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Paul Motter June 13th, 2003 02:22 PM

Las Vegas-style production shows
"Las Vegas-style production shows"

This is the new "catch-phrase" on cruise ships. I rarely heard ships refer to Las Vegas as their model in the past, it used to be Broadway. But on my last cruise even my Indonesian waiter who has never been to Las Vegas asked us if we were going to the "Las Vegas-style production show" after dinner.

Anyway, one thread in this message board has been that one thing lacking in these shows seems to be genuine talent. They spend a lot on glitter -- lights, video, sets, lasers, etc. They also pay the producers a lot to write and score the shows. But they always want to skimp on the talent.

Here are some comments:

"Instead of spending millions on fancy special effects they should spend the money to hire top-notch writers to create an original show, and top-notch performers to bring it to life. Honestly, I think people would book a cruise on that line just to see such a show."

"The lights , smoke and "mirrors" of a Las Vegas type review often cover up for mediocre talent. Frankly I'sd rather see less but get more. By this I mean I would rather hear the two (out of 4 ) singers who are truly good."

There are people out there who do like the shows, however:

" We took our first cruise last week on the Carnival Celebration. This is all I can relate my expierence to. I completely enjoyed the shows. Never missed one. I thought the dancers and singers were superb. "

" Over the past 5 years we have sailed Carnival, NCL and Celebrity. We generally go to the shows. The absolute best was Christopher Alan Graves on Carnival. "

[note: Graves is in the show "Wonderful World" on Triumph which I cite as the best show I have seen in my article.

One thing that stands out is that Carnival seems to get the highest marks for entertainment, though Royal Caribbean definitely deserves a mention. Among the luxury lines, Crystal gets the honors. They have bigger casts than the other lux ships, and they also just added all kinds of new ideas to onboard activities - more lectures, computer classes, dance classes, educational activities for children. I think these are all excellent ideas.

SKy October 10th, 2003 10:19 PM

Re: Las Vegas-style production shows
I totally agree.If they really want a good show, they should also hire the best. Even if it's only two people on stage if they are good, I think they be enough to satisfy the eyes of the audience and to wow them. But for some reason they always think that the more people onstage the better.They also keep announcing all the big shows on th P.A system over and over again and when people watches them they only get dissapointed because it's not what they are expecting. And they should also think of something else to show the cruisers. I am a singer on one of the big company cruise line and all there shows are so much alike. We have to learn the same songs just like what we play on the last ship. I mean if people cruises from ship to ship under the same company, they don't wanna see the same shows over and over again. I think that every single ship under the same company should have different shows. Otherwise there is no difference on the etertainment from the last ship they were on. There is no point of watching it.It's the same anyway.

Mel October 12th, 2003 01:43 PM

Re: Las Vegas-style production shows
In reference to your "Las Vegas show" observation, could it be that more people travel to Vegas than New York and that many are exposed to the shows there? It is the number one adult destination in the US. Also, Las Vegas tends to be glittzy and the on board shows resemble this glitz as well. New York has not added any new theaters to speak of, but the hotels being built in Las Vegas, all have ellaborate show rooms. By the availability to sheer numbers alone, this nomenclature is begining to appear in entertainment venues eveywhere.

Paul Motter October 28th, 2003 03:15 PM

Re: Re: Las Vegas-style production shows
Yes, Las Vegas probably is more of a hub for entertainment now for the travelewr than Broadway is...

But the fact that the phrase "Las Vegas-style Production Show" has become part of the waiter's vocabulary I believe is more a reflection on the mentality of the people creating the shows on board than it is the waiter's own experience with American entertainment.

Paul Motter October 28th, 2003 03:16 PM

Re: Re: Las Vegas-style production shows

If you recognize it then we know it is true.

How hard is it for an entertainer to get motivated to perform when you know the material is so lacking of originality? Not very inspiring, I'm guessing.

Frequent Cruiser May 19th, 2004 12:04 PM

Re: Las Vegas-style production shows
We prefer Broadway to Vegas-style productions.

carla de kelaita lombardo June 24th, 2004 05:56 PM

Re: Re: Re: Las Vegas-style production shows
Dear Captain Motter,
your observations are
very interesting.
I have in my hands the right solutions
for the entertainment on the ships.
I am the daughter of the late composer
Carlo Lombardo.My father in connection
with other great name in the music
theater field,composed many operettas
and musicals well known and playd all
over Italy and Europe,with great success. My father composed his work,starting around the 1920,up to
the late fifty .
My father has been defined by the expert: "precursore dei tempi",meaning
that his work so fresh and bubbly was also meant for future times.
......And so happen to be really true!
His operettas receive allways standing
I am sure that selections of his work will be just the ideal for your audience.
I will inform the main office in Milano
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to have all the indications regarding how to proceede.
P.S. The artist that we'll propose
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Thank you for your time,and please accept all the best wishes!
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Stacy July 29th, 2004 01:12 PM

Re: Las Vegas-style production shows
"Among the luxury lines, Crystal gets the honors."

I wouldn't consider it an honor to be compared with Crystal's entertainment (singers and dancers). I just came back from a cruise on Serenity (12 day Med) and the shows were, well... pathetic, uninspiring and boring. There were 8 "dancers" and two singers. The female vocalist was excellent. The rest were, compared to previous Crystal cruises and many other lines, just awful. We couldn't begin to understand the male vocalist. I felt like I was at a teen dance recital. If it wasn't for the one singer, we wouldn't have gone to any of the shows. Not once did we get that toe tapping, "can you believe this?" feeling. I found myself checking my watch to see how much longer it could last...

f1luvr August 11th, 2004 04:50 PM

Re: Las Vegas-style production shows
I agree - I'm not a fan of the (main show) entertainment on the cruises I've been on thus far. I go to most of the shows (mainly because my first 3 cruises were as a single - what else would I do?) but I don't really enjoy them - the exception was on the Jubilee when the band played big band music for dancing before one of the formal nights.

My problems with it are that it's cliched and too middle-of-the-road for me. The Broadway/Las Vegas revues are probably fine, but honestly I think Broadway and Las Vegas do a better job. How about actually staging a real, complete musical? I know, lots more work, effort, but it'd be nice to see. The magic shows/jugglers are enjoyable as is - don't think anything needs to be done here. As for singers/bands, why not have theme nights? Jazz/blues one night, pop/rock one night, country/bluegrass/folk one night, classical (well-known arias, segments of masses/requiems) one night. Basically, mount some more ambitious productions - less emphasis on the PRODUCTION actually and more emphasis on the PRODUCT. I'm sure that most passengers have a long enough attention span to sit through an entire concert vs hearing "highlights" of Broadway shows and standards.

hcat August 16th, 2004 06:37 PM

Re: Las Vegas-style production shows
MOst of what we've seen on Royal & Celeb are worse than high school plays--dancers who are clumsy & singers who can't sing...would rather have the talent than the gliltz. On our last cruise there was a violinist that made me cry for what she did to such a fine instrument!

talfonso May 21st, 2010 08:51 PM

I mostly agree, and production shows are very much my favorite cruise ship feature. The least favorite to me has to be the ones on the Celebrity Century (the adage duo was great, BTW). I agree with you on Carnival, although I favor Disney's shows too (despite lacking a showband to accompany the show, but that's perfectly fine as long as I'm a Disneyphile). June 11th, 2010 12:43 PM

Let's create something new!
I Paul! Couldn't agree more! I was a dancer onboard many lines from Crystal Cruises and Holland America to Royal Carribbean for over 10 years. I've had to do more Broadway and Las Vegas reviews than I care to mention. As a choreographer and show designer now, I think the lack of talent (especially vocal) has alot to do with two things.....One, the audition locations producers choose. Some major cities they choose are filled with alot of empty talent while some looked over cities like Salt Lake have incredible young vocal talent because they are vocally trained from a young age as part of the culture in school and church quite frankly.....the voices rock! Two, the lines don't pay the onboard entertainers enough to attract top notch talent who expect to get paid their worth!

Relating to your comment on original concepts: I have a few concepts you may be interested in. It's time people took a cruise just see an original show only at sea! And I promise no Broadway songs or retracks from pop stars.........Tee Hee!
Bridget Metcalfe

CruiseSC June 18th, 2010 10:30 PM

Vegas style
I love the shows onboad. I usually go straight from dinner to the showroom to get a good seat down front. I sometimes see both the early and late show.

If you spend much time in Vegas you'll find that the typical Vegas show today differs so greatly from the old school productions that new cruisers might be confused by the comparison of shipboard entertainment to Vegas.

I like the t*ts and glitz style that was the Vegas norm during the rat pack years. Few Vegas shows today would fit the definition of "Vegas style production." The top shows in Vegas at the major hotels are now Cirque du Soleil shows or are in the cirque style.

astor<3 September 2nd, 2010 12:04 AM


Originally Posted by Paul Motter (Post 565869)

If you recognize it then we know it is true.

How hard is it for an entertainer to get motivated to perform when you know the material is so lacking of originality? Not very inspiring, I'm guessing.

I don't know what cruise line Skye is working for, but I don't feel that way at all. I have never repeated a show, unless i go back to a ship for a specific show and even then they change from contract to contract.

The discouraging thing is to read the negativity on here after spending a month and a half in pure rehearsal and rehearsing every week for the guest and to know it isn't appreciated.

I have never seen an issue of motivation because of lack of originality in the shows (they are actually quite original), but rather the fact that we reherse once a week and preform twice a week every show we do for six months straight.

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