Cruise Ship Entertainment

Long gone are the days when standard entertainment on a cruise ship simply meant after-dinner dancing to a live orchestra and passenger talent shows. Today cruises  feature fantastic choices that get more thrilling every year, with offerings varying by cruise line and ship. Shipboard entertainment has been elevated with creative shows, unique performance areas and state-of-the-art productions.

High-tech light, music and water shows on the top deck are just some of the unforgettable entertainment enhancements designed to captivate you on your cruise vacation. Innovative technology also includes raising the bar on theater productions, such as a two-story stage with a 270-degree LED projection screen that adds energy and light to shows for one-of-a-kind experience.  State-of-the-art kitchens host cooking demonstrations and classes to tickle the palate of foodies.

Chic lounges provide the perfect setting for all kinds of entertainers – vocalists, comedians, musicians and  karaoke contestants. Some ships have rinks with ice-skating shows! You won’t believe you are at sea as you enjoy incredible spectaculars featuring professional skaters that will astound you with jaw-dropping jumps, lifts and spins.  Laugh until  it hurts at comedy clubs and shows.  Family-friendly performances are early and later in the evening are for adults-only.

Theaters showcase Broadway shows and  Cirque du Soleil-style performances. Water-based acrobatic shows take place at an outdoor pool-based stage area with 30-foot-high diving platforms and will delight everyone in the family.

Dance the night away at discos, many with DJ’s spinning the hottest tunes. Jam out with a variety of musicians and house bands who will perform your favorite songs from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, as well as current selections. Sway to the music until sunrise and participate in unforgettable themed parties. Fun evenings can be spent joining in sing-alongs at the always popular piano bars, where you can request your favorites.

Live music abounds on most, if not all, ships, adding an uplifting ambiance to your cruise vacation. You will be tapping your toes or dancing to a variety of styles including standards, top-40 favorites, reggae, salsa, fun poolside DJs and bands. Chill-out with live jazz and blues performances at a variety of popular venues. You will feel like you are watching the real thing when you watch talented impersonators.

Grab a mic and coax out your inner rock star or country crooner at exhilarating karaoke competitions. Of course, if you’re looking for something a little more low-key, you can relax to the soothing sounds of a string quartet or a harpist.

Movie aficionados, music lovers and sports fans will relish the over-the-top offerings. Some ships provide blockbusters, concerts and live sporting events on a gigantic screen under the stars on the top deck. Extra perks include the comfort of a toasty blanket and popcorn.

Immerse yourself in the IMAX experience taking movie-going to another level. First-run Hollywood features, recent hits and fascinating IMAX documentaries are all more exciting in IMAX.

Special 3D and 4D theaters have amazing  video affects that will make you feel part of the experience — with wind in your hair, a splash of water and seats that make you feel like you are part of the action. Not for the faint-hearted, as your spine tingles with thrills and chills.

Innovative multimedia theaters combine virtual concerts, robotics, aerial shows and video projection to provide technology-enhanced spectacles that will leave you awe-struck as dazzling acrobatic displays take place in the air above your head.

Enjoy dinner and a mystery or magic show whereby passengers are intertwined with the story as a joke-cracking cast mixes in with diners at select restaurants. Strolling musicians and a “stowaway pianist” delight guests as they sporadically appear around the ship with impromptu sing-alongs.

For many, casino games provide an exhilarating level of entertainment. Challenge Lady Luck at blackjack, poker and slots among others. Take a few spins at the roulette wheel and register for exciting tournaments.

These are among the entertainment options available that will make your family’s cruise vacation even more memorable and fun.

For more information on exciting cruise line entertainment choices and cruise deals, visit us at Cruise.com or contact one of our cruise experts at 1-888-776-0659.

A Day on the Mekong River

AmaWaterways Stateroom After so many days traveling we were able to relax and enjoy the AMA Lotus as we sailed down the Mekong River en route to Vietnam. The AMA Lotus carries about 124 guests with a total of 62 staterooms. We had the opportunity to upgrade from a standard cabin to a junior suite. While the standard cabins (226 square feet) are quite nice, the junior suites (290 square feet) are much roomier. The luxury suites (624 square feet) actually have a separate bedroom and two bathrooms. With the exception of the cabins on the lowest deck all of the staterooms offer balconies. The junior suites and luxury suites offer complimentary internet (although service was sometimes limited depending on the location of the ship). Complimentary Wi-Fi could also be accessed in the Saigon Lounge and on the Sun Deck. The feeling of a warm Asian colonial inspired decor complete with wood floors throughout was very fitting with the destination.

Made to Order Pho Soup With such a small number of guests you really get to know your fellow travelers and establish a camaraderie. The Cambodian and Vietnamese staff are simply delightful.
During our day on the river we relaxed in the pool, enjoyed massages, read up on future excursions and caught had the chance to catch up on the blog. They offered a cooking class where you learned how to make traditional Pho (Vietnamese soup) and fresh spring rolls. There is a small gym on board for anyone who felt that the steps of Angkor Wat were just not enough. It was a perfect day to relax and re-energized.

Sun Deck on AmaLotus The cuisine onboard was fabulous. Breakfast and lunch featured a full buffet along with the opportunity to order ala carte options. Dinner options included fresh salads, local seafood and traditional Cambodian and Vietnamese specialties. Complimentary sparkling wine was offered at breakfast and house wine was offered at lunch and dinner. The variety of desserts made the perfect ending to a perfect meal.

Hanoi, the Ascending Dragon

Hanoi Temple of Literature

Our journey began as we departed for Seoul en route to Hanoi, Vietnam. The fourteen hour flights was long but after three movies and a sleeping pill we arrived at our interim destination feeling relatively refreshed. After searching for our connecting flight we found that typhoon Kalmaegi proceeded us and was bearing down on Hanoi. Given the circumstances our flight was cancelled and we got to enjoy an unexpected overnight in Seoul. It worked out pretty well and gave a chance to get over our jetlag before catching a morning flight to Hanoi. After a 4AM wake-up call we regrouped and headed back out to the airport. Destination Hanoi!

Hanoi Street Vendor The first part of our trip was part of an AMA Waterways Mekong cruise tour. Even with the flight cancellations we were met at the airport and transferred the luxurious Sofitel Metropole Hotel. Built in classic French colonial style this property features beautiful rooms and exceptional service. Located in the heart of the city’s French Quarter the Metropole is an oasis amidst the bustling and frenetic city. Hanoi is one of the oldest cities in SE Asia and it just recently celebrated its 1000 anniversary. Hanoi literally translate as “Ascending Dragon”.

Ho Chi Minh MausoleumEven though we arrived a day late, our guides made sure that we got to see most of the highlights of this beautiful city. After checking in we met our group for a motorcoach tour which included Ho Chi MInh’s mausoleum, the temple and Ho Lo Prison. Unfortunately the mausoleum was closed for maintenance so we could only view the exterior as we started to learn about Vietnam’s history. We then went to the Temple of Literature. Established in 1070 and founded to honor Confucius, the Temple of Literature is one of the oldest structures in Hanoi. It is made up of five courtyards and served as a center of higher learning for more than seven centuries. The tour ended a Ho Lo Prison. Ho Lo Prison was first used by the French colonists in Vietnam for political prisoners and later by North Vietnam for prisoners during the Vietnam war. Ho Lo Prison became know to Americans as the Hanoi Hilton.

Hanoi StreetsThe traffic in Hanoi is crazy and after taking a rickshaw ride through the city you may say that it is an understatement . The rickshaw ride was wild. Thousands of mopeds, cars and busses all speeding along in every direction at once with no lights or stop signs and amazingly no accidents. It takes a while to master the art of crossing the street as a pedestrian. The key is to walk slowly across the street without stopping or going backward. Amazingly the traffic simply goes around you. The final part of the tour was to see a traditional water puppet show which tells the story of ancient Vietnamese folklore through vibrant, animated puppets and traditional music.

Our long and exciting day was followed by dinner at a restaurant called Cao Go where we enjoyed a traditional Vietnamese meal overlooking the Hoan Kiem Lake before falling into our oh so comfortable beds back at the Metropole.

Royal Princess, a Majestic New Ship

Royal Princess Cruise An over-water walkway, an amazing bar that goes beyond the side of the ship, a tranquil adults-only retreat with private cabanas on the top of the ship, exciting entertainment, including a light and sound show on the top deck; a live TV studio, a rejuvenating spa, a unique dining experience where you are surrounded by a curtain of light and a magnificent atrium, with a wide variety of fabulous restaurants, chic bars and lounges.

These are just some of the out-of-this-world amenities you will find on the majestic Royal Princess, scheduled to make her debut in June 2013. Innovative and incredible, she will be spectacular, with many unique firsts for a cruise ship, from a cantilevered walkway and bar, to unforgettable dining experiences. Royal Princess has everything you need to “escape completely.”

Fabulous Features

Designed for spaciousness, the “new generation” 3,600-passenger cruise ship will feature many exciting new innovations as well as Princess signature favorites. Some of these include elegant dining rooms, Sabatini’s and Crown Grill specialty restaurants and the nautical-themed Wheelhouse Bar, a comfortable and relaxing watering hole. She will also have the largest top deck pool in the fleet, where a spectacular evening water and light show is given, as well as an enhanced Movies Under the Stars screen, which is 30 percent larger than those on other Princess ships. There is also a morning breakfast show to start your day. Fabulous shopping is offered, plus Youth and Teen Centers, offering a variety of activities for different age groups.

Highlighting the Royal Princess, is the stunning Atrium, called The Piazza, the social hub, with lots of fabulous gathering spots. Designed to give the impression of having floating levels, it features several lounges, bars and casual dining venues. Boasting dramatic back-lit spiral staircases, the spectacular Piazza is the place to dine, lounge and enjoy a variety of entertainment in a relaxing and fun atmosphere. Also conveniently located here, is the International Café, open 24-hours.

Royal Princess Atrium

Extending 28 feet beyond the starboard side of the ship, is the SeaWalk, one of the ship’s most amazing features. A cruise industry first, the 60-foot-long glass-enclosed walkway hovers 128 feet above the ocean and with a glass bottom, for breathtaking views. On the opposite side of the ship is the over-water SeaView Bar, also cantilevered, providing spectacular vistas while you enjoy cocktails and an extraordinary experience. Another popular spot for drinks is Bellini’s, located at the Piazza, an Italian cocktail bar, serving an amazing 75 types of martinis.

An oasis of tranquility, The Sanctuary is an adults-only retreat, boasting luxurious poolside cabanas that magically appear to float on the water, where you can enjoy a message, spa cuisine and a most relaxing experience. Let your cares melt away at The Enclave, a tranquil thermal suite at the spa, with a variety of relaxing and soothing options, such as an herbal steam room, dry heat sauna and hydro-therapy pool.

A unique design with a tropical feel includes pools in the family area separated by and island and surrounded by palm trees. At night, it is magically transformed with special lighting effects creating an amazing water fountain sculpture. A haven for relaxation, Royal Princess also features the Lotus Spa, with 18 treatment rooms, including two fabulous Couples Villas with side-by-side massage tables, a whirlpool bath and a lovely sitting area with fabulous views.

Providing a wide range of activity levels, the Center Court, has basketball, volley ball and tennis. The fitness center boasts treadmills, recumbent bicycles, free weights and a private aerobics studio. Additionally, there is a batting cage, indoor golf driving range, putting green and croquet.

Culinary Choices

Fabulous culinary options are offered from casual poolside eateries to more formal selections, so there is something to meet everyone’s tastes and needs. Royal Princess boasts three elegant main dining rooms, Symphony and Allegro, which also feature the special Wine Cellar dinner experience, where you are served at a circular table with walls lined with wine bottles and also includes a fascinating galley tour. The Concerto, offers an opportunity experience the Chef’s Table Lumiere, a private and amazing dining experience where you are surrounded by a “curtain of light.” Hosted by the Executive Chef, with the table elegantly set with fine china and accessories, an amazing culinary experience awaits.

Royal Princess Dining

Open 24-hours, the International Café at the Piazza, located at a casual eatery serving fresh pastries, warm cookies and scrumptious paninis. Sophisticated and modern, the exquisite main dining rooms not only offer delicious cuisine, but are elegant, designed with inlaid wood resembling gems and jewels. Other culinary delights can be found at the Horizon Court buffet, with a variety of food stations, with such offerings as a Mexican taqueria and a Japanese hibachi. There is also an area for fondue, a first for a cruise ship, as well as a crab shack, for fabulous seafood.

Offering an intimate and romantic dining experience, is Ultimate Balcony Dining. Be served a fabulous meal by your own dedicated staff on your private balcony for an unforgettable experience. Tuscan-inspired Sabatini’s offers authentic traditional Italian cuisine, with a fresh new twist, served a la carte and also boasting a fabulous wine selection. Other favorites include The Crown Grill for fresh seafood and the Wheelhouse Bar, with a nautical atmosphere.

A variety of diverse casual dining choices are also featured on Royal Princess. There is the Horizon Court, with an expanded top-deck buffet; The Pastry Shop, serving freshly baked goodies, plus coffee specialties; Alfredo’s Pizzeria, mouthwatering hand-tossed Neapolitan-style pizza fresh from the oven. Ocean Terrace, a seafood bar, located at The Piazza, serves a wide variety of favorite dishes. Head to the delightful Gelateria for mouth-watering creamy Italian-style gelato, the International Café for fresh pastries, cookies and paninis. The always popular Vines, is a fabulous wine, sushi and tapas bar.

Luxurious Accommodations

Royal Princess stateroom You can experience the utmost of tranquility and comfort in the Royal Princess staterooms, designed to provide a soothing haven. The stunning rooms, in soft tones and contrasting light and dark woods, offer a relaxing and calming home away from home. A fabulous feature is that all outside staterooms on Royal Princess have balconies, an amazing 80 percent of all the ship’s total accommodations.

Also introduced on the Royal Princess, are luxurious pillow-top mattresses and upholstered headboards, plus larger TV screens. An added convenience, are key card slots that also turn lights on and off. Access to the new and stunning Concierge Lounge is available to suite guests.

Exciting Entertainment

Discover fabulous entertainment on Royal Princess, which includes a variety of exciting top-deck venues. The expansive outdoor area comes to life at night when it is transformed into a stage, providing a spectacular sound and light show, with “dancing” fountains shooting water 33 feet into the night’s sky from 85 computerized water jets.

Movies Under the Stars

Afterward, passengers can enjoy the fabulous Movies Under the Stars on a screen 30 percent larger than on other Princess ships. On select evenings, the island is transformed into the Ultimate Deck Party, with a DJ perched on a special balcony. Step from the exciting Princess Casino in to the trendy Club 6 nightclub, a new lounge where you can dance or relax as your drink is prepared tableside.

During the day, there are enrichment programs, fine art auctions, shopping and much more. Exciting evenings offer theme rock n’ roll dances, cabaret performances and fabulous productions at the stunning Princess Theater and the Vista Lounge, featuring alternative shows. The Wake Show will also broadcast a wide variety of shows from the TV studio, including interactive culinary, enrichment and murder mysteries. Crooners is a fabulous lounge, with pianists performing on dueling glass pianos.

Escape completely on the spectacular, innovative and majestic Royal Princess as she sets sail on a variety of Caribbean and Mediterranean cruises.

Paul Gauguin Cruises New Ship: Tere Moana

In December of 2012, Paul Gauguin Cruises will christen a new ship, the m/v Tere Moana. Recently acquired from the French luxury cruise line, Compagnie du Ponant, the small vessel will only carry 90 passengers.

Paul Gauguin Tere Moana

The ship will undergo a major renovation to be completed in December of this year. Tere Moana is slated to set sail on December 29, 2012 on a gala seven-night Caribbean voyage with Paul Gauguin’s chairman Richard Bailey. Moving forward, the vessel will sail 13 itineraries in 2013, specializing in warm-weather destinations. She will deliver unique voyages that the larger cruise ships cannot offer including hidden ports throughout the regions. The ship will spend the summer months in Europe and the winter months in the Caribbean and Latin America. Tere Moana has adventurous itineraries planned including transatlantic voyages, as well as itineraries in the Caribbean, Latin America and nine packages throughout Europe.

Tere Moana will debut a luxurious new look featuring a chic stylish look with Polynesian touches. The multimillion-dollar investment will result in new furniture, upholstery, art, lighting, carpeting, finishes, window treatments, paint, flooring and more. Eight of the 45 staterooms will offer private balconies. All staterooms will include an ocean view, queen sized bed, feather-down duvets, flatscreen TVs and of course spa-like bathrooms. The ship will continue Paul Gauguin’s all-inclusive policy involving gratuities, soft drinks, select wines and spirits and of course the in-room mini bar.

Paul Gauguin Tere Moana Stateroom

Tere Moana will offer two elegant dining options that will feature regionally infused cuisine of the destinations featuring fresh ingredients from the local markets. According to Paul Gauguin,”L’Etoile will showcase an array of specialties, prepared each evening, including culinary creations by Jean-Pierre Vigato, Chef Propriétaire of the two-star Michelin-rated Apicius restaurant in Paris. La Veranda will feature delicious breakfast and lunch dishes with indoor and outdoor dining and will be transformed into a gourmet, reservation-only dining venue nightly.”

Aboard the vessel, the evenings will be full of live piano music, live lectures, and indulgent cocktails. La Boutique will offer apparel, sundries, souvenirs and jewelry. The Deep Nature Spa by Algotherm will offer spa treatments and a brand new state of the art fitness center will be available on board. In select ports, the ship’s watersports marina will offer guests kayaking and paddle boarding.

Paul Gauguin Tere Moana Watersports

“Tere Moana will offer an elegant yet casual ambiance, luxurious accommodations, gourmet dining, trademark Polynesian hospitality, and extraordinary all-inclusive value.”