When packing for a cruise, it is important to remember appropriate attire for formal nights. While casual clothes may be great for everyday wear and excursions, formal night requires a higher caliber of clothing. The following guide will help you make the right choice when packing for your cruise. With the right knowledge and tips, you’ll be sure to #win cruise formal night.
What Is Formal Night?
Formal night is a designated night on a cruise ship when the dress code is for formal and elegant attire. Usually, this means cocktail or black tie so any casual wear you might have been wearing during the day is completely off the table. Dressier clothing requirements usually pertain to specific formal dining rooms, so if you completely don’t feel like dressing up, you can always choose to eat in one of the more casual dining rooms instead. But, for those looking to dress up for a luxury dining experience, here are a few things to remember.
Ladies Formal Cruise Attire
Dresses that Dazzle at Sea
For a formal night, the dress code is generally between cocktail and black-tie, depending on the cruise ship’s formal dining room requirements. This means a formal outfit consisting of an evening gown, fancy cocktail dress or formal women’s suit or pantsuit.
While some cruise lines allow less informal wear such as sun or cotton dresses, many do enforce the stricter formal dress codes (Disney, Royal Caribbean, Princess), so if you don’t dress up you really might miss out. When choosing your formal attire, consider the atmosphere of your cruise ship. Bolder, party ships may have more ladies wearing bold colors, patterns and metallics. Also, remember that fuller dresses may be hard to move or sit in at the formal dining table. Really, just wear a formal outfit which fits well, looks good and makes you feel amazing!
A few dresses that are perfect for a night on the cruise ship could be:
- Off-the-Shoulder Ruched Evening Gown from Milano Formals
- Bewitching Draped Gown from JDL by Alyce Paris
- Starlit Cap-Sleeved Evening Gown from Lara
- Long-Sleeved Short Sparkle Dress from Sherri Hill
- Shining Delight Sleeved Cocktail Dress from Johnathan Kayne
You May Be On the Ocean, But Don’t Forget the Shoes
Dress shoes are a must to match your evening attire, this includes all forms of heels as well as elegant flats. Once you’re at sea you’ll be limited to on-ship stores which are expensive, have a limited selection and may not even carry anything nicer than flip-flops. You don’t want to bring a gorgeous evening gown then be turned away for inappropriate footwear.
Jewelry to Complete Your Look
When it comes to jewelry, the choices are endless! However, try to think about the color and structure of your outfit. Is your dress off the shoulder? Consider a gorgeous necklace to draw attention to the neck. Is your cocktail dress backless? Consider wearing a necklace which can dip low in the back to add a little unique glitter. Just always try to match your jewelry to your beautiful outfit style.
Men’s Formal Cruise Attire
Lucky for the gentlemen out there, most cruise lines go by a cocktail or black-tie dress code. This means that dark suit jackets and matching tie are usually enough, even on the most formal cruise lines. The one exception is Disney cruise lines, which require tuxes and suits for men on formal nights. Always check with the cruise line formal dining room requirements before packing for the trip. Also, consider bringing the suit most likely to wrinkle, as no one wants to spend precious vacation time ironing their suit.
When it comes to completing your look, don’t forget the shoes and tie! Makes sure you leave your sandals and athletic shoes in your cabin because dress shoes are a requirement! In general, formal nights are about looking your best. Stay away from goofy ties that light up or have cartoons on them (unless it’s a theme dinner then, by all means, go right ahead).