Since this thread was started entertainment has taken on whole new dimentions in cruising.
Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas has licensed Hairspray - a full Broadway show, This is the first time a cruise ship jhas done this. In addition, they have a wonderful Water-based AquaTheater show with acrobatics and professional diving. They also has a onderful ice skating show with Olympic contender performers.
NCL's Epic (may 2010) will have Blue Man Group the theter company that sstarted off-broadway in NYC, took their act to Vegas and on the road and now will be on NCL. NCL also has Second City on most if their ships.
For performing babds, they have gotten much younger abd better on cruise hips over the years, Carnival especially has very good rock bands onboard playing hits from the 60,70, 80, 90s. They also have solo artists like guitar/singers who are not just good singers, they are entertainers and lots of good fun.
IAs a follower of cruise ship talent over the years, as being in showbiz before that, I recall when working on a cruise ship sounded like something someone did when they were giving up, but now, 15 years later, it is now considered a reputable job in show biz (as it always should have been). No, it still isn't the "big time." But it is a steady, well-paying gig where you get to do what you love.
From people applying for jobs on shipsm I hear fewer dancers and singers than ever before are quitting, and it is actually getting harder to get on. The optimum time was probably about 10 - 65 years ago when new ships were coming out all the time.