Originally Posted by You
I still belive a tux is the proper attaire on formal nights. It takes no more space to pack a tux than it does a suit.
The proper attire is whatever the host (that is, the Master) "requests" in the invitation to the event. Since the cruise line specifies a "Modified Black Tie" (or "Modified Formal") standard of dress rather than a strict "Black Tie" (or "Formal") standard of dress, dark business suits and dinner jacket outfits, including tuxedos, are equally acceptable.
Originally Posted by You
That being said, if the majority are going away from wearing a tux then the dress code for the evening should be changed by the cruise line to reflect the mindset of the customer.
On most Celebrity cruises, one actually sees a lot more "black tie" outfits in the dining room now than twenty years ago -- and there is a very good reason for this. Historically, the major cruise lines adopted the "Modified Black Tie" standard of dress for the "formal" evenings in the 1970's because, at that time, very few gentlemen owned formalwear but most gentlemen did own business suits. As society got more and more casual in the 1980's and 1990's, however, more and more gentlemen who do not own business suits started cruising. These gentlemen typically rented tuxedos or other dinner jacket outfits for their first few cruises because it was less expensive than buying a suit that they did not expect to have another occasion to wear.
Also, a countertrend to hold "gala" evenings with true "Formal" attire as benefits for various charities took root in the 1990's, creating a situation in which many gents now have occasions that require true formalwear other than cruises. As a result, many gents have elected to buy formalwear in recent years.
That said, some of the major cruise lines actually have changed their standards of dress to reflect the tastes of their customers.
>> On Carnival, "Formal" evenings have given way to "Elegant" evenings where gents may wear a dress shirt and slacks with neither jacket nor tie.
>> NCL now advertises "Formal Optional" evenings, where some of the main restaurants and other evening venues do not require dressy clothing.
>> And in the "premium" tier, at least three smaller lines -- Azamara Club, Disney Cruises, and Oceania Cruises -- now offer "all casual" cruises that do not have dressy evenings at all.
But the folks who prefer the more traditional "Formal" evenings have gravitated toward Celebrity Cruises, and Celebrity has responded by maintaining those true "Formal" evenings.