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Friday File: Carnival Live 2016

It would be nice to tell you that after we wondered aloud two weeks ago when Carnival was going to announce its Carnival Live performers for next year that the cruise line promptly reacted and made the announcement this week. It would also be presumptuous, to say the least. Nonetheless, four entertainers have signed up for what’s believed to be a popular addition to Carnival entertainment — concerts on ships in ports. However, this is the third year for Carnival Live and the number of acts has gone from nine to seven to four. So, are these to be the final four of Carnival Live?…

Gladys Knight

Gladys Knight (no Pips): February 1-2-3 on the Carnival Liberty, Valor and Splendor, in St. Thomas.

KC Sunshine Band

KC & The Sunshine Band: March 22-23-24 on the Carnival Paradise, Fantasy and Breeze, in Cozumel


Journey: Encore performances on May 5-6 on the Carnival Pride and Victory, in Nassau

Trace Adkins

Trace Adkins: July 6-7-8 on the Freedom, Dream and Conquest, in Nassau

In the news…

• Costa signs healthy food, less garbage, food sustainability protocol
• Fire on Ponant’s Le Boreal evacuates all passengers in Antarctica

Today at portsandbows.comMore from Viking river cruise in France

Costa Diadema
7 nights
January 16, 2016
Savona (return): Marseille, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Rome, La Spezia
Inside: $495
Cost per day: $70

Re-Trace Adkins A Hit With Carnival

The last time Trace Adkins was on a cruise ship, it was not a happy time. The country music star and a man who impersonated him went nose-to-nose on the Norwegian Pearl, Trace AdkinsAdkins got off at the next stop (Tampa) and checked himself into rehab.

That was early in 2014.

After going through recovery, as alcoholics often do, he went back to work and last weekend in Dallas he performed a free concert that was sponsored by Carnival. No ship. No impersonator. No problem. This was the Ultimate Cowboys Fan Fest and both kinds of cowboys participated…Adkins and Darren Woodson, who used to play for the local football team when it was a Super Bowl champion (three times).

When people as famous and presumably as wealthy as Trace Adkins make headlines for the wrong reasons, the public generally is reluctant to be sympathetic, no matter who’s at fault. People who have had to deal with alcoholism, directly or through family or friends, are more inclined to be more understanding…and are happy when it appears the fallen stars have recovered, so to speak.

And if those people also like country music then they, like us, are glad to see Trace Adkins back in the saddle, as they say. The fact that last weekend’s event was cruise-connected is an indication that he’s not reluctant to go back to cruising and that cruising’s not reluctant to embrace him again.

Maybe everybody wins.

In the news…

• The Cavern Club among upogrades to Norwegian Epic after three-week dry-dock
• Baltimore man cruises for 1,000th day on 139th time in 12 years on a Carnival ship
• Oceania upgrading top tier suites before launch of Sirena (formerly Ocean Princess)

Today at portsandbows.com: All the latest cruise news

Carnival Victory
5 nights
January 4, 2016
Miami (return): Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios
Inside: $289
Cost per day: $57

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

Cruise Ship To Rehab Not A Happy Trip

We have friends who belong to AA. That's not American Airlines, it's Alcoholics Anonymous. So we are aware of how tough it can be to struggle with this disease, and to beat it, and to think you've beaten it and then discover you haven't.

Trace AdkinsOne of the unspoken fears of cruise lines is, because of the party atmosphere that comes on every ship, that they contribute to alcoholism. Don't ask, don't tell can certainly come into play. So can the Ostrich Theory: head in the sand.

On most ships, there are opportunities for alcoholics to meet. It's called Friends of Bill W and there is an area set aside daily, usually a library or small meeting room.

Why this? Why now?

Last week, country singer Trace Adkins entered rehab after 12 years of sobriety. It appears his fall from the wagon came while he was on the Norwegian Pearl, during a seven-day Country Cruising trip — he was one of the performers. he was celebrating his 52nd birthday and, unfortunately, he stopped celebrating his sobriety.

When the Pearl stopped in Ocho Rios, Jamaica — the first stop — Adkins left and went home. His manager later confirmed he had checked into rehab. It was not the first time Adkins has fallen off the wagon.

For people who enjoy his music, and most of all for him, hopefully it will be the last time.

Norwegian Jewel
7 nights
February 2, 2014
New Orleans (return): CozumelBelize CityRoatanCosta Maya
Oceanview: $429
Cost per day: $61

Are Cruise Ships the New Fairgrounds?

How times do change! How many years ago was it that we trekked three kids and a busload of friends (well, it felt like a busload) five hours from home to a concert featuring multiple acts, most of whom we'd never heard of…a couple of stars and a large supporting cast.

Now you can do the same kind of thing just by getting on the Norwegian Pearl.

The ship is the "fairgrounds" for a week of concerts by the star, Blake Shelton, and 24 of his closest fans. Once you get by Shelton, Trace Adkins (left, in "the hat" with Shelton), Easton Corbin and Neal McCoy, the other 21 are up-and-comers or solid performers unfamiliar to most of us…something like that concert in the wilds, many moons ago.

Is this what has happened?

Are cruise ships now the fairgrounds where interested spectators can see not one or two but a whole bunch of singers and musicians do their work, and entertain in the process?

The Blake Shelton and Friends Cruise (no, it doesn't include his wife Miranda Lambert, but that doesn't mean they're not friends) leaves Miami on October 14. On the way to San Juan, St. Thomas (Virgin Islands), Tortola (British Virgin Islands) and Nassau, Shelton and his buds will supply the music in at least three different venues on the Pearl. Country music's current biggest star will be the headliner twice during the cruise, in the Stardust Theater.

It's a promotion operated for Norwegian by Flying Dutchmen Travel and Fan Fair Country Cruises and the price to spend seven days at sea with Blake and Co. starts at $1,099.

We'd offer to take our kids but…well, they might bring their friends.

Golden Princess
14 nights
December 5, 2012
Los Angeles (return): Hilo, Honolulu, Kauai, Maui, Ensenada
Inside: $1,199
Cost per day: $92

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