Is your attire ship-shape?

Frequent cruisers will be familiar with formal night. It happens at least once on every voyage: the night where you either dress up in your finest to enjoy silver service in the dining room or you slum it in your shorts and sloppy joes at the buffet.


Even in this egalitarian age, most cruise ships still have a dress code for their restaurants — especially on the formal nights — and some people think that the code sometimes goes too far.

In this post, young traveller Victoria vigorously, and humorously, defends her right to wear shorts in the dining room. (Update: in a comment, she notes that she is happy to wear a dress on formal nights.)

Given that the article appears on the Cruising isn’t Just for Old People blog, I wonder whether it’s an age thing.

And, if so, are the older people who want to dress up a little — be it on formal night or just an ordinary night in the main dining night —  slowly but surely being outnumbered by younger folk who want to come as they are?

Of course, the attitude differs from cruise line to cruise line. Cunard, which insists on a strict dress code all the time, isn’t chasing younger passengers (at least not yet), but that’s where the growth is for companies such as Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and Carnival.

The increasing dilemma for them is: how to satisfy the older demographic that remains their core customer base but also appeal to the new breed of passenger?

And as today’s generation gets older and more prosperous, will they maintain their relaxed attitude or embrace the dress code?

I suspect that formal nights will disappear on all but the very high-end ships, or at least be restricted to the specialty restaurants and exclusive areas for the well-heeled passengers. At the same time,the general rule in the main dining rooms will become more relaxed.

As for me, I really don’t care what other passengers wear. It’s how they behave that truly matters.

2 thoughts on “Is your attire ship-shape?”

  1. Slightly flawed here my friend! I am not defending a right to wear shorts on formal night. I am defending a right to wear shorts in the Main Dining Room. I am not a girl who never wears a dress, I wear one on formal night & in fact about 50% of the time I’m aboard. I just resent that the half of the time I’m in shorts causes so much backlash!

    1. I actually say: “In this post, young traveller Victoria vigorously, and humorously, defends her right to wear shorts in the dining room.” However, I’ve changed things a little to, hoepfully, make it clearer.

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