Entertainment at Sea
During a recent Seminar at Sea onboard Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas attended by myself and several fellow agents, I was lucky enough find out just how much time, money, and sheer sweat goes into the large-scale production shows on a cruise. By coincidence, on the first day of our cruise one of the agents from my office ran into an old friend of his, Drake DeLucca. They had gone to performing arts school together, and Drake just happened to be one of the stars of the show on our cruise! Because of Drake and Royal Caribbean’s generosity, we all had a very revealing view of what happens behind-the-scenes to put on a production costing millions of dollars.
In the main theater we toured the lighting and sound booth, which was worthy of any venue on Broadway. We also saw the entire backstage area, including props, costumes, ropes and harnesses for the “In The Air” show where the actors are flying 20 feet over the audiences’ heads, even the trapdoor areas under the stage where the actors just ‘disappear’ during a number. Liberty of the Seas (and many of her sister ships) also has the “On Air” Club which is a fantastic area dedicated solely to karaoke. Imagine being shown how to work the computers for the singers, and singing onstage with a professional – it was such a memorable experience and we are all so indebted to Drake for his generosity and taking so much of his personal time to show us a little taste of his life on a cruise stage.
The cruise lines have recently really come out of the box in spotlighting “name” shows from Las Vegas and Broadway. Norwegian Cruise Line’s brand-new Epic will be launching this summer with Blue Man Group playing several times per cruise. Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas has the Broadway hit “Hairspray” currently featured on their main stage, and when the ship had her inaugural launch party last November 2009 (which I attended of course), the headliner for the evening was #1 Billboard R&B Artist Rihanna. What an incredible show THAT was!! Of course, entertainment options on board cruise ships aren’t limited to show lounges or your Broadway or Vegas-style reviews. Yes, those are certainly spectacular, but there are also ice skating shows, comedy, parades, classical music, dancing, illusions, demonstrations, live bands, karaoke, game shows…. the options are endless. When cruising nowadays, get ready for some REAL variety of entertainment!
At night, often overlooked are the other entertainers—the ones performing in more intimate venues all over the ship. To uncover their talents, take an evening to lounge-hop and what you’ll experience will run the gamut from easy-listening jazz and classical to fun and get-down funky. No spot is more hopping than where the Latin band is playing; dancers rotating their hips to the salsa and rumba beats pack the floor. Especially on longer cruises, guests can swing to the Big Band sounds of old, and some cruise lines even provide gentleman dance partners for the ladies that are cruising alone or with their girlfriends. If you’d rather sing than dance, drop into the piano bar to croon along with the crowd, or take place in the karaoke contests sponsored by almost every cruise. For musical variety, jazz and acoustic guitar/singers can be found in many of the pubs and bars sprinkled about the ship. Audience participation is part of the fun during the game shows sponsored by many cruise lines; one favorite is the Newlywed Game, where three couples are divided into those married for just a short time, for many decades, and one couple in between. This show usually becomes rather risqué, so you may want to leave the little ones in the kid’s program for this one!! The comedians located in the smaller lounges onboard can sometimes be a bit off-color too for their late-night set, but usually have a show earlier on another evening that is fun for the whole family.
There are all kinds of daytime activities onboard that you may never even have considered to be “entertainment.” By the pool area, you will find live music that for a Caribbean cruise will most likely be of the steel-drum variety. You are welcome to get up and dance, or start a conga line, if you’d like! More fun in the pool area can be found when the cruise director’s staff is sponsoring contests among your fellow guests. I have seen some interesting ones, including the Belly Flop contest, the Margarita-Making Relay Race, Water Volleyball, and scavenger hunts that take passengers looking for kooky items all over the ship. The best part is that these experiences are all filmed to be laughed at many times either when shown again on the closed-circuit televisions in your cabin, or on the CD-ROM available for purchase at the end of the cruise. The marbled atrium area located in the center of most ships is a popular venue for classical music, with anything from a single pianist to a string quartet. The acoustics in the multi-level atriums make the music all the sweeter, and comfortable plush seating is readily available. There are neat demonstrations by the cruise staff in different locations all over the ship; showcasing and teaching talents such as the fancy fruit carvings of animals, ships, etc. that you see decorating the buffet every day, or how to fold towels into those cute little animals your cabin steward leaves on your bed every night.
Suffice it to say, what with all that is going on while you are on the ship, and visiting the beautiful ports of call when you are off… it’s near impossible to get bored while on your cruise. There are more options today than ever before to keep the whole family occupied every moment of every day while you are on your cruise vacation.