My observation is that formal has become less formal with fewer tuxedos and gowns and more suits and cocktail dresses. That is on lines like Celebrity, HAL and Princess. On Carnival the tuxedo is a rare sight and more people are opting for sport jackets and ties or just dress shirts and slacks.
Overall, the second formal night is the "least" formal.
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I totally agree with Mike. On a seven days cruise if there are two formal nights, then people get well dressed in formals or look absolute formal at the first night of formals and generally nowadays the tradition of second formal night dressing is getting down as there are very less people who follow complete formal dress on second night.
I love formal night and fortunately Costa have not dumbed down on Gala night...far from it, especially in Europe, Middle East and Far East cruises where its an almost 100% full on formal turn out by passengers.
They have 3 Gala nights per 7 day cruise...welcome aboard, Captains night & farewell.
My cruise next year is a B2B...and it'll be 7 formal Gala nights over the two cruises...and I cannot wait cos its wonderful, its traditional and it brings back very fond memories of the ocean liners of bygone years.
I have 10 full on formal dresses and I just love the experience of dressing to the nines
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