Saturday, 29 August 2009

Laugh A Long A Carnival!

It’s definitely that time of year. There are new ships on the horizon and we are being bombarded with information and glittering facts and figures about them on an almost daily basis.

Royal Caribbean are giving us regular (large) doses of their forthcoming Oasis of the Seas, fittingly in instalments to go with their weekly ‘webisodes’ on the ship’s own website, providing a growing and in-depth catalogue of everything you ever wanted to know (and some of what you didn’t) about the world’s largest cruise ship.

The drip-feed of info has been so steady and so constant it feels like we know the ship already, even though its official launch is still more than two months way (and we have a full preview of it in the Autumn issue of World of Cruising magazine – out on September 15!).

At the same time, Carnival have been trying to keep up with their first new series of vessel for several years, the 130,000-ton Carnival Dream.

Now, unable to claim it is the ‘biggest this’ or the ‘largest that,’ the world’s largest cruise line have had a harder time coming up with fascinating facts and interesting tidbits to make the public sit up and take notice (kind of hard when they are already reeling from Oasis overkill!).

So instead, Carnival have opted for a more laid-back approach, focusing on the vessel’s new attributes, like the superb Ocean Plaza indoor/outdoorlive music venue, the Seaside Theatre (above) and onboard features, like the line’s widest range dining alternatives, which include a Tandoori restaurant and burrito bar.

Now they have moved full tilt to elaborating about their entertainment offerings, and have hit on a really eye-catching contribution from an old tried-and-trusted formula given a new spin.

The Comedy Club idea has been tried before without taking the cruise world by storm (by Disney Cruise Line, when their Disney Magic and Wonder first came out in 1998 and 1999 and promptly ditched after just a couple of seasons).

But now the Carnival entertainment team reckon they have the approach to make their guests sit up, take notice, and have a right good laugh.

The Comedy Club a la Carnival Dream will utilise the 425-seat Burgundy Lounge and feature six 35-minutes shows over four separate nights on a typical week-long cruise. Comedians will vary from family friendly to adults-only, and feature a wide range of comedy types.

Here’s their press release in full:

MIAMI (August 26, 2009) – Building upon its reputation for offering the most diverse entertainment choices at sea, Carnival Cruise Lines will introduce the line’s first comedy club on its new 130,000-ton Carnival Dream. The club will feature six comedy shows on four different nights during each voyage.

The new 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream – the line’s largest ship – is set to debut Sept. 21, 2009.

Presented in the 425-seat Burgundy Lounge, Carnival Dream’s comedy club will highlight a wide variety of comedians offering both family-friendly and adult-only performances each night.

Six 35-minute shows will be presented nightly, with show times at 6, 7:15, 8:30, 9:45 and 11 p.m., and 12:15 a.m. The last two performances will be R-rated adult-only shows.

Carnival Dream’s comedy club will showcase the talents of both the line’s established comedians and up-and-coming performers, many of whom have appeared on television specials and in comedy venues throughout the country.

“Guests choose a Carnival vacation to relax, laugh and have a great time, and comedy shows are one of our most popular entertainment offerings,” said Roger Blum, Carnival’s vice president of cruise programming. “On the Carnival Dream there will be 24 performances during each voyage, providing guests multiple opportunities to enjoy a highly talented roster of comics providing endless laughs in a fun and entertaining environment.”

Carnival Dream’s comedy club is one of several entertainment options aboard the spectacular “Fun Ship” that will offer guests an unparalleled mix of entertainment and activity choices from early in the morning to late at night.

These include three high-energy revues – “Dancin’ in the Street,” “Get Ready” and “X-Treme Country” – each of which will feature elaborate sets and costumes, state-of-the-art video technology and sophisticated special effects to keep audiences enthralled and entertained.

Offered for the first time on Carnival Dream, Ocean Plaza is a stunning indoor/outdoor café/live music venue with activities and entertainment planned from 9 a.m. until 1 a.m. Here, guests can relax with specialty coffees and sweets while enjoying a variety of live music, from rock and roll bands to a Latin trio, classical pianists, solo singers and more.

Located on Promenade Deck 5, Ocean Plaza will also serve as the venue for activities ranging from scrapbooking classes and trivia contests to karaoke, and art, spa and photo seminars. Jugglers and magic shows also will be presented, while the Fun Force, Carnival’s energetic acrobatic troupe, will amaze guests with their high-flying antics.

Other diversions on Carnival Dream will include solo entertainers along the Dream Street Promenade, a karaoke lounge, rollicking sing-a-longs in Sam’s Piano Bar, steel drum and Calypso bands on Lido Deck and live bands playing everything from rock to Latin to disco. Carnival Dream will also feature Carnival’s Seaside Theatre, a massive LED screen on Lido Deck showing movies, concerts, sporting events and other programming.

Carnival Dream debuts Sept. 21, 2009, with the first of three 12-day Grand Mediterranean cruises operating round-trip from Rome (Civitavecchia), followed by a 16-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Rome to New York Oct. 27 - Nov. 12.

Carnival Dream will operate two eight-day Bahamas/Florida cruises departing Nov. 15 and 23 from New York. The ship will then reposition to Port Canaveral, Fla., for a special nine-day Caribbean cruise departing Dec. 3. Carnival Dream will launch year-round seven-day Caribbean service from Port Canaveral, Dec. 12, 2009.