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WAPO: The Demise of Formal Nights on Cruises: How dress codes are tearing passengers apart

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5 minutes ago, wordell1 said:

The trend on land has been towards more casual dress in all aspects of life.  Even in the business world,

This is very true.  20 years ago, when I first came into the "beltway bandit" world, ALL women wore dark suits, stockings and heels.  Period.  Not long after that it became much more relaxed and nowadays women in the workplace pretty much wear whatever they want to.  Of course there are still occasions when you must dress more professionally, but the average day is no longer strictly suits for both men and women.

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42 minutes ago, wordell1 said:

I'd like to see them eliminate formal night and go to a dressy night and set a minimum standard for the main dining room - no shorts, collared shirt etc.  If people want to dress up more, that's OK too.  I'd also like to see them have some casual nights where shorts are OK.

I'd be all for this concept IF they enforced the minimum standard - which ISN'T done now. And definitely on board with shorts okay some nights as it would save me two clothing changes each evening that it applied (assuming I use the MDR regularly).

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If I am wearing some more than jeans or shorts and have socks on, I am dressed up. I wore a suit for 40 years, so not going to voluntarily wear one on a cruise. I wear a shirt, usually untucked and pants. 

Why should I care about what someone thinks who I will never see again?

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1 hour ago, wordell1 said:

The trend on land has been towards more casual dress in all aspects of life.  Even in the business world, more and more companies are going business casual vs suits.  Younger people are redefining what "dressed up" means for a date or night out.  RC is a business and wants (needs) to attract young people.

My wife and I recently went to a fancy steakhouse for an anniversary dinner.  We have only been there several times because of the prices.  We had reservations for 6PM.  When we arrived at our seat we were both surprised to see the father of small child wearing shorts, t-shirt, and a backwards baseball capReally?  My parents would kill me if I ever tried that!!!  Even more unbelievable to us was just a short time later when another man came in with disheveled attire and also had a backwards baseball cap.  What happened to the days when this was considered disrespectful?  Is it pretty much anything goes inside restaurants these days?  I don't get it...

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1 hour ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

This is very true.  20 years ago, when I first came into the "beltway bandit" world, ALL women wore dark suits, stockings and heels.  Period.  Not long after that it became much more relaxed and nowadays women in the workplace pretty much wear whatever they want to.  Of course there are still occasions when you must dress more professionally, but the average day is no longer strictly suits for both men and women.

I was a financial analyst with Pillsbury. They hired me with my dreadlocks. After one year, they told me that some people found them offensive. Really. I was hired with my dreadlock. They were neat and most of the time I wore them up in a professional bun.

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I guess I've never really given this topic a lot of thought until now reading all the responses here.  On formal nights on cruises we just skipped the MDR and picked the windjammer or whatever else and that was it, we just didn't feel like participating and having to pack "fancy" clothes (we both work in a professional environment and don't feel like dressing too fancy on vacation).  I can understand the sentiment with the formal nights for people who are accustomed to that from prior cruises, it is neat to see people who go all out and dress up, I guess I never thought twice about what other people were wearing because it didn't affect my vacation or if I was having a good time.  My thoughts are, do what makes you happy and as long as you're not hurting someone else, then you do you.

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11 hours ago, Sweety said:

I was a financial analyst with Pillsbury. They hired me with my dreadlocks. After one year, they told me that some people found them offensive. Really. I was hired with my dreadlock. They were neat and most of the time I wore them up in a professional bun.

There will always be haters out there.  Especially in a professional setting, the hate is because they feel threatened.  That just means you are better at your job than they are.  Keep up the good work!

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On 12/17/2019 at 11:32 AM, sk8erguy1978 said:

Personally we don't get too dressy for formal night anymore (she'll wear a dress, I'll have shirt/tie dress pants - no suit); We also have not been to the main dining room on formal night in years. It's a few reason, one is to respect passengers who dress to the nines, the other is we aren't into the dining room experience. We've booked specialty restaurants or just gone to the windjammer. With two Oasis class sailings in 2020 the odds of seeing the inside of the dining room are very low.

With that, I do notice some people are very vocal (on the internet) about those not following the rules. I get why (kinda) but it's just energy not needing to be spent. Enjoy the company you're around, it's vacation after all.

I agree with you to a point, but one of the supposed benefits of taking a cruise is that you can have a nice romantic dinner and evening of entertainment with appropriate attire and atmosphere.  That is why different venues on the ship, are well, different.  If folks would stick to the plan, more people could enjoy their time (in every venue) without excessive compromise.  The idea is to think of others.  I wouldn't dream of going to a fancy restaurant where engagements and anniversaries are celebrated on formal night without contributing in a positive way to the atmosphere planned for that venue.  Everyone wins and enjoys!  In contrast, if I enter such a venue with "too casual attire", I am pulling down the other patrons to some degree, e.g., I am being insensitive to them by spoiling the ambience.  So I vote for trying to be sensitive rather than self-centered.  There are plenty of venues on the ship when I am in a "casual mood" on a formal night.  This is not just an issue about attire, it is also about behavior.  We all know that well-dressed, loud or drunken guests are not very helpful to the rest of the passengers.

Those of us who comment about attire on this site aren't being snobbish, we are just trying to point out that whatever the protocol is for a venue, it serves a purpose when it is followed and it may cause issues when it isn't.   As for changing the protocols or views on etiquette, that is always fair game under appropriate circumstances and has led to cultural changes over the years, but it can be accomplished with sensitivity.

I hope everyone enjoys their cruises.

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On 12/19/2019 at 10:59 AM, TomBryant said:

If I am wearing some more than jeans or shorts and have socks on, I am dressed up. I wore a suit for 40 years, so not going to voluntarily wear one on a cruise. I wear a shirt, usually untucked and pants. 

Why should I care about what someone thinks who I will never see again?

I guess it depends upon whether you want to pay it forward and be sensitive to others" needs.  There are lots of casual venues, and you don't have to wear a suit on formal night.  When I am treated nicely by other guests on a cruise, it helps me spread the love the next time I travel...Happy holidays!

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I don’t think it’s just cruises. Our society has moved this way entirely. As a child I always dressed up to go out to dinner unless it was McDonald's. We always dressed up to go to the theater as well, and to go to Temple. Now nobody dresses up anywhere. People even show up to our local Synagogue in jeans and t-shirts. I hate it but it’s just the way it is. And I’m not even that old. I’m 49.

 

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I agree that I think society has changed.

I also agree with @ChessE4  

I almost feel like this is a fight between passengers, and as I said before RCL has to be the parent.  It really is simple to make both sides happy.  For that 1 night, the MDR has to be re-arranged.  Think about a restaurant on land.  Every night they are re-setting tables do to reservations.

  •   Formal night make 1 DR formal, to include MTD and traditional, with suit and tie and the other regular dress code. 
  •  Typically they always have 2 MDRs, even if it is the same room (just different floors).  The traditional seating, they obviously close the doors whereas, MTD they don't.  In this case they just would not close the doors throughout the entire night.

 

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I understand that some people like to dress up.  The question is why does that require everyone to follow their dress standard?

Why do some people who choose to dress more formal get offended when someone doesn’t conform to their level of dress?

What if people dressing better is offensive to people who just wear jeans and a polo shirt? Should the cruise line ban people who wear something too nice?  They just want to relax but now they feel like their oppressive boss or parents are present, judging them, stressing them.

What other people are wearing does not change the taste of your food.  Food does not taste better if the person at the next table is wearing a tux.  Food does not taste worse is the person at the next table is wearing jeans.

Dressing up and taking pictures can be accomplished even if the people in the next cabin don’t. You can choose to make every night a dress up night.

People who don’t dress up aren’t stressed about this.  They aren’t being torn.  They are enjoying the cruise they paid for.  

No mass market cruise line should be forcing guests to conform to a dress code.  You can’t market a cruise to the masses and then enforce a dress code for the elite of society on any night.  

Stop judging other people.  Focus on your family and dress however you choose to and enjoy your dining experience. 

If you can’t stop judging other guests and this is ruining your cruise it may be time to look for a boutique cruise line that will satisfy your level of expectations.   The mass cruise market isn’t for you.  

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On 12/22/2019 at 4:50 PM, Fuzzywuzzy said:

Most of us can only imagine what it must have been like.

5dfa63840c936.image.jpg

As one of the Board of Directors for our local Junior League of Cotillions, I often am in situations or environments where everyone dresses like this (or fancier). We do it all. The white gloves including. We hold 2-3 Balls a year complete with orchestras and dancing. When I attend the evening events at my ballroom dance school, it is not unusual to see many ladies in full gown or gentlemen in tuxedos.... alongside younger "kids" in jeans and TOMs. Or the lady that always wears the most fantastic "cha cha" pants with ruffles from her ankles to her cooter!

I have a lovely wardrobe of gowns and dresses. We recently held a full Victorian Ball and every lady in attendance had a hoop skirt on!

I truly love taking a moment out of my day and spending time on myself to dress up. To do my hair. To put on a gown or dress that makes ME feel like a princess. It makes ME happy. I could prance off to Home Depot for light bulbs or meet friends at a dive diner for a chili dog (I have actually done this in a gown, long story) and at the end of the day, I have never once felt out of place or uncomfortable. When I dress up, it is about me and me alone. It's not for anyone else. Just me. 

When I sail in April, I have not one but TWO gowns because I understand there will be two formal nights. I will also bring two dresses probably for 70s/White nights if they have them. When I board, I have a lovely dress and.... prepare to gasp... A HAT!

And not a ball cap, an actual HAT!

It's not as over the top as this one but I'd say it's "in the spirit of".

bat.jpg.b13d494c354e3eb9f0afc3ff3af02bac.jpg

I plan to swan about and dress for dinner and be presentable for breakfast or coffee in the morning because that makes ME happy.

For all those who prefer to wear their pajamas to get coffee or shorts and a backwards ball cap in the Main Dining room?

You are always welcome to sit with me, next to me, or in my immediate field of vision. How you choose to dress does not affect ME (unless you are in full fetish gear and have that mask with the zipper on.... those kind of freak me out a little so I might politely excuse myself but really that's about the only time it might bother me a little but that's on me, not you so if I am uncomfortable, it's my responsibility to attend to removing myself POLITELY and GRACEFULLY from the situation, not yours for being there).

🙂

I have met some of the rudest nastiest people in the world who are wearing a tuxedo or gown. I have also met some of the most fabulously delightful warm wonderful people in the world who are dressed rather sparse or "sloppy". What a person chooses to pull out of their closet and drape on their body doesn't make them a good or kind or pleasant person. That only comes from the heart. And if you have a good heart then I could give a fig what you are wearing. If you are a mean spirited, ill tempered, nasty person than the most gorgeous most expensive designer gown won't fix that black void where your heart should be.

My two cents since everyone is tossing there's about! 🙂

(121 days to go!)

 

 

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I definitely agree with @twangster, and I disagree with WAPO (I am not torn apart ... and I don't sense this is a big deal to many).  However ...

I dress for no one. Not at work (OK, maybe for customers), not at home, and not on a cruise. With one massive exception. I dress for my soulmate. Since I really can’t see what I am wearing, and I really could care less about what anyone else thinks, I dress for only one person ... the woman I fell in love with 40 years ago and the woman I want to make happy every single day of my life. 

I also do not care what other people wear … I am looking at my soulmate, everyone else is the equivalent of “visual background noise” … Sorry if some of you are upset.

I see frequent requests for what is acceptable in the MDR, and on Formal nights. I understand these requests are sincere questions about what is normal and tolerated. My advice is ... Ask your soulmate. Ask the person who you are devoted to. Ask the only person on the earth that matters. You and they will be much happier as a result. 

On a cruise (and many times at home), I wear what my soulmate wants.  She also asks me what I prefer that she wears, and I am honest and very appreciative when she responds. When we do this, almost always she says I “look sexy”, and I feel great (I also laugh a little). I think she is the most beautiful, engaging woman on the ship, and I would wear anything to make her happy. 

I hope everyone can have this feeling when they go cruising. 

Curt from Canada. 

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One point that is missing is how the cruise lines have changed their MDR formal evenings. I have been cruising for about fifteen years. In that time, I have seen the cruise lines really reduce their effort during formal nights. Now, other than photographers taking over-priced pictures, what distinguishes MDR formal nights from any other night? The waiters don't dress any different. There is no special live music (different than any other night), no special food or desserts, no special decorations, etc. Maybe if the cruise lines made it special, more people would be willing to dress up.

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1 hour ago, twangster said:

I understand that some people like to dress up.  The question is why does that require everyone to follow their dress standard?

Why do people who choose to dress more formal get offended when someone doesn’t conform to their level of dress?

What if people dressing better is offensive to people who just wear jeans and a polo shirt? Should the cruise line ban people who wear something too nice?  They just want to relax but now they feel like their oppressive boss or parents are present, judging them, stressing them.

What other people are wearing does not change the taste of your food.  Food does not taste better if the person at the next table is wearing a tux.  Food does not taste worse is the person at the next table is wearing jeans.

Dressing up and taking pictures can be accomplished even if the people in the next cabin don’t. You can choose to make every night a dress up night.

People who don’t dress up aren’t stressed about this.  They aren’t being torn.  They are enjoying the cruise they paid for.  

No mass market cruise line should be forcing guests to conform to a dress code.  You can’t market a cruise to the masses and then enforce a dress code for the elite of society on any night.  

Stop judging other people.  Focus on your family and dress however you choose to and enjoy your dining experience. 

If you can’t stop judging other guests and this is ruining your cruise it may be time to look for a boutique cruise line that will satisfy your level of expectations.   The mass cruise market isn’t for you.  

Exactly what I was trying to say! While I'll personally follow the suggested attire (hence no dining room on formal nights - which by the way, I'm still wearing dress pants, shirt and tie in a restaurant like chops) I don't even notice what others are wearing. I try and dress to match my wife and ask her what she'd like to see me in.

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39 minutes ago, Curt From Canada said:

My advice is ... Ask your soulmate. Ask the person who you are devoted to. Ask the only person on the earth that matters.

That's exactly what I do ... If she's wearing something nice I'll ask what she thinks will complement her outfit and pack accordingly.

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12 hours ago, Oliver said:

I don’t think it’s just cruises. Our society has moved this way entirely. 

Yep. 100%. I work for a big company that used to require shirt, tie, etc ... Now as long as you're not seeing a customer, T-shirt, jeans and sneakers are the norm. Many companies allow even less.

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3 hours ago, Pima1988 said:

I almost feel like this is a fight between passengers, and as I said before RCL has to be the parent.  It really is simple to make both sides happy.  For that 1 night, the MDR has to be re-arranged.  Think about a restaurant on land.  Every night they are re-setting tables do to reservations.

I forget the restaurant on Anthem but a friend was denied entry unless he put on a sports jacket, they even had one for him. So, there are some policing of the policies (at least that day, at that restaurant, on that ship).

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I personally like to put on a dress for formal night, something basic or something dressy (cocktail or old bridesmaid dress), mid 30's it's about the only time we get to dress up. Hubs will put on nice pants and a nice button up, usually no blazer or tie (never quite figured that thing out, lol) I dont really care how anyone is dressed, with the major exception of flip flops and tshirts with cut off sleeves that expose male nipples or a sports bra. That's just gross and I firmly believe those people should be turned away, from all dining establishments. 

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1 hour ago, sk8erguy1978 said:

I forget the restaurant on Anthem but a friend was denied entry unless he put on a sports jacket, they even had one for him. So, there are some policing of the policies (at least that day, at that restaurant, on that ship).

You had a friend was denied entry on a restaurant on Anthem for not having a jacket? You’re kidding! 

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