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formal nights-dressing for dinner?


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we are new to HAL....packing for alaska and want to keep it to a minimum...we love fixed seating, but DH only has room for a black turtleneck and dress pants for formal nights...will we be turned away from the main dining room and sent to the buffet?

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Collared shirt and tie or jacket are recommended. Turtle neck with jacket would work. As long as people are well groomed and reasonably attired they are fine. Smart casual is fine, too, I would think. Shorts would be unacceptable and jeans are frowned upon and could be rejected on formal night.

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He should be ok unless he runs into an overzealous host but even then we found that on our Alaskan cruise, they did relax the dress code a bit.

 

On our first Gala Night, there was a family that was underdressed even for non-Gala nights in the MDR. He was wearing a T-shirt, jeans and sneakers. Maitre'd pulled him aside and asked him if he could go back to his stateroom and put on a collared shirt. She was allowed in with jeans (and not dress), sneakers, T-shirt and a denim jacket.

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HAL doesn't have formal nights -- they are now called Gala nights.

The majority of the men wear the same type of clothing on Gala nights as they do on smart casual nights -- slacks with a collared shirt. You will see very few men wearing jackets and/or ties. Not even in the specialty restaurants.

Alaska is even less dressy.

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DH will continue to bring black tie, even to Alaska. So there you have it - the full range of "Gala Night" choices.

Agree, wear a sport jacket or blazer on the plane if you can't pack it. Make the night special if you want to visit the main dining room that evening. It is a nice extra memory to enjoy on the cruise.

 

We are currently packing for 14 days in Alaska and I have room for boots, multiple changes of wet and cold weather gear and several "gala" night changes - still all under 50 pounds. Not sure what the packing limitations issues are unless you plan on only taking a back pack.

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Wear what you are comforatable wearing. If you want to wear (men) slacks and a button up shirt that's fine. If you really want to wear a tux... Women, nice a blous and pants or a ballroom gown... Our last cruise the 1st Gala had a few tuxes and gowns, by the 3rd one the same people were wearing Button up shirts and blouses. Less stuff to pack = less airline cost!

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I spoke to an agent at HAL about this today and was advised gala nights had that dress code, men in collars with slacks, women in slacks/skirt/dress.

So, let me ask this....what about on port days? Are the MDR and specialty restaurants still dressy, or can you wear jeans? I hate to pack a special outfit for one nights wear.

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I spoke to an agent at HAL about this today and was advised gala nights had that dress code, men in collars with slacks, women in slacks/skirt/dress.

So, let me ask this....what about on port days? Are the MDR and specialty restaurants still dressy, or can you wear jeans? I hate to pack a special outfit for one nights wear.

 

Wear those clothes for at least three special nights: two Gala nights in the main dining room and one night treating yourself and toasting your wonderful cruise at the Pinnacle Restaurant.

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We have been on two Alaska cruises, one to New England and Canada and a couple of dozen Caribbean ones.

 

For some reason, the great majority of men on the cruises we take are wearing either jacket and tie or at least a tie. I read many comments here that the majority of men only wear a collared shirt but I guess we just sail on "different" cruises because I've never seen the majority of men in the MDR without a jacket and tie or a tie at the very least. Just our experiences.

 

I also read about people being allowed in the MDR with jeans, T-shirts, etc. on Gala Night. On several of our cruises we were seated near the entrance to the MDR and have watched people gently being asked to change to meet the minimum dress code. Again, just our experiences.

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Just came off a 40 day Noordam cruise, had 7 gala nights, dress was from A to Z, formal dress, collared shirts, polo shirts, tee shirts and sweat pants, to the best of my knowledge no one was turned away.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

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I spoke to an agent at HAL about this today and was advised gala nights had that dress code, men in collars with slacks, women in slacks/skirt/dress.

So, let me ask this....what about on port days? Are the MDR and specialty restaurants still dressy, or can you wear jeans? I hate to pack a special outfit for one nights wear.

You can wear the same thing every night in the dining room.....nobody cares as long as it meets basic standards. Jeans range from grungy to dressy. You can probably wear your jeans on smart casual evenings as long as they are not grungy. HAL tries to make Gala nights a special occasion so a shirt, tie, nice pants for men shouldn’t take up too much room in the suitcase if you don’t want to bring a jacket...or even a sweater....????? Women can usually get by with a long black skirt or pants, a fancy top, and some sparkly jewelry. Easy.

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You can wear the same thing every night in the dining room.....nobody cares as long as it meets basic standards. Jeans range from grungy to dressy. You can probably wear your jeans on smart casual evenings as long as they are not grungy. HAL tries to make Gala nights a special occasion so a shirt, tie, nice pants for men shouldn’t take up too much room in the suitcase if you don’t want to bring a jacket...or even a sweater....????? Women can usually get by with a long black skirt or pants, a fancy top, and some sparkly jewelry. Easy.

 

Just because one can, why would they want to?

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Just because one can, why would they want to?

 

Because it is easier.

 

If you are the "Ole Salt" you claim to be, you probably recall when cruising was a special experience with a number of traditions. Now, it is really just another form of getting from one place to another - increasingly akin to going Greyhound.

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Because it is easier.

 

If you are the "Ole Salt" you claim to be, you probably recall when cruising was a special experience with a number of traditions. Now, it is really just another form of getting from one place to another - increasingly akin to going Greyhound.

 

No, dressing up for Gala night is not hard. Why insist on buying uncomfortable clothes, when today dressing up a bit includes lightweight, flexible, packable, inexpensive and comfortable fabrics for both men and women.

 

I am old enough to remember when "dressing up" was uncomfortable. You might need to change your attitudes and ditch the thought of scratchy, ill-fitting, moth ball scented rented tuxedos because I ditched merry widows, girdles, crinoline net petticoats, voluminous taffeta, spike heels and painfully cinched waists long ago myself.

 

With those prom night memories of yore firmly intact, it is laughable how easy it is to now pack and dress up to enjoy onboard "gala nights" today. Plus you no longer have to meet her parents or awkwardly search for a safe place to pin the floppy orchid corsage.

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^

 

Very easily said but it depends entirely on how you travel and where you travel. And then add personal preferences into the mix. We do not assume that our travel preferences represent the way others should travel.

 

Could be that some people are considering a 24 day cruise, bookended by two weeks of independent travel in Europe on either side. And those people travel with carry on only-usually a max weight of 8/9 KG.

 

HAL now provides reasonable alternatives and some ships increased dining options (just wish the hours of operation were a bit longer though).

 

Bottom line is that one size does not fit all and one person's view of attire, packing etc. does not in any way make it a standard or indeed a goal that others should strive for.

Edited by iancal
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If you are the "Ole Salt" you claim to be, you probably recall when cruising was a special experience with a number of traditions. Now, it is really just another form of getting from one place to another - increasingly akin to going Greyhound.
I know the intent was to try to make it seem like the cruise ships have become slums, but there would be credibility in a comparison that came up with a reasonable analog, and that would also have the benefit of being a more useful comparison for casual readers considering the cruise line for the first time.

 

I would characterize how things have changed over the last fifty years more as a change from a floating version of the Mount Washington Hotel (one of the historic, and very formal, New England grand hotels) to a floating version of the Westin Copley Place Boston (an excellent, and quite modern, hotel in Boston). This analog reasonably reflects the dining, entertainment, and accommodations that the cruise ships offer, elements that your flawed analog does not reflect. There really is no reasonable basis on which to equate a week-long stay on a Holland America cruise ship with traveling for a week aboard a Greyhound bus.

 

And cruise ships are anything but "just transportation". As a matter of fact, for most itineraries, they're pretty poor as transportation. You're often far better going from place to place on an airplane, driving, or a combination of the two. The reason why cruise ships sail as full as they do is because they offer excellent on-board experiences from the perspective of many people, even if there are some people who expressed disappointment with what's offered.

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I..........

 

And cruise ships are anything but "just transportation". As a matter of fact, for most itineraries, they're pretty poor as transportation. You're often far better going from place to place on an airplane, driving, or a combination of the two. .......

 

How can going through airports hassles today to get from port to port every few days be better than staying put on a cruise ship and just walking off the gangway knowing your toothbrush will be right where you left it ? Particularly when cruise ship ports still tend to be closer to the action while airports are way out on previously vast stretches unused land. And once unpacked, no worries about lost luggage or failed connections.

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How can going through airports hassles today to get from port to port every few days be better than staying put on a cruise ship and just walking off the gangway knowing your toothbrush will be right where you left it ?

You've misconstrued what I wrote.

 

 

This message may have been drafted using voice recognition. Please forgive any typos.

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What about children? Not worried about 17 year old daughter, but my 12 year old son. Are kids even allowed in the MDR and Pinnacle?

As far as the 12 year old goes......clean washable pants and a polo shirt works for dinner (has a collar). Dining stewards enjoy having kids in their dining room. Most kids can learn a lot from the dining experience if they are paying attention (foods, manners, patience). If they don’t find the dining experience a pleasant experience (and they may find it too long) there is always the Lido or room service.

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Of course children are allowed in the MDR or Pinnacle. A crying toddler might get some heads shaking in the Pinnacle, especially if the parents don't do anything. I like seeing children learning to experience sitting down at a meal. I also appreciate when Mom or Dad takes a screaming toddler out for a little break.

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