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suralottie

Gala night-are there other dining options if you don't want to dress up?

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Hi-We are sailing on the Noordam later this month on an Alaskan cruise. This will be our very first cruise. We are packing light as we are renting a car and touring Alaska on our own after the cruise. My husband is a vegetarian and it took a lot to convince him to take a cruise as he's been concerned about vegetarian options 🙂 We really don't have the luggage space for a men's jacket and he dislikes dressing up. What other dining options are offered (non speciality restaurants) are offered on Gala nights? Thanks!   

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Just go the Lido for dinner and than back to your room..

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6 minutes ago, Sir PMP said:

Just go the Lido for dinner and than back to your room..

 

This advice is long outdated. The dress requirements for Gala Nights are now pretty simple: "On Gala Nights in fine dining restaurants, collared shirts and slacks are required for gentlemen. For ladies, elegant dresses, skirts, or slacks are all acceptable." So a jacket isn't required, and it's minimal dressing up--even with packing light, you should be able to meet the requirements. So feel free to eat wherever you wish. And outside the dining areas, the dress is the same on Gala Nights as any other night. You don't need to scurry back to your room--enjoy the shows, lounges, etc.

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The buffet and room service would be the options if you didn't want to go to a sit-down restaurant (the main dining room or Pinnacle Grill) on Gala Night.  Agree that you are no longer expected to stay hidden away in your room for the whole evening, so you can still be out and about.

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Dress requirements, what dress requirements, unfortunately any thing goes now.

 

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A button up shirt and chinos works for Gaia night so no fear having to go elsewhere. 

 

There is a deducted vegetarian menu in the MDR, ask your waiter and they’ll bring it. It has some great items?

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Thanks for the information. Didn't think we'd have to scurry back to our room 🙂 Were you really not supposed to be out and about if you weren't dressed up for Gala night in the past?  I can understand why people want to dress up and enjoy being in an elegant surrounding-it is just not us at this point in our lives. Is there dancing or just dinner on Gala nights? Is the food different? Vegetarian selections? While Alaska is experiencing a heat wave right now and unfortunately serious fires it may be cold and rainy during our trip so we are packing jackets, fleece etc as well as warmer weather gear, hiking poles and shoes. We are packing one bag each and a carry on for a three week trip.  Perhaps I'll pack a pair of slacks and a shirt/tie for him if we have room. It is always nice to have options. Thanks again!

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If they have lobster, it would probably be on a gala night, otherwise I don't see much of a difference. One thing we like about Holland America: if you don't want to sit through the long dining room service, they serve most of the same food in the buffet. (On the flip side, that can be annoying if you didn't like the choices!) Don't worry, you'll never go hungry, even if you're vegetarian!

For guys, a polo and khakis are fine, for women, a nice top and slacks.  Alaska especially is known to be more casual.

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Ignore the fuddy-duddies who say eat in the buffet and go back to your room.   You are welcome to eat in the MDR on "gala" night with khakis and a polo shirt (just not jeans).  The stuffy formal thing went away awhile ago.  

For your vegetarian hubby - I actually DO enjoy the buffet more than the dining room.  Don't get the special 'vegetarian' menu - it's usually pre-made food, like other special diets food.  On the regular menu, they will have a few veggie selection, but the entrees always seem to be heavy on the starch and lacking on the protein side (pasta, risotto, grilled veggies).  

 

Don't worry about what to wear - take what you think you need and want and have an amazing time!!

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Here is a recent vegetarian thread with menus and photos.  As long as you are presentable for gala night you are good to go.  Welcome to cruising and have a great time!

 

 

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Yes, for Gala nights many/most passengers dress up more for dinner.  However, none of the restaurants will turn you away.   Unusually eat at the Lido when I don’t feel like dressing up.  It’s also easier when traveling with children.  The Lido serves the exact same food that the main dining room serves.  I splurged on the last cruise and got an aft Neptune Suite, and I really enjoyed the new Club Orange dining.  

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1 hour ago, suralottie said:

Thanks for the information. Didn't think we'd have to scurry back to our room 🙂 Were you really not supposed to be out and about if you weren't dressed up for Gala night in the past?  I can understand why people want to dress up and enjoy being in an elegant surrounding-it is just not us at this point in our lives. Is there dancing or just dinner on Gala nights? Is the food different? Vegetarian selections? While Alaska is experiencing a heat wave right now and unfortunately serious fires it may be cold and rainy during our trip so we are packing jackets, fleece etc as well as warmer weather gear, hiking poles and shoes. We are packing one bag each and a carry on for a three week trip.  Perhaps I'll pack a pair of slacks and a shirt/tie for him if we have room. It is always nice to have options. Thanks again!

 

Oh my goodness I laughed when I saw someone had advised you to "go back to your room" after eating in the Lido, as if you had to hide out. (I'm sure that's not what the poster intended - I'm not criticizing - it just hit my funny bone).  As you've been told already, as long as you look half-way decent at this point HAL Gala nights include a huge myriad of clothing options and you can do whatever evening entertainment you like, wearing what you like.  I remember one memorable (in a bad way) formal night (back when they were called that) and i was on a solo cruise - and had not intended to go to formal dinners anyway, but I'd forgotten it was formal night, and went to the spa.  This was on Maasdam. I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt when I got there, and when I came out from the thermal suite to the locker room, they had disappeared.  To this day I can't even imagine who wanted them LOL, but the upshot was, I had to go back to my cabin wearing my spa robe.  I prayed for empty elevators and halls, but those prayers were not answered.  I walked among the beautiful people who were dressed to the nines...in tuxedos and gowns... and then I DID stay in my cabin for the evening! LOL... not saying you should be out and about in your robe... but it's nothing like it was back then.

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That's still, at least officially, the way things are on Cunard.  Well , not quite back to your room but most of the bars and other entertainment is at least officially off limits. It always tickled me that you aren't supposed to go into the theater casually dressed, and then the first thing they do is turn off the house lights.  Reports I am getting are that while that is still officially the policy, nobody really cares.  Most if not all cruise lines are quicker to wake up to today's reality.

 

Roy

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Posted (edited)

Most of the mainstream lines used to be the same way: formal night applied to all venues except the buffet, so you could go to the buffet and then return to your room if you didn't have on a tuxedo or gown.  Some current cruisers still pine for those days, so you sometimes see that advice, which is no longer correct.

Edited by bEwAbG

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You can order from the current Main Dining Room menu items via Room Service any night of the week which includes Gala Night.  You have to order during the meal hours.

 

Here is a link to the current Vegetarian and Indian Vegetarian Menus available upon request from your Main Dining Room waiter:

 

http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/indian-vegetarian-menus-7-day

 

http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/here/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Vegetarian.pdf

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I'm not a vegetarian, but every night there's at least one vegetarian option on the main menu.  For instance, eggplant parmesan or tofu with vegetables in Thai red curry sauce.  I frequently order the veg option if it sounds appealing.

 

Roz

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2 hours ago, slidergirl said:

Ignore the fuddy-duddies who say eat in the buffet and go back to your room.   You are welcome to eat in the MDR on "gala" night with khakis and a polo shirt (just not jeans).  The stuffy formal thing went away awhile ago.  

For your vegetarian hubby - I actually DO enjoy the buffet more than the dining room.  Don't get the special 'vegetarian' menu - it's usually pre-made food, like other special diets food.  On the regular menu, they will have a few veggie selection, but the entrees always seem to be heavy on the starch and lacking on the protein side (pasta, risotto, grilled veggies).  

 

Don't worry about what to wear - take what you think you need and want and have an amazing time!!

I agree with above poster have a great time and enjoy the cruise.  We actually dress up for dinner on formal nights go to MDR, and then after dinner is over switch out to our casual clothes and spend the rest of the night enjoying the shows, would never think we had to stay in our room.  Quite a few men show up for dinner in MDR wearing casual pants and a collared shirt.  Really a golf shirt works under the dress requirements for formal/gala nights.  There is a mixed bag of different forms of dress, you won’t feel out of place.  Have a great first cruise, please check back and let us know how it went.  

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Posted (edited)

Casual dress on gala nights.  See the list.  You should be fine.

 

Even when it was Mr. and Mrs. Dress Up make believe night we passed on dressing up, went casual,  and ate in the Lido. 

 

We did not, as some of the more anal posters on this forum suggested at the time, remain in our cabin all night.  We were out and about.   Interestingly the folks in the on board stores and in the casino never minded our custom on those nights!  And a fair number of those that did dress up changed back in to casual between the dinner and the show.

Edited by iancal

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There has been a steady slow change in dress codes over the last 25 years (and probably longer, but that's when I started cruising, so it's all I know). 25 years ago, there were three types of nights, called formal, informal, and casual. Formal recommended tuxedo and gown, although there was acceptance of dark suits. Informal required jacket and tie, and the requirements for casual were about the same as gala nights require now. And this dress code was required throughout the public venues of the ship in the evening. It should also be noted that there was essentially no alternative if you wanted to eat--not only were there no specialty restaurants, but there was no dinner in the buffet. Maybe you could get room service. Over the years, things have gradually relaxed, both with the merger of formal and informal (and fewer men wearing tuxedos), and with more being allowed on casual nights. Plus the dress code was limited to the dining rooms, and there became a dinner alternative in the buffet. And now the "gala" requirement is down to a collared shirt. There are some who long for the old days, and would still have you think you need to dress up. But there are others, including me, who are happy to dispense with a dress code. For those who think it's a step down, it's worth looking at which lines led the way in going casual: the deluxe, small ship lines (e.g., Azamara, Windstar, Oceania) which haven't had a jacket requirement in ages, if they ever did.

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5 hours ago, Sir PMP said:

Just go the Lido for dinner and than back to your room..

Really?? Why are you even suggesting this? This is information that is at least 5 years old. Gala night is NO LONGER a formal night. Pants and a collared shirt is ALL that is required to dine anywhere on the ship and any venue on the ship after dinner. I will be on a Alaska cruise on the Noordam in 3 weeks and I am packing ONLY nice non distressed jeans and a pair of Kaki slacks to wear with either polo golf shirts or a short sleeve casual Hawaiian style shirt for any dinner on the ship. A few old style cruise passengers may still wear a coat or suit but the vast majority of passengers will be dressed just like I will.

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4 hours ago, slidergirl said:

Ignore the fuddy-duddies who say eat in the buffet and go back to your room.   You are welcome to eat in the MDR on "gala" night with khakis and a polo shirt (just not jeans).  The stuffy formal thing went away awhile ago.  

 

And even the no jeans requirement may not be enforced. There was a guy at the table behind us on Maasdam a couple weeks ago wearing jeans on gala night. I don't think his collared shirt was even tucked in. And he wore the same outfit two or three days in a row. 

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Thanks everyone! I appreciate the comments and links to the menus and vegetarian thread. A pair of chinos and a shirt for him and a dress that can be easily packed for me and we are off to our first Gala night! I'm now excited about the veggie loaf and other veggie options.  Good to know that the offerings in the MDR are fresher than the order ahead menu. My daughter had gone on a cruise-her one and only-13 years ago and was very unhappy with the veggie options (mostly starch based)  which influenced my husband. I am hoping my husband loves the cruise and am very excited about our trip. 

 

Moriah I laughed so hard when I read your story.  Cannot wait for the trip!

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2 hours ago, iancal said:

We did not, as some of the more anal posters on this forum suggested at the time, remain in our cabin all night.  We were out and about.   Interestingly the folks in the on board stores and in the casino never minded our custom on those nights!  And a fair number of those that did dress up changed back in to casual between the dinner and the show.

Once, about five years ago, when HAL still had formal nights, I asked what were the boundaries on the formal night dress code?  Were any places beyond the Lido where we could spend time, perhaps have a drink?  I was admonished for trying to encroach upon the formal night tradition.  

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Posted (edited)

Some people think they are the Masters of the ship when in fact they are only renting a cabin for a few nights.

Edited by iancal

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