On dressing up
I am in an ever decreasing minority that likes wearing my tux at formal occasions. It would probably take a psychiatrist to explain why that produces pleasure.
I think itís because the only time my wife tells me I look good is when I wear my tux.
It also matters to me whether I am the only one wearing a tux or the only one not wearing a tux. I think it adds a touch of elegance, sophistication, & class when everybody is dressed formally. The look of the room around me matters to me when I am formally dressed. Thatís why I think ďformal optionalĒ is silly. I am sure a McDonalds restaurant would not ask me to leave if I showed up in a tux. Therefore, doesnít that make McDonalds ďformal optional?Ē I agree with lord of the seas comment about the theater (or theatre.) I remember sitting in cheap seats a few years ago at the Vienna Philharmonic & looking down on the orchestra level & admiring all the elegantly dressed people. It made it an even more festive occasion. Now in our concert halls & theaters, jeans are very common, jackets & ties are rare even though the orchestra still wears white tie & tails. For me, a casually attired audience reduces the experience.
Can you imagine the scene & the song in My Fair Lady if Ascot on Opening Day were casual?
Paul, I donít enjoy the process of getting dressed up either. I also donít like taking showers & shaving or spending time at the barber shop, but I do it. Also, in general, the French are better dressed than the Americans at most functions I attend. (Agree with you about Germans.)
On the luggage issue
The biggest argument against formal attire on cruises seems to be the luggage issue. My tux takes up the same space as a suit (except for the cumber bun.) I cheat on the shoes & do not pack the appropriate formal shoes. (At least they are black.) I do try to keep my feet under the table so nobody notices.
My wife does not own a gown so if that were required on formal night, we would skip it.
I did ship a bag from my home in the U.S. to the ship in Kobe, Japan, because we were traveling in Japan pre-cruise. I thought the cost was excessive. (I donít pay luggage fees on the airline I fly.)
A few years ago, I flew from Palermo to London on Easyjet. Because we were staying in England a few days & because wine is so expensive there, we bought a bunch of Sicilian wines & put them in our checked luggage. The excess luggage fees were more than double the cost of all the wine.
Granny, Agree about avoiding Cunard because of the class distinction. If I were on Cunard, Iíd probably be identified as a Junior guest & a beginner. They'd probably make me wear a name tag with those titles.