Matt Yee Rocks RCI's Voyager

Matt Yee’s packed audiences underline the increasing emphasis on top onboard entertainment By: Marilyn Green
Cruise editor Marilyn Green poses with RCI performer Matt Yee // (c) 2011 Marilyn Green
Cruise editor Marilyn Green poses with RCI performer Matt Yee // (c) 2011 Marilyn Green

The Details

Royal Caribbean International

How often do cruise passengers sit around discussing the fine points of a show, hours after it is over?  Hawaiian headliner Matt Yee inspired guests to do just that after his performance on Royal Caribbean International’s (RCI) Voyager of the Seas inaugural sailing out of New Orleans.

Even though Dreamworks has not come onboard Voyager yet, the roster of entertainment is already very impressive, with choices including a daring ice show, an infectious Motown musical, a scavenger hunt and a dance blowout in the Royal Promenade.

Among the entertainers, Yee is a master who shifts ground constantly, taking his widening circle of loyal fans with him. He offers an occasional blue joke, a lot of swift humor and creates some moving moments. With the piano complementing his excellent vocals and running gags, Yee swamps the Schooner Bar on the ship night after night, as word gets out that he is bringing people together to sing and laugh.

Yee takes a packed house of guest from different backgrounds and creates a community based on trust; unlike similar acts, he is never cruel or sugary. The worst that may happen at a Matt Yee performance is that your ribs could ache from laughing too hard.

He shifts from one outrageous wig to another, wraps himself and members of the audience in boas and waves his magic wand as if to transport them to another place or time in music and in life.

Yee’s innocent, yet mischievous, persona is underlain by a very sharp intelligence. He earned a vocal scholarship to Dartmouth, became a lawyer, practiced law for a few years and found it uncongenial. 

“When you’re a lawyer, you fix other people’s problems and, if you do it well, you get another huge stack of other people’s problems,” Yee said.

Yee has shared a stage with stars including Joan Jett, Chita Rivera and Gloria Estefan. He has appeared on CNN, the History Channel, Travel Channel and NBC’s “Today Show.” The San Francisco Chronicle described him as “Elton John meets Margaret Cho,” which is certainly close, but the real magic lies in seeing him in action. Once they do, your clients may end up booking more trips to follow him, as did some of RCI’s repeat cruisers on the inaugural, who said his presence was the decider in booking the cruise. It’s easy to track him from ship to ship on

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