Hi - whatever you want ! For formal nights it varies and to be honest I dont really notice - but if essentially its a cocktail dress - then its fine.
Short dress, long dress, trouser suit, anything that has a little sparkle. We all cannot afford designer wear. But add costume jewellery or if you have it the real thing. I get most of my clothes from catalogues, but am fortunate enough to have some fab real jewellery. (Inherited) Do your hair, make up and regardless you will feel a million dollars. Some women do not even make the effort! Believe me, we should. Men can get there DJs so cheaply nowadays. But by goodness they certainly look the part. Have a great cruise.
I would try to make an effort to take at least one long evening gown, although ladies can be seen in a mix of long dresses and cocktail length, so you would not look out of place in either on the formal nights. I always take at least one, sometimes two long and then mostly cocktail dresses as even on the casual nights I still like to dress up, although pretty much anything goes; hence nice evening trousers and tops are very popular. With places like TK Maxx selling evening dresses for £30 ish (and of course the January Sales) I am sure you will find something suitable. Hope this helps.
I have been on many 5* cruises and have never worn a long dress.My husband wears an evening suit/black tie and I wear a beautiful cocktail dress or an evening trouser suit. My parents, who were avid Cunard round the world cruisers, were invited to the 150th anniversary gala dinner in Hongkong and I can still remember the outfit my mother wore. She had cobbled it together from charity shop buys and she looked a million dollars. Consider black. A black long skirt/evening trousers, black camisole and a couple of beautiful overshirts and you are sorted. Or cocktail length dresses. Depending upon the length of the cruise, both. Whatever, wear with style and you will be fine.
Do all the men have to wear evening suit or would a normal suit be acceptable?
Not sure which ship you're cruising on. If it was one of the Queen's in the Grill suites, I would say take a DJ. If it is of the standard lines of say ....p&o,RCL, F.O. or premium lines of Holland America and Celebrity etc, I would say try and make the effort but of course a lounge suit will be OK and on most of the others apart from a couple of the de luxe lines, a lounge suit WILL be fine. If you def. don't want to take an evening suit, you will NOT be turned away from the dining room and there WILL be others dressed as you so don't worry. Go and enjoy. Glad to help if there are any other questions. J.