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Do You Have to Dress Up on a Cruise? With Celebrity Cruises, You Decide

A common misconception about cruising is that you have to fill your luggage with evening gowns and suits in order to eat in the main dining room on those infamous formal nights. You might even be wondering if you have to dress up on a cruise for other activities as well, such as specialty restaurants or shows in the theater.

Celebrity Cruises wants to make things easier for you so you don’t have to stress about what to pack in your suitcase, and the dress code on Celebrity Cruises’ fleet of ships takes the guesswork out of knowing what to wear.

Do You Still Have to Dress Up on a Cruise for Formal Nights?

First, let’s discuss those formal nights. Love them or hate them, wondering if you have to dress up on a cruise and how much you have to dress up shouldn’t stress you out. Instead of focusing on your attire, you should be giving your attention to the gorgeous scenery of the destinations you’re visiting.

That’s why Celebrity Cruises changed its formal nights to Evening Chic nights. Evening Chic lets you decide how dressed up to get in a way that best fits your style….within reason.

Evening Chic nights aren’t the time to put on your favorite college sweatshirt or well-loved ripped jeans. But you also shouldn’t feel like you need to reuse an old fancy bridesmaid dress or rent a tux for your cruise – unless you want to! And that’s the beauty of Evening Chic nights. Get super dressed up or just get stylishly comfortable.

The dress code for Evening Chic is as follows:

Women should feel comfortable wearing:

  • A cocktail dress
  • Skirt, pants, or designer jeans with an elegant top
Men should feel comfortable wearing:
  • Pants or designer jeans with a dress shirt, button-down shirt, or sweater
  • Optional sport coat or blazer

This leaves lots of opportunities for you to show off your personal style, whether that’s designer denim and a blazer or a cocktail dress and heels.

Depending on the length of your cruise you’ll likely have up to two Evening Chic nights.

What’s the dress code for other nights on the cruise ship?

When it’s not an Evening Chic night in the Main Dining Room, the dress code is smart casual. For women, this can mean a skirt, pants, or jeans with a casual top. An example of a smart casual outfit for men is pants or jeans with a short sleeve sport shirt.

Smart casual also works for all areas of the ship in the evening, including specialty restaurants, bars and lounges, and the theater.

Again, the dress code for smart casual is flexible so you can show off your unique style, but there are still some restrictions: t-shirts, swimsuits, robes, bare feet, tank tops, baseball caps, and pool wear are not allowed in the main restaurant or specialty restaurants at any time. In addition, shorts and flip-flops are not allowed in the evening hours.

What else should you pack to wear onboard a cruise ship?

As for what to wear around the other areas of the ship, casual attire is acceptable at the buffet on the Lido deck. In addition, you can dine in casual pool clothes at the snack bar located adjacent to the pool deck.

While swimsuits are perfectly acceptable attire when lounging beside the pool, you’ll want to pack a swim cover-up to get you from your stateroom to the pool. Keep in mind that may take you through other common areas of the ship (in addition to the elevators) depending where your stateroom or suite is located so be sure it's something in which you feel comfortable to walk around others in.

For shoes, pack flip-flops or waterproof slides for wearing back and forth from the pool and spa. You’ll also want a pair of dressier shoes for Evening Chic nights and your smart casual clothing.

If you’re planning on doing a lot of walking around the ship to explore it during days at sea you may also want to stick in a pair of tennis shoes or other comfortable walking shoes. Those tennis shoes will also come in handy if you decide to partake in some fitness classes on board or utilize the equipment in the ship’s state of the art fitness center.

Here are a few other things to pack to keep you comfortable and well-dressed on your cruise vacation:

  • Warm cardigan or fleece: You’ll want this for nighttime sea viewing from your stateroom veranda or one of the ship’s decks as the breeze off the water can get quite a bit cooler after the sun goes down.
  • Scarf: This is helpful to drape over your shoulders to dress up an outfit or to warm up if you’re outside and there is a chill in the air.
  • Jewelry: Bring some fun pieces to accessorize your outfit, and keep in mind you may want to buy some new pieces while shopping in the ship’s boutiques so leave some room in your suitcase.
  • Sunglasses and sunhat: Whether it’s a sun visor or wide-brimmed straw hat, it’s wise to stick in sunglasses and a hat to protect your eyes and scalp from the warm sunshine.
  • Watch: If you typically use your phone as a clock, but are not planning to get an international phone plan, pack a watch to make sure you can keep an accurate eye on the time throughout the day – this is helpful on board to make sure you get to the daily activities you want to participate in on time and especially helpful in port to make sure you get back to the ship on time before it departs!

Now that you know how effortless and stress-free it is to figure out what to wear on your cruise and if you have to dress up or not, book your cruise and start planning out your perfect cruise vacation outfits. You can browse itineraries -- including newly released cruises in 2019 and 2020 -- shore excursions, and accommodations with Celebrity Cruises and then easily book your cruise along with airfare and activities all in one convenient spot.

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