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Carnival's Bridging The Entertainment Extremes

You know, when it comes to concerts — and we've been to a LOT of them — there are two extremes. 

One, you can pay top dollar and take your binoculars so that you can actually see the artist you can't hear because you're screaming your lungs out, for reasons that can never be articulated to anyone with a brain.

Two, you can pay excessive dollars to see your favorite artist(s), who can be heard above the pin dropping in the theater, which if you're lucky is in a setting with some intimacy.

Carnival is bridging the gap.

With a new entertainment strategy called Carnival Live, the cruise line will import first-class entertainers to places where eight of its ships will be visiting (Cozumel, Nassau, Catalina Island), have them perform in the main show lounge (intimate) and give passengers an opportunity to buy tickets for $20 to $40. There is a limited number of VIP tickets, which include meets-and-greets, photo ops, prime seats and a laminated concert pass.

ONJ-homepage-stampSlice_02First-class entertainment?

Check this list:

Jennifer Hudson 
Lady Antebellum
REO Speedwagon 
Martina McBride 
LeAnn Rimes 
38 Special 
Olivia Newton-John (right)
Trace Adkins

All of them could command ticket prices beyond $40 in traditional concerts.

There's a couple of interesting names on the list of artists who this year will perform 49 times on Carnival ships. One is Jennifer Hudson, who happens to be the Godmother of the Dream…not the Carnival Dream but the Disney Dream. The other is Trace Adkins, who last week left the Norwegian Pearl to enter rehab for alcohol addiction.

Just interesting, that's all.

Carnival Miracle
7 nights
March 1, 2014
Long Beach (return): Puerto VallartaCabo San Lucas
Inside: $559
Cost per day: $79

Carnival's Famous Literary Connection

Dr. Seuss-1 copyLike many before and after him, it's doubtful that T. S. Geisel could ever have imagined that his life's work would be turned into Broadway plays and motion pictures, be called as important as the Bible and — now — be intricately and intrinsically linked to cruise ships and the people who travel on them.

This is not the famous writer T.S. Eliot, it's T.S. Geisel, a famous author and illustrator better known by his primary pseudonym.

Dr. Seuss.

Right, the Cat In The Hat man. How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Green Eggs and Ham. One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.

His works are spreading to 24 cruise ships, all of them under the Carnival funnel. His 46 children's book, or at least some of them, will be on board. So will some of Dr. Seuss-signaturehis characters, Thing One and Thing Two…Sam…and The Cat. His green eggs and ham will be on the menu (he fish will be out in the ocean, not on the plate). There will be story time for kids of all ages. Seuss movies. Photo-ops. Artwork. A parade.

It's all part of Seuss at Sea, and when the Carnival Freedom emerges from a major refurbishment in May it will have a play space dedicated to and created around all things Seuss. The same goes for the Vista, Carnival's new ship in 2016.

It has been more than two decades since Dr. Seuss left his work behind, at the age of 87. Every year on March 2, his birthday, it's Read Across America Day — a reading Dr. Seuss-Catinitiative. In the writing community he was known for working in what is called anapestic tetrameter, rhythmic units composed on two weak syllables followed by a strong one. Carnival's creative people sized on his style in announcing the connection to the ships:

"One ship, two ships, it's Dr. Seuss on cruise ships!"

One of his life's ironies is the mis-pronunciation of his famous name, which was in fact his middle name, pronouncing it "Soyce"…as in "voice." While he eventually accepted the more popular pronunciation, the conflict prompted one of his collaborators to write this:

You're wrong as the deuce
And you shouldn't rejoice
If you're calling him Seuss
He pronounces it Soice

Ruby Princess
9 nights
January 4, 2014
Fort Lauderdale (return): Grand CaymanCozumelFort LauderdalePrincess Cays
Inside: $528
Cost per day: $58

Education for Those Who Cruise Young

This one gives a whole new meaning to “ship to shore.” Part of a children’s museum in Miami has been re-designed as a cruise ship, to educate kids about the ways of the sea in the hands-on, interactive format that has become the way we live. Our experience in taking kids to museums is that it’s just as much fun for the (grand)parents, so don’t tune this out just because you’re past the age of majority.

The revamped display is funded, at least in part and perhaps in entirety, by Carnival so, yes, there is a vested interest at work here. That aside, how can anybody not like a facility that among other things shows kids and old folks:

• how to plot a course in the Caribbean using authentic maps and charts
• what it’s like, through actual recordings, to port a vessel
• the array of maritime careers that are available and what they entail
• what “going on a cruise” means, with a heavy emphasis (sell, sell) on the fun part

The Miami Children’s Museum is less than three miles from the Port of Miami…much closer if you could hitch a ride on a boat or if you’re a strong swimmer. The two-level part of it devoted to cruising was unveiled last week, and we can only assume that was some other kind of fizzy drink symbolically used to celebrate the occasion! Actually, it was confetti.

It’s shaped like a ship and looks like a ship — with teak-like floors, portholes and ship railings — so it must be a ship. The “bridge” is on the upper level, as bridges are, and lighting and murals re-create a view of Caribbean waters with a cruise ship (Carnival, of course) on the horizon.

Besides education, the kids can do the silly things that adults do on cruises — the limbo, dress up in funny costumes, act out parts in a theatrical performance. The difference is kids do it without encouragement.

In the end, the museum encourages kids to embrace cruising. Had there been such a thing available to us, we’d surely have been on a cruise before we were, at the ages of….whatever.

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