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01.06.2011

Blue Man Group on Epic
Best cruise show ever?

New Epic Performers
Norwegian Epic is "the ship for Epic entertainment" as far as I am concerned - the best at sea. Ironically, it is also the least traditional "cruise ship entertainment" you will find. The reason is NCL's use of independent and established outside production companies rather than developing the entertainment "in-house." This means you get world-class shows on Epic, with nothing "cruise ship" about them.

One of the better shows I have seen on Epic may surprise you. It is "Legends at Sea," a collaboration NCL created with the Las Vegas company "Legends in Concert." The idea is not unique - you have talented tribute artists doing portrayals of famous performers in concert. But what makes this show much bigger than the concept is the top down production "Legends in Concert" puts into these shows for NCL.

Norwegian Epic swaps out the featured artists every four months, but each "Legends" troupe travels as a group, so the entire ensemble of tribute artists, plus the backup band and background singers and dancers also get changed every four months. What you see is a complete show polished to perfection long before it reaches the ship. Most cruise lines hire singers who bring musical charts with them and the onboard band gets one rehearsal of the music before the show.


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The "Legends" show I saw on my Norwegian Epic cruise last summer was outstanding - for reasons well beyond the portrayals of the lead performers. The show felt like an actual concert by each one of the stars they portrayed - including the backup dancers for Madonna and the great backup singers for Elvis. If you know entertainment, you know both of those supporting roles for the original artists have very high standards. Those standards are reflected in the "Legends at Sea" tribute shows - not just another cruise ship show, but outstanding entertainment that will appeal to people who really know and appreciate what talented people can do when they work together for a long period of time.

Epic's Legends at Sea changes acts about every four months. The first stint featured tributes to Tina Turner, Elvis and Madonna. That was followed by the second troupe that is currently offering Michael Jackson, Rod Stewart and Britney Spears.


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Just announced - the new lineup arriving January 22 will feature Aretha Franklin, Janet Jackson and Neil Diamond. The line up always tries to provide a variety of artists to appeal to different age groups. This particular lineup seems a little light on my favorite Rock 'n Roll, but I am willing to keep an open mind and believe the talent of the performers will make this a great show even if the artists in tribute are not my personal favorites. Rock & Rollers like me will also get a kick out of the "Howl at the Moon" stage shows where "dueling pianos" play most of the popular songs from every decade since the 50s.

In addition, Norwegian Epic also has "Fat Cats" which features blues music on a nightly basis. It has the same house band nightly, but this is not just a cover band for dancing, it is a stage show where very accomplished blues players strut their musical stuff set after set.

Comedy is not forgotten. The ship also features a troupe from the famous The Second City comedy group from Chicago. These veteran improv comedians have been working for years all over the country and on various NCL cruise ships since 2005. Don't forget that Norwegian Epic also has Blue Man Group, one of the most popular shows in Las Vegas and New York City.


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The key to the epic entertainment on Norwegian Epic is authenticity. The shows you see on Norwegian Epic are provided by established entertainers who do the same shows on land as you will see on the ships. Typically you would pay a lot of money to see these shows on land, however, on NCL there is no added charge for any show unless it also involves serving a meal.


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The only dinner show featured nightly is called "Cirque Dreams and Dinner." The "cirque-style" show did not received rave reviews when it debuted, but it has now been on the ship for awhile and my guess is that it has been tightened up. Hopefully, some of the interminable, fake-accent dialogue has been cut, and some of the better circus-style acts have been moved towards the start of the show. At over two hours, with a rambling and needless plot nearly impossible to follow, watching this show can be a feat of endurance if this is not your thing.

The show's producers, Cirque Dreams in Pompano, Florida, are well established and veteran show people. The circus style acts of tumbling, balancing strong men, tight rope walking and trapeze gymnastics are impressive. All they needed to do was cut the jibber-jabber to make this a great show.

Discuss Epic Entertainment - New Legends Performers here.

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new feature articles

Recognizing A Luxury Cruise
While all cruise line's advertising, at some time, will refer to themselves as a "luxury cruise", it's a simple process to determine, and recognize a true "luxury cruise" from all the other pretenders. blue arrows

Splendor Fire: Troubling Revelations
In a nutshell, the automatic fire suppression system didn't work. The crew saved the ship with fire hoses and handheld extinguishers. blue arrows

Weird 2010 Cruise Stories
Weird passenger tricks lead to odd cruise news for 2010. Strange cruise news and other tales from the past year in cruising. blue arrows

Reader Review: Ruby Princess
The Ruby Princess was very good overall. Every venue and all the staff were excellent. blue arrows

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NEW CRUISEMATES CRUISES!

Let's Get Lei'd 5.0
We're doing yet again - for the fifth time (because these cruises do so well) - We are going to Hawaii on a Princess ship, this time the mega-Sapphire Princess. We sail from Los Angeles and return to the same. Eight days at sea and five beautiful ports of call - four of them in Hawaii, plus Ensenada. February 26, 2011.

Allure of the Seas
Join your CruiseMates on the newest world's biggest cruise ship on October 2nd, 2011, on the sister ship to Oasis of the Seas slated to debut in early December of 2010. We have great prices and plenty of onboard fun in store for you!