Apart from smoking and tipping, few other topics spark debate like what to wear onboard. It seems everyone and their great aunt has a view on whether you should dress up onboard.
Which is why when Cunard — regarded as the most formal of all the lines — announced it is “loosening” its dress code for the nonformal nights, things get a little crazy.
Within three hours of posting the news on our Facebook site, we had 61 comments and counting; some for, some against.
MD Peter Shanks first floated the idea on the Cruise Critic message boards about a month ago, in response to a question by billyvegas which asked (quite pointedly):
“Are you going to Kill the Cunard that most returning guests know and love by reducing the Formality of the dress code?”
To which Shanks responded: “I can certainly reassure you that Cunard will not give up our Formal Evenings.”
But he added: “I sense as we go forward, whilst maintaining the Formal nights then we may see the Elegant Casual approach becoming more popular and a chance to relax as we would going out with friends at home.”
This was confirmed Monday with a news release from the line that stated the strict policy of a jacket and tie at all times would be “loosened.”
So what was a slightly confusing dress code for the remaining nights –- a mixture of “elegant casual” (jacket but no tie for men) and “semi-formal” (jacket and tie for men, cocktail dresses for ladies) — has now been replaced with plain “informal,” which means men must still wear jackets, but ties aren’t required.
O.K., so this is hardly radical stuff, and I doubt we will see anyone walking around in swimsuits, flip-flops and cutoff shorts anytime soon. But it does mark a significant shift for what many regarded as the last bastion of traditional cruising.
So is this a naked play to attract new to cruisers and get hip with the times?
Back to Shanks on the boards in response to a question from charliedarlymple who asked: “As your loyal customer base ages, do you plan to make any changes in order to market the Cunard brand to a younger generation of cruisers?”
Shanks replied: “We have a growing number of younger guests coming to Cunard Line — but we focus on making the experience appeal to a wide range of ages. In the summer we see a lot of younger families — our Children’s Clubs are terrific — but we do not go out to really attract families — they find us thankfully.”
So over to you –- should Cunard be admired for moving with the times? Or has it lost touch with its core values?
Let us know what you think.
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