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Gala Night Attire


mprodrig
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Haven't cruised in more than a decade so I'm wondering about the attire for Gala nights. Does anyone wear tuxes? Nice suits? How formal is it or can it it be? We think it would be fun to go all out one night, but not if we are the only ones... I'm on the Oosterdam in March. Thanks

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Welcome to Cruise Critic.

On our last few cruises, there were quite a few suits but also sports coats or even long sleeve shirts with ties. For women you see everything from slacks to sundresses to pants suits to sparkly tops to Sunday dresses to cocktails dresses. With luggage and weight restrictions from the airlines,  many folks leave anything heavier or bulky at home now. The Gala Night dress recommendations are very flexible. 

We are now the odd balls but we don't care. We dress up. Dh always wears his tux, as does our son. Our little daughter adores dressing up so she is tickled to be "fancy" and I have done everything from sparkly tops with palazzo pants to full length ball gowns. We have never been the only more formally dresses couple on any cruise we have taken (including Alaska)  but there aren't many others ever. We enjoy getting photos done and we make an event of it.  It's nice to dress for dinner. There are not many occasions to do so anymore. 

Enjoy your cruise!!

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"With luggage and weight restrictions from the airlines,  many folks leave anything heavier or bulky at home now."

 

IMHO, I think that's the easy excuse people use to not dress up.  My black sport coat weighs 20 ounces.  Add a tie and that's all of the "extras" over and above smart casual needed to dress up for the MDR.  I'll already have a pair of black slacks and a shirt in my bag.

 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, SargassoPirate said:

"With luggage and weight restrictions from the airlines,  many folks leave anything heavier or bulky at home now."

 

IMHO, I think that's the easy excuse people use to not dress up.  My black sport coat weighs 20 ounces.  Add a tie and that's all of the "extras" over and above smart casual needed to dress up for the MDR.  I'll already have a pair of black slacks and a shirt in my bag.

 

 

 

We drive to the port so luggage weight isn't an issue.  We still do not dress up.  It's simple, we do not enjoy dressing up.  We'd rather enjoy our cruise instead of 'dressing to impress'.

However, we do not have an issue with those who do like to dress up.  As long as they don't insist we play along.

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38 minutes ago, RocketMan275 said:

We drive to the port so luggage weight isn't an issue.  We still do not dress up.  It's simple, we do not enjoy dressing up.  We'd rather enjoy our cruise instead of 'dressing to impress'.

However, we do not have an issue with those who do like to dress up.  As long as they don't insist we play along.

The two are not mutually exclusive.  It is not an "either or" situation! 🙄

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43 minutes ago, RocketMan275 said:

We drive to the port so luggage weight isn't an issue.  We still do not dress up.  It's simple, we do not enjoy dressing up.  We'd rather enjoy our cruise instead of 'dressing to impress'.

However, we do not have an issue with those who do like to dress up.  As long as they don't insist we play along.

 

2 minutes ago, taxmantoo said:

The two are not mutually exclusive.  It is not an "either or" situation! 🙄

Many attempt to make it mutually exclusive.  You must dress as we prefer becomes an either/or situation.  Either you dress up or you're sent to the buffet.  Those who do not like to dress up seldom insist that others dress casually.  Those who do like to dress up often insist that everyone else do so.

There's no reason why those who like to dress up can do so and those who prefer not to dress up can also do so.  Trust me, your food will taste the same even if I'm wearing cargo pants.

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I did a cruise recently after some land travel involving planes, trains, buses, and automobiles.  I also had some more land travel after the cruise.  I packed carefully and with clothing that would do double duty.  Then I added my black sport coat.  My bag came it at 35 pounds.

 

On formal nights, I wore black slacks and my black sport coat over either a red or black T-shirt with a matching pocket square.  No problem with being seated in any dining venue and I still looked better - in my opinion - than the formal night chino and polo crowd.  To each his own and as long as the cruise line doesn't enforce any dress code at the door, I should be OK.

 

 

IMG_20200205_180418168~3.jpg

Edited by SargassoPirate
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We haven't cruised in 3 years, but on our last one (on the O'dam) I'd say it was about 10% tuxes/gowns, 25% "just like any other night", and the majority in the middle, a little dressier than non-gala nights.  We choose Early Open seating, which I believe is the most casual option. At Main (Late) Fixed the more traditional crowd will skew more toward the fancier dress. 

Edited by catl331
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We sailed on the Koningsdam in January and the Veendam in February and rarely saw tuxes or long gowns on either ship. Suits, shirts with ties for men (no jackets) and dresses, pant suits for women. You should feel comfortable with whatever you choose to wear, but no shorts in the MDR on gala nights.

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1 hour ago, LLRS1 said:

We always wear tuxedo / gown on gala nights because we enjoy dressing up.  Although we are definitely in the minority, we are never the only ones.  

 

While the term, Gala Nights, leaves many novice/returning cruisers, like OP, scratching their heads, a few passengers believe it means "come as you are."  As others have stated, we've seen everything from true formal wear (tuxes and evening gowns) to T-shirts and cut-off jeans, which weren't allowed in the MDR but were permitted in the rest of the ship, a sign of a more casual age.  My son and I always dress, he in his tux, and me in either a long gown or black dress slacks/lace or sequin blouse/jacket.  Since we never dress up at home, it's become a cruise tradition.  If we decide to dine in and watch a movie on Gala Night, we don't dress up, of course, but we also remain in our cabin for the entire evening.  Just one of our little idiosyncrasies.  In no way, do we criticize others for their dress if they chose not to participate.  Why waste my energy, especially on my vacation, worrying about other people's choices?  As long as they cover strategic areas, I'm okay.

 

The degree to which people dress (or not dress formally) depends on the cruise, too.  During Christmas and New Year's, we notice a higher percentage of passengers in formal/semi-formal duds.  Also, cruises in certain areas of the world, like Europe, tend to produce a greater number of passengers adhering to Sunday best/semi-formal dress in my experience.  I doubt you'll find any HAL cruise where 100% of the passengers are in Downton Abbey dinner attire.  Bottom line: Wear what floats your boat, but be advised that some maître d's are more picky than others in allowing "anything goes" dress into the MDR.

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25 minutes ago, Djptcp said:

We sailed on the Koningsdam in January and the Veendam in February and rarely saw tuxes or long gowns on either ship. Suits, shirts with ties for men (no jackets) and dresses, pant suits for women. You should feel comfortable with whatever you choose to wear, but no shorts in the MDR on gala nights.

Last cruise on NA in January, we actually saw a gentleman in shorts turned away from the mdr on a normal night. It was a very courteous comment but firm.

 

And yes while it is true food taste the same whether wearing a tux or a bathrobe, adhering to the very relaxed dress recommendations from HAL is beyond easy. The only clothes I even own that would be inappropriate for a normal night are my pjs and my workout clothes. 

Edited by fatcat04
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We stopped the dressing up up for then  formal nights 15 years ago at DW’s suggestion.  Now retired, we each travel with A 20” carry on roller that weighs8-10kg.  8 at the start, usually at 10kg eight weeks later.  
 

One pair of dockers, only wear collared shirts, so now good to go on so called gala nights. We have no room for any clothing that is used for a few hours on a few evenings.

 

Our experience is there is not much gala about them.  More imagination than reality.

Edited by iancal
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9 minutes ago, iancal said:

We stopped the dressing up up for then  formal nights 15 years ago at DW’s suggestion.  Now retired, we each travel with A 20” carry on roller that weighs8-10kg.  8 at the start, usually at 10kg eight weeks later.  
 

One pair of dockers, only wear collared shirts, so now good to go on so called gala nights. We have no room for any clothing that is used for a few hours on a few evenings.

 

Our experience is there is not much gala about them.  More imagination than reality.

My late husband used to wear black dress pants, a dressy black long-sleeved shirt, and one of his (expensive) bolo ties.  If we had the room for it, he would take a black jacket.....He got lots of compliments re. his tie choice.

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6 hours ago, CruisingAndDiving said:

DW and I dress for gala nights.  My kilt outfit is heavier than a tux, i just plan for it when travelling.

 

If you choose to dress up, you won't be alone.  It's YOUR vacation and you should dress as you wish!

xmas cruise.jpg

 

And you look marvelous! Good for you.

Edited by Queen of DaNile
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16 hours ago, CruisingAndDiving said:

DW and I dress for gala nights.  My kilt outfit is heavier than a tux, i just plan for it when travelling.

 

If you choose to dress up, you won't be alone.  It's YOUR vacation and you should dress as you wish!

xmas cruise.jpg

 

Just curious. How much does your kilt outfit weigh?

 

By lineage, I can wear an Alexander or MacDonald tartan and my wife would love to buy it for me, but I've been resisting because of the space and weight in my luggage.

 

 

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4 hours ago, SargassoPirate said:

 

Just curious. How much does your kilt outfit weigh?

 

By lineage, I can wear an Alexander or MacDonald tartan and my wife would love to buy it for me, but I've been resisting because of the space and weight in my luggage.

 

 

It can vary with how the kilt is made.  Mine is one of the more common, a traditional 8 yard medium weight wool kilt.  It's about 4 to 5 pounds for just the kilt.  The jacket, sporran, shoes, etc....add probably another 5 ish pounds.   So about 10 pounds totals for the outfit.

 

You can get lesser weights for the kilt depending on the wool and total yardage used.

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5 hours ago, CruisingAndDiving said:

It can vary with how the kilt is made.  Mine is one of the more common, a traditional 8 yard medium weight wool kilt.  It's about 4 to 5 pounds for just the kilt.  The jacket, sporran, shoes, etc....add probably another 5 ish pounds.   So about 10 pounds totals for the outfit.

 

You can get lesser weights for the kilt depending on the wool and total yardage used.

 

Thanks. Good info. So far I've restrained myself and She Who Must Be Obeyed to a wool tie in the MacDonald, Lord of the Isles, tartan. Bought it at Finlaggen, so it had some sentimental value.

Edited by SargassoPirate
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31 minutes ago, SargassoPirate said:

 

Thanks. Good info. So far I've restrained myself and She Who Must Be Obeyed to a wool tie in the MacDonald, Lord of the Isles, tartan. Bought it at Finlaggen, so it had some sentimental value.

...and ties don't take up a lot of space or weight in the luggage either!  

 

I love wearing my kilt and use cruise gala nights as an excuse to get it out 🙂  Perhaps one day you'll pull the trigger and get one as well.  Should we meet on a ship sometime...let's tip a dram of a great single malt!

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