Thursday, October 26, 2006

Cruise Control

Cruise Control

Early this morning, I disembarked from a sold-out cruise aboard the Jewel of the Seas, one of Royal Caribbean’s myriad cruise options. As indicated earlier, I looked forward to putting the cruise line’s claim of having Broadway-style entertainment to the test.

Only one night of my five-night cruise included any entertainment that came close to a Broadway show with the opening of Tango Buenos Aires (I’ll post a review later), although, truth be told, I did miss most of last night’s closing entertainment because the cruise line graciously helped me toast my dear grandfather’s 95th birthday with a special celebration all our own.

Although I anticipated more in terms of large-scale productions, I thoroughly enjoyed Tango Buenos Aires, as well as the two nights of comedians – the amusing Jeff Harms on Saturday and the hysterically funny Troy Thirdgill (pictured) on Monday -- and a night of the reconstituted 50s group, (Herb Reed and) The Platters, on Sunday.

If cruise line’s goal was to build upon each night with successively better evenings of entertainment, then they succeeded. As I’ve reported earlier, Harms was funny, but there was no denying the magic that The Platters infuse into their 45-minute set for the packed-house where I dare say the average age was roughly 40. Although all but one of the original members has been replaced, their music with familiar stylings -- including hits like “Only You,” “Harbor Lights,” “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” and “The Great Pretender” -- struck the right chord for this nostalgic audience.

Even more entertaining was the comedic talent of Portland (OR)-born Thirdgill, whose politically incorrect take on everything from the way he’s inaccurately viewed because of his race to young white kids trying to act black to tattoos and body piercings had me doubled over in laughter. Not since seeing Robin Williams live back a half dozen years ago have I convulsed with laughter to the degree I did with this amazing near-genius. I had never heard of Thirdgill before, but you can bet I won’t soon forget how much he entertained, and I look forward to seeing much more of him in the future.

In summary, I have to admit that I found my jaded self to be a bit surprised that all of Royal Caribbean’s onboard entertainment was first-rate. However, far from first-rate was the exasperatingly slow -- and as a result, excessively expensive -- Internet functionality on the ship. At $.33 per minute, I was only able to post a few items from sea due to the sluggish online connection. It was akin to riding in the worst non-moving taxi only to see the meter running and not being able to get out.

But if you can overlook that potentially inconsequential detail, all but the most jaded of cruise audiences will find the entertainment experience aboard the Jewel of the Seas a delight.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Related Stories:
Harm-lessly Funny (October 22, 2006)
Going To Sea Theatre (October 21, 2006)

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