What a terrific job you did in presenting your viewpoint. And, you raise many interesting points.
I think that the changes at Princess and NCL can cause lots of confusion. I wasn't that clear myself when I boarded Grand Princess, even though I've written about Personal Choices. On this topic cruises must be certain of what the policies will mean for them personally.
If you want formal nights, it's obvious that NCL isn't for you, although most passengers dress up to a degree. NCL does draw a defnite line: no jeans or shorts after 6:00 p.m. But I think Princess does the best job in pleasing both traditional cruisers and those who want more flexibility in their dining. And while I'm one person who likes casual vacations, I still want to see fellow passengers dressed up a few times each week. Where else but a cruise ship can I get so dolled up?
I'm a fan of these changes. And, I personally think that someone paying thousands of dollars for a vacation should be able to dine when and with whom he/she pleases. If you like a large table of strangers and assigned dinner hours, there are dozens of ships out there.
But you are absolutely right: if they're going to make dress policies, then they have to enforce them. The staff aboard cruise ships doesn't do that and I've even seen blue jeans in the dining room at night.
The lower cruise fares have resulted in passengers who want to bring their own booze aboard ships. A drink or two each day doesn't run up that much of a tab! Maybe they shouldn't go on a ship. I think that you should plan to abide by the rules of a company if you're going to use it's facilities and services. Just budget for drinks, cut out other expenses if necessary.