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How Formal is Formal Night?


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No! You do not need a formal gown or a tux!!

Some men wear suits. Some men wear sports jacket and tie.

My husband wore the least possible dressy outfit which was slacks and a guyabera shirt(Mexican wedding shirt.

You can wear slacks and a collared shirt and women can wear a dress or slacks and a pretty top.

Up to you.

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30 minutes ago, karrie020852 said:

First time on a Princess Cruise. Going to the Panama Canal. Just how formal are formal nights? Do we I have to wear a formal gown and my DH a tuxedo?

Just discussing this last night with the neighbors (also Princess fans).

The last few cruises - all mostly adult cruises with extended itineraries,  I'd say, umm, informally: 10% formal, 30-40% in business-type suits, 50% neat/casual, some say "country club casual". Also noticed very few in formal attire after dinner around the ship. 

To answer your question though, no, you do not. Dress as you wish. Whether you enjoy dressing formal or not, you will not feel out of place. But! No shorts, jeans, or tees in the MDR!

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9 minutes ago, loge23 said:

Just discussing this last night with the neighbors (also Princess fans).

The last few cruises - all mostly adult cruises with extended itineraries,  I'd say, umm, informally: 10% formal, 30-40% in business-type suits, 50% neat/casual, some say "country club casual". Also noticed very few in formal attire after dinner around the ship. 

To answer your question though, no, you do not. Dress as you wish. Whether you enjoy dressing formal or not, you will not feel out of place. But! No shorts, jeans, or tees in the MDR!


I am new to cruising.
So, what about footwear?  Does it matter. No one looks at feet.

Edited by Justalone
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2 minutes ago, Justalone said:


I am new to cruising.
So, what about footwear?  Does it matter.  No one looks at feet.

For men, no open-toe type of shoe. For women, comfortable flats are fine it seems. 

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While enforcement isn’t there, I was surprised by the number of tuxes on my Mexican riviera cruise earlier this month.  The four men in Our group ranged from One tux, one full suit, one vest with tie, and one shirt with tie.  Probably a fair representation of what’s out there. Formal nights were well attended and the piazza and dining rooms were the busiest those nights with tons of people doing photos and looking their best.  And yes, there were a handful of men in t shirts in the dining room. I keep hearing about guyabreras but didn’t notice one on a Mexican cruise.  They don’t interest me either, but I didn’t mind paying $30(each way!  Oh the horror!!) to fly with a suitcase.
 

Wifey did gowns both nights, the three other women wore dresses of varying sorts not pants.  For whatever that’s worth. Oh and one kid in a dress and one in with a clip on tie in our group. 


We like formal nights and clearly weren’t in the minority.  So take that for what it’s worth.

 


 

 

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This debate had been going on for many years. Our first cruise with Princess was in 1998 and we will step foot on the Sky for our 19th with Princess in a few weeks. On formal nights I will wear a nice sports jacket and tie, nice slacks, and my wife will wear a very nice dress. But when we started cruising I would say that 90% of the men wore tuxes and 80% of the women wore fancy gowns. I began renting tuxes to be delivered on board because I felt under dressed in a business suit! These days - and for the last five or so years on various Princess ships - it seems to be about 10 - 20% men in tuxes, the remainder in suits or sports jackets/ties and slacks. The women mostly wear very nice dresses but occasionally very nice pants/blouse outfits. Sometimes there is the "look at me, I'm a rebel!" type who wears very casual clothing (to put it generously) but in my opinion anyway, they just look silly if they insist on repeatedly parading through places like the piazza that are filled people dressed in formal attire. But hey, that's just me....you can do whatever you want, no rules. We kind of miss the old days when we would be sure to get to the piazza area early just to view the people in their finery. It was fun! But I get the whole, "I get dressed up every day for work, I'm not gonna get dressed up on vacation!" thing. Whatever.

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15 hours ago, karrie020852 said:

Do we I have to wear a formal gown and my DH a tuxedo?

No, you do not, your choice.  They want you to look nice, but you see everything from tuxes and gowns to men with nice pants and button down shirt and it's fine.  All on how dressed up you feel like and being around others.  They won't turn you away if you aren't in a cocktail dress or coat/tie.

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9 hours ago, forevercruiserforlife said:

We just got off Royal Princess and on formal nights we saw men in shorts,   Jean's, tee shirts, shirts and suits. Princess isn't enforcing the dress code, so dress anyway you like, just enjoy. 

You saw this in the DR on formal nights?  I've always seen them require at least what I described above.  If this is true, then I guess they have given up on dress codes entirely.

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Princess states the dress code plainly on their website. You are not asked to dress for yourself, but the occasion and by extension, the enjoyment of everyone.

 

Other cruise lines take a more casual approach and perhaps they see the times.  People want to travel lighter, a carry-on if possible.  Formal wear takes a lot of space. Princess does not enforce the dress code, but many think they should enforce it as Cunard does. Passengers who simply don't want to dress for dinner might enjoy the experience of a more casual cruise line.

 

On Princess, a man will feel under-dressed wearing a sportcoat and tie, but he will fit in acceptably. A suit hits the mark. A tux or dinner jacket is pleasantly distinctive. Others wrote above that it is OK to dress casually, but you might feel very out of place.

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3 minutes ago, mtnesterz said:

On Princess, a man will feel under-dressed wearing a sportcoat and tie, but he will fit in acceptably. A suit hits the mark. A tux or dinner jacket is pleasantly distinctive. Others wrote above that it is OK to dress casually, but you might feel very out of place.

I can assure the forum, I will not feel "out of place" in a dress shirt and black pants - no tie, no jacket … 

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I actually did a count on our 14 day cruise (3 formal nts.) earlier this month.  5% tuxes, around 30% suits, 35% sports coats with or without a tie, and 30% button down shirts and slacks.  A few outliers in polo shirts, but they did look a bit out of place.

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My first day on CC I read posts asking about a dress code and about food, etc.  17 years later, same posts still keep popping up.  :classic_smile:

 

For me, I like to dress up on occasion when I cruise.  On formal nights, there have been times I've worn a tux and times I've been a little more casual in just a dress shirt and slacks.  On every other night, I'll either be in jeans or khaki type pants with a collared shirt.  On my upcoming cruise in August, I'll be more on the casual side of things, but for the cruise in 2021 my wife and I are already planning being a bit dressier on the formal nights. 

 

My wife sews, so she's been perusing patterns and hunting for fabric.  Every shirt I wear on vacation, except for dress shirts, my wife has made for me.  That's going to change on the 2021 cruise, however, with her making my dress shirts.  (I prefer banded collared shirts to go with my jacket.  No ties for me!)  For us, with her making my shirts, and I always get at least 1 new shirt per vacation, that's all part of the "process" for our cruise/vacation planning.

 

Anyway, dress to your comfort level, but adhere to cruise line's rules regarding the dress code.  Sure you could be "that guy" and wear the bib overalls on formal night (yep, saw it on my last cruise), but why?  

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1 hour ago, kywildcatfanone said:

I'm sure this is your personal preference, but not the experience on the ship.

That may be how you feel, but clearly Princess is trying to encourage a certain ambience and I don’t understand why people choose Princess that don’t want to be a part of what is being encouraged.  The same itineraries, similar ships and features can be found on other lines with less formal dress “suggestions” or no formal nights at all

Edited by exbiologist
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8 minutes ago, exbiologist said:

That may be how you feel,

That's not what I said.

 

9 minutes ago, exbiologist said:

Princess is trying to encourage a certain ambience and I don’t understand why people choose Princess that don’t want to be a part of what is being encouraged.

Ultimately this is Princess fault for not enforcing their own guidelines.  If they did, this wouldn't be an endless discussion on this board.

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