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With all the incredible places you’ll be travelling to on your cruise, it’s tempting to think that the onboard entertainment your ship has on offer might be overshadowed. Rest assured, however, that the fun and games from day to night are far from the second fiddle. Delighting audiences with all manner of cabaret-style shows, stand-up comedy sets, and musical performances night after night, cruise entertainment is an undoubted highlight for many guests.
That’s why we’ve asked our favourite cruise bloggers to tell us about the best onboard entertainment they’ve experienced during their time at sea. From exhilarating acrobatic shows to Broadway-standard musicals, these first-hand accounts show just how dazzling cruise entertainment can be.
When it comes to onboard entertainment, the choice is so varied as Emrys Thakkar of Cruise Hive reveals, sometimes it’s the curveballs that are the ones that stick in the memory.
“After working on Carnival cruise ships for over 8 years I’ve come across all kinds of entertainment shows but there has been one kind which I enjoyed the most.
“Carnival had breakdancing shows on some ships and oh my – were they good! These shows would take place in the evening at the ship’s main atrium. Guests would surround the atrium on all decks as the break-dancers showed off their skills to some funky jams. Guests would always clap along with the music as the dancers did some special move on the floor. The dancers would also get others involved and it was always fun to watch guests try to breakdance.”
For Emrys, the party atmosphere spread through the rest of the vessel: “It impacted the entire ship. The main atrium is open, so the music and clapping could be heard throughout the other decks. There was a feeling of “I have to go and take a look, what’s going on – it sounds so fun!” It was something different, away from the regular Las Vegas-styled shows with singers and dancers in the main show theatre.”
Much like Emrys, experiencing something new for the first time made a lasting impact on Emma Le Teace of Cruising Isn’t Just for Old People. Cruise entertainment often exceeds expectations, and the same can be said of Emma’s experience. She says: “The best entertainment that I have ever seen at sea (or on land) has to be Priscilla Queen of the Desert on board the Norwegian Epic. I had never seen the film/heard of the musical before so went along to the show not knowing what to expect. I’ve always been a fan of musicals and it was such a positive, colourful, fun production that I actually went back the next night to see it again.
“Both evenings I came out of the show with a huge smile on my face. When I got back from the cruise I booked to see the musical again on land and, to be honest, it was much better onboard the Norwegian Epic”.
Other times, the cruise entertainment is just so out there and unexpected you can’t help but enjoy it. For Lauren Yakiwchuk, of the blog Justin Plus Lauren, it wasn’t an expertly-crafted, well-honed theatre performance or a hilarious set of comedy that made her night, it was something else entirely:
“One of my favourite onboard entertainment experiences was a talent show… as performed by members of the crew! When I was sailing aboard the Emerald Princess, there was a talent show in the main theatre where crew members demonstrated their hidden talents. Perhaps your room steward has an incredible singing voice? Or your server at evening dinner service knows how to juggle? It was amazing to discover just how talented our crew truly was. We enjoyed classical piano performances, dancing, and even stunts on rollerblades. It was quite the sight to behold, very unpredictable, and very unexpected. Every act was worthy of the spotlight!”
For those who might be sceptical about things getting a little samey during their time at sea, then fret not, Jo Castro – of Lifestyle Fifty – spent 104 nights at sea and things never got old!
Regarding the variety, Jo says “We loved Sea Princess’ entertainment when we were travelling on a world cruise. For the most part, there was nearly always something or someone to entertain us either after dinner or through the day too. We could choose from comedians to speed painters, tribute shows to opera, and fantastic floor shows with accomplished dancers and cabaret artistes.
“I think one of my favourite shows was a Beatles tribute act staged in the Princess Theatre one night – the Fab Four were fabulous (as you’d expect!) and received a standing ovation before two energetic encores. We returned to our stateroom singing and dancing our way down the corridors!”
Meanwhile, Katie Evans-Reader of Do You Cruise was dazzled by the iconic entertainment of one of the world’s most beloved creations. She says “I’ve seen a lot of different shows while cruising but the best I have ever seen has got to be on the Disney Dream. Having visited the theme parks, I had really high expectations for the entertainment, but they were definitely exceeded. It was incredible, worthy of the West End or Broadway. If you like cruises with brilliant entertainment Disney has got to be up there with the best.”
Unsurprisingly, the bigger ships are festooned with a plethora of entertainment, featuring both state-of-the-art and world-class attractions that mean there’s never a dull moment onboard. For Don Bucolo of Eat, Sleep, Cruise, his favourite vessels are Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis Class ships. Don says: “These mega ships offer a variety of different venues that you can’t find on any other vessels. With several ships in the class, Allure of the Seas tops our list for having the best line-up.
“Onboard a seven-night cruise, travellers will get to sing along with the Broadway musical Mamma Mia in the main theatre. The theatre also boasts one of the most mesmerizing shows at sea, Blue Planet, towards the end of the voyage. At the outdoor AquaTheater, cruisers will marvel at the acrobatics of the diving show OceanAria. Back inside, on subsequent nights there are also plenty of other regular entertainment options from ice shows in Studio B to stand-up comedy in Comedy Live, to karaoke competitions in On Air.”
So, as you can well see, there’s a lot to keep all the family happy, however long your cruise.
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