Norwegian Epic already boasted amazing entertainment - but NCL just added two new blockbusters to the lineup.
NCL had already announced an incredible array of entertainment for Norwegian Epic, the new flagship for Norwegian Cruise Lines set to debut in May, 2010. But with the two additional shows just announced last weekend, NCL has really raised the entertainment bar.
We already knew the blockbuster stage hit Blue Man Group will be a regular feature onboard Norwegian Epic. They also have Cirque Dreams and Dinner and an original Second City improvisational comedy troupe scheduled as regular revues on the ship. But last week they added Legends in Concert, the longest running tribute show in history - having played to rave reviews on shore for 25 years - and Howl at the Moon, a rock and roll themed audience participation show with dueling baby grand pianos.
The quality of the production shows on Norwegian Cruise Line has always impressed me, but these entertainment innovations, along with Royal Caribbean licensing the Broadway show Hairspray for its new flagship, Oasis of the Seas, imply that cruise ship entertainment is finally becoming competitive with land-based stage shows - shows which normally carry a ticket price as high as $100 per person. The difference is that on these cruise ships the shows are still included in the price of the cruise; the one exception being Cirque Dreams and Dinner, which will carry a small $15 cover charge but does include a premium dinner along with the entertainment.
Similar to the system already in place for Oasis of the Seas, NCL will also have the ability to pre-book reservations for these stage shows at the NCL.com web site in advance of your cruise.
NCL says all entertainment provided aboard the Norwegian Epic will be family friendly. One thing is certain; we have never seen the quality and variety in cruise ship entertainment of shows like this on cruise ships before. You could describe these innovations as the "next generation" of cruise ship entertainment which is fitting for the next generation of cruise ships both Norwegian Epic and Oasis of the Seas represent - both set to sail into service soon.
Because of the complexity of the entertainment programming, NCL has created a new management position for the Norwegian Epic, an "Entertainment Director" who will oversee all entertainment venues, shows, and even children's programs. In the past the cruise director carried the managerial duty for all of the entertainment options onboard a cruise ship. But in the case of Norwegian Epic, which also has several nightclubs in addition to these stage shows, there is simply too much for one person to manage.
The new Entertainment Director for Epic is Simon Murray. The NCL ship will also have a Cruise Director to serve as the "face of the cruise" - introducing the shows and serving as the official host for most public events onboard, but a name has yet to be announced.
With the exception of specially organized theme cruises, it is rare for anyone to say they booked any cruise primarily for the onboard entertainment. However, with the innovative entertainment to be presented regularly on every cruise onboard Norwegian Epic, as well as Oasis of the Seas, that concept just might be changing for the first time in cruise history.
A summary of stage shows to be offered aboard Norwegian Epic:
Legends in Concert (newly announced) Legends in Concert is a 45-minute live musical presentation with three tribute performers who look and sound uncannily alike the celebrity stars they portray. The "legendary" stars pay tribute to include Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Tom Jones, Tina Turner, Garth Brooks, Rod Stewart, Cher and Shania Twain among others. According to Brian Brigner of the "On Stage Entertainment" production company bringing the show to Epic, the most popular tribute is no surprise; Elvis Presley.
Legends in Concert will be staged in the Epic Theater three different nights during each 7-day cruise with two shows performed per night. The show will also be presented cabaret-style in the Manhattan Room, the ship's New York City-themed supper club, on three nights per cruise. This will be the first time in more than a decade that Legends in Concert has been produced at sea, and the lineup onboard Epic will change every four months to keep the show fresh.
Howl at the Moon (newly announced) This high-energy show will be performed four times per cruise in the onboard comedy club Headliners. Each night will offer four different sets, each one an hour long. Howl at the Moon features two "dueling" pianists playing two baby grand pianos simultaneously, and is an audience participation show. If this show is anything like the dueling piano shows I have seen on land the audience becomes a big part of the show by cheering on their favorite "duelist" - shouting out, dancing, howling and just generally getting crazy.
The music will range from 70's rock to hip-hop, or as NCL told us, from Billy Joel to Snoop Dog. Howl at the Moon is an established production with multiple locations in the United States.
Blue Man Group Blue Man Group is known for their unique combinations of music, comedy, and multimedia, which come together in a truly surreal performance. They will present eight shows per cruise with each show lasting 75 minutes. Blue Man Group will perform in the Epic Theater.
Cirque Dreams and Dinner Imagine your dinner wine being served by an acrobat descending from a rope, or your napkin being placed by a contortionist. This is just part of the show presented by Cirque Dreams and Dinner. This program will take place in the Spiegel Tent, which is a "big top" at sea with seating for 265 guests. The interactive theatrical dining experience will be performed as dinner courses are served, with music and acrobatics. There will be twelve dinner show performances per cruise with two seatings per night. The show and dinner will last two hours. Seating times will be 5:30pm and 8:30pm. The cover charge is a very reasonable $15 per guest.
Second City This 280-seat Headliners' Comedy Club will feature the famous Second City comedy troupe, originally established in Chicago, which produced such legendary comedians such as Bill Murray, Gilda Radner and John Belushi. The ensemble will perform a comedy revue of satirical skits customized for the Norwegian Epic twelve times per cruise with shows lasting 45 minutes.