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What To Wear on a Royal Caribbean Cruise – Examples and Enforcement

Before I took my first Royal Caribbean cruise I was a little confused about the dress code. I knew that Royal Caribbean had “Formal nights” but had no idea what the dress code actually meant in practice.

Royal Caribbean does have “Formal nights” but the dress code is only upheld in the main dining rooms. There are plenty of other places to eat, so there is no need for you to ever dress up if you don’t want to.

In this post, you’ll find dress code guidelines for all parts of a Royal Caribbean cruise and we will look into whether the dress codes are actually enforced.

What Is The Dress Code on a Royal Caribbean Cruise?

The dress code for dinner on a Royal Caribbean cruise is either casual or formal depending on which night of the cruise it is. Guests will be told in advance about the dress codes that are in place. 

There are no specific daytime dress codes on Royal Caribbean cruises.

Daytime Dress Code

What Is The Daytime Dress Code on Royal Caribbean Cruises?

There isn’t a specific daytime dress code onboard Royal Caribbean cruises. Cruisers are able to wear whatever they feel comfortable in. Shorts, jeans, and casual tops are all acceptable.

This is pretty standard within the cruising industry, even the cruise lines with the strictest evening dress codes do not have dress codes during the day.

Royal Caribbean cruises do have a few restrictions such as:
– Guests must be wearing shoes at all times.
– Guests cannot wear swimming costumes/bathing suits around the ship.

Some cruise lines do have rules about not having any fancy dress/costume dress onboard – but Royal Caribbean doesn’t have this rule.

Note: If you were wearing a t-shirt with an offensive slogan you probably would be asked to get changed – but that is about it.

Daytime on Symphony Of The Seas. It was so hot on this cruise, I just wanted to be cool and comfortable.

What Is The Evening Dress  Code on Royal Caribbean Cruises?

Royal Caribbean cruises have three main dress codes that apply to the evenings onboard the cruise ship.

  • Formal nights – These have the most dress code restrictions
  • Smart Casual – These do have some dress code restrictions, but are less formal
  • Casual nights – Have almost no dress code you must wear shoes, for example!

Compared to many other cruise lines, Royal Caribbean’s evening dress codes are incredibly relaxed.

Royal Caribbeans Evening Dress Codes – Formal Nights

Formal nights are a chance for you to wear your favourite dress or your tuxedo. The dress code isn’t particularly strict but some guests really do make an effort.

I saw guests wearing amazing long gowns and having photos taken around the ship.

Professional photographers are located around the ship and will be more prevalent on formal nights.

emma cruises long red dress
This is a dress I would typically wear on a formal night on any cruise ship

Formal Nights onboard a Royal Caribbean Cruise

The dress code for formal nights is as follows:

Make it a night out in your best black-tie look – suits and ties, tuxedos, cocktail dresses or evening gowns. 

Royal Caribbean International

What Should Men and Women Wear on Royal Caribbean’s Formal Nights?

Men: The minimum requirement for men on formal nights is that men should wear a collared shirt and smart trousers. A tie isn’t necessary. Jeans/trainers would not be allowed on formal nights. Chinos would be acceptable as long as they are smart.

Women: Any smart dress or trousers/blouse combination would be acceptable. Don’t worry particularly about the length if you do decide to wear a dress or skirt. As long as the dress/skirt isn’t particularly short it would be acceptable. It isn’t a requirement to wear a full-length gown although many do.

We cover what children should wear later in this post…

White Nights

On my most recent cruise on Symphony of the Seas, they held a “White Night.” It was up to you if you wanted to take part or not. Probably about half of the passengers on board were dressed in white for the evening.

Many other cruise lines also have White Nights – Azamara and Celebrity come to mind. I usually pack a white dress “just in case.”

To find out more about the dresses I wear, and where to buy them, read this article next:

Cruise Dress Examples – (Everything I Wear Onboard: Emma Cruises)

How Many Formal Nights Are There on a Royal Caribbean Cruise?

Royal Caribbean cruises between 3-5 nights have 1 formal night. Cruises 6-13 nights have 2 formal nights, and Royal Caribbean cruises over 14 nights have 3 formal nights.

  • Cruises Between 3-5 Nights: 1 Formal Night 
  • Cruises Between 6-13 Nights: 2 Formal Nights
  • Cruises Over 14+ Nights: 3 Formal Nights 

If you are cruising for 3-5 nights you’ll usually find the formal night on night two. Cruise lines very rarely have formal nights on the first night because not all guests will have their suitcases.

When embarking on a cruise you’ll give your luggage to a porter and it’ll arrive later in your room. You usually have your suitcase within a couple of hours but on occasion may have to wait until early evening.

Royal Caribbean Formal Nights How Many and When

Royal Caribbean Evening Dress Code – Smart Casual Nights

Royal Caribbean cruises also have smart casual nights. I like to think of these as halfway between formal and casual nights. The clothes I wear are similar to that that I might wear to a restaurant at home.

emma cruises green dress
I just wear a comfortable dress for “Smart Casual” Nights.

Smart Casual Nights

The dress code for smart casual nights is as below:

Think of this as a step up from your typical dinner wear. Dress to impress with collared shirts, dresses, skirts and blouses, or pantsuits. Jackets, sports coats and blazers are snazzy and welcomed. 

Royal Caribbean International

What Should Men and Women Wear on Royal Caribbean’s Smart Casual Nights?

Men: The dress code does mention collared shirts but these aren’t strictly necessary. You could probably get away with wearing a polo shirt on a smart casual night or a plain T-shirt with a nice blazer or jacket. As long as you are looking clean, presentable and like you’ve made a little bit of effort you’ll be fine.

Women:  Any dress/skirt or trousers/blouse combination would be suitable. I do always find it’s easier to dress to the dress code as a woman, it’s easy to dress up a simple outfit with jewellery or shoes. If you were wearing smart, dark-coloured jeans I think that this would be okay.

Blue jeans probably would look out of place but a nice pair of black skinny jeans paired with boots or heels would be perfect!

Royal Caribbean Smart Casual Dress Code What To Wear
Big thanks to Jackie for sharing this photo with us!

How Many Smart Casual Nights Are There on a Royal Caribbean Cruise?

On a Royal Caribbean cruise of between 3-4 nights, there are no smart casual nights. Cruises between 5-7 nights usually have 1 smart casual night. Cruises 8-13 nights in length usually have 2 smart casual nights with cruises over 14 nights having 3.

The maximum number of smart casual nights on any cruise is 3. Some short cruises won’t have any smart casual nights at all. If you are cruising on a cruise that is 3 or 4 nights in length you will just have one formal night and the rest will be casual.

Cruises Between 3-4 Nights: 0 Smart Casual Nights

Cruises Between 5-7 Nights: 1 Smart Casual Night

Cruises Over 8-13 Nights: 2 Smart Casual Nights 

Cruises Over 14+ Nights: 3 Smart Casual Nights 

Royal Caribbean doesn’t advertise before the day when the smart casual dress code will be in place. It is relatively easy to switch between casual and smart casual – so I don’t think this is a problem.

You used to have a ‘cruise compass’ delivered to your cabin every evening. This is a little leaflet which will tell you everything that is going on the next day, the dress code for the next night will be included in the cruise compass.

Royal Caribbean no longer seem to do this as a matter of course on many ships. You can ask your room steward if you want a paper cruise compass, but most cruises now expect you to access all the information you need via the cruise line’s App.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to buy the cruise line’s expensive Wi-Fi to access this app. Find out more about cruise ship Apps, and what they can be used for here:

You Don’t Need to Pay For Wi-Fi To Use a Cruise Line App – Here’s Why

Royal Caribbean How Many Smart Casual Nights

Royal Caribbean’s Evening Dress Code – Casual Nights

Casual nights are the most relaxed nights that you’ll find on any Royal Caribbean cruise. That said, there are still some things that you cannot wear. The first night of every cruise will be a casual night.

Royal Caribbean’s Casual Night Dress Codes

The dress code for casual nights is as below:

You’re on vacation – relax! Jeans, polos, sundresses and blouses are all the right amount of laid back. Please keep swimwear to the Pool Deck. Shorts are welcomed for breakfast and lunch.

Royal Caribbean International

At dinner, in the main dining room on a casual night, you cannot wear the following:

  • Shorts
  • Tank tops
  • Swimwear
  • Flip flops

The last night of your cruise is also almost always a casual night. This is because guests have usually packed at this point and it is much easier to wear casual clothes.

On the last night of your cruise, you will leave your suitcase outside of your cabin in the corridor. This will be taken away by the crew and the next time you see it will be on land when you disembark.

Make sure you leave some clothes out to wear for the day you disembark! I have a specially designed disembarkation day T-shirt, so I never have to worry about what to wear on that last day.

Check out my Disembarkation Day T-shirt – and a range of other cruise-themed T-shirts here:

Emma Cruises Online Shop

Royal Caribbean Dress Codes For Children

Children are expected to adhere to the dress codes – although I doubt very much that they would be challenged unless they were wearing something really scruffy.

Teenagers would be expected to dress in accordance with the dress codes.

Royal Caribbean Dress Code Formal Night Children Kids

For boys: Generally speaking, boys would probably be fine to wear a polo shirt and chinos on formal/smart casual nights. This, of course, does depend on the age of the child but if the child in question is under the age of 10 or so this would be fine.

For girls: Any dress/skirt or smart trousers/top would be fine. The main thing is to look presentable and like an effort has been made.

Some families love the opportunity to dress up and I’ve seen small children wearing full tuxedos and bow ties – which is adorable. On casual nights anything goes for children.

Royal Caribbean Dress Code Casual Night Children Kids
A huge thank you to Chrissie and Dunk who send us this gorgeous photo of their boys

What Are The Dress Codes in Royal Caribbean’s Speciality Dining Restaurants?

Most of Royal Caribbean’s speciality dining restaurants do not have strict dress codes.

They will often not adopt the ‘formal night’ dress code even on formal nights – which means that they can provide a great alternative for those not wanting to dress up for dinner.

I chose to go to the speciality restaurant “Johnny Rockets.” It was FAR too hot on this cruise to dress up for formal night!

Many people do of course dress up to go to dinner at the specialty restaurants though. Guests will often book a speciality restaurant for a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary.

Is The Dress Code Ship Wide on Royal Caribbean Cruises?

The dress code on Royal Caribbean cruises is only applied to the main dining room. Guests not wanting to take part in the dress codes are able to dine elsewhere.

On some other cruise lines, for example, Cunard, the dress codes will apply ship-wide but this isn’t the case with Royal Caribbean.

Find out more about my trip with the formal British line Cunard in the video below. Dress codes were more strict than on any other cruise line I have sailed with:

Is The Dress Code on Royal Caribbean Cruises Enforced?

Only 4% of Royal Caribbean cruisers answered yes when asked if they felt that Royal Caribbean’s dress codes were enforced.

The dress codes onboard have become more relaxed in recent years and the degree of enforcement has decreased.

If you were wearing something completely ridiculous you might be turned away – but I’ve never seen anybody be turned away from a restaurant – or heard any stories of anybody having to go away and change.

I decided to ask the Royal Caribbean Cruises Facebook group this very question, the group has over 110k members. I think the data below speaks for itself.

Do Royal Caribbean Enforce The Dress Code Survey

A whopping 200 answered ‘no’ with only ’12’ answering yes! 63 people just answered with ‘who cares’ which suggests to me that the dress codes aren’t really respected.

Other Dress Codes on Royal Caribbean Cruises:

Is There a Dress Code for Ice Skating on a Royal Caribbean Cruise?

When ice skating on a Royal Caribbean cruise all guests must wear long trousers/pants and socks. This dress code is strictly enforced for safety reasons.

If you don’t have both of these you will not be allowed to skate.

I actually have never been ice skating on a Royal Caribbean cruise although I did see two ice shows on the Symphony of the Seas, they were INCREDIBLE.

Royal Caribbean Excursion Dress Codes

The dress code for excursions may vary depending on what the excursion involves. You will be told if there is a specific dress code at the time of booking.

You may be required to wear certain things like comfortable shoes/coats/jackets if your excursion is in any way physical.

Do You HAVE To Dress Up On a Royal Caribbean Cruise?

Guests don’t have to dress up at any point on a Royal Caribbean cruise if they don’t want to.

Royal Caribbean does have formal and smart casual nights where there is a dress code in the main dining room but cruisers are able to eat in the buffet or other dining venues without adhering to the dress code. 

Find out all about my latest Royal Caribbean Cruise on Symphony of the Seas Below. I took a week-long trip around the Mediterranean starting and ending in Barcelona.

Before You Go!

A Cruise with Royal Caribbean is very different from a cruise on many other cruise lines. I took a cruise on Royal Caribbean’s “Anthem of the Seas” whilst my parents took exactly the same cruise on MSC’s Virtuosa. To compare these very different cruises, read this article next:

We Took The Same Cruise With MSC and Royal Caribbean: Differences and Comparison

Royal Caribbean are a great cruise line for families and young people. To find out why more and more cruise lines are trying to appeal to a younger cruise market, read the article below:

Are Cruises For Young People? Why are more young people cruising Than Ever?

To read about the scariest activities I have ever tried on a cruise ship, read this next:

I Braved 5 of The SCARIEST Activities at Sea

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