How Many Formal Nights are there on a 7 Day Cruise?

How Many Formal Nights are there on a 7-day Cruise?

How many formal nights will there be on a 7 day cruise? Great question! 

It does vary so there is not just one answer, but on most cruise lines there is normally just one formal night on a 7 day cruise.

Also, formal nights can vary in dress code from cruise line to cruise line, therefore do not just think of evening gowns and tuxedos. 

Here we go into more detail on what to expect when cruising in the current times.  

How Many Formal Nights are there on a 7-day Cruise?

(This post may include affiliate links for more information see my disclaimer).

Definition of Formal Nights on a Cruise

The definition of formal nights on a cruise ship has changed over the years and is not as rigid, as it once was.

Cruise formal nights or gala nights are the evenings to dress to impress with your formal attire, and this is still the case on many cruise lines.

Now on some other cruise lines, they have relaxed the dress code and formal nights may be known as elegant nights, chic nights or dressy nights. This has made it easier to suit modern times.

Traditionally on formal nights all the officers and crew wear their formal uniform and the passengers wear their formal attire. 

The evening would consist of a cocktail party, a gala night menu in the main dining rooms and usually a presentation of the ship’s captain and senior officers in either the theatre or atrium.

If there are more formal nights during the cruise the dress code would be the same and there would be another gala night menu in the main dining rooms.

How Many Formal Nights are there on a 7-day Cruise?

Understanding Cruise Line Dress Codes

Each cruise will have its own formal night dress code, and if you would like to go to the cocktail party, main dining room and captain’s presentation you will have to wear the formal night dress code of the cruise line you are sailing with. 

If you do not want to go to any of these events and eat in the buffet you do not need to follow the formal night dress code. 

On smart casual nights, you just follow the cruise line dress code and if you are unsure what to wear, I wrote a whole article about what to wear on smart casual nights click here to read.

But the quick version is a collared shirt, polo shirts, nice jeans or casual pants, nice tops, skirts, nice dresses or summer dresses, etc.

Items you can never wear in the evening in the main dining room are baseball caps, tank tops, cut-off jeans, pool wear or a bathing suit, flip-flops, shorts, gym clothes, sports shirts, basketball shorts or any sports clothing.

How Many Formal Nights are there on a 7-day Cruise?

Different Cruise Line Policies on Formal Nights

Cruise lines differ in formal night dress codes whether you are on a Royal Caribbean cruise, Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, or the Disney Cruise Line. 

Therefore it is always a good idea to check their websites before you go on your cruise. 

If the cruise line you are sailing with is more on the traditional style the policy will be: 

For men either a dress suit or a tuxedo.

For women an evening gown, cocktail dress or pant suit.

If the cruise line is a little more relaxed you may be able to dress in what you think are your best clothes. For example a smart polo and jeans or pants and a nice top.

The best way to know the up-to-date policies is to read the policy. Here are the links for current formal night dress codes:

Pros and Cons of Large vs Small Cruise Ships - Lucy Williams Global

Factors Influencing the Number of Formal Nights

The factors that influence the number of formal nights are the length of the cruise and the cruise line policies.

Usually, if the cruise is under a seven-night cruise there may be no formal nights, so you are probably safe if you are booked on a 3-day or 5-day cruise. But, it is always best to check with the cruise line website.

On average there are 1 to 2 formal nights on a seven-day cruise, 2 to 3 formal nights on a 10-day cruise, and 2 to 4 formal nights on a 14-day cruise. On longer cruises, there will be many more!

person pouring liquor in cocktail glasses

What to Wear on Formal Nights

Men’s Attire:

  • Dress shirt
  • Bow tie
  • Dinner jacket
  • Dress pants
  • Dark suit
  • Shirt
  • Tie 
  • Formal shoes/nice shoes

Women’s Attire

  • Cocktail dresses 
  • Elegant skirts and blouse/top
  • Formal gowns 
  • Pant suit
  • Nice dress

Need more help on what to wear on a formal night?

Read the The Ulitmate Cruise Formal Night Guide – click here to read.

The Ultimate Cruise Formal Night Guide - Lucy Williams Global

Making the Most of Formal Nights

The Gala Night is a fun night on board and goes back in the history of cruising. so make the most of it and enjoy your evening.

Go to the cocktail parties, watch the captain’s presentation, go to the show and enjoy the delicious gala night menu in the main dining room or treat yourself and go to one of the speciality restaurants.

Just remember to do these things so there are no disappointments: 

  • Reserve tables in advance for the main dining room or speciality restaurant as these nights are especially busy.
  • Adhere to the dress code for an enjoyable dining experience and not be turned away.
white tablecloth sitting with purple chairs

What To Do If You Do Not Want To Partake in the Formal Night

If you do not want to get dressed up or are not interested in the formal night activities of the evening, here is what to do:

  • Go to the buffet or other non-formal eateries
  • Relax in the spa  
  • Go to the fitness centre
  • Order room service 
man in black suit standing in front of stainless steel cooking pot

More Cruise Ship Tips

If you are new to cruising or you need more cruise tips you may enjoy reading the following articles about packing for your cruise, things you may find in the cabin, what to do on sea days, how to use the internet on board and how to use your devices:

6 Handy Things in a Cruise Ship Cabin

Here are six handy things in a cruise ship cabin you may find on your next cruise – click here to read more.

How to Pack a Capsule Wardrobe For a 7-Day Mediterranean Cruise

How do you pack a capsule wardrobe for a 7-day Mediterranean cruise?

This can be a confusing task depending on which month you will be cruising, but in this packing guide you will know what to take with you – click here to read more.

How To Pack a Capsule Wardrobe For A 7 Day Cruise To Alaska

How do you pack a capsule wardrobe for a 7-day cruise to Alaska?

Packing for an Alaskan cruise can be overwhelming as the weather can go one way or another and you must be prepared. Here is how to pack without bringing too much – click here to read more.

What To Wear on Smart Casual Nights on a Cruise

What does smart casual actually mean?

And what does it mean as a dress code on a cruise? Here are your questions answered: what to wear on smart casual nights on a cruise – click here to read more.

Top 10 Handy Things to Bring on a Cruise

Here are my top 10 handy things to bring on a cruise that make life a little easier when on a cruise vacation – click here to read more.

What To Do on the Days at Sea on a Cruise Ship

What can you do on the sea days on a cruise ship? Well, there are many activities to keep you entertained.

Click here to read more about what you can do on the sea days on a cruise.

Top 5 Tips How to Use Your iPhone on a Cruise Ship

Have you ever gone on a cruise and wondered why your iPhone is not working the same way it does at home? Here I am going to give you my top 5 tips on how to use your iPhone on a cruise ship.

Click here to read more.

Apps That Work on a Cruise Ship With No Wi-Fi Connection

Before you go on a cruise have you ever wondered if all your apps will work while onboard?

When you are onboard a cruise ship you will not always be connected to Wi-Fi or 4G. Here I am going to tell you which apps work on a cruise ship with no Wi-Fi connection.

Click here to read more.

5 Quick Tips How to Use the Internet on a Cruise Ship

Here are the answers to your questions about using the Internet on a cruise ship. Using the wifi on a cruise ship is completely different to using the wifi in a hotel or at home.

Click here to read how to use it.

How To Use Your Apple iWatch on a Cruise Ship  

In recent years everyone seems to have an Apple iWatch or another smartwatch and the latest question that I am being asked is, will my Apple iWatch work on a cruise ship?

Here is what you need to know – click here to read more. 

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Cruise Ship Essentials

Here are some cruising products from Amazon you may find useful on your next cruise.

Take a look at my Amazon shop page to see more click here.

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