Celebrity Eliminates Informal Dress Code

I just confirmed via Celebrity’s Captains Club customer service desk that Celebrity will be dropping their “Informal” dress code starting with sailing departing after August 1st, 2008. A seven day cruise will now feature two formal nights and 5 casual nights. Longer sailings will still have three formal nights. Previously, Celebrity had a three tiered dress code with Formal, Informal, and Casual evenings.

On formal nights, men were requested to wear dark suits or tuxedos, while ladies often wore gowns or cocktail dresses. On Informal nights, men wore blazers or sports coats with or without ties, slacks and nice shirts. Ladies wore either cocktail dresses or dressy pants outfits. On casual nights ,it was usually very casual dresses or smart pants outfits for the ladies and for the men “dockers” and either a golf shirt or Hawaiian shirt. With the elimination of informal nights, men will no longer need to pack their sports coats. They will just need to bring or rent a tux or suit for formal nights.

Many people have been complaining about the new luggage restrictions implemented by the airlines. With most airlines now charging extra for a second bag, and American Airlines even charging for the first checked bag, cruisers have been complaining about the difficulty of packing in one bag or the extra expense of the second bag. Perhaps this could be the driving factor in the elimination of the informal nights. In addition, the industry overall has trended toward more casual dress codes, starting with NCL’s implementation of the nearly all casual “Freestyle” cruising. Last year Holland American dropped their “in-between” evening dress code, going with just formal and casual smart casual. Celebrity’s sister line Royal Carribbean still has the “smart casual” designation which still calls for a coat and tie for the gentlemen. However, I would guess that they too may eliminate the smart casual nights.

While I can understand the cruisers frustrations with having to try to pack in one suitcase under 50 pounds, I have to state that I am a bit disappointed with the change. I’ve always felt the one of the factors that differentiated Celebrity from other lines was the elegant evening ambiance. While the formal nights will still be elegant, the casual evenings just don’t have that same elegant feel. My everyday lifestyle is very casual and I relish the chance to dress up a bit more. My kids too are a bit disappointed in the new dress code. My son asked if he cold bring his blazer and still wear it on casual night. My daughter asked if she could still wear some of her informal dresses. We may choose to pick a few of the casual nights and dress up a bit more than the standard casual. I’ll have to let you know if the atmosphere seems less elegant due to the more relaxed dress code.