How fancy is formal night?

StarSeven7

DIS Veteran
Joined
Nov 13, 2017
We're leaving for our first cruise in a week and I'm trying to decide what to pack. I know that semi-formal and formal night are optional and people will say to wear whatever I feel comfortable wearing. But for me, I feel most comfortable if I'm matching what the majority of people are wearing. So if I feel overdressed or underdressed, I will feel pretty uncomfortable that evening. Super formal (gowns, tuxedos) are out for us because we don't own that kind of clothing. My DH actually doesn't even own a full suit anymore because he never wears one (and the old ones don't fit!) What we typically wear to weddings - the most formal occasions for us - are a dress shirt and tie for my DH and a short cocktail dress for me. I was thinking of dressing this way for formal night but my DH is resisting a bit and would rather just wear a golf shirt and dress pants. I realize that whatever we want to wear is totally fine, but I really prefer to match what the majority of people are wearing. So how fancy would you say MOST people dress?
 

JARNJ3

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 9, 2008
I wore a dress for both nights. The longer one I wore to formal night, the shorter one to semi-formal. I am like you - even though I am not super comfortable in dresses - I didn't want to stick out like a sore thumb.

I saw a few tuxes & gowns - the rest were dresses & suits.

The formal one gave us free glasses of wine - and there was much mingling in the lobby - no one seemed out of place to me there (including myself). :)

I think what you wear to weddings will be perfect. :)

Edited to add - ours was a Mediterranean cruise - and there were very few first timers on it (including me). This group of people seemed to follow the formal & semi-formal suggestions. There must have been some who didn't. I didn't see them ;)
 
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brentm77

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 17, 2013
It seemed on my last cruise that MOST people were on the more casual side (no tie for the men), with about 30-40% semi-formal, and some real formal. On our two DCL cruises, I was super comfortable in a suit and tie, with the women in our group in a dress you would wear to a wedding. We didn't stand out or look out of place. But, I get the sense that things are getting more casual each year.

Some of our favorite photos of each cruise are when we are all dressed up and on the stairs for a family photo.

For Italy/Greece in June, I will be very casual since we are packing carry on only and I can't spare the space for a suit and my giant 12-size shoes.
 

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  • Chemist

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 14, 2015
    I think dress shirt/tie for your husband would be a better match. Less dressy than men in suits, but still "dressy".

    Cocktail dress or similar is about on par with what most women wear.
    Most women do NOT wear gowns. (I don't wear long gowns, either.)

    I generally wear the same dressy-dresses that I wear at weddings. Generally color.
     

    insureman

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 3, 2008
    The last time we were on the Fantasy in 2018 it seemed like half the people dressed for formal night and everyone else was casual. On the Dream it seems only about 25% dress for their "dress up nights" Every year we find that less people dress for formal and semi-formal nights.
     

    disneyholic family

    disney on my mind....
    Joined
    Jan 31, 2002
    we've never dressed up for formal or semi-formal nights. Just the same cruise casual as every other night.
    we weren't alone in our fashion choice. I'd say more people were dressed like us than dressed in formal wear.

    actually, i'm coming back to edit this - on our most recent 7 night cruise (on the disney magic), we all wore jeans every night. formal nights and all the others as well.
    we looked like everyone else
    .
     

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  • StarSeven7

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 13, 2017
    Thanks for your replies! We'll be on the Wonder on a 7 night Southern Caribbean if that makes a difference to anyone's answer!
     

    disneyholic family

    disney on my mind....
    Joined
    Jan 31, 2002
    Thanks for your replies! We'll be on the Wonder on a 7 night Southern Caribbean if that makes a difference to anyone's answer!
    we were on what would probably be thought of as the fancier disney cruises - in europe..
    still not very many people actually dressed in formal clothes.
    and no one cared.
     

    jalapeno_pretzel

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 13, 2015
    We didn't dress up at all for either formal or semi night. We like to pack light, and we don't really like dressing up much. I didn't really see very many that were very dressed up, but I also probably wasn't paying that much attention.
     

    ghtx

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 29, 2012
    Two years ago we went on a 5-night cruise on the Dream with an "optional dress-up night" I think it was called. I seem to remember that almost no one besides us dressed up. I wore a tie and sportcoat and my wife wore a nice dress (not a formal gown). Most everyone else had shorts and t shirts.
     
  • SG131

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 3, 2017
    I was on the Fantasy this past May and people were dressed like you described for a wedding. There were more people than I expected dressed up some even in very formal wear, including children. There were some dressed down, but the majority of people that were congregating in the lobby that night were dressed up to some degree. I imagine there were plenty of people in cabanas eating dinner that were not dressed up, but I didn't head that way.
     

    FigmentSpark

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 9, 2016
    My DH refused to bring a jacket for formal night. But he was happy to wear a tie. Go figure. Anyway, I remember seeing a few floor length gowns, but not many. Most were cocktail formal, so you'd be just fine.
     

    LeiaOfAlderaan

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 6, 2017
    You will see such a variety of dress that I don’t think you will feel out of place no matter what you wear. It is really up to you and whatever you feel comfortable with. I always notice when I see people in formal gowns just because I think they look great but I would never think to compare it to what I’m wearing. I think you will feel good dressing at wedding guest level if that’s what you want to do.
     

    cedricandsophie

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2014
    Disney is pretty casual all nights. My husband always brings a sport coat and ties so he wears that on formal night and for palo. If you are going to remy a jacket is required. . He used to bring a suit or his tux but it’s not really needed. I wear cocktail attire most nights just because I like to dress up a bit for late dinner. In formal night or to go to palo I just dress up a bit more and maybe add heels. No one really cares. Personally I wish more people would dress up. It makes it a lot more special. We have been on other cruises where I wore a gown and my husband his tux. We like that.
     

    DisneyPiPhi

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 1, 2008
    As others have noted, it's such a huge variety. You wouldn't be out of place at all in cocktail dress, or even a casual day dress or sundress. Slacks and a golf shirt also wouldn't be out of place.

    We're dressing up a lot of an upcoming cruise - DD7 got a fancy new dress, I got a longer gown, and DH will wear a suit. This, however, is because we like to dress up and don't have many occasions to do so! I suspect we will be overdressed, and I am okay with that. :)
     

    LeiaOfAlderaan

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 6, 2017
    Am I the only non-regular cruiser who would be more inclined to go on a cruise if these events were abolished altogether?
    Probably not, but I don’t understand why people fret so much about this topic. It’s no different than pirate night—you can choose to participate or not. No one will be judging you whether you dress up or not. However I did judge the guy who walked through the MDR at dinner with no shirt on with his child on his shoulders. :oops:

    I think many people, including myself, like the opportunity to wear nicer clothes because our everyday life is so casual. And it seems like many people like having a good photo of their family dressed up, for Christmas cards or whatever. But if I didn’t like dressing up I wouldn’t do it and wouldn’t give it a second thought (on DCL anyway—I know some cruise lines have stricter dress codes).
     

    StarSeven7

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 13, 2017
    Probably not, but I don’t understand why people fret so much about this topic. It’s no different than pirate night—you can choose to participate or not. No one will be judging you whether you dress up or not. However I did judge the guy who walked through the MDR at dinner with no shirt on with his child on his shoulders. :oops:

    I think many people, including myself, like the opportunity to wear nicer clothes because our everyday life is so casual. And it seems like many people like having a good photo of their family dressed up, for Christmas cards or whatever. But if I didn’t like dressing up I wouldn’t do it and wouldn’t give it a second thought (on DCL anyway—I know some cruise lines have stricter dress codes).
    I definitely tend to overthink clothes - especially when going on trips! That's one reason why I love going to Disney World - the packing is so easy! I have some great shorts that I own in 5 colors so I throw those in with a bunch of Disney shirts and packing is done! Every other trip I need to try on clothes and think through what I want to be wearing in each different situation! I hate feeling like I'm dressed "wrong" for the situation and it makes me feel uncomfortable. I'm sure there are people out there who are much more confident than I am and are fine with wearing whatever they want - I wish I was like that! Lol! I do like to dress up occasionally since I very rarely do - I have a dress that I bought a year and a half ago that still has the tags on it because I've had no opportunity to wear it. But what trumps everything - for me - is feeling like I "fit in" with what the majority of others are wearing.
     


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