How formal are "formal" nights on Caribbean cruises?

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#1
23 Posts
Joined Nov 2015
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.
#2
Florida
1,778 Posts
Joined Jun 2010
sorry, but have you even tried to research the formal night situation on Princess on this board? 100's of threads discussing this very subject - 100's
#3
3,802 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
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.
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.
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#4
SAN DEIGO, CA
3,701 Posts
Joined Jun 2007
When we did Celebrity to Bermuda in 2016 we brought our normal formal gear and felt a bit overdressed...most were in the same clothes they wore on the casual dinner nights..maybe ladies had a bit more bling on..but slacks, dress shirt or hawaiin shirt.

When we are on Princess we see more suits and a couple tuxs. When on Princess DH wears a black/wht pinstripe suit with shirt and/or tie that ties back or matches my floor length formal dress...think updated bridesmade sorta.

Next time we do Celebrity we will not bring the suit or full length formal gown...hope that helps.

We liked both lines but to us Princess has a bit more calmer décor and a bit more activities...but then again we have done 1 celebrity and 8 princess cruises. We felt a bit more relaxed on princess but could be because we have done it before. Celebrity did have the cold towels and water (free) when coming back on board in Bermuda...princess I believe had cheaper internet plans, love international café on princess, celebrity doesn't really have that...MDR food was about same on both however X has softened butter like whipped in 3 different flavors that change each night, sometimes a bit more froo froo food in their mdr...the buffets I might give the edge to X on this one as I just loved the area I found WAY at the back where I could made to order scrambles and the options to put in seemed endless...whereas with Princess it is not always clear where to go and they show it as more an omelet station...but food we pretty comparable. Shows...I would give this one to princess as well as the trivia and games during the day. the one thing that got me on X was that I had to haul my carryon bag around with me until they unlocked the hallways to the cabins...at least on princess I can drop it even if the cabin is not fully ready for us I just toss it in the closet and can move freely. Those are my opinions...hope it helps.
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#5
Gulf Breeze FL
57 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
I cruised the Caribbean on the Crown Princess this past February and found the dress for formal night on Celebrity and Princess very similar. There was more men on Princess wearing suits but on our cruise the majority of men were wearing slacks and dress shirt or Hawaiian type shirt. Some with ties some without. Never saw anyone turned away.
#6
Vancouver BC
135 Posts
Joined Sep 2013
Of the last 20 or so Princess cruises we've been on over the last few years on different ships and different locations around the world, I have observed that about 60% of men wear a suit or sports coat. About 30% wear dress slacks, white shirt and tie (that's me) and a good 10% wear dress clothes but no tie. At every formal night I have seen a few men wearing jeans with a dress shirt. We always choose early traditional dining.
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#7
Alabama
1,058 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
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.
#8
Florida
1,778 Posts
Joined Jun 2010
the airlines? - seriously? - what are the fees for one extra garment bag - $ 100 or so?

seems insignificant in the total cost of the whole cruise experience if dressing to the 9's is your thing...
#9
Las Vegas
654 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
We just finished a 10 day Caribbean cruise and I'd say 60% of men wore a suit, 15% wore a sport coat, tie and slacks, 10% were in full tuxedos and the remaining 15% either wore a tie and slacks or didn't dress up at all.

It was quite a bit dressier than I had assumed, with the men dressing more formally than many of the ladies. (Lots of Chico style jackets with slacks - very few gowns or formal dresses)

But being a longer 10 day cruise and not just 7 brought out an older, and probably more affluent crowd.

There were almost 400 Elites and 600 Platinum passengers.

Elite cleaning service did take 3 days
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#10
Florida
1,778 Posts
Joined Jun 2010
you're basing numbers strictly on the people you saw, of course...

and , like you, "they" headed to the atrium to have those pictures taken and then to the dining room...

that's what you saw - so your %s are definitely skewed based on the entire passenger count...
#11
Las Vegas
654 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Originally posted by voljeep
you're basing numbers strictly on the people you saw, of course...

and , like you, "they" headed to the atrium to have those pictures taken and then to the dining room...

that's what you saw - so your %s are definitely skewed based on the entire passenger count...
Of course, I didn't observe those in the buffet, poolside, or having room service those evenings.

I took the OP as a question regarding the public areas most commonly associated with formal nights and assumed they were already aware they could stay in their room or away from the entertainment areas of the ship
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Carnival Ecstasy - Bahamas 3/1998
Star Princess - Mexican Rivera 9/2000
Golden Princess - Classic Southern 9/2004
Golden Princess - Classic Southern 4/2005
Grand Princess - W Caribbean 11/2005
Diamond Princess - Coastal 5/2006
Diamond Princess - Mexican Rivera 11/2006
Carnival Spirit - Exotic MX Rivera 1/2008
Mariner of the Seas - Mexican Rivera 9/2009
Carnival Paradise - Mexican Baja 11/2009
Diamond Princess - Voyage of the Glaciers 6/2010
Carnival Paradise - Mexican Baja 11/2010
Ruby Princess - Grand Med 5/2011
Carnival Imagination - Bahamas 11/2011
Golden Princess - Pacific Coastal 9/2012
Various Princess Coastals 9/2013
Sapphire Princess - Pacific Getaway 1/2014
Ruby Princess - British Isles 5/2014
Crown Princess - Mexican Rivera 3/2015
Caribbean Princess - Western Caribbean 11/2015
Ruby Princess - Alaska Inside Passage 9/2016
Ruby Princess - Pacific Coastal Wine Cruise
#12
Florida
1,778 Posts
Joined Jun 2010
Originally posted by Scotto97
Having a bad day????????

but lacked the special touch and attention we'd appreciated in the past. Like waiters remembering we like sliced tomatoes nightly and having them on the table when we arrive for traditional dining, or a little extra effort like presenting a cheese plate without asking.

the Ultimate Balcony Dinner, but they wouldn't honor our request to be served the Crown Grill tiger prawns instead of the smallish shrimp cocktail from the dining room. In the past, I believe this would have been done as a nice exception.

you seem to think you are "entitled" to those extras...you're beyond Princess now - maybe the Queen Mary is more your type
#13
SAN DEIGO, CA
3,701 Posts
Joined Jun 2007
Perhaps Scott is just remembering the good ol days...I have to admit our last princess cruise I could see the cutting costs and the staff feeling pressure to do more with and for less. If you look at past cruises..alot are princess and he is elite status...

Not that I am saying I am entitled to it but it was nice when the waiter pulled out my chair, laid the napkin in my lap and once situated presented me the open menu and gave his thoughts on the nights menu.....our last cruise our waiter barely grunted at us that he heard our order which he got wrong several times. He did not pull out our chair or anyone of his other tables for that matter, no draping the napkin...he barely waited for my butt to hit the sit before shoving the closed menu in my face then kept spilling water all over me and my chair each time he refilled the water glass. Then berated his assistant waiter for not changing out the utensils for the next meal while I watched him stand there and do nothing but hold the carpet down in the spot he was standing. Even after speaking to head waiter his attitude did not change. We pick traditional dining so we have the same wait staff that will remember when my DH orders a salad he can not have tomatoes on it, that I drink ice tea with dinner and it is brought each night without asking...this is why sooo many say that they do traditional dining for this little perk that is sadly slipping away with the pressure for the staff to do more more more with less and therefore we all suffer for it.
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Cassandra





Royal Princess-7 day Mexican Riviera r/t LA
Caribbean Princess-7 day Eastern Caribbean- 8/18/18 w/April/Doug
Caribbean Princess-7 day Western Caribbean- 8/11/18 w/ April/Doug
Crown Princess-11 day Classic Canada-Quebec to NY- 10/4/17
Celebrity Summit-Bermuda -8/14/16
Regal Princess-E. Carib FLL-3/15/15
Caribbean Princess-W. Carib Houston-3/15/14 w/April/Doug
Sapphire Princess- Wine country coastal-Northbound- 5/11/13
Caribbean Princess-Canada/New England- 10/13/12
Oosterdam Holland America-Mexican Riviera- 10/8/11
Sapphire Princess- Coastal cruzn Vancouver- SFO 9/20/10
Coral Princess- Southbound Alaska 9/11/10
Caribbean Princess-Western Caribbean-FLL Oct 2007
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#14
Las Vegas
654 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Originally posted by voljeep
but lacked the special touch and attention we'd appreciated in the past. Like waiters remembering we like sliced tomatoes nightly and having them on the table when we arrive for traditional dining, or a little extra effort like presenting a cheese plate without asking.

the Ultimate Balcony Dinner, but they wouldn't honor our request to be served the Crown Grill tiger prawns instead of the smallish shrimp cocktail from the dining room. In the past, I believe this would have been done as a nice exception.

you seem to think you are "entitled" to those extras...you're beyond Princess now - maybe the Queen Mary is more your type
I fail to see how any of this promotes the idea that we are "Entitled"....we didn't demand that tomatoes were waiting for us at the table, just appreciated the gesture when it happened in the past.

I also acknowledged the pawn request was clearly a special request which would have been appreciated, but we still had a fantastic meal that met the expectations of its description.

Do you feel any request a person makes while on-board should be considered displaying an entitled attitude? If someone prefers Tabasco with their eggs and it's not on the table, does it show entitlement to ask for some?
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Carnival Ecstasy - Bahamas 3/1998
Star Princess - Mexican Rivera 9/2000
Golden Princess - Classic Southern 9/2004
Golden Princess - Classic Southern 4/2005
Grand Princess - W Caribbean 11/2005
Diamond Princess - Coastal 5/2006
Diamond Princess - Mexican Rivera 11/2006
Carnival Spirit - Exotic MX Rivera 1/2008
Mariner of the Seas - Mexican Rivera 9/2009
Carnival Paradise - Mexican Baja 11/2009
Diamond Princess - Voyage of the Glaciers 6/2010
Carnival Paradise - Mexican Baja 11/2010
Ruby Princess - Grand Med 5/2011
Carnival Imagination - Bahamas 11/2011
Golden Princess - Pacific Coastal 9/2012
Various Princess Coastals 9/2013
Sapphire Princess - Pacific Getaway 1/2014
Ruby Princess - British Isles 5/2014
Crown Princess - Mexican Rivera 3/2015
Caribbean Princess - Western Caribbean 11/2015
Ruby Princess - Alaska Inside Passage 9/2016
Ruby Princess - Pacific Coastal Wine Cruise
#15
New Hampshire
6,256 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
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.
Never had an issue bringing formal clothes if we wanted to. The old routine that it makes the luggage too heavy is bunk. Just figure what clothing is important & go with it. Afterall, Princess HAS on board self laundry. Bring a little less & do laundry on board. It's not rocket science. As to shoes, all mine go in the carry on. Again, not rocket science.
#16
New Hampshire
6,256 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
Originally posted by voljeep
but lacked the special touch and attention we'd appreciated in the past. Like waiters remembering we like sliced tomatoes nightly and having them on the table when we arrive for traditional dining, or a little extra effort like presenting a cheese plate without asking.

the Ultimate Balcony Dinner, but they wouldn't honor our request to be served the Crown Grill tiger prawns instead of the smallish shrimp cocktail from the dining room. In the past, I believe this would have been done as a nice exception.

you seem to think you are "entitled" to those extras...you're beyond Princess now - maybe the Queen Mary is more your type
Ever been on QM2? It's not the entitled ship, you say it is. Overall pax are very much like Princess. Their shtick is the dress codes, other than that they're very similar.
#17
New Hampshire
6,256 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
Originally posted by Scotto97
We just finished a 10 day Caribbean cruise and I'd say 60% of men wore a suit, 15% wore a sport coat, tie and slacks, 10% were in full tuxedos and the remaining 15% either wore a tie and slacks or didn't dress up at all.

It was quite a bit dressier than I had assumed, with the men dressing more formally than many of the ladies. (Lots of Chico style jackets with slacks - very few gowns or formal dresses)

But being a longer 10 day cruise and not just 7 brought out an older, and probably more affluent crowd.

There were almost 400 Elites and 600 Platinum passengers.

Elite cleaning service did take 3 days
I'd agree with the "older" but not necessarily more affluent. If you're not in a suite, the cost of a 10-14 day cruise is actually quite reasonable.
#18
San Diego County
408 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
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
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#19
San Antonio spaceship earth
8,332 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
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.
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#20
Wales GB
819 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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