Florida’s Carnival Cruise Lines officially entered the at-sea entertainment race Monday announcing the addition of Punchliner Comedy Clubs to all 22 of its ships. Following a recent trend to ramp up entertainment offerings, Carnival is the latest major cruise line to add new programming.
Punchliner Comedy Clubs, popular on the new Carnival Dream since last fall and more recently on Carnival Glory, Carnival Pride and Carnival Sensation, will be added to all ships by the end of the year. Converting all aft show lounges in the fleet will begin immediately with a special stage, branded glassware, menus and employee uniforms. The new venues will offer five 35-minute shows on multiple nights during each sailing with at least two comedians performing each night. Early shows will be more family oriented while later shows will take on a more adult theme.
Carnival has some catching up to do though.
Recently, new Norwegian Epic set a new, higher bar for cruise line entertainment with such offerings as their Cirque Dreams and Dinner show, the Blue Man Group and more answering the call from long-time cruise fans for something more than Bingo and a Vegas-like (circa 1975) production show.
But the trend was already underway when Royal Caribbean International debuted at-sea musical Hairspray on Oasis of the Seas last year adding to a full menu of entertainment options. After the rousing success of Hairspray on Oasis, the line announced it would add musical productions to their Freedom-class ships as well. Continuing on the success of Hairspray, Royal Caribbean will feature Chicago:The Musical on upcoming sister-ship Allure of the Seas .
Cruise lines are raising the bar on children’s programming as well with partnerships announced between Royal Caribbean and Dreamworks and between Norwegian and Nickelodeon. Each line will have it’s own unique onboard offerings ranging from character events to onboard activities.
It will be an interesting trend to watch as cruise lines attempt to further differentiate one brand over another focusing and banking on the specific interests of guests.
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