Sunday 25 September 2011

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Disney Cruise Line - The Entertainment

I'm fairly easily entertained.  To hear my wife tell it I'm something akin to a kitten with a ball of yarn - even the simplest of things can keep me fascinated for hours.  When it comes to paying for entertainment though, I can be a bit of a mainstream follower.  My musical tastes don't necessarily follow the popular charts, but my concert tastes definitely do.  I didn't used to be that way, but as prices rose for concerts, I wanted a little more bang for my buck, and paying $100 to see an acoustic set in a small theater just didn't do it for me.  The same thing goes for live theater, as I'd much rather head to New York and see a Broadway performance than spend my evening out locally at yet another performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream (Which should be banned everywhere except maybe the Globe theater in London.  Let's stretch our thinking a little please.)

So with this level of expectation in mind, how do the nightly offerings of the Disney Cruise Line hold up?

Quite well actually.  I shouldn't be surprised, as Disney is an entertainment company, but sometimes they've been known to go to the well a little too often, and you're left wondering if tonight you'll be watching D4:The Mighty Ducks go to Mexico.  Luckily they aimed a little higher, and except for the night that they show a new release movie, every
other night is more than worth making the trip down to the theater. The main show of the evening is performed at 5:45 and 8:15, the same times as the dinner seatings, so you can go to the show at the opposite time of when you are scheduled to eat.   In the weeks worth of shows, we had one "Welcome Aboard" show which consisted of some light song and dance numbers, but was mainly about giving you the gist of the schedule for the week, one 3D movie, one hypnotist, one comedian, and three Disney musicals.  Every show seemed to get better than the previous nights, and the finale, "Dreams, an Enchanted Classic", could probably be developed into a full blown Broadway musical with very little effort.

The fifth night of the cruise, was our "Pirates in the Caribbean" night, even though we were somewhere off Cabo San Lucas in the middle of the Pacific.  Disney goes all out for this night, as everybody gets bandanas at a pirate themed dinner, the characters get decked out in pirate gear, and there is a big on deck party with a giant dessert buffet.  Here's the problem with having the late dinner seating.  You finish a huge meal for the fifth day in a row, then walk outside and there's a gigantic section of the ship that has apparently been taken over by pastry chefs and somehow, despite the fact that you can barely walk, you feel duty bound to join the battle against the evil army of eclairs.  Fortunately for me our cruise was stocked with hundreds of people who were willing to make that kind of sacrifice, so I managed to skip out on the Meringue Massacre and took my place on the rail to watch the deck party and the fireworks (which look much better out at sea) that finished the night.

It would take quite an effort to find a time when there's not something going on worth doing.  The activities start at 9am (7am if you consider pilates an activity) and go right through until midnight.  For the family there's team sports, craft classes, pool games, karaoke, and game shows.  There's also two places to watch movies any time of the day, one giant screen on the funnel of the ship facing the pool, and another actual movie theater down on deck 5.  All of this is just to entertain any family members who decided that they didn't want to go to the kids/teens clubs on board, where the list of activities is enormous.  The adults have a couple of nightclubs for themselves on the ship, and the performers from the main showroom usually show up there the next night to do an "adult" version of their show (although Disney "adult" is still pretty clean by most peoples standards).  There's also a wine tasting class, a beer tasting class, a tequila tasting class (I'm sensing a pattern here) and a shopping class to teach you what to expect when you go browsing in the stores of the Mexican port cities.  Can you guess which class Lori went to?

There's enough happening on the ship to keep you entertained through an entire season of cruises, but you've only got four days to enjoy it (You're in port for three of the days remember?) and that's if you don't spend any time sitting by the pool or playing "King of the World" at the front of the boat (You know you're going to try it, and yes, it really is windy up there.)  I suppose if you really want to try and get everything in you could combine activities.  I'm going to suggest you double the tequila tasting class with the karaoke night.  What could possible go wrong (and end up on YouTube) there?