Rock of Ages on Norwegian Breakaway

| Monday, 02 Jul. 2012

When it comes to selecting talent for its cruise ships, Norwegian Cruise Line gets my vote as one of the best. The line brought Second City, the famous Chicago-based comedy troupe, aboard all its ships back in 2006, and that was just the start of the line's affiliation with proven land-based entertainment production companies. I have a lot of respect for this unique tactical approach to cruise ship entertainment. I think it is much better than the "developed in house" entertainment offered by most cruise lines.

Norwegian's most recently introduced ship, Norwegian Epic, brought cruise entertainment to a new standard by bringing in one of the world's most highly rated performance art shows, Blue Man Group. For the first time ever a cruise line built a purpose-dedicated theater for one show, and took the extra measures to present the full original show in its entire original format. Even better, it is free to the guests onboard, when on land in New York or Las Vegas the same show has a ticket price of close to $100 per person.

Now, to be clear, Royal Caribbean has also brought three different full Broadway shows to a few of its biggest ships. But every cruiser should know such quality in entertainment is the exception rather than the norm. Now Norwegian is in the process of building two brand new ships – and we just got word on the entertainment lineup for the first of those ships, Norwegian Breakaway, set to debut in April 2013. The main showroom presentation will be the musical "Rock of Ages," currently making headlines because the movie version starring Tom Cruise in the lead role of lead singer "Drew" is premiering nation wide this week.

What do you think about the entertainment offerings onboard the Norwegian Breakaway? Talk about it in the Norwegian Cruise Line forum. Rock of Ages is one of the longest running shows in Broadway history. The New York Times called the show, "Absurdly enjoyable! About as guilty as pleasures get!" The musical is based on "classic rock" hit songs of the '80s, featuring bands like Journey, Bon Jovi and Styx. These bands are also called "Hair Bands" because hair spray was also as important to their act as guitars. The hair on these guy got so high that if you put them next to the real housewives of New Jersey you couldn't tell them apart. Rock of Ages appeals to the MTV generation who grew up watching "corporate rock bands" lighting up the airwaves with "power ballads" like "Waiting for a Girl Like You," "Can't Fight the Feeling," and, of course, "Don't Stop Believing."

As a show, Rock of Ages is pretty age specific to people in their 40s and their kids who grew up listening to their parent's music. But that music is still considered some of the best ever recorded, especially since the music industry went downhill with the Internet making it virtually impossible to sell "albums" anymore.

The show, already nominated for five Tony Awards, is one of the longest running shows on Broadway, and according NCL president Kevin Sheehan, "As a lifelong New Yorker, it's critically important to me that Norwegian Breakaway becomes New York's ship. Our goal is to bring elements of New York on board so that guests will feel a real connection to the ship as New York's true flagship"

I have to admit I am impressed with Norwegian's resolve to keep the entertainment onboard Breakaway at "Epic proportions." In addition, Breakaway will also feature Second City Comedy, the "Slim Allen Blues Band" in the Fat City Blues and Jazz bar and the "Howl at the Moon" dueling piano shows. All of these shows are really great, interactive fun

A secondary entertainment venue on Breakaway will be called The Spiegel Tent, the same as on Epic, but on the deck plans it appears to be much larger than the one on Epic, taking up the full width of the ship. That room will also show another attraction similar to one on Epic, the "cirque-based" show "Cirque Dreams and Dinner Jungle Fantasy."

There is already a Cirque Dreams show on Epic, but the one set to debut on Breakaway is an adaptation of the same title the Cirque Dreams people debuted on Broadway in New York in 2008. The show is called "Jungle Fantasy" and it has played to over 3.5 million people in more than 200 cities throughout the United States, as well as thousands of U.S. military troops and their families throughout 10 countries.

The only thing missing from the Breakaway Lineup is "Legends at Sea," the tribute show that also shows in the main theater on Epic as well as the Manhattan Dining Room on certain nights. So far it is not scheduled as part of the Breakaway entertainment lineup. Apparently replacing Legends at Sea is "Burn the Floor" featuring "dazzling ballroom dancing." This will also show in the main Breakaway Theater as well as the Manhattan Dining Room.

According to Norwegian, Burn the Floor "is a groundbreaking show, serving as a melting pot of styles, energy and excitement for today's generation of dancers. It is ballroom "supercharged" and includes all the Ballroom and Latin styles, including The Waltz, Cha Cha, Samba, Salsa, Rumba, Foxtrot, Quickstep, Mambo, Tango, Swing, Jive, Lindy Hop, Viennese Waltz, and Paso Doble. The music is described as "eclectic," from Swing and Waltz classics to J-Lo and Credence Clearwater. Two vocalists perform in many languages including English, Spanish and Portuguese.

Burn the Floor premiered in London in 1999 and toured the US for the first time in 2000 including performances at Radio City Music Hall. After touring a variety of countries, including Japan, Singapore and Australia, Burn the Floor premiered on Broadway in 2009. Originally intended to be a limited run, the show opened to rave reviews in New York and extended its original run into January 2010, performing 193 shows.

What do you think about the entertainment offerings onboard the Norwegian Breakaway? Talk about it in the Norwegian Cruise Line forum.

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