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Big Doin's In Big D On Sunday

Dallas StadiumIf you’re watching the Cowboys and the Giants from Texas on Sunday, there’s a couple of performers at the “palace in Dallas” (actually, Arlington) that you probably won’t see. Both of them have to do with cruising (actually, Carnival).

One is Rascal Flatts. The award-winning country band is doing a pre-game show. The Carnival connection is that next year Rascal Flatts will be doing shows as part of Carnival Live — dates and places still unknown.

The other is Guy Fieri. He’s also doing a pre-game show — well, sort of — but it’ll be out in the parking lot, where all good hamburger chefs belong when there’s a tail-gate party and they can sell some product. This Carnival connection here, of course, is that Señor Fieri’s burgers are consumed in great numbers on all 24 ships.

Carnival has hitched its wagon (they do a lot of that in Texas) to the Cowboys in the promotional department because that’s one of the synergies, as they say, that seems to work for cruise lines and football teams alike. In one form or another, each sells its product to the other’s customers, not all of whom overlap.

This isn’t entirely new.

Carnival already co-promotes with the New Orleans Saints (at least they and the Cowboys can never meet in the Super Bowl) and has a long association with the Miami Heat. Norwegian is the “official cruise line” of the Miami Dolphins, and has a working relationship with the New York Knicks. Celebrity has been tied to the New York Rangers. And last month, Princess announced it was becoming a proud sponsor of NFL teams in Seattle, Houston and San Francisco.

The difference this time is that Carnival is marketing in a big way with a team in Dallas, which is not a cruise port.

Then again, the Cowboys are “America’s team.”

Today at portsandbows.com: Some of the Oasis changes

Carnival Dream
7 nights
December 14, 2014
New Orleans (return): Key West, Freeport, Nassau
Inside: $329
Cost per day: $47

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

Cruise Ships and Country Acts

In our family, we sometimes get a hard time about country music. Some people even think we like only country music, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Having said that, we’re always on the lookout for country music performances where we can hear and understand the lyrics, usually watch without obstructions and generally have a good time.

It just happens that our interest in the music dovetails nicely with our ongoing interest in cruising.

Unless it’s our imagination, more country acts than ever are being invited (or contracted) to perform on cruise ships.

The latest is Rascal Flatts, a group you won’t find among our personal favorites, but a group widely loved and decorated in the industry. Rascal Flatts performs on the Norwegian Spirit, a ship you will find among our personal favorites, on March 2.

The performance is a one-day-only show in Cozumel. The Spirit leaves New Orleans for the Western Caribbean on February 26.

This is the first step in getting big country acts connected with cruise ships. Fly them into a port where the ship stops, have them perform, fly them out. The same thing happened with Taylor Swift, also in Cozumel (Royal Caribbean), last January and Martina McBride, in New Orleans (Royal Caribbean), last month.

The second step is when a cruise line convinces a country act to take a cruise, and perform throughout the trip. That’s what Norwegian is doing in October with Blake Shelton “and friends” on the Pearl. It turns out that Blake’s friends — who will also perform — are Trace Adkins, Neil McCoy and Easton Corbin (you don’t have to know who they all are…country people do).

For cruisers who like the music, it gives them access to favorite performers they wouldn’t otherwise have. For the artists, it opens up a whole new marketplace…and, being country folk, they’ll probably have some fun doing it.

Celebrity Millennium
4 nights
January 19
Miami (return):  Key West, Cozumel
Inside: $239

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