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8 hours ago, AncientWanderer said:

Particularly on long ocean crossings, things can get boring, and there are a limited number of things one can do on a ship, so the special nights just break up the monotony.  Same as "themed dinners" can do, or anything else a cruise director can cook up. Maybe with the big-screen TVs and elaborate shows, folks don't need to amuse themselves as much as in days past. 

 

Perhaps. "Breaking up the monotony" was clearly the impetus underlying rotating dining room arrangements, and the exponential growth of alternative dining venues aboard ship, within the American cruise market. That really underscores the point, though, doesn't it? The point is to satisfy customer needs - providing variety in the diversion. The question is "Which variety?" and invariably, in the long-run, the answer has to go back to the point of the variety: satisfying customer needs, and that of course means as the customer changes the way diversion will be delivered must change.

 

Formal nights are sometimes touted as harkening back to some bygone era, romanticized by "Titanic", but they really never were. The end of ocean liners as transportation irrevocably changed the industry, and what came later was always a simulation, and to a great extent a fabricated fiction crafted based on an understanding of what customers wanted. You said that formal nights serve the same function as themed dinners. I would go further than that: They were the (only) themed dinners offered on our first cruises. Then other themed dinners were offered, a reflection of new understandings about what fabricated fictions customers wanted at that particular time. And just like other types of themed dinners have fallen out of favor with passengers and are no longer offered, we'll likely see the same thing with formal night, because there's nothing about them that is fundamentally different from other themed dinners.

 

The only thing unique about formal dinners is how vitriolically passionate some squeaky wheels are about their passing, and consequently how disproportionately (more) slowly the cruise lines have to go reducing and/or eliminating them, while still being able to control the message.

 

And of course this isn't unique to cruising or even cruise dining. What can be more traditional than Christmas? Yet, the last week should have reminded any of us with a long memory just how much the way we celebrate Christmas has radically changed decade after decade. 

Edited by bUU

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1 hour ago, bUU said:

 

Perhaps. "Breaking up the monotony" was clearly the impetus underlying rotating dining room arrangements, and the exponential growth of alternative dining venues aboard ship, within the American cruise market. That really underscores the point, though, doesn't it? The point is to satisfy customer needs - providing variety in the diversion. The question is "Which variety?" and invariably, in the long-run, the answer has to go back to the point of the variety: satisfying customer needs, and that of course means as the customer changes the way diversion will be delivered must change.

 

Formal nights are sometimes touted as harkening back to some bygone era, romanticized by "Titanic", but they really never were. The end of ocean liners as transportation irrevocably changed the industry, and what came later was always a simulation, and to a great extent a fabricated fiction crafted based on an understanding of what customers wanted. You said that formal nights serve the same function as themed dinners. I would go further than that: They were the (only) themed dinners offered on our first cruises. Then other themed dinners were offered, a reflection of new understandings about what fabricated fictions customers wanted at that particular time. And just like other types of themed dinners have fallen out of favor with passengers and are no longer offered, we'll likely see the same thing with formal night, because there's nothing about them that is fundamentally different from other themed dinners.

 

The only thing unique about formal dinners is how vitriolically passionate some squeaky wheels are about their passing, and consequently how disproportionately (more) slowly the cruise lines have to go reducing and/or eliminating them, while still being able to control the message.

 

And of course this isn't unique to cruising or even cruise dining. What can be more traditional than Christmas? Yet, the last week should have reminded any of us with a long memory just how much the way we celebrate Christmas has radically changed decade after decade. 

The term is Simulacra.  A model or image of something that never really existed in the first place; more an homage to an idea than to actually replicating events.  

 

If it were not for Holland America loosening their strict nature they wouldn't be on our radar for a holiday cruise this year.  Not sloppy, don't dine in bathing suits, don't own tank tops, but no interest in dressing to the 9's on vacation and that has been a barrier to entry until recently for me in considering HAL.  No longer.  

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Does it really matter?  Everyone has their own reason for dressing up or going casual on formal/gala nights.  

 

Why try to understand or rationalize the reasons why they do?  There are as many answers as there are people on board.  Is it not better to simply accept it and move on?    This is like trying to rationalize why people order what they do from the MDR menu.

Edited by iancal

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8 minutes ago, iancal said:

Does it really matter?  Everyone has their own reason for dressing up or going casual on formal/gala nights.  

 

Why try to understand or rationalize the reasons why they do?  There are as many answers as there are people on board.  Is it not better to simply accept it and move on?    This is like trying to rationalize why people order what they do from the MDR menu.

Excellent points.  The issue to me has always been 'why do some believe their enjoyment relies upon controlling what others do (wear)?'

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On 12/29/2018 at 6:07 PM, kazu said:
  On 12/29/2018 at 4:50 AM, mcrcruiser said:

On our recent  Mexican Riviera cruise on Eurodam ,on Gala nights  I wore a nice Hawaiian print shirt ,dark slacks & my dark sneakers  ;which  blend in   .I also wore my dark sweater . I love the more casual atmosphere of dress now  acceptable .


If we were flying to any cruise ,it makes packing easier, lighter & less luggage at check in with using the foregoing attire 

We have to fly to any cruise we are going to.  I don't care what others wear in the MDR but DH always has a sportsjacket (you can wear that on the plane in decent weather) and usually a suit packed.  No sneakers for him ever in the dining room 😉

Whatever works for everyone is good but some still like to dress up a bit.

 

I've never quite understood the argument for not 'dressing up' for formal/gala nights because someone was flying to the embarkation point.  DW and I have always carried a normal sized suitcase and haven't ever had any issues packing enough clothes for a trip, including those for the so-named gala nights. Folks are just not interested in putting forth the effort and 'Oh, I'm flying' is a convenient excuse.  Their choice, of course, but it seems like if one were that casual and disinterested in the customs of the ship or line they would opt for a Bubba Gump cruise rather than a traditional line like HAL. That said, HAL is a willing participant as more passengers equals more revenue even it diminishes the brand in the eyes of the more traditional among us. 

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We also have to fly to all embarkation ports -- with connecting flights.  And since we don't live near the airport, we have to stay at a hotel near the airport both pre and pro cruise.  Thus that adds extra days besides the days we fly in early and have to stay over before flying home.  Adds another week of vacation time besides the cruise.

 

We take 4 large suitcases.  DH no longer takes a tuxedo but he does have a suit and a sports jacket (with bow ties) for gala nights.  I use to wear long skirts with fancy tops but now that I use a Rollator, I have 3/4 length skirts and flats.  DH never wears sneakers on gala nights or smart casual nights.

 

We still like to dress up a little.

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Sounds like you have it down to a science.  It took us a few years but DW and I finally managed to consolidate our packing down to two suitcases and two carry on bags for most trips.  I've resisted any luggage expansion ideas lest I end up hauling around the old carriage trunks that have been up in the attic since Moses was a baby.

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On 12/29/2018 at 5:04 PM, Despegue said:

RuthC, that is why by far most people are cruising. No one cruises to experience a Class-seperated environment I hope, no one cruises to get stressed, I hope nobody cruises to be able to show-off. 

Um, no.  You're very, very much off base. It seems to me you're justifying your style of cruising. I've packed for 2 weeks in two climates in a 28" bag including elegant wear.  Today I could do that in a carry on.  Yes, I'm that good. 😜

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15 minutes ago, fyree39 said:

Um, no.  You're very, very much off base. It seems to me you're justifying your style of cruising. I've packed for 2 weeks in two climates in a 28" bag including elegant wear.  Today I could do that in a carry on.  Yes, I'm that good. 😜

My hat is off to you. haha  Do you offer tutorials?  😉 

 

As to Despeque, I don't travel to experience a class separated environment.  We simply travel in our 'environment' which is one reason we don't sail on Carnival.

 

 

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16 hours ago, akav8er said:

 

I've never quite understood the argument for not 'dressing up' for formal/gala nights because someone was flying to the embarkation point.  DW and I have always carried a normal sized suitcase and haven't ever had any issues packing enough clothes for a trip, including those for the so-named gala nights. Folks are just not interested in putting forth the effort and 'Oh, I'm flying' is a convenient excuse.  Their choice, of course, but it seems like if one were that casual and disinterested in the customs of the ship or line they would opt for a Bubba Gump cruise rather than a traditional line like HAL. That said, HAL is a willing participant as more passengers equals more revenue even it diminishes the brand in the eyes of the more traditional among us. 

Why do you think it's important for others to dress up for formal/gala nights?

If you want a more formal environment, then there are other cruise lines to choose from.

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Cruises for us are often a 7, 10, or 14 day affair in the middle of an eight to ten week independent land vacation.

 

Flying has nothing to do with it.  For us it is all about not wanting to drag along clothing that we will only wear for a few hours a day for two or three days.  We do not have that luxury since we travel with carry on only.  Casual is fine for us.  

 

Please do not confuse this with an 'excuse'.  We hardly feel the need to make an excuse to anyone for the way we travel.  Excuse implies we are somewhat sorry about our attire.  We are not and we feel very comfortable in our own skin.

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2 hours ago, RocketMan275 said:

Why do you think it's important for others to dress up for formal/gala nights?

If you want a more formal environment, then there are other cruise lines to choose from.

You misunderstood my comment.  I was lamenting the loss of effort.  It's a show of respect to dress for the occasion. Wearing flip flops to mass, for example, would be inappropriate. Swim trunks to a black tie event? Also inappropriate.  But, if one doesn't care how they look, so be it. To borrow phrase, "if you want a -less- formal environment, then there are other cruise lines to choose from."   😉

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2 hours ago, RocketMan275 said:

Why do you think it's important for others to dress up for formal/gala nights?

If you want a more formal environment, then there are other cruise lines to choose from.

You misunderstood my comment.  I was lamenting the loss of effort.  It's a show of respect to dress for the occasion. Wearing flip flops to mass, for example, would be inappropriate. Swim trunks to a black tie event? Also inappropriate.  But, if one doesn't care how they look, so be it. To borrow phrase, "if you want a -less- formal environment, then there are other cruise lines to choose from."   😉

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17 hours ago, akav8er said:

You misunderstood my comment.  I was lamenting the loss of effort.  It's a show of respect to dress for the occasion. 

 

Cruise ship dining room dinners don't quite rise to what I consider to be an occasion.  It's not a wedding, or funeral, it's not a baby naming event, it's not a personalized event that you are there to mark the milestone.  It's cruise ship dinner.  Maybe individual tables are small groups of friends or family celebrating, that's fine, they should enjoy themselves how they want.  But the cruise line want to sell you portrait photos.  You can tell this because formal night on cruise ships, by and large, pretty much is limited to the main dining rooms.  That's fine in and of itself, but please don't act like anyone else is disrespecting you by not participating to the same degree that you choose.   When there are other theme nights, say a White night, Country and Western night, decades night, etc., do you participate to the maximum?  If you don't, because it does not interest you to do so, do you feel you owe "excuses" to someone who is head to toe in cowboy gear? 

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On 7/14/2017 at 9:45 AM, bUU said:

 As those who prefer formal attire become a minority due to greater affordability of cruising, it is only irrational wealth privilege that would foster an expectation that formal attire would not, itself, experience a decline.

 

Sad but true, but I'm holding the line...!

I bring a tux (Caribbean is a white dinner jacket; northern cruises are a black tux) and sign up for 'unlimited laundry and pressing.' That usually gets me the tux back by the first formal night, pressed and ready.  Honestly a white dinner jacket is more comfortable than a suit & tie. Regarding the other nights, a silk Aloha shirt and nice khaki trousers work fine.  

I'm fine with folks wanting to stay informal on vacation; but they ought to be relegated to the informal dining venues and not the MDR, Pinnacle, etc. I was turned away from the MDR on my first cruise for unthinkingly trying to wear shorts; forgetting I wasn't on Carnival (which I do like, but it should remain a different experience).

I would hope that cruise lines retain their individual identities; HAL is a bit more refined, Carnival is more of a party-party atmosphere. I like them both, but for different reasons and on different itineraries. I don't want them to all blend into the same line, differentiated only by hull colors. 

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On 12/31/2018 at 8:43 PM, akav8er said:

I've never quite understood ... 

 

I've found that that generally is due to a presumption that one's own situation is everyone else's situation, a presumption that one's own priorities are everyone else's, or some similar type of inward focus. To truly understand what is being discussed in the thread, it is necessary to take what other say as true for them, even if it doesn't mesh with your own situation. There are likely things that work the other way: Perhaps you're not a techie. If not, and you struggle to do things for which techies have no trouble, they could "never quite understand" what your issue is if they adopted an exclusively inward focus. 

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, akav8er said:

I was lamenting the loss of effort.  

 

I don't think there's really been a "loss of effort". If anything, the amount of effort has increased markedly over the last decade or so. However, everyone isn't necessarily directing their efforts in the manner you personally would dictate. 

 

21 hours ago, akav8er said:

It's a show of respect to dress for the occasion. 😉

 

That's an outmoded point-of-view. Formal attire is increasingly viewed as fussy, not a sign of respect.

 

Respect, by contrast, is shown by acknowledging each individual's inherent dignity regardless of what they wear. 

 

21 hours ago, akav8er said:

To borrow phrase, "if you want a -less- formal environment, then there are other cruise lines to choose from."   😉

 

Holland America is not a formal cruise line. 

Edited by bUU

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, MauiWowie57 said:

I'm fine with folks wanting to stay informal on vacation; but they ought to be relegated to the informal dining venues and not the MDR, Pinnacle, etc.

 

That would deprive passengers who disagree with you the MDR food and service. Holland America's rules clearly indicate that they recognize that those folks contribute more heavily to their cruise line's success than those who agree with you.

 

This is quite significantly a fight between different perspectives. Understand that for decades your "side" won. Things have finally and thoroughly changed. Holland America understands that. 

Edited by bUU

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Before this becomes some "us vs them" (rich v poor; well mannered vs ?) argument:

- It wasn't "my side." As has been noted, people used to dress up for airplane flights. I, a retired senior military officer, used to wear my dress uniform out to formal civilian affairs all the time. I realize that there's a perception that lowering dress codes increases bookings ("folks that contribute more heavily to their cruise lines' success?") but at the same time.....I think there's a core group of HALsters that like the remaining wisps of elegance. To

- Gala nights are optional. Dressing decently in clean appropriate attire for the MDR is expected. A collared shirt for gentlemen, something appropriate for ladies. Not necessarily formal attire. (Not tank tops and 'daisy dukes', please). I understand some people don't want to deal with the hassle of dressing up while on vacation; I'm fine with that. I do suggest that allowing too many dress code transgressions will lead to a complete dumbing down (standing by for wet swimsuits and cut-offs in the MDR...), which is why the line offers casual dining venues - you can eat pizza in your wet swimsuit by the pool. 

- I'm sorry if some posters equate dressing nicely for appropriate occasions as a subtle form of class warfare. Really? Surely you're kidding me. Is dressing neatly (and, btw, my tux is the least expensive suit I own. They aren't expensive.) and demonstrating manners and appreciation for fine table service showing off status? Please. Let's stop this sillyness right now. 

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On 12/31/2018 at 6:43 PM, akav8er said:

 

I've never quite understood the argument for not 'dressing up' for formal/gala nights because someone was flying to the embarkation point.  DW and I have always carried a normal sized suitcase and haven't ever had any issues packing enough clothes for a trip, including those for the so-named gala nights. Folks are just not interested in putting forth the effort and 'Oh, I'm flying' is a convenient excuse.  Their choice, of course, but it seems like if one were that casual and disinterested in the customs of the ship or line they would opt for a Bubba Gump cruise rather than a traditional line like HAL. That said, HAL is a willing participant as more passengers equals more revenue even it diminishes the brand in the eyes of the more traditional among us. 

 

Are you implying that those who do not want to "make the effort" (as you define it for yourself)  are a bunch of slovenly hicks who would be best out of your eyesight and onto a bargain cruise rather than HAL?   If someone wants to play dress up, go for it.  But, your need to play does not mean you may force your requirements on others,  If they are dressed to the HAL recommendations, keep it to yourself and suck it up.  Or, perhaps HAL is not for you anymore and you would better served by going to a line like Cunard or Crystal, where the kind of dress code you want is still in vogue.  HAL isn't diminishing the brand, they are moving to adapt to the current age...

 

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I realize I probably "married up", so I consider it an honor to dress for dinner with my bride. I too am retired and no longer put on a suit and tie on a daily basis. Now when I put on a suit or a tux, it's because I want to look my best for her. I've also mentioned on this forum that it's the only time I get to wear a tux without having paid for a wedding or being asked to write a check to a charity.

Bucking the all-casual-all-the-time trend is a personal choice. If I'm standing next to someone in shorts and flip flops, I realize that's their choice. I don't look down on them. I was taught to lead by example. I was also taught that some will refuse to be be led, so don't let it ruin your day.

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Posted (edited)

We hardly go to the MDR is shorts and flip flops.  I wear a collared shirt, cotton slacks, and deck shoes.  We more than meet the HAL's gala night MDR attire suggestions.

 

Why, when people discuss casual in the MDR, they immediately go to  ball caps on backward, flip flops, shorts, and muscle shirts?  Why not add tattoos and body piercing for more effect?     Seems a little overboard to me.

Edited by iancal

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35 minutes ago, iancal said:

We hardly go to the MDR is shorts and flip flops.  I wear a collared shirt, cotton slacks, and deck shoes.  We more than meet the HAL's gala night MDR attire suggestions.

 

Why, when people discuss casual in the MDR, they immediately go to  ball caps on backward, flip flops, shorts, and muscle shirts?  Why not add tattoos and body piercing for more effect?     Seems a little overboard to me.

If you're referencing my post, the juxtaposition was purely to point out a casually-clad person doesn't affect me or my desire to dress up if I choose to do so. I was not slamming shorts and flip flops. I've been in swim trunks and sandals on an elevator with formally clad folks at a resort. It happens.

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Posted (edited)
On 12/29/2018 at 10:25 PM, ithaca gal said:

Gala Night on Zuiderdam this week:  MDR was full ... late seating. Counted just six men without jackets.   Not every has embraced the more casual dress code.  

Pictures, or it's not true,  or did you use one of those clickers to verify how many were in tuxes, in suits, or in jackets? 😉  I'm just thinking about the thermometer stuff - "if you didn't use a calibrated thermometer to verify the temperature, it is meaningless for you to say it was too hot/cold in your cabin" of a little while ago...

 

These conversations always amuse me.  There seems to only be two extremes: ones who "make the effort" to dress in gowns, cocktail attire, tuxes, suits and those who are "slovenly and unclean wearing wifebeaters, shorts, flip-flops and those damn baseball hats."   What about those who are dressed according to the suggestions made by HAL (the collared shirts, pants...).  They seem to get lumped in with the slobs by those who cling to loving to dress as in the old days (for whatever reason).  I think that is what angers many here - we are abiding by the suggestions, but are told we are unclean, didn't make and effort, have no table manners, to ruining the "atmosphere" of a large banquet hall serving banquet food.  

Edited by slidergirl

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8 hours ago, bUU said:

That's an outmoded point-of-view. Formal attire is increasingly viewed as fussy, not a sign of respect.

 

According to whom, besides yourself, of course? :classic_unsure:

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