Originally Posted by You
I was just on a Carnival cruise out of Galveston in September. On the two formal nights we dressed up. But, it was not unusual to see people in shorts and t shirts walk in and proceed to their table to be feed. And nothing was said. There are always people who do not feel they have to dress to code and they don't care. On Carnival they do not push the issue. Bottom line, it does not matter.
Perhaps you missed a subtle distinction, but Carnival Cruise Line no longer advertises "formal" evenings. Rather, Carnival Cruise Line has replaced the former "formal" evenings with so-called "elegant" evenings that have a very wide range of acceptable dress. On those evenings, true formal (so-called "black tie") attire is acceptable for gentlemen, but so is a sport shirt with an open collar and a pair of slacks or anything in between. This is not exactly "formal."
That said, I absolutely would take the ship's management to task for allowing shorts in the dining room in violation of the stated dress code....