Cruises may be pricey-- but if you love the theater, you may be in for the deal of a lifetime.
Most lines now offer Broadway or Vegas-caliber shows year round. Welcome to the new world of onboard entertainment as cruise lines up the ante with more hi-tech theaters on new ships, and elaborate productions crafted by Broadway veterans, top-tier choreographers, performers, and lighting, staging and scenic designers.
“We’ve seen a truly exciting evolution in onboard entertainment, offering cruisers just as incredible an experience at sea as they’ve come to expect on land," Colleen McDaniel, managing editor of Cruise Critic told FoxNews.com.
Princess Cruises has just announced its second musical production show created in collaboration with Oscar, Tony and Grammy-winning composer Stephen Schwartz. “Born to Dance” pays homage to Broadway choreography and dancers and will debut on the Star Princess this fall.
Younger fans can join the new “Day of Frozen Fun,” aboard Disney Magic and Wonder sailings to Europe and Alaska this summer, complete with a “Freezing the Night Away with Anna, Elsa and Friends,” song-and-dance deck party.
McDaniel notes the biggest trend right now is the use of the latest technology to enhance entertainment venues.
“Whether it’s IMAX at sea--exclusively on Carnival’s new Vista-- or giant screens to bring an entirely new dynamic to traditional shows, cruisers have a lot to be excited about when it comes to new entertainment options at sea."
Here are the don’t miss shows and theaters aboard ships this year:
1. Princess Cruises
“Magic to Do,” the line’s first musical production with Stephen Schwartz, combines optical illusions with some of Schwartz’s most famous songs, like “Defying Gravity” from Wicked and “Magic to Do” from Pippin. You can see it aboard Crown, Emerald and Ruby Princess.
2. Carnival Cruise Line
Vista, which moves to Miami this fall after cruising the Med this summer, has debuted three new high-tech Playlist Production shows combining live performances with LED staging and special effects. A seven-piece band performs classic Latin songs and today’s hits in “Amor Cubano: A Caribbean Dance Romance.” “America Rocks!” features rock anthems, a glowstick-waving crowd and a house band. In “Flick: The Power of Motion Pictures” the main character, Flick, takes the audience on a journey through different famous film songs complete with plenty of illusions and cinematic effects.
3. Disney Cruise Line
“Tangled: The Musical” Stage Show aboard the Disney Magic features original music by Academy Award-winning composer Alan Menken in the stage adaption of the hit animated film. Other Disney ships have different live productions such as “It’s a Malevolent World,” with Disney’s most beloved villains aboard the Disney Dream.
4. Holland America
The new Koningsdam boasts a two-stories-high World Stage main theater features a 270-degree wrap around screen that enable shows to become a mix of music, dance, movies accompanied by guest performers.
5. Norwegian Cruise Line
“For the Record: Brat Pack” aboard the Norwegian Escape is a retrospective of the coming of age 1980s teen films and a big hit. Those aboard Norwegian Getaway now can see “Million Dollar Quartet,” the musical inspired by the famed recording session that brought together Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins for the only time.
6. Royal Caribbean
An all new stage production of “Grease” has just debuted aboard the new Harmony of the Seas, the largest cruise ship afloat. Starting this July, you can also see it on Independence of the Seas. Also aboard Harmony is “Columbus, The Musical!" an original Royal Caribbean production telling the tale of Christopher Columbus’ distant and down-on-his-luck cousin Marvin. The Aqua Theater is a signature venue on the line’s Oasis class ships for acrobatic and high-diving performances—with new acts on Harmony of the Seas.
7. Regent Seven Seas Cruise
The ultra-luxe Seven Seas Explorer--the maiden voyage is July 20-- will have four new productions accompanied by a live seven-piece orchestra. Already getting buzz is “Burn the Floor” which takes the audience back to Feb. 9, 1964 with the Beatles first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show.
Ready to rock and book?
Eileen Ogintz is the creator of the syndicated column and website Taking the Kids. She is also the author of the ten-book Kid’s Guide series to major American cities and the Great Smoky Mountains. The third-edition of the Kid’s Guide to NYC has just been released.