Times are changing! Since cruising first became popular, cruise lines offered special nights for guests to show off their finest formal wear. This included tuxedos for men and long gowns for women. Now with more families cruising and fashion trends leaning towards individual style, cruise lines are providing more options for guests. In fact, many cruise lines have ended formal nights altogether. Celebrity Cruises is now taking the unique step to bring aboard “Evening Chic.” With this new concept, it takes the pressure out of following the formal rules and inspires fun. But don’t worry...even without traditional formal wear, guests will still be offered the traditional formal perks. These may include exclusive meal choices featured in the main dining room (like my favorites, lobster and/or Beef Wellington) and posed portraits taken by ship photographers in the public areas before heading to dinner.
So what do you wear for “Evening Chic”? This is how it’s defined according to the Celebrity Cruises website:
Do You Still Have to Dress Up on a Cruise for Formal Nights?
First, let’s discuss those formal nights. Love them or hate them, wondering if you have to dress up on a cruise and how much you have to dress up shouldn’t stress you out. Instead of focusing on your attire, you should be giving your attention to the gorgeous scenery of the destinations you’re visiting.
That’s why Celebrity Cruises changed its formal nights to Evening Chic nights. Evening Chic lets you decide how dressed up to get in a way that best fits your style….within reason.
Evening Chic nights aren’t the time to put on your favorite college sweatshirt or well-loved ripped jeans. But you also shouldn’t feel like you need to reuse an old fancy bridesmaid dress or rent a tux for your cruise – unless you want to! And that’s the beauty of Evening Chic nights. Get super dressed up or just get stylishly comfortable.
The dress code for Evening Chic is as follows:
Women should feel comfortable wearing:
Depending on the length of your cruise you’ll likely have up to two Evening Chic nights.
Not sure what to wear for dinner on the other nights of your cruise? Here's what Celebrity Cruises advises:
What’s the dress code for other nights on the cruise ship?
When it’s not an Evening Chic night in the Main Dining Room, the dress code is smart casual. For women, this can mean a skirt, pants, or jeans with a casual top. An example of a smart casual outfit for men is pants or jeans with a short sleeve sport shirt.
Smart casual also works for all areas of the ship in the evening, including specialty restaurants, bars and lounges, and the theater.
Again, the dress code for smart casual is flexible so you can show off your unique style, but there are still some restrictions: t-shirts, swimsuits, robes, bare feet, tank tops, baseball caps, and pool wear are not allowed in the main restaurant or specialty restaurants at any time. In addition, shorts and flip-flops are not allowed in the evening hours.
What do I wear for dinner on Celebrity Cruises?
It can get complicated! Let me break it down based on your style and dining preference...
Examples of what to wear
I have three boys. Granted, one is my husband but I still do all of the packing and always have a packing checkoff list. We typically dress smart casual for all dinners, except for Evening Chic night. As we've been staying in a suite most recently, we haven't had a designated Evening Chic night; however, we all enjoy getting a bit more dressed up.
For myself (a girl), I am comfortable wearing nice pants to the dining room with a dressy top and/or sweater. Since they are allowed, I may also wear nice jeans. Although I typically reserve these for the first night of the cruise, or a night where we might be in port late and dinner has a more casual feel. On a Caribbean cruise, I'll wear a sundress to dinner or even a pair of tight pants (some might even call them leggings, but don't tell!) with a dressy tunic or jacket.
On a special evening, whether it's an Evening Chic or a one of the more elegant specialty restaurants, I'll wear a dress. Although I see many people, including my mom who cruises with us often, in a beautiful pants outfit.
For shoes, I tend to shy away from a higher heel on a cruise since I don't wear them often. If the ship is a bit rocky, that may not be the best time to start practicing. Even though I love my sandals, I try not to wear a thong style at night.
Admittedly, I tend to over pack, But when I'm trying to limit myself, I'll pack simpler clothes but bring a sparkly purse and wear larger jewelry to chic my outfit up.
My boys consider smart casual as a collared shirt. This collared shirt may be a knit polo style or a button down depending on where we are going for dinner. And always a chino style pant such as khakis. My husband may wear a pair of dressier jeans in the dining room, but also reserves them for certain nights.
On Evening Chic nights or a specialty restaurant, they have worn all sorts of combinations - depending on what we've had room to pack or even what is clean by this point in the cruise. It always starts with a button down. It might be a full suite, or a pair of khaki pants with a sport coat or blazer, or even a button down with a tie and no jacket, or a button down with a jacket and no tie.
Shoes are harder since my youngest is an athletic shoe fanatic. He has dedicated sneaker "dress shoes" and then ones that he reserves just for the basketball court. I tend to give in (again, don't tell!) as long as he has on khaki pants, collared shirt, and possibly even a belt. However, for the most part, boys can wear loafers or boat shoes any night.
Are you staying in a suite? If you are in a Sky Suite or above, your assigned dining room will be Luminae. And you'll love it! The menu is slightly more limited than the main dining room, but on most ships (typically not on the newer Edge class ships) you can ask your server if you can have a selection from another menu being offered. For Evening Chic night, the menu will be up-scaled (such as butter poached lobster, my favorite) and a spectacular dessert cart may be presented.
In Luminae, you'll usually find people stay within the smart casual dress code, including on Evening Chic night. If you want to go formal, by all means, Luminae is the perfect venue for a glamorous look.
Do you like to stay casual all day and not dress up for dinner at all? That's fine! The dinner selection in the Oceanview Cafe (the main buffet area) has a wide assortment of selections for dinner. Don't think this is a scaled down event. You'll find freshly made sushi, an enormous variety of pastas, premium meats, and more. Plus, keep an eye out for the incredible chocolate fountain one night!
You can dress comfortably in the Oceanview Cafe even at dinnertime, but still keep in mind the dress restrictions mentioned by Celebrity Cruises above.
And then there are the ever-popular specialty restaurants. I definitely enjoy these!
From Asian inspired specialties (Silk Harvest and Sushi On Five) to homemade Italian food (Tuscan Grille) or an elegant meal (such as Murano) you can be assured that you'll get an amazing meal with top-notch service, but you can also enjoy the smart casual feel. Keep in mind that the specialty restaurants still vary, as Murano or Tuscan Grille are a bit dressier than an evening at Sushi on Five. Also in a specialty dining room, you'll get the upscale specialty without the Evening Chic.
Celebrity Cruises has helped take the guesswork out of your packing dilemma. From their fun, stylish social media experts, they even have a dedicated Celebrity Cruises Pinterest board. This is loaded with visual suggestions. (Talk about “virtual” vacationing!) Check it out and get ready to show off your Evening Chic at dinner.
Looking for specific advice? I can talk cruise and fashion all day. Send me an email or comment below and I'll love to help!
You are going to want to keep this, so here's a Pinterest pin for you to save:
My Virtual Vacations Blog
About the Author
Thanks for cruising by! Along with creating this website and blog, I work in an office full-time and as a mom to two energetic teenage boys. With our family's busy work and school schedule, we look forward to traveling during holidays. Although it seems that our family can never agree on anything, we do when it comes to vacations. We typically travel on cruises or stay at luxury hotels. We enjoy upscale dining, beautiful decor, excellent service, and spacious accommodations. However, with a family including two teenage boys, we still need family friendly and comfortable.
Virtually escape and start planning your next luxurious cruise vacation on land or sea with My Virtual Vacations. Contact me for any specific questions or recommendations. And don't forget to keep checking back for the latest blog posts and information. There are always more family vacations in our future!
You'll also find me on Cruise Critic boards as SunnyAJ. Let's connect!
About the Photos
Our beautiful photographs are creatively captured by my talented freelance husband/photographer located in Baltimore, MD. Click here to explore more of his work.
Join our group
There is no stopping us! Even though travel has come to a halt, I'm rescheduling, planning, and preparing for the next phase of cruise and travel. Plus, I'm working on making this website even better.
Meanwhile, we are anxiously awaiting the status of next winter's cruise to the ABC islands on Celebrity Cruises. Have you been there?
If you have suggestions for My Virtual Vacations to visit, reach out to us on our Submission Form. We'd love to hear from you!
Be in the know!
Sign up for our email list and you'll receive a sneak peek when we have an update or new blog post.