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What To Wear For Dinner On Carnival Cruise


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Katharyn Barraza



Welcome aboard the Carnival Cruise Line, where you’re embarking on a journey of adventure and relaxation. As you set sail to explore exotic destinations, one of the highlights of your cruise experience will undoubtedly be the delicious and diverse dining options available on board. From elegant fine dining to casual buffet options, there’s something to suit every palate and preference.


When it comes to dining on a Carnival cruise, it’s not just about the food. It’s also about the ambiance and the experience. And part of creating that experience is dressing appropriately for each meal. While there are no strict dress codes enforced throughout the entire cruise, there are some general guidelines to keep in mind to ensure you feel comfortable and look stylish.


In this article, we’ll explore the factors to consider when choosing dinner attire on a Carnival cruise, including formal nights, casual nights, and theme nights. We’ll also provide some helpful tips on how to pack the right clothing for a variety of dining occasions. So let’s dive in and discover what to wear for dinner on a Carnival cruise!


Factors to Consider When Choosing Dinner Attire

When deciding what to wear for dinner on a Carnival cruise, there are several factors to consider. These factors will help you determine the appropriate level of formality for each dining occasion and ensure that you feel comfortable and confident in your chosen attire.

  1. Time of Day: The time of day can play a role in determining dinner attire. For breakfast and lunch, resort casual attire is typically sufficient, while dinner may require a slightly dressier outfit.
  2. Restaurant Choice: Carnival cruises offer a variety of dining options ranging from formal, specialty restaurants to casual buffet-style eateries. The dress code may vary depending on the restaurant you choose, so it’s important to check beforehand.
  3. Dining Location: The location of the dining venue can also influence your attire. If you’re dining in the main dining room or a specialty restaurant, a slightly more formal outfit may be appropriate. For casual dining venues like the Lido Deck buffet, resort casual is usually acceptable.
  4. Occasion: Consider if there are any special occasions or events taking place during your cruise. Formal nights, themed parties, or special celebrations may require specific attire. Keep an eye on the cruise itinerary for any dress-up events.
  5. Personal Style: Lastly, consider your own personal style and comfort. While there may be some guidelines to follow, it’s important to choose attire that makes you feel confident and showcases your personal taste.

By taking these factors into consideration, you’ll be able to choose the perfect dinner attire that fits the occasion and your personal preferences.


Formal Nights on a Carnival Cruise

Formal nights on a Carnival cruise are the epitome of elegance and sophistication. These special evenings provide an opportunity for guests to dress up and indulge in a glamorous dining experience. While not mandatory, many guests choose to embrace the formal atmosphere and showcase their most stylish outfits.


On formal nights, men are encouraged to wear suits, tuxedos, or dress pants paired with a button-down shirt and a tie. For ladies, cocktail dresses, elegant gowns, or dressy separates are popular choices. Don’t forget to complete your formal look with accessories like jewelry and a stylish clutch.


If you don’t have a formal outfit, Carnival offers a convenient rental service for tuxedos and formal attire. Simply pre-book your rental online or inquire at the onboard Formalities shop.


Formal nights are the perfect occasion to capture stunning photos and create lasting memories, so be sure to bring your camera and strike a pose in your dashing formal attire.


It’s important to note that if you choose not to participate in the formal nights, there are still plenty of dining options available for you. The Lido Deck buffet and other casual dining venues are open for those who prefer a more relaxed atmosphere.


Remember, the key to enjoying formal nights on a Carnival cruise is to have fun and embrace the glamorous ambiance. So, get ready to dance the night away, indulge in delectable cuisine, and make a grand entrance in your finest attire.


Casual Nights on a Carnival Cruise

While formal nights on a Carnival cruise offer a chance to dress up, casual nights provide a more laid-back and relaxed dining experience. The dress code for these evenings is resort casual, allowing guests to be comfortable while enjoying a delicious meal.


For men, resort casual attire typically includes khakis or dress pants paired with a collared shirt or polo shirt. You can also opt for a casual button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up for a more relaxed look. Avoid wearing shorts, tank tops, or flip-flops during dinner on casual nights.


For women, resort casual attire can range from sundresses and skirts to casual pants or capris paired with a blouse or a nice top. Sandals or dressy flats are suitable footwear options. Keep in mind that swimwear, revealing clothing, and flip-flops are not appropriate for dinner on casual nights.


Casual nights provide a great opportunity to explore the various casual dining options aboard your Carnival cruise. From the Lido Deck buffet to casual sit-down restaurants, you can enjoy a wide range of delicious cuisine in a more relaxed setting.


While the dress code is more casual, it’s still important to present yourself in a neat and presentable manner. Remember, you’re on vacation, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style and elegance.


So, whether you’re enjoying a leisurely dinner with family or socializing with newfound friends, casual nights on a Carnival cruise offer a comfortable and inviting atmosphere for everyone to enjoy.


Theme Nights on a Carnival Cruise

One of the most exciting aspects of a Carnival cruise is the variety of themed nights that add a touch of fun and liveliness to your dining experience. These theme nights allow guests to dress up according to a specific theme and immerse themselves in the festivities.


Theme nights on a Carnival cruise can range from tropical nights to 80’s parties, and even formal masquerade balls. The themes may vary depending on the itinerary and length of your cruise, but rest assured, there’s always something special lined up.


For theme nights, it’s all about embracing the spirit of the theme and getting creative with your attire. Think Hawaiian shirts and grass skirts for a tropical night, neon-colored outfits for an 80’s party, or formal attire with a masquerade mask for a formal masquerade ball.


Carnival provides guests with a daily itinerary that includes information about the upcoming theme nights. This allows you to plan your outfits in advance and fully participate in the festivities.


Whether you choose to go all out with a head-to-toe themed ensemble or simply incorporate a few accessories that align with the theme, the goal is to have fun and join in on the excitement. Don’t be afraid to get into character and let your creative side shine.


Theme nights on a Carnival cruise not only allow you to express your individuality but also create a vibrant and engaging atmosphere where you can socialize with other guests who share a common love for fun and adventure.


So, get ready to embrace the themes, let your imagination run wild, and prepare for a memorable dining experience on the themed nights of your Carnival cruise.


Tips for Packing the Right Clothing for Dinner

Packing the right clothing for dinner on a Carnival cruise can help you feel prepared and ensure that you have appropriate attire for each dining occasion. Here are some helpful tips to guide you in packing the right clothing:

  1. Check the Dress Code: Before your cruise, familiarize yourself with the dress code for each dining venue. This will give you a clear idea of the level of formality required for each evening.
  2. Plan Your Outfits: Take into account the number of formal, casual, and theme nights during your cruise. Plan your outfits accordingly so that you have the appropriate attire for each occasion.
  3. Mix and Match: Pack versatile clothing items that can be easily mixed and matched. This will help maximize your outfit options while minimizing the amount of clothing you need to bring.
  4. Consider Layering: Bring a few lightweight cardigans or jackets that can be layered over your dresses or tops. This allows you to adapt to different temperatures and dining venues.
  5. Pack Comfortable Shoes: While formal nights may call for dressier footwear, make sure to also pack comfortable shoes for casual evenings and theme nights. You’ll want to be able to enjoy your meals without any discomfort.
  6. Don’t Forget Accessories: Accessorize your outfits with jewelry, scarves, or belts to add a touch of style. These can help elevate the look of your outfits without taking up much space in your luggage.
  7. Bring Wrinkle-Resistant Clothing: Opt for wrinkle-resistant clothing materials to minimize the need for ironing during your cruise. This will save you time and allow you to focus on enjoying your vacation.
  8. Consider Laundry Services: If you’re worried about running out of clean clothes, take advantage of the onboard laundry services. This way, you can refresh your outfits and have clean clothes throughout your trip.
  9. Leave Room for Souvenirs: Remember to leave some space in your luggage for any souvenirs or items you may purchase during your cruise. This will prevent you from overpacking and help you avoid any excess baggage fees.

By following these packing tips, you’ll be well-prepared and have the right clothing for every dining occasion on your Carnival cruise. So pack wisely, enjoy the delicious meals, and make lasting memories on your voyage at sea!



Choosing the right attire for dinner on a Carnival cruise is an essential part of creating a memorable dining experience. From formal nights to casual evenings and themed parties, each dining occasion offers a unique ambiance and dress code to enhance your onboard experience.


By considering factors such as time of day, restaurant choice, dining location, occasion, and personal style, you can ensure that you’re appropriately dressed for each dining experience. Whether you’re dressing up in glamorous attire for formal nights or embracing a more casual and relaxed look for casual nights, finding the right balance between comfort and style is key.


Theme nights add an extra layer of fun and excitement to your dining experience, allowing you to get creative with your attire and fully immerse yourself in the festivities. These themed evenings offer a chance to let loose, express your individuality, and engage with other guests who share a love for adventure and enjoyment.


Remember to pack smartly, taking into consideration the dress codes and the various dining occasions throughout your cruise. Mixing and matching versatile pieces, packing wrinkle-resistant clothing, and leaving room for souvenirs will help you make the most of your wardrobe while keeping your luggage manageable.


Ultimately, the goal is to feel comfortable, confident, and stylish throughout your dining experiences on a Carnival cruise. Whether you’re enjoying a romantic dinner with your partner, gathering with friends, or indulging in a family meal, your chosen attire will contribute to the overall ambiance and enjoyment of the dining experience.


So, embrace the opportunity to dress up or dress down and savor every delicious bite as you embark on an unforgettable culinary journey on your Carnival cruise.