Cruise lines are looking for new, different and exciting entertainment options to keep passengers occupied at night. Some have added Broadway shows, others offer interactive audience participation programming, all focused on their target audience and what they want. Celebrity Cruises took a look at what their passengers are looking for in the way of late-night entertainment too. The result: Sin City Comedy.
If the thought of “Sin City” has you thinking raunchy, tasteless entertainment that we might not see from the (normally) upscale Modern Luxury line, think again.
Described as, “funny and a little bit sexy,” Sin City Comedy will tap comedians with tasteful acts for the late-night show offered on Celebrity Reflectionand CelebritySilhouette, rotating to Celebrity Solstice in May, said Celebrity Cruises in a recent statement.
Actually a product of Sin City Comedy at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, the cruise line version of the show will mimic a two-time winner of the Best of Las Vegas award.
Surprised? Remember, this is the same cruise line that sports a sea-view shower in its top end Reflection Suites. Those allow passengers to bare all to the world but come with an option to turn glass from transparent to frosted to reveal less.
Celebrity’s Sin City Comedy shows are presented at varying late-night time slots in the Celebrity Central venue on Celebrity Reflection and Celebrity Silhouette. 18 and older please. Thank you.
Each cruise line seems to have its own focus and Celebrity Cruises is no exception. On board their “Modern Luxury” ships, Celebrity Cruises chefs create relevant, unforgettable dining experiences.
To take that message to New York City, perhaps to those who have never sailed before, Celebrity is coming to town with a pop-up restaurant featuring favorites from their onboard menus along with items that reflect the culinary feel of Manhattan.
Celebrity’s own James Beard-featured chef, John Suley, will be on hand for the event, which is open to the public with advance reservations.
To be held at The Kitchen NYC on January 29, 31, and February 1, 2013 for lunch ($40) or dinner ($75), the fresh-from-scratch meal also includes the services of master mixologist Junior Merino, aka The Liquid Chef, on hand with special (and included) concocted libations. Proceeds from ticket sales will support the Celebrity Cruises Scholarship at The Culinary Institute of America, with a $10,000 donation guaranteed. Attendees will also be entered to win a Caribbean cruise for two on a Celebrity Cruises ship. Reservations are available from noon to 1 p.m. for lunch and 5:30 to 8:45 p.m. for dinner at celebritycruisespopupnyc.eventbrite.com.
Celebrity Cruises is upping the ante when it comes to cruise commodes by adding a new level of luxe to their ship Celebrity Reflection. The new ship’s 1,636-square-foot Reflection Suite, the ship’s first two-bedroom option, will not only feature a private 194-square-foot veranda but also a glass enclosed shower that juts out over the ship’s hull.
It’s not the line’s first sea-view shower (all of the ship’s Reflection Suites have those) but will be the first to include this shower-over-the-sea, complete with option to turn glass from transparent to frosted with a flick of a switch for extra privacy.
“We made a big investment in ensuring our guests can enjoy the shower entirely free of any concerns of being seen,” said Lutoff-Perlo, Celebrity’s senior vice president of hotel operations in a release. “We even went so far as to install a special sensor, so if guests prefer, the glass can be automatically transformed for them.”
Nestled in the highly desirable corner location of the ship’s 14th deck, the Reflection Suite is adjacent to the brand’s five new “Signature Suites,” each offering a 441-square-foot stateroom area and 118-square foot veranda, with floor-to-ceiling windows and veranda doors, all designed to maximize the stunning views of the sea. Celebrity’s Signature Suites each can accommodate up to four guests, and also will offer the 24/7-butler service that is a hallmark of every suite across the Celebrity fleet.
The entire area housing the Reflection Suite and Signature Suites can be accessed only by cardkey, an added level of privacy similar to a hotel’s concierge floor.
Celebrity Reflection will enter service October 12, 2012, on a nine-night European cruise from Amsterdam to Barcelona.
Often believed to be the travel choice of the newly wed or nearly dead, the nature of cruise vacations has evolved in recent years. At one time, a cruise vacation meant shuffleboard, never-ending buffets and a few thousand older, overweight passengers on a spin around the Bahamas. Now, the old iconic activities, dining options and even older passengers are being replaced with an active lifestyle and options for adventure travelers.
As new ships come out, cruise lines are careful to build in an ability to be flexible and cater to the traveler of today. Relevant dining options ranging from lifetime event dining, like a steakhouse dinner to celebrate a graduation at a fraction of the cost on land, to comfort food dining, like Macaroni and Cheese in the ship’s main dining room, reflect an evolving passenger’s taste.
Pinpointing that taste and satisfying it, cruise lines are more rabidly focused on capturing the attention of would-be passengers with far more than low prices and bonus offers. Branded experiences ranging from an infusion of DreamWorks characters into the Royal Caribbean fleet, a Nickelodeon influence on Norwegian ships and even Apple products in iLounges on Celebrity Cruises are proving popular. Off the ship, adventurous shore experiences often put cruise travelers on a path similar to that suggested by popular travel bloggers going it on their own.
Along with this “give-them-what-they-want” focus comes a branding effort designed to jumpstart the infusion of trendy, relevant elements to the onboard experience on older ship as well. Royal Caribbean has a Royal Advantage program being rolled out to older ships, replacing tube sets with flat-screen TV‘s, adding new trendy dining venues found on the newest of ships and upgrading other elements of the onboard experience as well.
On Carnival Cruise Lines some travelers may lament the near extinction of the party-going frat sailings (AKA “booze cruise”) but don’t have to look far for new, different venues that are becoming the place to be at sea.
Inspired by what is popular while traveling, Carnival unleashed its FunShip 2.0 initiative in New York last October. The $500 million enhancement program includes partnerships with popular celebrities and leading brands.
Funnyman George Lopez and celebrity chef Guy Fieri along with Miami Heat‘s DJ Erie are doing more than simply lending/selling their well-known names and star statuses to the Carnival brand in an attempt to draw a new breed of cruise passenger. Each has worked with Carnival to create experiences that fit the brand and infuse their own unique style.
The Food Networks Guy Fieri is working with Carnival to offer a dining venue called Guy’s Burger Joint, featuring the Food Network star’s (really amazing) hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries with special recipes created exclusively for Carnival.
Different, from previous product upgrades that have happened throughout the years, cruise lines are listening and communicating with passengers and targeted travelers, speaking their language. Also, reflecting a degree of transparency, cruise lines are letting us in behind the scenes to see what goes into bringing something new on board as never before.
At a press conference in New York, Fieri manned the outdoor grill most of the afternoon, making soon-to-be signature burgers and answering questions. When asked why he got involved with the project, straight-talking Fieri told us, “…because these people at Carnival really care about their customers. It really means a lot to them that the people who sail on their ships have a good time. I wanted to be a part of that.”
It’s funny how you can hear something like that from a cruise line a million times and think nothing of it, but let those words come out of a popular icon in the world of food and all of the sudden they have meaning.
Fieri’s influence goes beyond the burger recipe too and gets really detailed in its execution on board. Condiment stations will feature a suggested menu developed by the chef to show guests what condiments and toppings they can use to build a specialty burger. In addition to burgers, Guy’s Burger Joint will serve fresh, hand-cut French fries prepared on board. We sampled (OK make that “inhaled”) both in New York and agreed with most others that it was one of the best burgers ever.
Carnival is also teaming up with comedian and TV personalityGeorge Lopez who will become the cruise line‘s “creative director for comedy” as Carnival introduces the Punchliner Comedy Clubs Presented by George Lopez.
To become the cruise line’s curator of comedy, acting as a consultant on the vetting and hiring of comedic talent for the line’s existing fleetwide comedy clubs, Lopez will play an active role in the securing of top up-and-coming comedic talent, utilizing his vast resources within the North American comedy scene.
“Carnival’s ships offer a huge audience that truly appreciates comedic performances and the on-board clubs are fantastic,” Lopez told us. “I intend to help build and nurture an understanding among up-and-coming comedic talent that these ships represent a phenomenal environment to work and gain experience.”
Through the partnership, Carnival ships will feature a Lopez comedy routine shown on in-cabin televisions fleetwide and pre-recorded introductions by Lopez at comedy club shows, as well as a new Punchliner Comedy Brunch that will be offered on sea days. Lopez will also partner with the line on a comedy-themed consumer contest in 2012.
“Carnival’s guests absolutely love comedy which is why we are already the cruise industry leader in fleetwide comedic programming and, in fact, we host more guests in our shipboard comedy clubs than any land-based comedy chain in the U.S.,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival’s president and CEO. “By partnering with George Lopez, an exceptionally talented, respected and popular comedian, Carnival’s comedy offerings will be taken to an entirely new level.”
Lopez is seriously into the comedy concept too, much like Fieri and his cooking. In an interview with CruiseRadio‘s Doug Parker and Matt Basford, Lopez detailed his involvement saying “I will bring people from television and movies and that will make it better. You start to see people on the ship that you have seen in movies and that makes it fun, that’s a great surprise,” adding, “I will be performing on the ships occasionally myself which I am excited about.”
DJ IRIE, song master to the stars and the official DJ of the Miami HEAT, will develop a first-of-its-kind DJ academy at sea that will train all Carnival DJs across the “Fun Ship” fleet. The DJ IRIE Spin’iversity promises to bring an exciting and relevant new vibe to the line’s legendary nightclubs, deck parties and beyond.
“Miami HEAT games are known for their high-energy and non-stop fun created by DJ IRIE and we want to tap into his unique skills and passion for music to create an unforgettable atmosphere on board,” Mark Tamis, Carnival’s senior vice president of guest operations told us. “Music is the soundtrack of our lives and our goal is to create an emotional experience for our guests through the right mix of terrific music and a DJ with a unique personality who can energize a crowd.”
Whether spinning in clubs in Miami or Las Vegas, at a sporting event or hosting his popular South Florida radio show, the internationally known DJ IRIE has mastered the art of bringing a crowd to its feet and pumping up the energy and excitement – much like Carnival had done for 40 years.
But through his new comprehensive training program, IRIE will train Carnival’s DJs how to read a crowd and tailor song selections from every musical genre, appealing to guests of all ages. He will also instruct DJs on how to make maximum use of their own personality and energy to create their own persona and build popularity among guests to develop a fan following.
An important point to note: none of this costs extra. This is Carnival reinventing the at-sea experience, adding more options than ever, all included in the price.
The onboard experience is changing in other ways as well. Big name entertainment is lending their name to new cruise ships as Godmothers, or just to be were the entertainment action is.
Off the ship too, cruise lines are taking a good hard look at what they have for travelers once ships reach their destinations. Taking a page from travel bloggers, cruise line “excursions” are far more than a busload of tourists complaining if the air conditioning is not cool enough.
Today we’re seeing cruise passengers getting off the bus and on to kayaks, scuba diving, surfing, hiking and climbing trails, viewing history, arts and culture up close in any given port. At the end of the day some ships may stay in port late or overnight before moving on to their next stop.
Always a solid reason for cruising, travelers get to see and sample destinations they may or may not want to return to later, for a longer land-based vacation.
No, today’s cruise vacations are not your parents’ idea of a good time, they’re yours, whatever that may mean.
January brings cold weather, post-holiday blues, dreams of travel and travel contest season every year. With few exceptions, sellers of travel roll out some of their best promotions during this time too. Aimed to make those dreams reality and have us focus on whatever travel product they are selling, travel companies want to bring our attention to their options over another.
Amble Resorts’ Life-Changing Travel Contest has travelers looking at their new travel blog, The Ambler, for a chance to win a free flight anywhere in the world. Launched in mid-December, the contest is quickly gaining momentum as globetrotters from around the world share their most life-changing travel moments in the hopes of fulfilling resolutions to travel in 2012.
This contest asks visitors to reflect on their own life-changing travel experiences and draw inspiration from the stories of others, encouraging people to broaden their travel horizons and explore the world in 2012. The contest will reward one commenter with a trip to the destination of their dreams, in the form of a $1,500 travel voucher (OK, maybe not anywhere in the world) on the airline of the winner’s choice, valid any time in 2012.Getting serious, Travel+Leisure has theDream Of A Lifetime $25,000 Spain + Venice sweepstakes where the grand prize winner gets a travel package worth up to $30,000 or can take a $25,000 cash option as well.
Even non-travel companies are getting in on the January travel mania with Fisher Boy frozen food company giving away a Caribbean vacation at one of Beaches Resorts worth $8,000. You’ll have to tell them why you like their products (fish sticks) as part of the entry but liking them on Facebook is not required as many contests are.
One of the best payouts comes from a contest run by TripFilms, a travel website that brings destinations to life through video. Their Watch and Win contest grants one entry for each video watched from start to end. The prize? A trip for two people that the winner may select from a bunch of destinations as well as a travel stipend of $500 per person ($1000 total).
The choices include Costa Rica Natural Paradise, Guatemala with Tikal, Panama Canal Cruise & Tour, the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore & Yellowstone, California Coast & Yosemite and others.
Most of these contests end January 31, 2012. Many of these and other contests can be found at TravelOnion where most current travel contests are rounded up and updated frequently.
Not feeling lucky? How about some money-saving tips if pay you must?