Dress Code and Food and Beverage Changes From Celebrity

Attention! Attention! Attention! Since this article was published on July 8th, Celebrity has updated their Web Page Removing the word “Jeans” from their list of official attire for Smart Casual Night. It seems the inclusion of the word “jeans” was an error on the part of the web site. Celebrity will not officially permit jeans in the dining room at any time.

The official word has now come from Celebrity regarding changes to their food and beverage program and their new dress code. The Celebrity Web Page now has the new dress codes posted.

We’ve also attached a copy of the Celebrity Power Point presentation below that was rolled out to some of their Elite Captain’s club members regarding the changes/enhancements to the food and beverage program.

First, I’ll comment on the food and beverage changes. Celebrity will be doing away with their “Midnight Bites” served through-out the ship around midnight, and replacing them with a midnight snack at the Cova Cafe. They are also doing away with the Gala Midnight Buffet and will putting on a gala brunch instead. They are adding a special food service reception as an after party for the new “Celebrity – Starring You” awards presentation. They also announced more variety and stations in the buffet area and pool side grill. For more details on these new food and beverage roll-outs please the the above attached Celebrity Power Point Presentation.

These changes seem to be pretty positive. The grand buffet will now be at a more accessible hour of the day rather than Midnight. However, when this grand buffet was presented on a formal night and people remained formally dressed for the event, it did give it a very elegant ambiance. Some of the ambiance of a grand buffet will be a bit lost by moving it to brunch time. As for my opinions on the new regular buffet enhancements, I usually don’t eat at the buffet very often on Celebrity, perhaps because the cafeteria style lines made it inefficient. The stations should provide for better flow, much like what I’ve heard works well on sister line Royal Caribbean. They will also be offering more variety at the pool side grill, which interests me as I am not really big on burgers and fries. Perhaps the event that peaked my interest the most is the new “Starring You” after party. This sounds like a fun event and will add a new special evening experience on Celebrity.

Along with the food and beverage announcements, Celebrity also announced that they will start a new evening dress code through-out the ships beginning August 1st. Two big changes will be contained in the new dress code: No More “Informal Nights” and jeans will now be allowed in the dining room on casual night. They will still retain formal nights as “special” evenings on Celebrity.

Their announcement cited the following statistics as the reasons for their change to the dress codes. They only had about 30% compliance with the code on informal night. That number seems much lower than the the properly dressed passengers I have observed on my many Celebrity cruises. I would say that about 80% of the people were dressed according to the code on the informal nights on my cruises. Perhaps this was because most of my Celebrity cruises have been 11 days or longer. Longer cruises are said to have a higher percentage of passengers who conform to the dress code. Celebrity does say that they have about 80% of their passengers dressing up for formal nights. They have pledged to continue the tradition of these formal evenings and provide suitable alternatives for those who do not wish to dress up. However, the announcements seems to indicate that the formal dress code will only be in place in the dining room and not enforced in other areas of the ship where the “smart casual or better” dress code will be the prevailing dress code for the ship.

I won’t get to experience the new dress code in person until November, so I’ll reserve my final judgment on the changes until that time. My initial thoughts are that the change to the prevailing “smart casual or better” evening dress code won’t make too much difference. People were already changing into more casual clothes after dinner anyway. I never did understand that concept, but I’ve often seen people who change none the less. I prefer to enjoy all my formal night activities in my nice clothes. The allowance of jeans in the dining room did take me by surprise. Celebrity has never officially allowed jeans in the dining room at any time. I’d see a few here and there, but for the most part people dressed more elegantly even on the casual nights. I hate to say it, but I feel allowing jeans is lowering the standards on the ship and will make cruising a less special experience for our family.

For the most part, my family has enjoyed dressing-up more on a cruise than we do in our everyday life in rural Arizona. Buying special clothes for the kids has never broken the bank either. There are plenty of places like Walmart, Ebay and thrift stores where I’ve found nice kids clothes like khakis, blazers and dresses for very reasonable prices. We still plan to continue to dress up a bit on casual evenings, though now it won’t be strictly required. I am personally a bit disappointed at the addition of jeans to the acceptable evening attire list, but understand that many people will be relieved to not have to dress up so much. Just remember that lightweight slacks will take up less space and weigh less than a pair of jeans.