Carnival recently revised their suggested dress codes and "formal nights" are now "cruise elegant". We have an existing thread on this subject which also has a link to the new dress code, and that thread can be found here .
You can also read a first hand account of the new dress codes here .
From what I have seen on my last cruise some couples would show up wearing sweats. I asked our waiter if they enforced the dress code and he even commented that it was getting pretty bad but they were afraid to say anything because passengers would write negatives or bad service on the comment card.
I guess I just don't understand. We really look forward to Formal Nights. We LOVE getting dressed up. If we go on a weeklong cruise where there's 2 formal nights, we may only do tux and gown for Captain's night, and suit and dress for the other. Come on...you're on an elegant cruise line!! Dress up!
Elegant cruising has gone the way of the dinosaurs....Dress up if you want but don't expect many of the others to do the same....plus with the charge for extra luggage now, one bag is what most people will bring...formal clothes take up too much room...Formal nights were great while they lasted.....Happy crusing...
There are great choices still out there for those of you who want to be formal. Try Cunard or HAL for your next cruise. Even Celebrity is a little more of a line where they still dress for dinner. I welcome the more casual approach but a sweat suit in the dining room is taking things a little too far. I don't really want to see guys hairy legs, so no shorts is a good rule for evening meals. No ball caps and a shirt with a collar works too. I can live without the jacket and tie on vacation but can live with it too if that's what's expected. I do like my jeans though, wifey wouldn't approve or I'd wear 'em with the jacket and tie to dinner.
I am going to stick to my regular sport coat, tie, and dress shirt/pants for the elegant nights. Not exactly a suit, and not casual either. I actually enjoy seeing all the folks that dress to the nines getting their pictures taken.