It isn't so special to many, but there are those who either are accustom to cruising 20 plus years ago when everyone dressed to the nines, got formal pictures taken, kept there best cloths on the entire evening and it just was very special or those who don't have an opportunity to dress for formal occassions often and want to feel very special one or two nights on their cruise.
For us, one night is ok, preferably without the tux but other than that we don't like dragging all those clothes with us. We opt for a little less formal, but a little more than resort casual.
I still like the formals, we did not do all three last cruise but we did two. Just something nice about the whole family dressing up , but we never go as slobs on non formal nights either. I still like pictures but dont buy as many , just the ones that I really like.
"If your number one goal is to make sure that everyone likes and approves of you, then you risk sacrificing your uniqueness and, therefore, your excellence."
Yes, a big part of the formal night is that they want to sell lots of photos, but you don´t have to buy any! We don´t buy many photos, the prices really are outrageous, but it´s nice to have the formal picture with the captain.
They normally give those waiting in lines, both for the portrait with the captain and for the formal diningroom, free sparkling wine (they call it champagne but it´s sparkling wine!).
As others have said the formal nights are entirely your own choice. Everyone dressed smart casual most nights. I agree about the photos . We did DRESS one night when formal photos were being taken. We did buy1 large photograph and found them to be a lot less expensive than on Thomson cruises