Celebrity Indroduces A New Dress Code and Confuses Cruise Info Junkies

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First, I have have to confess that I am a “Cruise Information Junkie”. For me, half the fun of taking a cruise planning it. I gather information at from other cruisers on web based message boards, read travel magazines, and buy guide books for the ports I’ll be visiting.

Over the past few weeks information has been trickling out about Celebrity eliminating their “Informal Nights” and replacing them with what they are calling “Smart Casual or better”. However, as a result of what I could only think is very poor internal corporate communications, the information trickling out and/or coming directly from Celebrity has been very confusing. For those of us that are cruise information junkies, well, we’ve been practically pulling our hair out.

I’ve put together a little time line to illustrate the situation:

  • June 13th: A Cruise Critic Member posts on their board that his Celebrity cruise documents list Casual and Formal nights but no informal. (A heated debate follows on Cruise Critic)
  • June 16th: Tired of all the debate with no confirmation either way, I call Celebrity’s Captains club and representative confirms that Informal will be replaced with smart casual. No further detail given.
  • July 2: Celebrity presents information on the new Food & Beverage enhancements to a select group of Elite Captains Club members. The Powerpoint presentation is posted by a Celebrity lover on the site Cruise Line Fans. The information says that they had made the decision to eliminate informal, because while about 80% of passengers were dressing up for formal nights, only about 30% were dress according to guidelines on Informal nights. The presentation specifically says that they wish to “establish a more clearly defined “Smart Casual and Above” casual dress standard as the prevailing evening dress code.” Also they wish to “provide clearer dress code enforcement guidelines and support for shipboard management.” The Powerpoint presentation provides information as to what the new dress code will be on “Smart Casual and Above” nights.

    LADIES: Skirt or pants complemented by sweater or blouse.
    GENTLEMEN: Pants (no holes, rips or tears) with sports shirt or sweater. Shirt must have a collar and sleeves.
    Note: T-shirts, swimsuits, tank tops, baseball caps and poolware are not allowed in the main restaurant at any time. Shorts and flip flops are not allowed in the evening hours.

  • July 8th: The new dress code is added to the Celebrity Web Site for sailings after August 1st 2008, with one major change, the word “Jeans” is added to the above dress code as acceptable attire for gentlemen. (Heated debate ensues on all cruise message boards about whether or not Jeans are appropriate attire for a formal dining room even on a “Smart Casual” night.) The addition of the word jeans to the list of appropriate attire is significant because Celebrity has never permitted them officially in the main dining room at any time. Several loyal Celebrity Cruisers feel that this was a mistake on the part of the web master and that the word “Jeans” was added in error. Several of us cruise info junkies write Celebrity in order to obtain clarification.
  • July 14th: A Cruise Critic member receives the following response to her question about the inclusion of the word “jeans” possibly being in error:

    With the increase in e-mails received regarding this same issue we have pursued further information from our administrative team to clarify this issue and to advise if the information provided on Celebrity’s website is simply a misprint or if, in fact, we are now allowing “jeans” in the main dining room. This considering the update for this policy was brought on by guests not abiding by the dress code in the main dining hall where “no jeans are allowed.

    At this time we do not have a clear and definitive answer for you, but can assure you that we are looking into this issue so that we may advise of the correct information and avoid any incorrect information from being passed around.

    As soon as an answer has been received I will email you to let you know the correct information.”

  • July 16th: I finally receive a response to my original E-mail regarding the new dress code. It states that jeans will be discouraged but that no diners will be denied entrance to the dining room while wearing jeans. Several of my fellow cruise junkies on Cruise Line Fans receive the same e-mail However, at the same time, the word “Jeans” is removed from the Celebrity Web page dress code. (Debate ensues about weather or not jeans are “pants”.)
  • July 18th. A Cruise Critic host recieves the “final word?” from Celebrity regarding the new dress code. It specifically states “No Jeans”. Here is what Celebrity sent to Cruise Critic:

    We apologize for the miscommunication about our new dress code, and are grateful to the members of CruiseCritic who have inquired about it. Celebrity’s new dress code across the fleet (with the exception of Celebrity Xpedition) is designed to ease our guests’ apparel planning and packing, with the elimination of ‘informal’ nights. Many of our guests told us they found the ‘informal’ designation somewhat confusing, but repeatedly said they enjoy casual nights, and want to retain the elegant tradition of formal nights.

    ‘Smart casual and above’ allows guests to wear skirts and pants with sweaters, sport shirts or blouses — or more dressy apparel, if they choose — on every night but formal nights. Our guests are asked only to refrain from wearing jeans, t-shirts, swimwear, robes, bare feet, tank tops or baseball caps at any time in the main or specialty restaurants. And during evening hours, no shorts or flip-flops will be allowed in the main or specialty restaurants.

    Celebrity’s new dress code will take effect on all sailings beginning on or after August 1, 2008. There will be one formal night on itineraries up to six nights, two on seven- to 11-night cruises, and three on 12-night or longer itineraries.

  • July 21: This morning I reference the information posted on July 18th on Cruise Critic and sent another request to Celebrity for them to provide me with the correct information about the new dress code. When get the official word directly from them I will put it up here on my site.
  • July 21: I finally receive what I hope is the final word on this subject from Celebrity

    The most recent and final update advises that jeans will not be allowed in the dining room for dinner. This information is the most up to date information provided directly by Celebrity Cruises.

    We apologize for previous information advised incorrectly.

    Thank you for choosing Celebrity Cruises. “