No, they didn't change the rules about bringing your own liquor onboard. Nor did they start serving free drinks to everyone in the casino.
On the third night of our ten night Christmas cruise aboard Carnival's new Triumph, the Maitre D made an announcement in the dining room that the following evening would be the second of four formal night's onboard. FOUR formal nights on a ten night voyage? And, on Carnival, the most laid back cruise ship at sea?
I suspected all the "net buddies" I had been in contact with before departing were going to be very upset, as we'd had the very issue of dress requirements during our pre cruise e-mail exchanges and chat. Several even went so far as to call Carnival's office to check, and were told there would be only two formal nights, and the remaining eight would be casual. When the cruise documents arrived this was confirmed in the accompanying information brochure.
In my past cruise experience it's been very common to have two formal nights and two semi formal (smart casual), on a typical seven night cruise. And to be honest I have never objected; I just packed accordingly. Oddly I don't mind dressing up a bit on occasion. It does help create a more refined ambience onboard. But especially on Carnival ships I've seen nearly half the people change back to casual clothes after dinner so it becomes a mute point.
But I've also observed that passengers now like to dress more casually. This has been the case on my recent cruises aboard Celebrity, RCI, and Carnival ships. Of note here: there were many more men in tuxes on Carnival's Christmas cruise formal nights than has been the case recently on other cruises with Princess, Celebrity, and RCI. The increase in formal nights isn't what one would expect aboard a Carnival ship.
I approached the Maitre D and asked if I had heard wrong but he told me that there were indeed four formal nights's planned. The next morning I called John Heald, Carnival Triumph popular Cruise Director, and we further discussed the issue. He did say they had received instructions from head office to have four formal nights on this particular holiday sailing. However, when I informed him of the misinformation that the Carnival had given passengers before the cruise, he was most receptive. He made a phone call or two and later called to inform me that Carnival had reversed itself and changed the policy to match what we had been informed both in printed material and by calls.
Within minutes, John made a public announcement. He said, even though the "Carnival Capers" stated recommended dress that evening as formal, due to passenger demand, ship's management had changed the dress to casual. The next formal night would be on our second and last day -- a day at sea.
Kudos must go to Carnival Triumph's John Heald, Hotel Manager Stefan Christofferson, and Captain Marino for reacting to the misinformation provided their passengers, and addressing the situation.
And, since I've never been accused of humility, I got to run around the ship telling everyone I had single handedly changed Carnival's policy. But this also shows that anyone can question a cruise line's policies, especially those you weren't aware of prior to booking, by approaching the ship's Hotel Manager or Cruise Director.