Cruise Ship Entertainment Smackdown – Who Wins and Why

I read a recent story by Gene Sloan on USAToday.com website about cruise ship entertainment, and who had the best. The three ships compared were Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Epic, and Disney Cruise Lines Disney Dream. These are the all new ships that set sail in the past six months. They’re all competing for your cruise vacation business.

Norwegian’s Epic boasts some impressive entertainment, including Blue Man Group and a dinner show under the big top, Cirque Dreams & Dinner. Royal Caribbean has a Broadway show, Chicago: The Musical, that remains faithful to the original, and their open-air Aqua Theater show, OceanAria, a highly-choreographed water show featuring high divers and a 17-foot deep pool, the deepest at sea. Disney Dream has a trio of Broadway-style musicals, including Disney’s Believe, with appearances from well-known Disney characters. They also have animated characters in their kids clubs that converse with children, and a ship-wide detective game hosted by Goofy. Disney’s Buccaneer Blast is a fireworks display (the only cruiseline to feature fireworks at sea).

These new ships bring shipboard entertainment to a whole new level. I’ve been on cruise vacations, and have seen some very good entertainment while onboard. It’s part of the charm of a cruise…I can be wined and dined without having to worry about parking or the weather outside. I can eat dinner, and then make my way to the theater early enough to get a good seat. With these new shows available, I can now make my reservations in advance, and be assured a seat. I can be wowed by Broadway production shows…or feats of daring by high-diving entertainers. Young children can be entertained by family-friendly stage shows, or play detective with Goofy.

Whether it be the most spectacular production show, most kid-friendly entertainment, most eye-popping entertainment, or the biggest party at sea, in the end, we all win. We win because we have a choice. We don’t have to watch the same show we’ve seen in the past. The old Broadway Revue shows are now put on notice…entertain us…step your entertainment up a notch, or we’ll go where the shows are. We’ve seen the best, and will accept nothing less. A client of mine recently returned from a cruise vacation aboard the Celebrity Solstice. He raved about the food, the service, the ship, it’s amenities, the spas and restaurants. He was excited…until he told me about the entertainment. He said he was extremely disappointed with Celebrity…and had seen better high school musicals. Ouch…that hurts. Celebrity will need to invest in their entertainment budget if they want to attract repeat clients, as second rate entertainment doesn’t cut it with consumers. There are too many other cruise lines out there competing for your business, and the bar has been raised. Expect to come home from your cruise on these new ships entertained and wanting more.

Patti Maxwell

Galavant Travel


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