A Guide to Cruise Formal Nights

From budget-friendly Bahamas getaways to luxurious Mediterranean itineraries, cruise formal nights are a tradition on many cruises. Whether splurging on a high-end cruise or seeking an affordable vacation, this special evening offers a chance to dress up, make new connections, and create unforgettable memories. Some cruises even offer multiple formal nights, allowing you to get dressed up and enjoy the festivities multiple times during your voyage. But what does “formal” mean? 

Whether you’re unsure what to wear or how to navigate the etiquette of formal nights at sea, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to learn more about the dress code, etiquette, and tips for making the most of this special evening.

Dress Code: What’s Required

For men: Suit and tie (navy or black) or a tuxedo
For women: Evening gowns or cocktail dresses


Beachwear, athletic wear, or casual clothing
Revealing or too-short dresses


1. Check your cruise itinerary for formal night dates and times
2. Pack suitable attire in your luggage
3. Ask your cruise line or travel agent for guidance if you are unsure about the dress code
4. Accessorize with jewelry, cufflinks, or a statement piece to elevate your outfit
5. Be respectful of fellow passengers and avoid excessive noise or rowdy behavior

Perks of Cruise Formal Nights

1. Sense of community and connection with fellow passengers
2. Unique photo opportunities against the ship’s opulent decor
3. Chance to try on a new look or style
4. A chance to experience a special evening in a relaxed and enjoyable setting

By following this guide, you’ll be well-equipped to make the most of your cruise formal night(s) and enjoy an unforgettable experience on your cruise, whether you’re sailing in style or keeping it casual.