Originally Posted by You
DH is thinking about renting a dark suit jacket in order to save space in the luggage. Is this a good idea? What is the selection like with the rent-a-clothes? We will be sailing on Fantasy.
On-board rental of formalwear has become a significant profit center for all of the major cruise lines. They offer pretty much the same selection that you would find in a typical "tuxedo" rental shop at home. Your husband could choose either a tuxedo (black jacket) or a white dinner jacket, and they offer vests and cummerbunds with matching neckties in a selection of colors that's similar to what you would find ashore. The standard rental includes one vest with matching tie and one cummerbund with matching tie, so he could match both of your dressy outfits.
Now, with regard to the economics, you can buy a complete tuxedo outfit, except for the shoes, at J. C. Penney for about the cost of two rentals -- though I seriously recommend buying shirts, ties, cummerbunds, and cuff links and stud sets at a normal tuxedo shop instead, as they are not that much more expensive and you'll have more selection. If you buy a second shirt, a second vest or cummerbund with matching tie, and matching pocket squares at a normal tuxedo shop (Tuxedo Time, MW Tux, etc.), the total will come to about the cost of three rentals. Thus, it's certainly cheaper in the long run to buy formalwear if you expect to cruise a few more times or if your husband will have other occasions, such as charity galas, to which to wear it.
Another option is to buy your husband a dark business suit that he can also wear to weddings, funerals, and other events that require it. This option would again price out to around the cost of two or three rentals.
OTOH, if the rental saves you airline fees for a second or third checked suitcase on his ticket (remember that the luggage fee schedule is per passenger so two passengers travelling together can bring two cases for the fee listed as for the first), you may well come out ahead with the rental even if your husband already owns either the formalwear or the suit. Of course, you'll have to check your airline's schedule of fees to be certain. Remember that you have to pay separate fees in each direction on a round trip ticket.
That said, Carnival's "elegant" evenings are not as dressy as the true "formal" nights on other lines. You might want to check Carnival's dress policy, which states that jackets and ties are optional on these evenings for gentlemen, before coming to a final decision as to what he will wear.