The ships now have so many options for cruise entertainment that you could never be bored! But not getting caught up in the mass entrances and exits on a big ship will make your vacation even less stressful. We have clues for the entertainment in the big lounges, small lounges and in the Theaters.
There are some of the newest ships that now allow for you to make reservations in advance. This is quite brilliant and very necessary when sailing on the ships carrying over 5,000 passengers. They allow you to make your reservations online before the cruise for the entire week. We love this. We lay out our nights perfectly prior to sailing to make the most of this option.
We book the entertainment first. Then we book our dinner reservations around that. We are then not rushing to make sure we get into a show. Or standing in the overflow line, hoping to get a seat. We have tickets. Know your sailing itinerary before you do this! Think about whether you will be too tired on a port day to go to the midnight comedienne. Or whether on a formal night you would rather be in a big show or outdoors poolside.
The cruise line still holds back 25% of the tickets for those people wanting to wait until they are aboard to make their reservations. But we still suggest you do this on the first day at one of their kiosks aboard the ship, or on the TV in your stateroom. We have never seen anyone not get into a show. But let’s keep your stress down and line waits to a minimum by suggesting you do this.
Cruise Ship Theater
The large theater shows are usually the big entertainment on the cruise. This is where the huge production numbers take place and the guest singers and comedians perform. They usually have four shows on a 7 night cruise. Two headliner shows and two Cruise Staff shows. There is usually a big band behind them which we love! But here’s the truth..sometimes we are just not that into the show we are watching. And since this is our vacation and we want to get the most out of every minute, we have no qualms about leaving and doing something else.
So we like to sit in the balcony so that we can make a great escape without getting heckled by the Comedian, or making a singer feel bad because we are walking out. And truthfully we think these are the best seats in the house! You can see the entire stage, lighting effects and dance numbers without losing any production value. And then if you don’t like the show you simply, unobtrusively sneak out.
Cruise ship lounges
LARGER LOUNGES – The good news is that these lounges are designed to have visibility to the stage from almost everywhere. But if you like to be close to the action go early! You can send one of your party out to scope out the best seat before the crowds show up. Then sit and enjoy a cocktail till the show starts. This is especially true if it is an after dinner show. As soon as everyone finishes dinner the place will fill up and the best seating will disappear.
SMALLER LOUNGES – Don’t miss out on what we actually think is some of the best entertainment on the ship. There are amazing quartets and jazz duos, piano bars and cigar lounges. So often I hear of people who do not find these until the last night. They have followed the crowds to the big shows.
The ships are known for having entertainment to suit a vast array of guests. So you may not be into the big shows and prefer a quiet music environment. Again, read your itinerary and search these out on the first nights. Then if you like the act, you can be sure to catch them again.
These lounges for us are the best getaways when everyone else is in the big shows. We will get a break from the crowds and enjoy a piano bar, or a Jazz Quartet, or an Irish Pub! Then watch what happens to these small lounges when the big shows let out. The crowds won’t get a seat. But you are sittin’ pretty as they say!
Cruise ship itinerary
Keep your daily ship’s entertainment itinerary with you. You never know when you want to switch it up and go to another venue on the ship. If you always have your itinerary with you, you can lounge hop! It is one of our favorite things to do. When we don’t like what is happening in the lounge we are in, we break open the itinerary and move on. There are some ships where all of the lounges are pretty much on the same deck. That is really the best. When we don’t like a song, we go to another lounge and then come back! But if you don’t have the ship’s daily itinerary with you then you end up walking in circles trying to find the fun.
Cruise ship interactive entertainment
Karaoke, dance classes, trivia, and evening ship’s games led by the cruise staff and of course BINGO are the usual ones. If you want in on these, get there early as they fill up fast and the seats disappear. For Bingo you can be guaranteed a spot because they will do it in a huge lounge. But don’t forget the lines to buy cards can be long. For trivia games, which we love to play, the spaces are smaller and the newbies who are just on time end up with no place to sit. If you are hoping to sing at karaoke definitely be there early or you won’t get a spot. And make sure you ask people who are hoarding the karaoke books to share!.
If you get to know the Cruise Staff running the event, you have a lot more fun. Introduce yourself!
Really investigate your itinerary for classes and things you may never have known are on the ship. If you really take time to review the daily itinerary you may find a sunset group walk on the top deck. Or, perhaps an astronomy lesson late at night at the bow of the ship. The ships are adding more and more diverse entertainment and learning opportunities while onboard. You can take a class in digital photography or learn how to play roulette. Almost all of it is free. Ok we admit. We actually dig the napkin folding class. TRUE! You read it here.This is one thing that we use every holiday and remember that we learned it while onboard a ship.
Get your drinks before the show – For any event you are going to, stop at a bar on the way there to pick up your drinks. The bars at the event will be jammed. So we always stop at a nice quiet bar and pick up our drink for the show, or game.
Cruise ship library
One of the most lovely spot on the ships is the library. They are usually beautifully appointed and very peaceful and quiet. And they are usually open 24/7! Just like any library, you can check out a book for use on the sailing. Sometimes there is a human there to sign you out. Sometimes it is on the honor system with a sign out sheet at the door.
They often have a books for trade section. This is where when you are done with one of your own books you brought aboard, you can exchange it for another book that someone else left behind. This is also a great place to leave a book that you have completed if you don’t want to drag it back on a long airline flight. As it is open 24/7, sometimes we sneak in there late at night with a few friends to have a chat in a nice quiet environment. Just be gracious and leave if other guests come in to enjoy their reading time.
Cruise Staff Competitions
Some of the craziest and most fun events at sea are watching the staff compete with each other! Don’t miss it! It could be the Captain and the Cruise Director in a wild basketball game. Or the Chef and the Captain in a cake decorating throw down. It is a moment when you get to see the staff let down their guard and just have fun. It becomes a memory for you that you will always have. The funny thing is they love it as much as the guests do. Knowing many of the staff personally we have come to find out that they plot and plan this all week long! What goes on behind the scenes as they prep is as much fun as the event itself. You won’t see this on the higher end cruises lines where the staff keep a much more formal image. This is reserved for the more relaxed cruise lines that are open to breaking that reserved image.
The ships have all the usual casino machines and tables. And people who are casino aficionados will feel right at home. But for those of you who don’t know how to play black jack, or roulette, or Caribbean poker and more, the ships hold free classes! It is really fun to learn at no risk to your wallet. They also have some fun tournaments for those of you who like to play. But sign up early! These book up fast.
Art auctions on your Cruise ship
Most of the medium priced cruise lines have partnered with an outside company to sell Art onboard the ship at “Art Auctions”. They are always held on the sea days. The art can range from lithographs, prints and serigraphs to sculptures and oils. They will usually offer free champagne to get you to attend.
They are really fun to watch. And you truly do get a lesson in fine art. Do your homework! Don’t get caught in the frenzy of the auction and pay too much. Go ahead of time and scope out the pieces that you would like to bid on. Then spend a few bucks to go on the internet and research the going prices for that piece BEFORE you bid on it! When they say they have only one of that piece it usually means at that moment, or on that ship.
You can negotiate outside of the auction hours for any of the art! This is actually how you may get a better price. Do your research online. Then take it in to them and negotiate. And just like haggling in a market if they don’t budge, walk away. They will almost always come back to you with a better price.