On many different places on the internet there are debates about whether or not cruisers not following the dress code should be turned away from the dining room. This is a very controversial topic and I hope to look at both sides of this debate with no bias towards either.
When a cruise line specifies a certain dress code for a certain meal you should try your best to comply with that dress code. However, you can interpret that set dress code in many different ways. For example, if the cruise line specifies "formal" this may mean suit & tie for some, but for others nice pants and a collared shirt. As long as you look neat, presentable, and like you tried to be formal you will most likely be ok. Now, if you try to get away with basketball shorts and a t-shirt this would probably be frowned upon and get you turned away from the dining room. Unless the cruise line specifically says men should wear this and women should wear that you have some flexibility with what you call formal.
At the entrance to dining rooms hosts and hostesses are usually looking for major dress code violations. They can (and will probably) turn you away if they determine you are out of dress code and this could disrupt the meal for others. If you get turned away, change and come back. If a person is already seated in the dining and out of dress code the host/hostesses will probably not address the issue any more. It would be tacky of them to ask the person to leave after they have been seated and would probably cause an issue. If you are eating in the dining room and notice a person out of dress code you should probably just remain quiet because complaining would (probably) not help the situation.
There are some dress code violations that would (and should) get a person denied entrance to the dining room. For example, most cruise lines don't allow flip flops or bathing suits in the dining room. I have seen people get denied for trying to wear a bathing suit into the dining room. If something like this is specifically prohibited by your cruise ship you should make sure you comply.
The answer to the question you have been waiting for is... it depends. Some dress code violators will get caught by the ship's staff and turned away. Others may slip past the staff and not get caught. Most of the time, dress code is enforced on some level, but this will depend on an individual ship's staff members. The moral of the story is try to follow the dress code and you should be fine. If you want to try to "beat the system" make sure you understand you are taking a risk of getting turned away from the dining room.
Feel free to share your thoughts on our Facebook page (Click Here For It). I am open to both sides of the debate and will only moderate if the comments become ugly, derogatory, vulgar, or mean in any way.
Do you think people out of dress code should be turned away from the dining room?