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That’s Cruise Entertainment!

By Linda Coffman

Hard to imagine, but in the early years of cruising, shipboard entertainment consisted of little more than poetry readings and recitals that exhibited the talents of fellow passengers. Those bygone days of sedate card games in the gentlemen’s smoking lounge have been replaced by lavish casinos pulsating with activity. Sequined and feathered showgirls strut their stuff on stage amid special effects unimagined by our seagoing forebears.

Notes a hapless tap dancer, “the stage moved up & down!”

Old traditions die hard, though, especially at sea. For those who yearn for a return to simpler times, there’s an enduring form of entertainment—the Passenger Talent Show.

Whether it’s relegated to a late-afternoon interlude between Bingo and dinner, or a featured evening highlight, the Passenger Talent Show is often a “don’t miss” production. From pure camp to stylishly slick, what passes for talent is sometimes surprising but seldom boring. 

What type of act do you need to appear on stage? Polished lounge singers often anticipate a turn at the mike by bringing along their own taped accompaniment, while others make do with the ship’s full orchestra lending a hand. Just a few memorable past performances include a young girl in a pageant-style gown singing a show-stopping rendition of I Will Always Love You; dancers in World War II era finery jitterbugging to Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy; and a group of Californians performing a hysterical skit to The Lion Sleeps Tonight.

Stand-up comedy is generally discouraged; however, passengers who want their performance skills to be considered should answer the call for auditions and plan to rehearse the show at least once. If you’re a dancer, it might be worth noting that stages at sea tend to be less than perfectly stable. Notes one hapless tap dancer, “When we rehearsed, the ship was docked and everything was fine. Then we sailed before the show and the stage moved up and down!”

Children are often called upon to perform in passenger talent productions.  During cruise camp they practice skits that highlight amazing creativity and present photo opportunities for their proud parents. And, not to be outdone, your ship’s crew might present a show featuring the music and culture of their homelands.

If you find the show lounge stage a bit intimidating, but still want to perform, look for the ever-popular karaoke in a more intimate lounge setting. Singing along in the piano bar is another shipboard favorite. For competitive spirits, your ship may even have auditions for such events as lip-synching and dancing as a music legend on Carnival Cruise Lines. Princess Cruises offers the opportunity to unleash your inner-American Idol in Princess Pop Star.

Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Polish up your dancing shoes, pack your background CD music, and prepare to be a star at sea.

That’s Entertainment!


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