Thank you for your response. I expect that you are in the majority here, and I also think there will always be a market for people like you.
Carnival Cruise Lines, for example, has always provided quality food and entertainment at no extra charge. They usually have just one specialty restaurant onboard that may seat 5% of the capacity.
But let me put it to you this way...
Cruise ship entertainment now costs the cruise lines much more than it did 10 years ago. An average cruise ship theater has $1,000,000 in sound & lights where 10 years ago it was $50,000.
Costumes, sets, stage hands and other ongoing fees have also gone up dramatically. This means a better product for you, but you are also paying any more than you did before in the cruise fare. It is inevitable, the cruise line must make up the cost.
There are plenty of examples of places you go where entertainment is extra. Las Vegas hotels. Yes, you are paying to stay in a hotel, but if you want to see the show it costs extra. Having the hotel charge separately for the shows keeps the cost of the room LOWER for you.
If you ever went to go to Las Vegas where would you stay? In a hotel that includes shows and meals, or a regular hotel? Personally, I like the idea of not having to pay extra to supplement the $100,000,000 cirque show they have.
Theme cruises - you are pre-paying a lot extra for whatever the theme of the cruise is. And this is a good example because it is in addition to the regularly scheduled cruise programming.
I am sure there will always be "free" entertainment on ships, but does the option of "alternative shows at a surcharge" sound so outlandish when "alternative dining for a surcharge" is a wholly accepted premise?