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Supply And Demand — Carnival Live 

In the first year of our marriage, a few decades ago, we paid $1.25 to see the ForeverRay_STAMPincomparable Ray Charles in concert. No, it was not during The Great Depression. It was just the going rate for concert tickets (or some of them) at the time.

When Carnival introduced its Carnival Live concert series this year, the going rate started at $20 to see and hear performers like Lady Antebellum, Chicago, Jennifer Hudson. The concerts have been staged on Carnival ships while they’re in port, and they were so successful that Carnival Live will be back for an encore in 2015.

At a different going rate.

Tickets will start at $35.

The point is that, like almost everything else, prices are dictated by supply and demand. Carnival didn’t know what people who had already bought tickets for their cruise would be prepared to add to the expense for a concert, so the decision was made to start modestly at $20, up to $100 for a meet-and-greet with the artists.

Popularity has driven that price up, too. Depending on who you meet, it’ll cost between $125 and $250, according to our Ports and Bows colleague Phil Reimer.

The only common act from this year, so far, is Styx. Coincidentally, of all the 2014 acts, Styx (below) did the most shows — six. Will Kansas or REO Speedwagon or Lady A return Styxin 2015? Perhaps, since only five shows have been confirmed…Smokey Robinson, Rascal Flatts, Little Big Town and Journey are the others.

That Carnival is charging more demonstrates what a bargain these concerts were in 2014. It also could mean even bigger names will flock to the ports as Carnival Live generates more income for the cruise line.

Supply and demand…remember?

Today at portsandbows.com: Hail Britannia!

Norwegian Jade
10 nights
January 14, 2015
Rome (return): Olympia, Athens, Ephesus, Istanbul, Naples
Inside: $499
Cost per day: $49

Country Connects With Carnival Live

If there's been a better — and more successful — cruise entertainment idea than the Carnival Live Concert Series, could somebody please tell us what it is?

Carnival Live is more than a month old now and apparently drawing rave reviews from all sides.

This week, country star Martina McBride flew into Cozumel, did two shows (one for passengers of the Ecstasy, the other for passengers of the Paradise) and was back Martina McBridehome in Nashville soon after the ships left the Mexican port. She told Carnival's Vance Gulliksen she hoped the concept was a "win-win situation for all concerned."

And how could it not be?

The cruise line, in this case Carnival, attracts customers to ships that feature Carnival Live. In an age when cruise lines are challenged to come up with new entertainment concepts, this one seems to work because Gulliksen says Carnival is already working on bookings for next year…for both performers and passengers.

The artist, in this case Martina McBride, is paid for two concerts over a short time in a warm port where people holiday and the only tour buses around are the ones who take passengers on shore excursions…and while what the artists are paid is not public knowledge, it's clearly a comfortable compensation.

The passengers/concertgoers pay for the performance but the price is less — at least for now — than they'd pay for the same concert on land and they watch it in a small venue, as opposed to a cavernous stadium. They might even get to pose for a photo-op are get an autograph, if that's their thing.

This year, there will be 49 shows in Carnival Live, continuing from now until 10 days before Christmas on Carnival ships when they stop at three ports: Cozumel in Mexico, Nassau in the Bahamas and Catalina Island in California. The early indication is that next year it will spread.

More performers? More ports? More passengers?

Talk about good news for everyone!

Today at Phil Reimer's portsandbows.com: The canal that made sea-to-sea possible

Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas
7 nights
June 29, 2014
Port Canaveral (return): Coco CaySt. ThomasSt. Maarten
Inside: $798
Cost per day: $114

Carnival Live Series Already A Hit

If our memories are as good as we hope they are, it was Royal Caribbean that first started flying performers (Taylor Swift, Martina McBride) in for a concert on the ship while in a port. Norwegian picked up on it (Rascall Flatts).

Now, Carnival has take the concept to a new level.

The Carnival Live Series started last week. The band was Styx, the concert was a Styxsellout and it took place on two ships, the Fantasy and the Fascination, in Nassau. The concept will run through December, at which time Carnival will re-assess…it might not be necessary after such an impressive start.

Styx guitarist Tommy Shaw put it like this: "All I know is our boats were rockin’. We had a great time and it looked like our fans loved it, too. Can’t wait to do it again in the fall in Nassau and then in Catalina Island and Cozumel.”

Bands or artists on the agenda for either Nassau or Cozumel or Catalina Island include REO Speedwagon, Kansas, Olivia Newton-John, Martina, Lady Antebellum, Chicago and Jennifer Hudson.

The concept is win-win-win.

A win for the passengers who, for a reasonable ticket price ($20 or so) get to see favorite performers in a cozy setting.

A win for the cruise line, which uses the attraction to sell passage on the cruises.

A win for the artists, who can make a few bucks doing one-night stands like they're accustomed to doing on land and therefore don't have to devote a week to concerts, signing autographs and being recognizable in close quarters.

Carnival is making it work by often having two ships in the port of choice at the same time. That will happen — sometimes they are 3-day weekends — 14 times between now and December. Two ships, two concerts makes it all possible for two sets of passengers.

Today at portsandbows.com: Quantum of the Seas on the move and it's not even here yet!

Celebrity Constellation
12 nights
June 26, 2014 
Amsterdam (return): StavangerOldenMoldeAlesundGeirangerFlamBergenOslo 
Inside: $1,299
Cost per day: $108

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