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Formal night. The night everyone loves and hates at the same time.
Different ships, will have different themes and rules regarding their formal nights. There will be at least one formal night per cruise, possibly two on longer cruises. I have worked on one ship where I was able to wear my own formal dresses to both nights, and I have worked on another ship where I have to wear the company’s ‘dress blues’ in the first formal night and then my own formal dress on the later formal night. It will all depend on your ships itinerary and the length of your cruise.
For girls, the rules I believe and have adhered too are that; formal dresses must be below the knee on all occasions, the colour is not a set colour and you are free to wear your dress how you choose. Your shoulders must be somewhat covered and the majority of your skin too. Makeup is not to be too excessive and shoes will need to be a certain height and closed toe shoes to prevent injury.
Now; having said that, there has been many occasions where I have seen crew in strapless dresses, dresses above the knee and open toe shoes with their make up looking overly applied.
As I previously said, it will depend on the ship that you are on and sometimes the position you work. Dancers and singers are expected to have their appearance freshly made and to ‘look the part’. Therefore they may apply their stage make up and that is how they are to present themselves. Other workers will not be seen as made up.
Cruise staff workers and hosts are usually formally dressed on these nights as they are working past 6pm (day time dress code deadline) and must be seen in evening dress code for work.
The open toe shoes are mandatory, to prevent injury to the toes whilst walking around the ship. Although this is mandatory, you will see females wearing them regardless. Be prepared girls, that you will be at fault if injury occurs whilst your toes are not protected.
Girls, you can spend $1000 on a beautiful Ralph Lauren and only wear it a couple of times per your contract. So when shopping for a formal dress, be smart about it. You DO need it, but the amount of times you may wear it, will most likely be minimal. Take two, maybe three, maximum, and you are definitely sorted for your contract.
Hope this helps!