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Old February 11th, 2004, 03:13 PM
shubaby shubaby is offline
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Default Re: Read our Editorial on Cruise Ship Entertainment

i go on a cruise to have a good time, and choose what i want to do without driving all over the place!
some shows are good, others are bad. i could care less if they had a " well known show with all the songs and actors or preformers you know" i still would not go
however if a really good , comiedy act was on say,,,,,,, carnival and the orginal cast from cats was on rci......... i would still pick rci, i just like there cruiseline better!
if i don't care for a show i will find something else to do on the ship, thats why i like to cruise!
i think the cruise line needs to pay more att. to food and upkeep!
thanks for herin my side of things!



Royal Caribbean/ Sovereign of the Seas 2000
Carnival/Fantasy 2001
Disney/Wonder 2003
S.O.S. JUNE 04
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Old March 11th, 2004, 08:24 AM
Tampa Mike Tampa Mike is offline
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Default Re: Read our Editorial on Cruise Ship Entertainment

In my years aboard ship as a CD I often wondered why all the generic entertainment. Now, I am not of the entertainment / performer CD genre...I was more an administrative, social and operational style CD, so I cannot be too critical of onboard talents.

A few issues that were common, and perhaps a hinderance to onboard entertainment may include:

Revue cast were often somewhere between on stage diva and library monitor. Both in skill and in talent. Can you hire cheap (relatively) cast, expect high quality stage appeal, AND require them to host a shuffleboard tournament? Multi tasking is usually a requirement for onboard contracts....but does it hinder thier primary purpose?

Guest & Celebrity Entertainers can be gracious and a huge draw to the passengers. However, most of the guest entertainers I encountered were very high maintenance and did not want to be 'captive' with thier audience outside of the actual performance. That would result in disappointed passengers who wanted to mingle with them while onboard.

Talent drives demand, talented performers are likely not to be interested in the routine of cruise products. They can get bookings anywhere and can move on. Cruise ships are finely tuned devices...disruption in routine, operation and the unknown acceptance of new talent is not welcomed openly by most ships. A constant turn over in entertainment can be stressfull to the ship's operation. I know each time we had a cast change (every 6 months or so), it would be weeks before the new cast settled into the routine. Oh, some disastrous shows I remember, and Stage Managers sedating themseleves!

But this thread brought a question to mind.... In all the ships I have worked aboard, sailed aboard as a passenger...which show really stands out? I remember a time as CD aboard Celebrity's Horizon, on a summer Bermuda season, we had Peter Gordeno (popular mostly in Britain). The revue cast onboard was his own production company. Although the production shows were generic, HIS show truely brought a unique composition of his singing, accompanied with the dancers. In a very poor analogy, I'd say he had a bit of a Tom Jones style, but it was definately of the caliber I would expect to see in Vegas, even if on a smaller scale. We had standing ovations EVERY performance. I watched EVERY show. The man was gracious, kind, cooperative and understanding to shipboard operations & life.

To this day, whenever I hear a rendition of "Get Ready", I think of his show and the moves of those dancers. Not many shows onboard have had that kind of impact.

Today, when I cruise fo vacation, I poke my head in the showlounge for a minute or two, and before I know it, I am singing in my head the number on stage. I chuckle to myself and remember a term a Stage Manager and I once coined... "JASS!" (Just Another Ship Show!)

Retired CD & ShorEx: Royal Cruise Line; Radisson Seven Seas: Celebrity; Holland America; Premier; NCL.
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Old March 11th, 2004, 10:14 PM
Mark Mark is offline
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Default Re: Read our Editorial on Cruise Ship Entertainment

My take on the shows......I want to say hi to Ashley a Carnival Dancer.....She's going to Broadway someday....but I like that there is an avenue for singers and dancers on cruiseships to hone in their skills.......I'm sure they can go to Vegas or NYC after getting those sealegs tested..While the shows arent always great...They are perfectly fine for the masses of people who dont get to Vegas or Broadway on a regular basis.While I've been to all the above......Between my Theatre trips a good Cruise Review will do....
My advise....Chuck down about 4 Lobsters,A few drinks and a Stroll to the showlounge....and a Frozen Beverage and a good show followed by that ever so Magical stroll back to the Cabin........Foolow that by sneaking out to the Casino Later and BAM!!!! No Problems Man !!!



PS....John Heald is worth the weeks entertainment budget...Carnival Pay him to stay please!!!!!!!!!!!!!! See you May 1 on the TRIUMPH
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Old March 27th, 2004, 05:07 PM
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What a fascinating discussion. We are fairly sophisted theatre/musical theatre attendees.It is our passion besides travel. First, we really enjoy GOOD entertainment on cruise ships and the best we found was on the NCL Sky with at the time Hey, Mr Producer, the Jean Ryan version of Cirque de Soleil and gospel/blues singer Jane L. Powell. If truth be known...that was the reason we took that particularcruise This was on a transitional cruise for two weeks and it was heaven. Recently we were on an RCI tran-atlantic cruise and we were shocked at the poor "production", costumes that looked like leftover drapery material and wigs that wouldn't pass inspection on Halloween. Our one time "cruise to nowhere" on a Carnival we found spectacular entertainment. That said..we were on the Sea last year and with the exception of one unknown woman singer/dancer did not see one show or entertainer worthy of watching. If entertainment is low on the list why has Celebrity entered into a contract with the Cirque de Soleil. It appears on the smaller ships NCL has cut down on Jean Ryan productions and that saddens me. Since we prefer smaller ships we only hope that in the cocktail lounges we can find entertainment that we would enjoy listening to. There was at one time Robert and Mandy France who we "followed" and would sit in the lounge and listen to all night. Often time now we hear piano players who should be back in music school or we would just as soon just pass on. Would I pay extra...I doubt it. I don't want to see another version of "hello Hollywood" or "Cats"...but we discovered within the Jean Ryan version of Cirque a young singer, Steve Washington...who ended up doing a cabaret show and being included with Jane L Powell who sang and danced...and wherever he is I hope his career has climbed. We were on the old Seabreeze before it was seized and we rushed to the "shows" to hear a wonderful English comedian.. a writer for Benny Hill. Would I want to see a famous couple reading "Love Letters"...absolutely, but I would not go to see a washed out tv star... Quality entertainment is important to us.
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Old March 30th, 2004, 09:41 AM
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Default Re: Read our Editorial on Cruise Ship Entertainment

The best produstion shows I have ever seen on a ship were the 3 that I saw on the Disney Wonder last September. The talent of those people was truly remarkable. The problem now is that they set the standard to which I will compare everything to and I don't think anything with come close. But I will keep cruising until I find something. Even if it requires me to cruise every ship in the industry. I will not give up!
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Old April 4th, 2004, 11:10 PM
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I was on only one Costa Atlantica cruise, but overall the entertainment was superb. I wonder if it's the Italian tradition with the opera? They had a really memorable "revue" which was a history of Italy; they also had a very fine operatic tenor. They had a couple of shows (comedienne, magic show) that were ho-hum but over the course of the week I was quite impressed.

I also really liked a classical duo (pianist and violinist) who played in one of the lounges before dinner. Not that many people came with any regularity, but I was there every day and they did some smashing things: really classical music, not "lite". There were some lounge singers too who we felt compelled to visit every night. The entertainment was much better than I would have anticipated but it might have just been the particular match: me, the opera lover, with an Italian ship, paying tribute to classical Italian opera. It seemed that the more Italian they kept it, the better it was and the one attempt to do something a bit like Vegas palled in comparison.

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Old April 29th, 2004, 05:18 PM
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Default Re: Re: Read our Editorial on Cruise Ship Entertainment

I am a professional entertainer now 25 years..i think the solution for having "good entertainment "anywhere is simple.
You have to "Pay" for it.
Cruise ship's pay small in comparrison to what is required of the act.
Plus the entertainer has ship duties??

An entertainer has to make more then $500 a week! Come-On!

One show at a club on land can pay $1800 to $5000 a night!!
After the act pays manager and agent fee's in addition to travel cost and other expence's,such as equipment repair or maintanence ,the band pays itself.Generally each member is earning on average $200 to $350 each per night.Thats equal to $50 - $80 per hour times 4 hous per show per night.In fact in most place's even those wages are considered scale wage's by the (A.F.M ) American Federation of Musicians Union.
So why would someone want to entertain on a cruise ship for much less.??
Pay a professional what professional's earn and guest on cruise lines will not only get there monies worth but the cruise line makes out too,when the guest returns-and-with friend's.
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Old May 28th, 2004, 04:06 AM
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As I sit here at my computer, I have an awful feeling in the pit of my stomach. For the past few days I have been searching the internet for any information I can find about cruise ship entertainment - eagerly - that is until today. You see, I have an audition for the cruise ships next week in London and do not know what to expect.

I graduated from one of the best accredited drama schools in England last year. I trained in musical theatre, on a full scholarship, for three years. I have an agent who has beeen great. I have only had private auditions for West End shows and UK tours and have had many recalls. In fact, I have got down to the final rounds on many occasions.

However, I now find myself out of work, having not been on a stage for a whole year. You can guess I am crawling the walls! I am one of these people that lives to perform - it is my life. Therefore entertaining on a cruise ship sounds fantastic to me - not only do I get to do what I love, I get to see some of the world too!

That is until now. Is there such a low standard on cruise ships? I have already been told that " it is looked down upon in the industry" so I should not go to the audition!
As a performer I do not understand this heirarchy in the business. Surely we all have to start somewhere and I would like to think that working on a cruise ship as opposed to working as a waitress would be much better! HELP!!!!!!!
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Old June 10th, 2004, 04:01 PM
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Default Re: Read our Editorial on Cruise Ship Entertainment

just got off the Carnival Triumph. entertainment okay.

the highlights:

* Caruso and somebody - magicians. really good stuff. they are performing at a Miami hotel on the weekends, did the ship one night (how do they get them on and off?). anyway, they were great.

* standard dancer review in a tribute to the American century. miserable. 10 minutes of 1930's stuff and a speakeasy, one short song from 1940 (hmmm... no singing that decade I guess, we were at war).

* a fairly funny comic one night.

my biggest complaint was the costumes and language. NOT FOR A FAMILY. the dancers appeared in a thong - with nothing left to the imagination. the carnival dancers did the obligatory "magic girl" and they were dressed like strippers. very inappropriate.

I realize that there are more than families on these boats but at a 7:30 p.m. show?

I wonder why they don't actually do live theater on the boats. how about actually doing a PLAY one night - "Our Town" or something. that would be awesome!

and while there is probably room for "adult" stuff there needs to be room for me to take my family to the show w/o embarassment in the early evening.

what about paying extra? NO way. a cruise is supposed to be one price gets it all. not paying extra for entertainment. EXPECT it with the cruise.
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Old June 10th, 2004, 10:23 PM
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They do tell us it's a Vegas Style show.... That is what that means! Guess that isnt suitable for all age groups. happy cruising..... I enjoy the Vegas style shows.!
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Old October 14th, 2004, 04:59 PM
florin dumitrache
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Default Re: Read our Editorial on Cruise Ship Entertainment

Dear Mr.

I'm a musician with a large experiance on
Entertaimnent Industry:Hotel-Restaurant(Las Dunas
Beach Hotel,Casino Palace),Cruise Ship(Royal Olimpic
Cruises,Celebrity Cruises)with my own musical
duo"Florin Duo".A wide musical repertory going
from:Classic music,Jazz,American Standard's,Gipsy
Music etc....
I'm looking for a musical-agent and for a future collaboration with you
Please take a look on my website:
Best Regardes Florin
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Old November 8th, 2004, 12:19 AM
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Default Re: Read our Editorial on Cruise Ship Entertainment

Tough question - "How to please all the people all of the time!"

Answer: You can't ... but you should be able to achieve a level of consistant quality!

Carnival's Triumph did a terrific job by bringing the Mexican Folkloric Dancers aboard, in Cozumel, for a 90 minute show in the main room that was wonderful. The rest of the cruise we sought the smaller clubs for jazz, piano and dancing - though the latter was difficult because the music was directed toward the under 30 groups.

One piano player, a duo or trio - to us is more intimate and enjoyable because you make a connection if the music/talent is genuine. I enjoy good live entertainment but become uncomfortable when it is obvious the performer is out of their element or expected to deliver beyond their capability.

I'd enjoy a good presentation by someone knowledgable in a particular topic, monologues or readings like, "An evening with Mark Twain." A good 3 act play or some adaptation of a classic role could hold possibility. What about summer stock theatre type reviews that might even have a few "names?"

Whatever direction the industry takes - they'll have their detractors. My sincere hope is that crude humor is never offered as "the acceptable norm" in the absence of an alternative for real talent and the cruise lines raise, rather than lower, the quality bar.

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Old December 8th, 2004, 03:17 PM
Carole N
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Default Re: Read our Editorial on Cruise Ship Entertainment

Just returned from Hawaii aboard Legend of the Seas with RCL. Entertainment aboard ship was so-so with the exception of the singer/piano player Tommy McPhee in the Schooner Lounge. What talent that boy has!!!! He sang like Elton John but was also able to sing requested songs from Broadway plays Les Mis and Phantom. By the end of the cruise the Lounge was packed every night during his show. He played requests for Irish songs, old time favorites anything........I would book another cruise on whatever ship he was entertaining if I knew he would be there. If RCL knows whats good for them they will not let him go.
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Old December 10th, 2004, 05:43 PM
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Alrighty, here we go...... I am one of the singers on a cruise ship that you have probably been on.......I have worked for Disney, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line.......and soon, Celebrity.........First off, the Calibre of Talent........I have a pretty good background in musical theatre including many large shows and Broadway.........but to be honest with you, when you are on Broadway, not all the talent is "great" as well......whenever you join a cast, it's always a hit or miss as to whom you work with......... Oh, and many many Broadway performers have gone on cruise ships........not because we are not good enough to stay on Broadway........but where else can you work 3 days a week, and get paid to see the world............ so for that young performer thinking about auditioning for cruise ships.........do it........I have never seen so many countries in my life.......

The Shows can be a bit mediocre, but please do not blame the talent......we work with what we have, including 8 second quick changes.......much more difficult than any land show.........and it's not easy playing to drunk passengers, or during rough seas, or going on no matter how sick you happen to be.........but no matter what shows we are given, I know that my fellow performers and I put in 110%........we want to make the passengers happy, and work our butts off to attempt it...........

All I know is that cruise ship production shows are getting better........we are slowly getting paid more, which attracts more "broadway" talent...........and I know that I have never had to do any cruise staff duties.........so that's what makes me go back and sing my heart out to anybody who wants to listen........

cheers, happy cruising and hope to see y'all on board...........

Jay.... principal singer on Disney, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, and many more to come........
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Old March 31st, 2005, 08:25 AM
seagoingJLW seagoingJLW is offline
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Default Re: Read our Editorial on Cruise Ship Entertainment

Date: 03-31-05 08:16

The variety shows on board ship used to be directed at the older passengers. After all, they are the ones who attend the shows. The younger passengers do not do so.

Lately the reviews have been featuring a kind of music that is anethema to older folks and they are losing the older audience as well.

If the reviews would stick to the classics like show tunes their audience would return. By that I mean Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Richard Rogers, Vincent Youmans, Rudolph Friml, Irving Berlin, etc.

Us older folks would also appreciate more classical concerts. I remember when we sailed aboard the Vistafjord (it was Cunard at the time) we had wonderful concerts in the Garden Room before dinner. We had chamber music and operatic arias. What a wonderful thing to do on a ship. All of them should do it.

Many of the shows with individual entertainers feature screamers rather than singers and fiddlers rather than violinists. Why?

The younger folks still go to the casino and the disco. The shows do not entice them at all.

Some worthwhile entertainers on board ships that we have seen:
Judy Kolba
Brooks Ahron

You get the idea.


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Old April 1st, 2005, 04:29 PM
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Default Re: Read our Editorial on Cruise Ship Entertainment

Cathy B-

Funny you should say that about "Legends in Concert". A bit off-topic here, but we did that back in 2001 in Lake Tahoe. They were excellent and "one" of the backup singers/dancers (not any of the characters) was one of Madonna's backup dancers during her tour...I forgot the name, but it was the tour right after her Dick Tracey movie.
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Old April 7th, 2005, 10:04 PM
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Default Re: Read our Editorial on Cruise Ship Entertainment

Joanie, I couldn't agree with you more about the singers being screamers.

This is not exactly on par with this topic, but one of my biggest gripes with the Broadway shows is the sheer excessive volume that the singers (or possibly the person controlling the sound mixing) think we need to hear the show at.

I am only 35, and I like my Rock-N-Roll as loud as the next person, but a Broadway show is not designed to be yelled at 110+ decibles. There is a point to where this is beyond annoying; it gets downright painful to my ears.

I could maybe understand if their intention was to make sure that everyone in the theater could have a chance to hear the production clearly; but the last 12 cruises that I have been on have had fantastic sound systems with quality speakers that produce crystal clear reproductions of the singers' voices. On top of the clearity of the sound, they also have an abundance of these speakers throughout the entire theater. There is nowhere in the theater that is not a great seat sound-wise.

With all of this Hi-Fidelity audio equipment that the cruise lines must have paid top dollar for, there is no reason to induce my eardrums to give torrents of blood (a bit over-dramitic I know, but I think you get the point) for their shows to be a success.

If anyone else has a similar view, I would like to hear it. Maybe if enough passengers feel the same way, they might turn the volume down to more enjoyable levels.

George S.
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Old April 10th, 2005, 03:29 PM
Cruise Ship Singer
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Default Re: Read our Editorial on Cruise Ship Entertainment

Hey George........

I have to agree with you there........a lot of the volume is controled by the sound tech guy.........now the problem is not always the machines, but the sound guy himself...... sometimes we don't get very good ones, or ones that know what they are doing...... As a singer........all we hear are the monitors on stage........which are speakers that are facing us.........that is not necessarily what is playing out into the theatre........so we can't control how loud it sounds out there.........when we hear it, it sounds perfect on stage................


Jay principal singer on 4 major cruise ships........
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Old April 11th, 2005, 10:50 PM
lucky judy
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On the first cruise we took all the entertainment was wonderful. Of course, it was all new. You're right--these theme nights are getting a bit boring. On the other hand I prfer them to the off-colour comedians that are so often there.
I must say, though, that the young group of dancers aboard the Constellation last Feb were awesome. Not only did they offer dance lessons to the passengers about 4 times during our 7 day excursion, a couple of them performed an amzing acrobatic routine for us. There was lots of energy there!
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Old May 28th, 2005, 07:01 PM
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Default Re: Re: Read our Editorial on Cruise Ship Entertainment

"I was on only one Costa Atlantica cruise, but overall the entertainment was superb. I wonder if it's the Italian tradition with the opera? They had a really memorable "revue" which was a history of Italy; they also had a very fine operatic tenor."

I saw that show, too. I liked it a lot just because it was an italian version of a regular cruise show. Just funny to see, especially the way they glamorized everything Italian. When the Vespas came on stage I had to laugh.

Anyway - great remarks here, especially about the talent. I agree it is a great way to see the world, and frankly it is great that performers have ANY places to work these days. Remember, for every working performer there are 99 looking for jobs.

Even the band musicians - where is a professional trombone player going to get work in any city except LA, NY or Vegas? Thank goodness for cruise ships.

What I don't like is getting the 20 year-old blond cheerleader types to try to sing like Shirley Bassey or Nat King Cole - ain't gonna work. I would rather see an authentic performer, not a "reasonable facsimile thereof" doing anything. When the performer believes in what they are doing, that is half the show.

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Old June 26th, 2005, 02:43 PM
sailing gal
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I have to admit I am one of the few respondents of this question who cruises because of the big shows. I like those shows with the house band, dancers and singers. I think the band is what makes it for me. I am in my thirties and live near NYC but the cost of travel to a show and the ticket itself keeps me home. I hope the cruiselines don't get rid of the live band shows. I have taken Carnival many times because I like the big shows and I like seeing the dancers selling the bingo tickets. I like to hear the British accents and they are always courteous. I am trying RCCL for the first time and feeling aprehensive because I am used to Carnival. I hope they have the same type shows.
I don't like the piano bars becaue they make me want to go to sleep.
I saw the same singer twice on Carnival and he was also a CD on a four day I took. I think he is good but I can't remember his name. (He's a stocky guy with a goatee) He was on different ships out of NYC a couple times. Anyway, its nice to see a familiar face
Having the big names wouldn't apeal to me. I work with a music program and I don't want to see those people who are "above" others. I want the singers and dancers who are still unpretentious.
I have taken 9 cruises and have my tenth planned.
I also don't base my cruise on food. I watch what I eat and workout alot. The early mornings on deck with a yogurt and grapefruit does it for me.
Oh yeah! I also hope I can plan my next cruise based on where John Heald is and that he will be somewhere in 2007. Unless, that is, RCCL wins me over in 2006.
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Old June 30th, 2005, 05:26 PM
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I agree with ESS that the entertainment is an "extra" and consider it part of the whole cruise experience.

I went on my first cruise May 29th on the Sapphire and I appreciated that there were so many different types of entertainment for me to choose from.

I went to the production of "Piano Man" and found myself singing all of the songs and smiling to myself at the different memories that they brought back. I really enjoyed the playing and the sound of the "piano man" - I believe his name was Francois - during this and other performances on the ship, yet most passengers were impressed by the singers and the costume changes and not by the music. Go figure...considering the name of the show...

I also caught some of the Andrew Lloyd Weber tribute on the ship but it really wasn't for me. I think I may be the only person who has never seen "Cats" or any other ALW production. Yet there are people that would love to see a production like that on a cruise ship.

I found myself laughing at the bad jokes and being impressed by the amateur magic tricks.

From what I heard passing the theater, "Curtain's Up" wasn't my cup of tea yet the Tea for Four Quartet was. To each his own.

I have to admire the performers even if they may not be the quality musicians and singers that some passengers expect to see. I can't do what they do ON LAND, let alone AT SEA! No matter how much I enjoy singing, I don't think the school of "if you can't sing good, sing LOUD" would get me past the audition.

The entertainment for me didn't make or break my cruise experience, and it won't be a deciding factor for my next cruise...although...the Dave Koz and Friends At Sea cruise does sound reaaalllly tempting....
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Old January 29th, 2013, 11:22 PM
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I totally agree with you Paul. We are shortly doing our 6th and 7th cruise and entertainment plays a huge roll of one's lasting impression of the cruise ,as doezs cuisine ,sevice ,ports visted ,excursions ,cabin etc .What I am saying is that they should understand that they are selling an experience and not a cruise. The better the overall experience the more referrals and repeat business they will get -it is as simple as that.
We have allways found the entertainment on cruise ships mediocre,especially the shows and seldom go to these anymore -and why does the Entertainment Director always have to perform? they are normally not very good.Some entertainers and orchestras in the pubs and public areas were ok to good, though.The ice skating show on the Oasis of the Seas was brilliant.
There are a lot of really brilliant artists available in every country -ok they are not big names but brilliant nevertheless ,and not expensive.My advice would be to make an effort to identify these and use them . The crux of the matter is to look at each country and not just US and UK performers
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