Carnival Cruise Line makes key comments on dress codes

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If you visit any social-media forum devoted to cruising on family-friendly lines like Carnival and Royal Caribbean, you inevitably see posts about dress codes.Often, somebody asks about wearing shorts in the main dining room, a post that sets off a veritable tidal wave of responses.Some people are outraged that someone would not want to dress up for dinner, and they will angrily tell the wannabe shorts wearer to go eat in the buffet and dare not to show their bare legs in the main dining room.Related: Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise issue warning for cruise fansOf course, some more rational voices make clear they don't care what others wear. And some folks claim not to care but still believe that passengers should "follow the rules."Technically, the policy at both Carnival and Royal Caribbean (RCL)  is not to allow shorts in the main dining room. In practice the rule is rarely enforced, and anyone wearing anything other than a bathing suit is usually not turned away.Enforcing a dress code puts ship personnel in a difficult position. Asking a passenger to change can lead to anger and confrontations. In many cases, it's simply more trouble than it's worth. Still, the policies remain on the books — which makes somewhat surprising Carnival Brand Ambassador John Heald's addressing the topic on his Facebook page.

Technically, men are not allowed to wear shorts in the main dining room on Carnival and Royal Caribbean ships. Image source: Nora Tam/South China Morning Post via Getty

Carnival's Heald speaks out on dress codes  Heald outlined the cruise line's dress code in response to a question about which topic he would love never to have to address again. "Dress Code. Yep, as controversial as that may be, it would be my choice," he wrote. "I hate sodding dress codes, I really do."Heald said that some dress codes were simply tricky and hard to understand.  "Earlier this month we sent out invitations to the naming ceremony of the Carnival Firenze where the dress code was 'Italian Chic.' And some of you who were invited asked me what that meant. My reply was I had absolutely no clue whether that meant 'formal' or 'a Speedo and a pair of Versace Crocs," he wrote. Heald acknowledged that Carnival should make a decision on its dress codes and actually stick to it. "Before I finish this opening post I do want to say that we have to decide what we are going to do, try and enforce the dress code we have or well, not," he shared.The brand ambassador closed by sharing his own opinion, making clear, at least for this part of the post, that he was not speaking on behalf of Carnival. Be the first to see the best deals on cruises, special sailings, and more. Sign up for the Come Cruise With Me newsletter."This is my opinion and does not represent Carnival’s opinion or indeed yours," he said. "You see, I can’t stand dress codes because what does it matter what someone wears? I feel sure that many of you disagree and that’s OK, I respect your opinion. But, to me, they’re irrelevant. And they’re especially irrelevant when you are on vacation and where the only thing that should matter is the Fun you have and not what others are wearing." Carnival passengers speak out on dress codesHeald's post, as you might imagine, was an invitation for people to opine on the dress code, and more than 700 people weighed in."I love to dress up for dinner but I realize it is not for everyone," wrote Tina McGinily. "I was a nurse and in uniform for years so I take every opportunity to wear a nice dress or formal wear when on a cruise. "Unfortunately, I fear no guidance on the expected dress code could lead to dressing gowns and swimwear at dinner, some people will push boundaries wherever they are. I am all for people being comfortable but there still need to be some rules in place in my opinion."Most respondents took a similar "there should be some standards" approach, but some also suggested that dress codes are an outdated concept. "Surely it is time for the dress code to go as it has and will continue to divide opinions. What someone chooses to wear doesn’t ever put me off my food. I say banish the code and let people wear what they want (as long as they wear something)," Andrew Nutter wrote. Sign up for the Come Cruise With Me newsletter to save money on your next (or your first) cruise.Many of the posters took a "to each his own" approach."What people choose to wear is fine with me. Some people get all worked up about what others are wearing instead of just enjoying themselves and their vacation," posted Pam De Marco.

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