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hugglynn Aug 15th, 2006 01:13 PM

Which cruise lines are w/o Formal Night--besides Oceania
We just returned from a mediterranean cruise on Oceania and like the idea of no formal nights--are any other cruise lines going in the direction of dressing nicely for dinner instead of the formal route?

AliH1 Aug 15th, 2006 01:22 PM

I was just looking at the Norwegian Cruise Lines website and they have something called "freestyle cruising". It sounds like it is less formal than others.


Dreps Aug 16th, 2006 04:07 AM

I think your experience on Norwegian would be quite different than on Oceania. Regent's cruises in Alaska and many in the Caribbean have no formal nights. The food is more on par with Oceania's. Service is outstanding. While at first glance Regent may seem more expensive than Oceania, if you take account of the fact that the smallest cabin on Regent is comparable to a Penthouse on Oceania and Regent will be all inclusive in 2007 (and is almost all inclusive now), they are worth looking at. Furthermore, from everything I've read, Regent's excursions are more reasonable, and I know first-hand that they are top-notch. We'll be taking our 5th Regent cruise in the Far East next fall. Have a great TA who handles Regent (and Oceania) [email protected].

spur Aug 16th, 2006 05:55 AM

I could never understand what is so wrong with formal nights, that some people want to settle for a cheap cruise line vs. a great one. Aren't formal nights a part of cruising fun? I don't really like dressing up but I like the atmosphere of celebration. And nobody makes you go to formal night, so what is the big problem?

kfusto Aug 16th, 2006 06:02 AM

I am another big fan of Regent but the OP asked about formal nights and both of my Regent cruises have had at least one. While some of their Alaska and Caribbean sailings do not have formal nights, many of their Med cruises do.

Larger cabins than Oceania, wine with dinner, bar set up in cabin and as of 1/1/07 all inclusive makes them a top notch value for me.

And NCL cannot hold a candle to the Oceania or Regent experience. Think Holiday Inn vs Ritz Carlton.

GoAway Aug 16th, 2006 06:17 AM

Windstar has no formal nights.

Funny, until we cruised last year on Windstar, I never gave formal nights much thought. Mostly they meant that I'd have to pack a lot of extra bulky clothing (men's suits, dress shoes, long dresses). I don't think we really minded getting all dressed up... And then we did one cruise where it wasn't necessary. Now, I find myself almost laughing at the knots people get in their knickers about formal nights - especiallay reading the Fashion board at Cruise Critic - and realizing that we really enjoyed not having to go through all of that.

I don't know that we'll ever partake in Formal Nights again.

Suerich68 Aug 16th, 2006 08:01 AM

As a friend in the boat industry used to say "whatever floats your boat" (very apropos here too!).

No one is forced to dress formally for dinner when there are alternative dining options. I feel that if there is a dress code, guests should comply, even if it is NOT enforced by the cruiseline. I know that I would feel out of place if the majority of diners do dress appropriately, but I suppose that the people who do not comply feel that it is their right.

Dress codes should be enforced and respected.

J_Correa Aug 16th, 2006 08:58 AM

I think that the desire not to have formal nights stems from the fact that some people just aren't the dress up types. Some people don't enjoy formal parties and others don't want to worry about hair, makeup, stockings, etc on a vacation.

lol930 Aug 16th, 2006 11:23 AM

No formal nights = no garment bags. Yahoo!

Count me as another Windstar fan. Their emphasis is on "casual elegant", basically what you would wear to a nice restaurant back home...

globetrekker Aug 17th, 2006 03:40 PM

NCL, like the othert major cruise lines, does have an optional formal night.

Sea Dream is another line like Windtstar that does not.

If you like a larger ship, Oceania is the only line that doesn't do the formal nights at all.

hschlesinger Aug 17th, 2006 05:53 PM

Norwegian is freestyle which means you don't have to dress for formal night. They do have formal nights where the crew is dressed formally. They reserve one restaurant for people who are in formal attire!

TravelTess Aug 18th, 2006 11:46 AM

We have friends who really think highly of Oceania, too. We've cruised Holland America through Europe. We had formal nights, yes but do know that on most cruises, the definition of formal varies. You'll see cocktail dresses and sport coats. You don't have to wear gowns or tuxes. As a matter of fact, you'll probably see more of the former.

hugglynn Aug 20th, 2006 08:31 AM

Dreps--thanks, we are looking at Regent for a caribbean cruise. We like the all inclusive idea, including a cruise line not dollaring us for drinks after paying thousands to cruise--and the larger cabin--the cabin we had on Oceania was much too small, and this was on the Concierge level.
Let me clarify, I DO NOT mind dressing up--in fact, on the recent Oceania cruise, even though there are no formal nights, my husband packed 3 suit coats and I packed many nice "blingy" garments--and quite frankly, I wore them all--so I am not looking for a negative attitude about our preference on formal nights. (Next time, on a country club casual cruise, we'll know more how to pack because we know what "others" think is CCC.) Hardly ANY other men wore jackets--the cruise literature left us to believe in the country club casual atmosphere we'd see some coats, but trust me, we were overdressed compared to most.
What we did realize was that packing the nice garments took up a tremendous amount of room for a two week European cruise--and packing formal items takes up even more. On top of that, what we DIDN'T appreciate, was the amount of jeans we STILL observed in the main dining room, particularly from one low-classed woman, who was dressed appropriately if she was attending a country music concert. We complained to the cruise line, but they don't enforce the code.
I think if you choose to cruise, you should abide by the standards of the cruise line--therefore, if I went on a cruise that had formal nights, I'd pack formal and dress appropriately. But, I'd prefer to pack nice clothing and forget the formal nights--after all, not having to pack and wear "formal" garments is what I consider a vacation.

katybird Aug 20th, 2006 03:30 PM

Pardon my ignorance, but what is a "blingy" garment?

abram Aug 20th, 2006 04:14 PM

And why do you care what someone else is wearing? I prefer to dress appropriately, but can't imagine how it would impact my enjoyment of a cruise if someone else was in blue jeans.

hugglynn Aug 20th, 2006 05:55 PM

Sorry, by blingy I meant sequin tops and the like, or glittery, if you will.
What other people wore didn't impact my enjoyment of the cruise whatsoever, my statement was merely my observation of what was allowed given the "dress code" issued by the cruise line when it is specifically stated that jeans are not permitted in the dining room, and we communicated that opinion to them...I just feel if the cruise line says no jeans, then it should be no jeans. If jeans 'are' going to be tolerated, fine by me, then just tell us to all pack whatever and wear whatever we like.

Bobmrg Aug 20th, 2006 06:40 PM

Just returned from a freestyle cruise on the Norwegian Sun. They did have optional formal nights, and I noticed that the majority of those who dressed for the occasion were in the 30-40-year old group. Old fogies, such as my wife and I, stayed relaxed. There were plenty of dining options for nonconformists, whereas on the Monarch of the Seas, if you didn't dress you didn't eat (very well).

My hat is off to NCL.

cherie1 Aug 28th, 2006 12:35 PM

Seaborn is very pricey and upscale, and has no formal nights.

Nor do the river cruises that I know of (Uniworld).

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