises?

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#21
Wales GB
818 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Originally posted by tillys mom
We were on the Caribbean last summer and found it very informal. DH has skipped the jacket for several years now; he wears dress slacks, dress shirt, and tie. He doesn't take dress shoes either; just wears loafers all nights. The airlines have ruined dressing up for us.
Not sure why the airlines are having the blame for not dressing up on formal night.

We usually have to fly internationally to cruise, with one suitcase each (23kg). We managed to carry everything we needed for our last cruise , 14 nts, for different types of weather in South America and Around the Horn, including suit and dress shoes, for husband and four cocktail dresses with strappy evening sandals and bag for three formal nights for me..like to have a choice!! We did wear our jackets to travel, then put them in Vacuum bags in hand luggage at B. A.

I am a self confessed over packer and assure you, it can be done,
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#22
sw, Fl - Fort Myers Area
7,759 Posts
Joined Nov 2015
Originally posted by satxdiver
The Caribbean cruises tend to be less formal than other areas. Men can get by with only a nice dress shirt and dockers with/without tie. Ladies can get by with a dark pair of pants and a nice shirt. There of course will be everything from tux to shirt/pants or formal dress to pant suits. One thing I have noticed is the growing trend for men in suits or sport coats and no tie. There will be a number of pax wearing the minimum on formal night. I have never seen anyone turned down but then I don't stand by the door and go only on what I see entering or leaving the MDR. Personally I have never worn a suit and did wear a sport coat sans tie in the past but for the last several years wear a button shirt and dockers with my sneakers.
Since a majority of our cruises are in the Caribbean my opinion mirrors yours exactly.
Since ditching my long sleeve shirt a while back for a guayabera shirt, I would never consider returning to the jacket & tie routine which I gave up over 10 years ago on Princess.
It's enjoyable to be able to dress down & still feel relaxed when eating in the DR.
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#23
3,791 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Originally posted by Bemidji Ty
Dress codes are like speed limits. Some ignore them and get away with it. Some ignore them and get pulled over. A couple of cruises back on formal night, the MD gently asked a gentleman at our table to change or eat elsewhere.

Cheers
That's exactly what I noticed last week on the Sapphire. First hand, recent experiences help us decide how to pack or decide to dine in a Specialty restaurant on formal nights.
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dog

Star Princess...Feb. 14, 2019...South America

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#24
Saint John, New Brunswick
5,440 Posts
Joined May 2005
Originally posted by dog
I've sailed both. Men could go in dining room on 2 Celebrity ships I cruised on recently without suit jacket on formal night. On Sapphire Princess last week men were turned away from main dining room without a suit jacket on formal night.
Turned away because they didn't have a suit coat?? I have never seen that on any cruise line. On formal nights I have been to the MDR on Princess several times without a suit jacket. Is this something new?
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#25
3,791 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Originally posted by nbsjcruiser
Turned away because they didn't have a suit coat?? I have never seen that on any cruise line. On formal nights I have been to the MDR on Princess several times without a suit jacket. Is this something new?
Yes, it happened to 2 men right in front of me last week on the Sapphire. Then , during the same meal, the man sitting next to us came in holding a jacket he said head waiter lent him to hang on the back of his chair during main dining room formal night dinner.
There were 2 notices and formal dress code was in Patters. The ship sailed from Southamton, England May 5-12/18.
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dog

Star Princess...Feb. 14, 2019...South America

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#26
England
2,157 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
Originally posted by dog
I've sailed both. Men could go in dining room on 2 Celebrity ships I cruised on recently without suit jacket on formal night. On Sapphire Princess last week men were turned away from main dining room without a suit jacket on formal night.
Celebrity no longer have Formal nights, they were replaced some time ago by "Evening Chic" with neither jackets nor ties required.

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#27
sw, Fl - Fort Myers Area
7,759 Posts
Joined Nov 2015
Originally posted by dog
Yes, it happened to 2 men right in front of me last week on the Sapphire. Then , during the same meal, the man sitting next to us came in holding a jacket he said head waiter lent him to hang on the back of his chair during main dining room formal night dinner.
There were 2 notices and formal dress code was in Patters. The ship sailed from Southamton, England May 5-12/18.
It must have been all those English formalists that caused them to be so strict.
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#28
Edmonds,WA
49 Posts
Joined Feb 2016
Originally posted by dog
Yes, it happened to 2 men right in front of me last week on the Sapphire. Then , during the same meal, the man sitting next to us came in holding a jacket he said head waiter lent him to hang on the back of his chair during main dining room formal night dinner.
There were 2 notices and formal dress code was in Patters. The ship sailed from Southamton, England May 5-12/18.
Wow. What a way to treat the paying customers? I have been to Southampton, England several times and can verify with accuracy that it is not in the Caribbean as where the original OP asked for information.

Cheers
#29
109 Posts
Joined Jul 2014
Has anyone been on Caribbean Princess in the last month going to eastern Caribbean that can comment on attire for men on formal nights as to if a tommy Bahama style shirt (plane not flashy) and dress slacks or dress slacks and a colored(blue or another color other than white) button down long sleeve without tie is acceptable on formal nights? Leaving very soon and need to know if we have to have tie or coat Which he would prefer not to bring. Thanks in advance.
#30
306 Posts
Joined Jul 2017
In my opinion, bring the tie, which takes very little space to pack. For formal night, wear it with the button-down collar shirt, and hope that you can get by without a jacket. That would be the minimum.

Tommy Bahama short sleeve Hawaiian-style shirts, which are worn untucked, would be fine for smart casual night.

Princess tries to have something for everyone. It depends how badly you wish to eat in the MDR. If you don't wish to eat in the MDR, there are many options for formal night:

1. Eat at the Horizon Court, which is completely come-as-you-are.

2. Eat at specialty dining, such as Crab Shack, Sabatini's, Crown Grill, Share, etc.
3. Order free room service.
4. Order Ultimate Balcony Dinner.
5. Order pizza from Alfredo's
6. Order hamburger, etc. from Trident Grill/ Salty Dog
7. Order wine and tapas from Vines, followed by dessert at International Cafe.
8. On a port day, eat at a restaurant onshore.
9. Or, simply book another cruise line.
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#31
306 Posts
Joined Jul 2017
On a 7 day cruise, with 3 meals served per day in the MDR, that's a total of 21 meals served. Out of those 21, only TWO are formal night. So, only about 10% of the meals are formal night. It's a very low percentage.

You will find that the MDR is air-conditioned, regardless of the outside temp. In fact, the MDR often has cooler temps than the rest of the indoor spaces aboard ship.
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#32
sw, Fl - Fort Myers Area
7,759 Posts
Joined Nov 2015
Originally posted by 1island2go
Has anyone been on Caribbean Princess in the last month going to eastern Caribbean that can comment on attire for men on formal nights as to if a tommy Bahama style shirt (plane not flashy) and dress slacks or dress slacks and a colored(blue or another color other than white) button down long sleeve without tie is acceptable on formal nights? Leaving very soon and need to know if we have to have tie or coat Which he would prefer not to bring. Thanks in advance.
Where what I wore to the DR on the CB last year in the Caribbean & it was fine without any jacket. I can't imagine wearing a Tommy Bahama style shirt with a tie?

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#33
San Antonio spaceship earth
8,319 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
Originally posted by floridalover5623
Where what I wore to the DR on the CB last year in the Caribbean & it was fine without any jacket. I can't imagine wearing a Tommy Bahama style shirt with a tie?

I love my guayabera and have been wearing it to formal night the last several years including a cruise out of Southampton. It looks quite nice with my dockers. Because of foot problems, I always wear my athletic shoes. I have never worn a tie on a cruise ship.
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#34
Florida
1,770 Posts
Joined Jun 2010
I wore a short-sleeved TB shirt one formal night and "almost" got turned away..

Island Princess - Panama Canal - many years ago

we got me a long-sleeved Guay. type shirt at the next port and no problems since then

but now I always wear a long-sleeved shirt to the mdr on either smart casual or formal

that's just how I roll - no tie, of course, and sandals- no problem
#35
769 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Originally posted by Queen of the 7 Seas
I am deciding between very similar Southern Caribbean cruises on Princess and on Celebrity. One difference in the on board experience that I've read about is that men tend to wear black tie or suits on Princess formal nights whereas dress is at least one degree less formal on Celebrity. Is this the case?

And while I have your attention, what do you think are the relative advantages of one line over the other? I've cruised 14 times on Celebrity but only once with Princess, and that was back in 2001.

Thanks in advance.
Call Princess direct and ask them.....you will just get a lot of inaccurate opinions on here and falsehoods....for what it is worth (and we mostly do 20 and 30 day cruises) you can get in the dining room on Formal Nights in slacks, a dress shirt and tie....and if not complain to the Hotel Manager or Passenger services desk....that will usually get you in if staff is changing Princess Dress Code SUGGESTIONS!!!
#36
sw, Fl - Fort Myers Area
7,759 Posts
Joined Nov 2015
Originally posted by satxdiver
I love my guayabera and have been wearing it to formal night the last several years including a cruise out of Southampton. It looks quite nice with my dockers. Because of foot problems, I always wear my athletic shoes. I have never worn a tie on a cruise ship.
You're the one who made me dig back in my closet to get my only guayabera shirt which I bought in Mexico some 20 years ago and never wore. I use to call it a taxi drivers shirt.
It's one of the most comfortable shirts I have.
I've been wearing it to all formal nights on all the ships even since & have retired my dark blue long sleeve dress shirt.
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