Few issues create as much confusion among cruisers as what to wear to dinner. Some cruise line dress codes accept a clean T-shirt and jeans as acceptable evening attire, while others require a jacket and tie if you want to dine in the main restaurant. If you're wondering what you should wear on a cruise, especially onboard at night, here's how each major cruise line would like you to dress.
Updated October 10, 2019
Azamara | Carnival | Celebrity | Costa | Crystal | Cunard | Disney | Holland America | MSC | Norwegian | Oceania | Paul Gauguin |Princess | Regent Seven Seas |Royal Caribbean International | Seabourn | Silversea | Windstar | Viking Ocean
The Dress Code: Azamara's dress code is "resort casual"; acceptable attire includes sportswear, collared shirts, pants and jackets (if desired, but not required) for men and sportswear, casual dresses, or skirts and pants with blouses or knit tops for women. Regular, but not torn or distressed jeans, are fine.
No bare feet, tank tops, caps, bathing suits or shorts are allowed in the dining room or specialty restaurants. In the casual Windows Cafe buffet, the only requirements are footwear and a cover-up or shirt.
Number of Formal Nights: The line says "Formal eveningwear is not expected nor required. If you prefer to dress more formally, you are welcome to do so," but there are no formal nights.
Nightly Casual Option: All restaurants are "resort casual," but Windows Cafe (the buffet option) allows for an even more relaxed option.
Carnival Cruise Line
The Dress Code: Carnival's evening dress code is typically "cruise casual," but on one or two nights during the voyage, "cruise elegant" eveningwear is suggested. On "cruise casual" nights, the line recommends slacks, khakis, jeans, long dress shorts and collared sport shirts for men, and casual dresses or skirts, pants, capri pants, dress shorts and jeans with blouses for women.
"Cruise elegant" dress means dress slacks, dress shirts and sport coats (optional) for men and cocktail dresses, pantsuits and elegant skirts and blouses for women. On elegant nights, passengers may choose to dress more formally in suits and ties, tuxedos or evening gowns, but that level of dress is not required.
Shorts (including cutoff jeans), T-shirts, sportswear, flip-flops, bathing suits, caps and men's sleeveless shirts are never permitted in the main dining room or specialty restaurants during dinner.
Number of Formal Nights: There are two elegant nights per six-night or longer cruises, and there's one on shorter cruises.
Nightly Casual Option: For those not wanting to dress up, the Lido Restaurant is open nightly and maintains a casual dress code.
The Dress Code: Most nights on Celebrity ships are smart-casual, meaning sport shirts and slacks for men, while women will be comfortable in skirts or pants and blouses, or casual dresses. Jeans are acceptable attire.
On "evening chic" nights, which suggest dressierattire, formalwear (including jackets and ties for men) is welcomed but not required. This might include pants (including designer jeans) with a dress shirt or sweater -- with an optional sports coat or blazer -- for men, or cocktail dresses or skirts or pants with an elegant top for women.
T-shirts, swimsuits, robes, tank tops, caps and pool wear are not allowed in the main or specialty restaurants at any time. Shorts and flip-flops are not allowed during evening hours.
Number of Formal Nights: There are no formal nights, but cruises of six nights or less have one evening chic night, while those of seven nights or longer have two.
Nightly Casual Option: Casual attire is always acceptable at the Lido deck buffet or poolside snack bar.
The Dress Code: The atmosphere onboard Costa ships is casual. Most nights are informal, with "resort wear" appropriate. A jacket for men is not required.
On formal nights, men might wear suits and, women, cocktail dresses, though elegant resort wear is also acceptable attire. Plus, the line also hosts special theme nights (which vary by destination and cruise duration), like a "white night" when passengers are requested to wear all-white clothing, a masquerade party (at which masks are encouraged), as well as an Italian-themed evening, during which white, red and green clothing and accessories are the norm.
In restaurants, the cruise line asks passengers to not wear beach attire (shorts, sarongs or flip-flops).
Number of Formal Nights: On cruises of six nights or less, there is one formal night on the sailing; two formal nights are standard on seven-night sailings.
Nightly Casual Option: For diners wishing for an even more relaxed vibe, a nightly buffet is offered, where casual attire rules.
The Dress Code: On its oceangoing cruise ships, Crystal has optional formal and resort casual evening dress codes. After 6 p.m. on any day, casual daytime attire, such as shorts and baseball hats, is not appropriate in public areas.
"Black tie optional" evenings offer passengers the opportunity to dress formally: Jackets are requested for men (dark suits with ties or tuxedos are recommended), and formal cocktail dresses, evening gowns or dressy evening separates are recommended for women.
Informal attire is known onboard as Crystal Casual and applies to most evenings. Requirements are dress pants with collared or button-down shirts for men (sport coats are optional) with dress pants, blouses, sweaters, skirts and dresses for women. Jeans are acceptable attire only on these nights.
In addition, passengers may wish to dress in white for the once-per-cruise Crystal White Extravaganza (on sailings of seven nights or longer), but wearing white is not required.
Crystal Casual is always the nightly dress code on the line's river boats and yachts.
Number of Formal Nights: Crystal cruisers can expect only casual attire on seven-night sailings or shorter, up to one formal evening on eight- to 10-night sailings and two formal evenings on 11- to 13-night cruises.
Nightly Casual Option: Room service is the only choice for a casual option since the evening dress code applies in all public areas after 6 p.m.
The Dress Code: Come evenings, Cunard requests "smart attire" on its sailings, with more formal "Gala evenings." These dress codes go into effect from 6 p.m. onward. Semiformal smart attire includes slacks, shirts with ties or open collars, crewneck sweaters and jackets or blazers for men, and dresses, skirts and blouses or pantsuits for women.
Gala evenings request formal dress and are often themed, from the traditional Black and White Ball and Masquerade Ball, to a Roaring Twenties Ball and a hat-focused Ascot Ball. Formal attire means tuxedos, dinner jackets or formal dark suits for men and evening or cocktail dresses for women.
Number of Formal Nights: A typical seven-night cruise features two or three Gala evenings.
Nightly Casual Option: Casual clothing is permitted each evening in select venues, including Kings Court, Lido Buffet, Golden Lion, the casino, Carinthia Lounge, Winter Garden, Garden Lounge, Yacht Club and G32. Even in these venues, no worn clothing, shorts, casual sandals or tank tops are permitted; however, jeans are acceptable.
Disney Cruise Line
The Dress Code: Most evenings and onboard dining venues on Disney are "cruise casual," permitting casual attire like shorts and T-shirts, but prohibiting tank tops and swimwear.
"Dress-up" nights are found on three- and four-night cruises, with optional formal and semiformal nights on seven-night cruises. "Dress-up" means dress shirts, slacks and jackets for men and dresses or pantsuits for women. Semiformal entails suits or jackets for men and dresses or pantsuits for women; optional formal attire is not specified but is generally realized as a more elegant version of semiformal wear. Most cruises also include one or more theme nights (like Pirate Night) where related dress is welcomed.
The dress code applies to the main dining rooms at dinner. Every night at adults-only specialty restaurant Palo, slacks (including jeans) and collared shirts or jackets for men and dresses, skirts or pantsuits for women are appropriate. Shorts, hats and flip-flops/tennis shoes are not permitted.
Also nightly at Remy, the other adults-only specialty restaurant (only on Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy), slacks and jackets are required for men (ties optional), and cocktail dresses, pantsuits or skirts with blouses for women. Jeans and women's capri pants are not acceptable here.
Number of Formal Nights: Three- and four-night cruises each feature one optional "dress-up" night. A seven-night cruise features one formal and one semiformal night.
Nightly Casual Option: All of Disney's family dining venues are casual.
Holland America Line
The Dress Code: Holland America has mostly "resort casual" evenings along with a formal option. The line calls its formal nights "gala nights," and its formal dress includes a dark suit, tuxedo or jacket and tie for men, and cocktail dress, gown or dressy pantsuit for women.
Resort casual attire includes collared shirts and slacks for men (with a jacket and tie preferred) and dresses, skirts or slacks for women in all fine dining restaurants. Swimsuits and other pool wear, men's tank tops and shorts are not allowed in any of the restaurants during the evening hours. Jeans are OK, so long as they're not distressed, with the exception of gala nights, when they're restricted to the buffet.
Number of Formal Nights: There's one gala night per seven-night cruise, two on cruises up to 13 nights and three gala nights on cruises up to 20 nights.
Nightly Casual Option: The casual buffet option and room service are available for passengers not wishing to change out of those yoga pants.
The Dress Code: "Casual wear" is appropriate on MSC Cruises, except for the formal evening "gala dinners," when the main dining room requires men to wear suits or jackets and ties, and, women, cocktail dresses. After 6 p.m., T-shirts and shorts are not permitted in the ships' public areas. No swimwear is allowed in main dining rooms. Jeans are allowed on casual resort wear nights, as long as they aren't torn or ripped.
In addition, passengers who would like to participate in theme nights are encouraged (but not required) to dress according to a specific theme. Examples include the White Party, Gatsby Night or '60s and '70s-themed Flower Glory Party.
Number of Formal Nights: There's one formal night on four- to six-night cruises, two on seven- to nine-night cruises, three on 10- to 14-night cruises and four on cruises of 15 nights or longer.
Nightly Casual Option: The buffet will serve passengers seeking a more low-key dining experience.
Norwegian Cruise Line
The Dress Code: "Cruise casual" is acceptable most of the time on Norwegian and includes khakis, jeans, shorts and casual shirts for men and summer and casual dresses, skirts, regular or capri pants, shorts, jeans and tops for women. Swimwear is fine at the buffet and outdoor restaurants -- so long as you put on a cover-up and footwear.
For dinner in the main dining room or more upscale specialty restaurants, collared shirts and pants or "nice" jeans (not overly faded, with holes or tears or worn below the hips) are suggested for men (with closed-toe shoes). Slacks or jeans, dresses, skirts, and tops are standard for women. Tank tops for men, flip-flops, baseball caps and visors are not permitted in the main dining room or any of the specialty restaurants.
There are no official formal nights, but "Norwegian's Night Out" is the line's freestyle (and optional) version of a formal night (though there is no associated dress code). Cruisers might also want to pack an all-white ensemble for the line's signature White Hot Party.
Number of Formal Nights: Norwegian's Night Out is offered on sailings of three nights or more.
Nightly Casual Option: It's all casual, though each ship typically reserves one main dining room and one specialty restaurant for passengers who prefer to dress up slightly (via smart-casual attire).
The Dress Code: Oceania keeps its policy simple and casual. Country club and resort-style attire are generally appropriate; think button-down shirts and slacks for men and dresses, nice pants or skirts and tops for women. In all evening dining venues, passengers are requested to adhere to a more "elegant" interpretation of country club casual dress code.
Jeans, shorts, T-shirts, baseball caps and tennis shoes should not be worn at dinner or in any public areas after 6 p.m. (although caps are permitted in the Terrace Cafe buffet.) Tank tops and swimsuits are not appropriate attire for any of the onboard restaurants at any time.
Number of Formal Nights: None.
Nightly Casual Option: The ship maintains a more casual dress code than most upscale lines, so evening casual wear is appropriate throughout the ship. Shorts and casual shirts are allowed in Terrace Cafe during the evening. Room service is always an option for the sweatpants and T-shirt crowd.
Paul Gauguin Cruises
The Dress Code: "Country club casual" (also referred to by the line as "elegant resort wear") dress is requested for most evenings (after 6 p.m.) on Paul Gauguin. Men should wear slacks and collared shirts, while women should don dresses, skirts or slacks with blouses or sweaters.
The line requests that passengers do not dress in casual wear, such as shorts, T-shirts, jeans that are frayed or with holes, baseball caps, flip-flops and Crocs, after 6 p.m. in onboard restaurants and lounges. Bathing suits are likewise not permitted in the ship's restaurants and lounges; shirts and shoes must be worn in all public areas.
At the once-per-cruise Captain's Welcome Reception, some men choose to wear a jacket (though ties are not expected). There is also a Polynesian Night once every sailing, when passengers are encouraged to wear Polynesian-style attire, so pull out your tropical shirts and dresses.
Number of Formal Nights: There are no formal nights.
Nightly Casual Option: Come evening time, it is country club casual in all public spaces and restaurants.
The Dress Code: Princess has formal and smart-casual nights. Formal attire is tuxedos, dinner jackets or dark suits for men and evening gowns, cocktail dresses or elegant pantsuits for women. Smart-casual attire includes pants and open-neck shirts for men and skirts or dresses, slacks and sweaters for women.
In the dining rooms, items such as shorts, pool wear and baseball caps are not permitted; shoes must be worn at all times. Jeans are permitted as long as they aren't fraying and don't have holes.
Number of Formal Nights: Five- to six-night cruises have one formal evening, seven- to 13-night cruises have two, 14- to 20-night cruises have three, 21- to 28-night cruises have four and cruises of 29 nights or more have a minimum of five. Short voyages (four nights or less) have a "dress to impress" night -- not technically a formal night, but a notch above daywear.
Nightly Casual Option: Passengers wishing to avoid the dressy evenings can head to the casual buffet venue for dinner.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
The Dress Code: Attire ranges from casual to formal on Regent Seven Seas Cruises. "Casual" wear is appropriate for daytime, and it consists of resort-style attire. The dress code is almost always "elegant casual" after 6 p.m., with the exception of the final evening of each cruise (which is casual). Men should wear slacks and collared shirts (sport jackets are optional and ties are not required); skirts or slacks paired with blouses or sweaters, pantsuits or dresses are acceptable for women.
Jeans, T-shirts, shorts and tennis shoes are not allowed in any public area, apart from the pool area, after 6 p.m.
Longer cruises have optional formal or semiformal nights. On these evenings, passengers can either wear elegant casual attire or opt for a more formal look (gowns, cocktail dresses, dark suits or tuxedos).
Number of Formal Nights: Voyages of 16 nights or longer have two or more formal or semiformal nights, but these are optional. Shorter cruises are always "elegant casual."
Nightly Casual Option: The outdoor Pool Grill is the only public area onboard that does not subscribe to the evening dress code.
Royal Caribbean International
The Dress Code: Royal Caribbean has formal, smart-casual and casual nights. Formal attire includes suits and ties or tuxedos for men and cocktail dresses and evening gowns for women. Smart-casual attire includes collared shirts and slacks for men (jackets, sports coats and blazers are welcome) and dresses, skirts and blouses or pantsuits for women.
Casual attire includes jeans and collared shirts for men and sundresses or pants with blouses for women. No caps, tank tops or bathing suits are permitted in the main dining room or specialty restaurants, and footwear is always required. Shorts are not allowed during dinner.
Number of Formal Nights: Three-, four- and five-night cruises have one formal night; cruises of six nights and longer typically have two formal nights. (Note: There are no formal nights on Empress of the Seas sailings.)
Nightly Casual Option: The Windjammer Cafe buffet is the most laid-back choice for evening dining.
Seabourn Cruise Line
The Dress Code: Seabourn is typically casual resort-style attire, and shorts and jeans are acceptable in all public areas, including restaurants. However, swimsuits, cover-ups and gymwear should be limited to the pool, spa and fitness center and outer decks.
The dress code after 6 p.m. on most evenings is "elegant casual." Men may wear slacks with collared dress shirts or sweaters, but jackets are optional. Women should choose dresses, pantsuits or skirts or slacks with nice tops.
On the limited formal nights, proper attire includes tuxedos, suits or slacks (jackets required) for men and evening gowns, cocktail dresses or dressy pantsuits for women.
Jeans are welcome in all dining venues during the day, but they're not appropriate in any public venues after 6 p.m.
Number of Formal Nights: There is one formal optional evening on cruises of up to 13 nights, two on 14- to 20-night cruises and three for cruises of 21 nights or more.
Nightly Casual Option: Formal attire is only expected in the main dining room; "elegant casual" attire is acceptable in all other ship venues come evening time.
The Dress Code: Evenings rotate among casual, informal and formal dress codes on Silversea Cruises. On casual nights, resort-style wear is requested -- open-neck shirts and slacks are appropriate for men, while women wear casual dresses, blouses and skirts or pants. Jeans and baseball caps are not allowed in the restaurants for dinner.
On informal nights, jackets (ties optional) for men are recommended, while women opt for dresses or pantsuits. Tuxedos, dinner jackets or dark suits for men and gowns or cocktail dresses for women are suggested for formal nights. Note that formal nights are always optional on the line's weeklong sailings in the Baltic, Mediterranean and Alaska.
Number of Formal Nights: Voyages of nine nights or fewer usually feature one formal night, while longer voyages usually have two or three.
Nightly Casual Option: On formal nights, passengers dining in La Terrazza can dress in informal attire. (This option applies to Seishin and Stars aboard Silver Spirit.) Dining at the outdoor Grill is casual all nights.
The Dress Code: Windstar suggests a "casual elegant" dress code for dinners and evenings -- slacks and collared shirts for men and sundresses, slacks and informal cocktail dresses for women. Shorts, jeans, flip-flops, hats and T-shirts are prohibited throughout the ship during the evening.
Number of Formal Nights: There are no formal nights.
Nightly Casual Option: The same "casual elegant" dress code is in place in all dining venues.
Viking Ocean Cruises
The Dress Code: During the day, Viking's onboard dress is casual and comfortable, including shorts and jeans. Swimsuits, shorts, cover-ups and exercise attire should be reserved for poolside, in the fitness center and on the sports deck.
For evenings, the recommended onboard dress is "elegant casual" for most ship venues. Suggested attire for men includes trousers and collared shirts (ties and jackets are optional but not required); for women, dresses, or skirts or slacks with sweaters or blouses are recommended. Jeans are not permitted in dining venues, apart from the World Cafe.
Number of Formal Nights: There are no formal nights.
Nightly Casual Option: Dinner in the World Cafe remains comfortable and casual, with daytime dress deemed appropriate.