A group of friends and I are in the early stages of planning a cruise for summer 2011 to celebrate our 40th birthdays. The concensus seems to be that a casual environment would be preferred to a more formal one. I understand that NCL offers this but wanted to get advice on other cruise lines to investigate as well. No need for cut offs at dinner but we'd like to tell the guys to leave their ties at home.
Thanks so much.
Welcome to cruise-chat.
An important thing to know is that all the mainstream cruise lines offer alternate choices for dinner. On the formal nights you can avoid dressing up and simply go to the buffet restaurant for dinner. The casual dinner buffets are very good and usually offer some of the same items being served in the dining room that night. In fact we often hit the dinner buffet at least once on a cruise. You will find this on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Celebrity, etc.
Another factor to consider is Carnival has changed their suggested dress codes. Formal has been called "Cruise Elegant" for almost two years, and it no longer requires a coat and tie. You can see more about dress codes at our Dress Code FAQ
Personally I love the new Carnival dress codes. I legally wore shorts to dinner on the casual nights!
NCL would be the most casual with their "Freestyle" cruising. Carnival and Royal Caribbean would also be good fits. Not all nights are formal. On a seven day cruise two night will be designated as formal nights. You will see a variety of dress from those who like to dress up, to those who wear casual. Also the buffet restaurant is an option on formal night for those who don't want to dress up.
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