Cunard Dress Code Changing? (Updated)

There has been no official announcement but cruises booked from mid-June 2018 no longer state Formal or Informal on the Voyage Personaliser.

As with Carnival Cruise Lines and Holland America Line, Formal becomes Gala Evening while Informal is Smart Attire.

No surprise since Holland America Group has overseen Carnival UK (Cunard and P&O) since July 2017.

Transatlantic crossings on Queen Mary 2 will currently still have three Gala Evenings.

Holland America Line’s dress code is stated from their website as:

Most evenings smart casual attire is appropriate. Shorts, pool/beachwear, distressed jeans and men’s tank tops are best left to the daytime and are not permitted in fine dining restaurants.

Gala Nights evoke the grand traditions of cruising as guests dress to impress for special events on board, including our five-course gourmet dinner in the Dining Room. For gentlemen, collared shirts and slacks are required in all fine dining restaurants.

They also say jacket and tie is not required on Gala Nights, so Cunard’s version (when announced) will be interesting.

Changes have been afoot a while. Short breaks have been Informal only since before HAL Group came along.

Dress code is one of the hottest topics, moreso as cruising itself changes to try and attract new passengers.

Are Cunard “dumbing down” or should they move with the times? Have your say below.

Update – 28th March 2018

Cunard have said it is only a change of wording. I messaged for more information but at the time of writing, have not received a reply.

However, the Voyage Personaliser had a dress code update, including expanding areas where you were restricted to if you prefer to remain casual (many thanks to Mark Katzenberger from my Facebook group, Cunard Past, Present and Future for the following).

During the day, feel free to relax and dress as you please in all areas of the ship.

From 6pm on ‘Informal’ nights, we ask that you wear smart attire in most of our bars, restaurants and entertainment venues. On our much-anticipated Gala evenings, dress attire is Formal. We invite you to dress to impress and celebrate with us. There are two or three of these Gala evenings for every seven days of your voyage.

Informal/Smart Attire: Gentlemen, every night we request you wear smart trousers with a shirt and jacket; tie is optional. Ladies, blouses and skirts or stylish trousers and dresses are welcome.

Formal/Gala Evenings: It’s Showtime. Dinner jacket, tuxedo, or dark suit for the men with a regular tie or bow tie. Evening or cocktail dress, smart trouser suit, or formal separates for the ladies please.

Of course, if you prefer to spend your evenings in more relaxed attire, feel free to dress casually as you visit any of the following venues: Kings Court or Lido Buffet, Golden Lion, Casino, Carinthia Lounge, Winter Garden/Winter Lounge and G32 or Yacht Club. Non-ripped jeans are appropriate, but please refrain from wearing shorts, sports attire, swim wear or sleeveless t-shirts outside of the gym, spa and deck spaces.

Update – 29th March 2018

Cunard have got back to me. This is what they say:

We have completed extensive global research with over 13,000 guests who told us that they love the glamour of a Cunard voyage; the chance to dress up is something that is becoming increasingly rare yet increasingly desirable.

We are not making any changes to the dress code, just simply updating the language that we use to describe the evening attire on board.

Informal/smart attire will be shirt and jacket for gentlemen, tie optional. Blouses, skirts or stylish trousers for ladies, with dresses optional. For formal/gala nights, it’s showtime! Dinner jacket, tuxedo, or dark suit for the men with a regular tie or bow tie. Evening or cocktail dress, smart trouser suit, or formal separates for the ladies.

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5 Responses to Cunard Dress Code Changing? (Updated)

  1. Jacqueline says:

    Don’t some of the high end cruise lines just have a smart casual dress code ? Regent..Azamara etc ?
    Could,this be to attract more fly cruising passengers ? Just wondering ..that’s all

    • Yes but also formal. It depends which you book. It could be but most of Cunard’s pax are from the UK. They have a reputation of being snobby so people who hate the class system don’t book.

      • Joan says:

        I have sailed with Cunard a couple of times and didn’t once come across any “snobby” passengers. We are just average Australians so I think we would have noticed any snobbery. We won’t sail with any other ships but Cunard.

      • Joan, I didn’t say “snobby” passengers, although there have been many onboard, on forums and social media since I started cruising in 2006. I’m talking about what the average cruiser believes Cunard still represents so will not book. Often their ships are referred to as having a class system, ignoring the fact NCL Haven and MSC Yacht Club go much further segregating rich and poor. Cunard need to attract the next generation so have actually become less formal since my first cruise on the old QE2. That gradual informality and any suggestion of relaxing dress codes, brings out a lot of anger, and not just from Cunard passengers. I myself have had people look down their noses at me for not wearing what they think I should, despite being acceptible to the Maitre D and all the waiters. Cunard’s image in the northern hemisphere is stuffiness, them and us. It may be different in Australia. My Australian cruise with RCI was a more relaxed atmosphere than my European ones.

  2. ulla says:

    I hope Cunard keep their dress code and their formal evenings as we enjoy those evenings a lot.
    If you do not want to ‘dress up’ you have alternative restaurants to have your dinner.
    please do not take this fun away……

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