I wish all the cruiselines would follow NCL's example and make formal night optional. There's no reason why those who wish to dress formally and those who don't can't co-exist on the same ship without one group being relegated to a buffet or other inferior dining alternative.
The rub here is that the formal attire, with everybody dressing "to the nines," is part of what sets the atmosphere of the formal evenings. If a significant fraction of the passengers don't dress for the occasion, the formal atmosphere is lost.
If the major cruise companies perceived that there were a signficant demand for a casual cruise experience, I would think that they would start an all-casual cruise line. In fact, I'm surprised that Carnival Corporation has not done so, but perhaps either Carnival or Princess will move into that niche. In the meantime, we're stuck with cruise lines trying to accommodate those who don't wish to dress by providing an alternative causal dinner, and perhaps a casual venue with alternative entertainment, for the small minority who don't want to dress to the occasion. The reality is that this attemted accommodation does not seem to satisfy anybody. You compalain about the inferior venue and the lack of entertainment options, and others complain -- and I believe rightfully, on account of the role that attire plays in setting the atmosphere -- when the cruise lines don't stop the rebels in casual attire from crashing the events in the formal area during the formal evenings.
To be blunt, I bought the experience of the formal evenings when I plunked down my cash to pay for the cruise. The cruise line owes that to me. If I did not want that experience, I would not have purchased a package that includes it. To the extent that the cruise line fails to deliver on its promise of two or three formal evenings, you can be sure that I will register my legitimate complaint.
I think it is heading that way anyway, at least unofficially, as more and more people decide to forego the formalwear in favor of more casual attire. On my last Celebrity cruise, on formal night there were many people dressed to the nines, but there were also many others wearing dressy-casual (including myself). Both co-existed peacefully and I didn't see anyone being turned away at the door.
Yes, but you also did not see what the people who were dressed properly wrote on their cruise evaluations about the failure of the line to turn away those whose attire was inappropriate for the event.