Rightly or wrongly, there have always been certain misconceptions regarding cruise ship entertainment. Ask someone who’s never been on a cruise holiday before what they imagine the entertainment to be like and they’re likely to believe its all jazz hands and the occasional star performer from yesteryear going through the motions on a weekly basis.
It’s pleasing then that in recent years cruise entertainment has really come along in leaps and bounds. As cruise lines have consciously modernised their onboard amenities with blissful health spas and ever-so-chic restaurants, similarly the entertainment that makes up their evening programs has also been rejuvenated.
Gone are the days of slightly twee acts indulging in hammy Broadway karaoke sessions, these days professional polish is the order of the day with cruise lines packing their evenings with full-on West End-style productions, jazz sessions, award-winning artists and an array of dazzling cabaret acts…
For the hard to impress
Probably one of the best shows currently at sea is The Blue Man Group presented by Norwegian Cruise Line. The critically acclaimed show, described as “highly inventive” and “wildly entertaining” incorporates an eclectic mix of humour, music and multimedia theatrics to produce one unique and mesmerising show. A cult hit in New York since the 1990s that has proceeded to take the world by storm, The Blue Man Group can now be seen onboard Norwegian Epic at its 685-seat Epic Theatre that stages eight, two hours shows on every one-week voyage.
If the lure of blue men doesn’t entice you aboard, then NCL also offers Legends in Concert which hosts the best celebrity impersonators from around the world.
Roar with Laugher
Carnival introduced its first venue dedicated to comedy, the Punchliner Comedy Club onboard Carnival Dream in 2009. Proven to be a huge hit, the club has now been rolled out across all of Carnival’s 22 “Fun Ships”. The comedy clubs hosts established comedians and rising stars who promise hilariously side-splitting performances. Two shows are available each evening running for around 35 minutes. The first show is open to families and the later showing is open just for adults.
Others: NCL hosts The Second City show onboard Norwegian Epic. The comedy show comes straight from the premier comedy theatre in Chicago and will delight with comedy sketches and improvisation.
For the theatre goer
For those with a love of theatre and musicals, Royal Caribbean offers some truly magical shows.
Their largest cruise ships, Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas both stage full musical productions in their 1,400-seated theatre complete with the latest stage technology. Step aboard and expect to enjoy productions from the West End and Broadway such as Chicago, Saturday Night Fever and Hairspray onboard.
Others: Crystal Cruises stage many smaller theatre shows and plays including one-woman performances and autobiographical plays.
For the culture vulture
For lovers of jazz, classical and opera, many cruise lines present quartets, singers and bands on board, either to serenade you during dinner or as an evening performance.
Guests on a Cunard transatlantic crossing can enjoy performances from jazz musicians, direct from New York’s Juilliard School, one of the most gifted music schools in America. Oceania Cruises offer guests outdoor Classical concerts under the stars and Fred Olson has been known to host opera legends such as Russell Watson and the Opera Babes.
Aside from one off performances, many cruise lines such as Hapag Lloyd Cruises and Crystal Cruises offer music themed cruises which are highly recommended if you’re a fan of a certain genre or style.
A show for the whole family and one with a difference, Royal Caribbean offer a fantastic outdoor aqua theatre production. Staged on deck of Oasis of the Seas, the show pulls out all the stops with mesmerising acts such as synchronised swimming, trampolining, high diving acrobatics, hundreds of shooting fountains and an illuminating lightshow. The Aqua theatre has two shows; Splish Splash staged during the day and Oasis of Dreams staged at night.
Others: Disney Cruise Line is currently staging Toy Story the Musical onboard Disney Wonder and Disney’s Aladdin- a Musical Spectacular onboard Disney Fantasy.
Copyright. Clare Funnell, The Cruise Line 2011.
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