Thursday, 23 January 2014

Would You Pay For A Concert At Sea?

Carnival Cruise Lines have come up with an interesting new twist in onboard entertainment, announcing earlier today their Carnival LIVE Concert Series.

It promises an impressive line-up of rock and pop talent for a one-off concert aboard one of eight of their ships, with the likes of Jennifer Hudson (above, at the New York announcement today of the Concert Series), Daughtry, Chicago, Martina McBride, Olivia Newton-John and REO Speedwagon all appearing.

It is a lot of talent to set before a cruise ship audience and should definitely appeal to fans of the many 1970s and 80s bands being featured.

Each concert will take place in the ship's main theatre on one of 49 dates throughout 2014, at three ports of call, namely Cozumel, Mexico, Nassau, in the Bahamas, and Catalina Island, California. The headline artist will fly in for the show, then leave again the next day as the ship overnights in that port.

So far, so good, and very impressive and forward-thinking. But now comes the kicker - Carnival will sell tickets for each show, at $20-$40, with special 'VIP packages' at $100-$150, with front-row seats and the chance to meet with the evening's artist(s).

And it begs the question - would you pay extra for an evening's entertainment aboard ship?

OK, we already pay a supplement for speciality dining on nearly all ships these days (in the non-luxury segment). But is there room to start charging for the entertainment, too?

Carnival clearly think their audience will go for it and are presenting it as a big breakthrough in sea-going excitement. And, with only a limited amount of seats available for the one-off concerts, it's hard not to think they will have plenty of takers.

In addition to the Carnival LIVE Concert Series, Carnival is also enhancing its popular shipboard house bands. The bands will feature both male and female lead singers, a more choreographed, themed and diverse set list, and increased interaction with guests. Nine Carnival ships currently feature the new bands, with implementation across the full fleet over the course of this year.

Mark Tamis, senior vice president of guest operations for Carnival Cruise Lines, explained: “Onboard entertainment is an important part of the overall guest experience when cruising. With the Carnival LIVE Concert Series, our guests will enjoy an exclusive performance with one of their favourite artists for an extraordinary value. Combined with our enhanced house bands fleetwide, this is just another example of the many ways we are constantly looking to create even more fun and memorable moments for our guests."

The full range of concert special guests is as follows:

38 Special
Gavin DeGraw
Jennifer Hudson
Lady Antebellum
LeAnn Rimes
Martina McBride
Olivia Newton-John
REO Speedwagon
Trace Adkins

Is it the kind of line-up that would have you shelling out $40? We'd love to hear YOUR opinion. 

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