Cruise lines’ entertainment offerings have improved significantly in recent years. Today, they include stage shows in their main theaters and often cast talent from Broadway touring companies. In addition, the costumes, sets, and lighting are now much closer to what guests would see in major land-based musicals. Here, some of the best productions at sea:
“Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular”
Ship: Disney Fantasy, Disney Cruise Line
What’s it about? Adults, as well as kids, can enjoy the story of the “street rat” of Agrabah as he meets a genie, battles evil Jafar, and finds love with Princess Jasmine.
What to Expect: Broadway has its own version of this Disney classic, but Disney Fantasy has been showing this stage version of the animated Disney film “Aladdin” since the ship’s debut in 2012. Many of the songs from the film are part of the show, including “Whole New World,” and the impressive scenery and costumes won’t disappoint.
Ship: Oasis of the Seas, Royal Caribbean International
What’s it about? It’s the story of super-positive, plump teen Tracy Turnblad, who wins a spot on a local TV dance program and shows how change is possible despite prejudice.
What to Expect: The Broadway show that earned eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, has been trimmed to 90 minutes. Original costumes, sets, and music add to the high-energy production.
Ship: Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Cruise Line
What’s it about? Based on the movie, the musical tells how Elle Woods follows her love to Harvard Law School and learns that blondes have more fun when they’re smart.
What to Expect: The seven-time Tony Award-nominated Broadway musical has been shortened to fit into a 90-minute format, but the upbeat music and message prevail.
Ship: Carnival Breeze, Carnival Cruise Line
What’s it about? If you love the music of Motown, this 30-minute show packs a lot into its tribute to the Motor City.
What to Expect: The rhythm and blues hits of the 60s and 70s — such as “Baby I Need Your Loving,” “Respect,” and “Dancing in the Street” — get the audience dancing in their seats. The show is part of Carnival’s Playlist Productions, which combine live performances with high-tech LED staging and special effects.
“Colors of the World”
Ship: Royal Princess, Princess Cruises
What’s it about? This 36-minute show depicts Princess’s worldwide destinations via song, dance, and innovative technology. The production shows the destinations via an LED media wall providing a cinematic feel.
What to Expect: The show was choreographed by Liz Imperio, who is the creative force behind Jennifer Lopez. It’s an eclectic production: The triple-threat cast sings in different languages and dances many styles, such as the Argentine tango and the Japanese warrior stick dance.