The lobby of the new Carnival Dream
// (c) 2009 Carnival Cruises
Bad weather puts a cruise ship’s entertainment to the test, and on a stormy two-day cruise the new Carnival Dream
passed with flying colors, keeping passengers moving from one space to another in a constant party. Although a few intrepid souls stayed poolside to watch the huge movie screen in the midst of a true November Nor’easter out of New York (“Listen to that foghorn!” said one tattooed passenger), most of the guests on Carnival’s biggest ship, the new Dream
, stayed indoors, where the public spaces are crammed with entertainment.
The guests on this two-day cruise to nowhere were clearly primed to party and to spend money when they boarded, and they spread through the shops and casino as soon as they opened. Most women ignored the dress code and brought out their glitziest outfits for the evening, circulating through the ship to see, be seen, dine and scope out the entertainment.
The size of the ship has given Carnival’s entertainment team room to create shows from an acrobatic team called Fun Force to surprise street singers. They have a dedicated comedy club that offers 35-minute shows. I went to one of the family friendly ones, with no profanity, no blue material, and it was very good, well paced and well appreciated. I was in the casino during the later R-rated, adults-only shows, but a couple of friends who saw one said they were very well done, using the adult license but going way beyond it for humor. On a normal cruise there will be 24 performances during a week.
Carnival claims the first laser shows at sea, and our 15-minute nighttime outdoor show probably benefited from the fog and rain, although the audience was very limited with the high seas. The light patterns were set to music by the likes of Pink Floyd and Van Halen and the sound system is really gorgeous.
Wandering the ship afterwards, I heard an outstanding – but LOUD – Latin band, so magnetic that three guys came dancing in -- dressed in their robes after a massage -- and danced wildly around the room and out.
I was really surprised by Carnival’s new production show, “Dancin’ in the Street” - miles away from the typical glitzy Vegas theme. The video projection and neon set up a very urban background to acrobatic Chinese pole routines and break dancing, hip-hop and R&B. A number of hard to please people from the New York area who gathered in a bar later said it was the best show they had seen on a ship. Afterwards, diehards tried to move with the swaying ship in the disco, but I heard the call of my Comfort Bed and called it a night.