It’s been an epic week since my last blog, with the joy of the Royal Wedding over in the UK on Friday night, capturing the attention of millions of people across the globe, then the historic news about the demise of Osama Bin Laden yesterday….it’s been hard to catch your breath!

But amid all the news and excitement, I wanted to write this week about something dear to the hearts of many cruise fans – entertainment.

What piqued my curiosity was several bits of cruise news relating to onboard shows and entertainment, including the launch of Carnival’s new Fun Ship, Magic, in Italy on the weekend. According to Carnival, this 130,000 superliner will boast some of the more spectacular shows at sea, including solo singers and comedians, to live bands and audience participation performances.

In the 20-odd years I have been cruising the high seas I have seen a gamut of entertainment. I saw an adult comedian on one cruise ship years ago who literally had his audience rolling in the aisles and crying with laughter. And on Regent’s Seven Seas Mariner a few years ago, I was mesmerised by an amazing guitarist who could play everything from classical Spanish to Led Zep (if you’re reading this somewhere on the high seas Ron, hi from Ben and me!).

Conversely, I have also seen some of the worst entertainment imaginable at sea, from poor quality dancers and average singers, to badly constructed shows which a class of six year olds could have executed with more grace and skill. Like many areas of cruising, however, entertainment has changed. Just as we are not all forced into two sittings of dinner in the same dining room night after night, we don’t have to sit through the same old, same old when it comes to nighttime performances.

Royal Caribbean is not only showing animated movies in 3-D at sea, but doing it when the movie in question is still on in theatres on land. Not to mention offering special VIP packages for families, including priority seating in the on board theatre and goodie bags. The line also has a full production of Saturday Night Fever on board, for anyone who wants to tap their toes and reminisce the days of John Travolta’s white suit and the 1970’s.

Cunard values its entertainment so highly that it has created its own troupe of performers, P&O has circus acts on board it’s Australian ships to wow cruisers, and Regent has a Cirque du Soleil-esque show exclusive to its ships.

Of course entertainment means different things to different people and isn’t all about big production shows. For some it can be entertaining to go to a cooking class, meet a celebrity chef and try your hand at creating one of his signature dishes – that’s commonplace on a lot of cruise lines today such as Holland America. Or you can learn the ins and outs of using an ipad on Celebrity Eclipse, or relive your youth by “renting” an electric guitar on Norwegian Epic to strum away in the privacy of your stateroom.

Entertainment has certainly come a long way in the past five years, let alone the past decade, and it makes me wonder: what’s next? Fashion shows with professional models? (I bet a Victoria’s Secret event would draw big crowds, mainly men of course!). A live sport on board, such as a short tennis championship? And for the locals, what about cane toad racing or virtual Melbourne Cup?

Either way it’s pretty incredible what can keep you busy and amused at sea these days, and for some people it’s a big deal when they are looking at booking a cruise on a particular ship. So next time you are thinking about a high seas holiday keep this in mind; while some ships have entertainment options coming out of their ears, other are more quiet and low key. And if you are a person who likes the bright lights, do your research so you won’t be bored on sea days….or take a good book! Happy cruising!