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What to Wear on a Costa Cruise – Examples and Enforcement

Costa Cruises have the reputation of being on the casual side when it comes to cruising and dress codes but do Costa actually have dress codes and what do they entail?

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

This post is based on my experience cruising with Costa Cruises.

Costa Cruises Christmas Sleigh
Me onboard the Costa Luminosa

 What Is The Dress Code on a Costa Cruise?

Do Costa Cruises Have a Dress Code During The Day?

The dress code during the day is very casual, just your typical wardrobe.

T-shirts, shorts, and sundresses. It can be chilly on deck and breezy in the evening so be sure to pack plenty of light layers. Flat recommend flat shoes for strolling the decks.

“Tasteful T-shirts” and shorts are acceptable in the dining room during the day.  From that, I think you could assume that T-shirts with offensive slogans may be frowned upon!

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.

Do Costa Cruises Have a Dress Code During The Day?

Comfortable shoes are essential for exploring ports of call. Sensible to take a light jumper/sweater or layer up, so you will be prepared for all eventualities. 

Take the weather forecast into account before you leave the ship – sunglasses, hats or even rainproof jackets may be needed.

Some cultures may require you to cover up more than you normally would on holiday. There appears to be no guidance on this on the Costa website. 

It is sensible to be aware of the traditions in the countries you are visiting.  In some Middle Eastern countries modesty in clothing is expected so consider packing of light and loose clothing that covered the tops of your arms and legs. It may be best to avoid wearing any shorts or tight-fitting clothes and to take a head covering ashore.

If unsure about the countries you are visiting, visit a Government foreign travel advice website for further advice regarding dress codes.

costa cruises dress code

Do Costa Have Formal Nights?

Costa Cruises have formal nights of sorts, these are called Elegant Evenings.

Although Costa describes their restaurants as luxurious, they also say the atmosphere is “relaxed.”  

They suggest men wear a dark suit or tuxedo, and women wear an evening gown or cocktail dress during their “Elegant Evening.”

costa cruises dress code
Tristan, Justin and Josh

Costa Also Have Informal Nights

Costa suggests long trousers/pants and a long sleeve shirt for gentlemen – with or without a tie.  They suggest a dress or trouser/pantsuit for ladies

Do Costa Have Themed Evenings?

Costa have themed evenings. 

They suggest you bring white, red and green clothing and accessories for their “Italian evening.” 

They also hold a “White Night.” and recommend that you bring white clothing to wear to dinner. 

They also hold a White Night party later in that evening.

costa cruises dress code

Are There Other Dress Restrictions on Costa Cruises?

In restaurants, the Costa asks passengers to not wear beach clothes (shorts, sarongs or flip-flops) and shoes are always required.

Although Costa does not mention wearing jeans in its written policy, denim and jeans are allowed in the dining room, according to a Costa spokesperson.

How Many Elegant Evenings/Formal Nights Will There be?

Formal Nights
Cruises 4 Nights or Under1
7 Night Cruises2
8-13 Nights3
14 Nights4

Most 3 and 4-night cruises have one formal night.  

Most 7-night cruises have 2 formal nights, most 10-night cruises have 3 formal nights, and two week cruises are likely to have four.

p&o cruises dress code formal night examples
Cruise formal night dress code examples

Is Dressing up Compulsory on Formal Nights/ Elegant Evenings?

Whilst not compulsory, it is recommended that guests follow the evening’s dress code in restaurants and bars from 6 pm. Costa appears to be pretty relaxed on dress codes, but the amount of formality may vary from ship to ship.

It’s unlikely that you’d be prevented from entering a restaurant or refused service if you are not dressed in your best clothes! 

Some guests have even reported seeing people in the dining room in shorts on elegant nights.

If you prefer casual dress you can always dine in the buffet where it is even more relaxed, or take advantage of room service.

There is no need to participate in elegant nights at all.

If you want to avoid elegant nights, here’s how: You Can Skip Formal Nights on a Cruise – Here’s How

Are Dress Codes Strictly Enforced on Costa Cruises?

Costa do not appear to strictly enforce dress codes. 

Whilst they would encourage you to adhere to their suggested dress codes, guests have reported that some guests arrive at the dining room for Elegant evenings dressed in shorts and t shirts! 

The newer the ship, the more relaxed the dress code seems to be the rule.

MSC Cruises Dress Code Daytime Examples Shorts Dresses on Deck

Does the Dress Code Apply to Everyone?

No mention is made on the Costa website of dress codes for children but Costa do have a suggested “packing list” for adults and children.  

What Should Children Wear on a Costa Cruise?

For Boys: It suggests you should pack a shirt, trousers or suit for boys to wear on their cruise.  Generally speaking, boys would be fine to wear a polo shirt and chinos on the Elegant evenings or casual nights. 

For Girls: The packing list suggests a dress/skirt or smart trousers/top would be fine to wear on formal or informal nights. 

Some families love the opportunity to dress up and I’ve seen small children wearing full tuxedos and bow ties which are adorable. On Costa it would appear that really, anything goes for kids! 

What Should Teenagers Wear on a Costa Cruise?

Teenagers: There is no mention at all of the Costa website of dress codes for teenagers, they are very unlikely to be turned away from any restaurant for not adhering to the correct dress code! 

Trousers/pants, chinos, and a shirt would be acceptable, but if they want to dress up in a suit or tuxedo, that would be fine too! 

Does the Dress Code Apply When Visiting the Speciality Restaurants?

There is no set dress code when visiting speciality restaurants. 

You can wear clothes to suit the dress code on board for that evening.  Wearing casual night clothes on a formal evening is unlikely to be frowned upon! 

Dress codes are not strictly enforced, wear what suits you within reason, maybe show some respect and use some common sense, just don’t arrive in flip-flops and shorts for a speciality meal and you’ll be fine.

Costa Cruises Dining Times

Can you Skip Formal Nights /Elegant Evenings?

You can absolutely skip elegant evenings.

If you’re tired or you’re just not feeling in the mood to dress up, there are always alternatives for passengers, and you won’t be alone. Rather than dine in the main dining room, you can always eat in the buffet or maybe on your balcony via room service.

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