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You’ve explored the latest port – wandered through ancient ruins and cobbled streets, savoured wafts of exotic spices, filled your mind with fascinating facts on nature, culture and history… Returning to your ship, you collapse into the comfortable mattress and contemplate never getting up again.

There’s a good argument against this.

At numerous venues around your ship, world-class talents are preparing for nightly performances and with outlandish costumes, powerful sound systems, opulent theatre spaces and the latest technological innovations to assist, this is something you don’t want to miss out on.

The Talent

Cruise staff

Talented artists flood the world’s entertainment capitals, like LA, Las Vegas, New York and London, subjected to the whim and fancy of what is a paradoxically harsh industry. Only a small portion of the ‘crème del la crème’ makes the big time; many of the remaining would-be stars make their way onto cruise ships.

Cruise lines either outsource entertainment to production companies or do everything in-house. Singers, dancers, musicians, technicians, choreographers… everybody involved in the shows around the ship are employed as staff on temporary contracts. And for big cruise lines, like Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Lines and Disney Cruise Line, they rarely disappoint.

Guest performers

Cruise lines regularly call upon big names or unusual acts to appear as guest performers on a cruise. From famous comedians and stars of the stage or screen to simply unusual acts, these entertainers will perform solo in the main theatre on nights when a big production isn’t planned or sometimes in a more intimate piano lounge.

One local example is celebrated Australian comedian and illusionist Adam Dean who has been a recent guest performer on P&O Cruises itineraries from Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland.

One-night regional guests

Cruise lines also like to give passengers a taste of the various cultures a ship is visiting, so when a ship docks overnight, regional talent is often called upon to inject a little local flair.

Big Ships, Big Productions

Responding to the changing demographics of passengers, and with a finger on the pulse of Broadway and Las Vegas, big productions and song and dance spectaculars on cruise ships these days are high-tech and world-renowned.

Passengers can delight in the likes of popular land-based productions like Chicago, Saturday Night Fever and Hairspray on Royal Caribbean International’s Allure of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas respectively.  Celebrity Cruises has been wowing passengers with Cirque Du Soleil-style productions and Disney Cruise Line has transformed Disney classics, like Toy Story, into dazzling musical productions.

Small Ships, Small Productions

Whereas small ships once conformed to the expected, using small entertainment budgets to recreate the glitz of mega-ship productions (often with less than favourable results), these days they’re scaling down. Focusing on smaller performances and cabaret shows, these ships now employ high-class talent for intimate theatre experiences.

All those options

Dinner and a show

Cruise lines are also getting creative with dinner entertainment. On Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Epic, for example, passengers can sit down for a meal in a big top-style venue while breath-taking aerialists, acrobats and contortionists perform above and around their tables. Other cruise lines are opting for live bands at dinner, using the restaurant floor as a dance floor, or sometimes there’s the option to watch chefs prepare your meals tableside in exclusive surrounds.

Big screen moments

For passengers pining a simpler escape, moonlight cinemas are now an increasingly common feature on cruise ships. Usually situated on the top deck by the pool, massive LED screens show popular movies while passengers curl up on deck chairs with cosy blankets, popcorn and, best of all, on Princess Cruises’s ships, complimentary warm milk and cookies.

So, no matter how tiring and fulfilling your port stay may be, spending the evening in bed is simply not an option.