Hi peggyellis, yes the dress code is more casual than it used to be. However, I do not remember seeing shorts in the dining room for formal evenings. There are dining options if you don't wish to dress up for the evening, such as the buffet area or the specialty restaurants.
I do hope you will take advantage of at least one of the formal dinners, though. The waiters and assistants are so nicely dressed and the ambience of the area is so elegant. The photographers, yes I know they can be a pain, do take great portraits.
Don't know how laid back on the rules the Freedom staff is going to be, but generally, this is what I've been told on the Enchantment.
Shorts are perfectly fine in the dining room for BREAKFAST AND LUNCH. Shorts are not allowed in the dining room for dinner. Jeans are ONLY ALLOWED on the first night and the last night, and generally they do not like to see jeans in the dining room. The reason they may make an exception for the first and last nights is because most people are waiting for their luggage the first night, and may have packed their evening attire on the last night.
On that note, here's a question. On the regular casual nights, can I get by with khakis and a golf polo shirt? Or should I wear a button down? On my previous 2 cruises, for the casual nights, I wore khakis and a button down that I got from Old Navy (not a fancy button down, but somewhat of a "dressy casual" look.
2007 - Majesty of the Seas (Bahamas)
2009 - Enchantment of the Seas (Western Caribbean)
2010 - Freedom of the Seas (Western Caribbean)
2013 - Golden Princess (Alaska, roundtrip from Seattle)
Khakis and a golf polo shirt are as dressy as I get on a vacation, and that has been fine on our last three cruises; no complaints from staff. We even have our photos taken on the formal nights and we have never been told that we were not dress correctly. I have seen some beautiful dresses and tuxes, and even a few kilts-very impressive and fancy, but like I said, this is my vacation, and since I HATE ties and suits for myself, I don't own either, and get along just fine in the dining room.
Have a great cruise!!
My personal opinion is that there should be 2 types of dress, smart casual and formal. I don't like what was called informal which was a suit and tie as that is what I had to wear my whole working life, and that was enough. I will wear a tux on formal nights as I know that is the best I will ever look.