It’s no surprise that the quality of entertainment on cruise ships has steadily climbed over the last few years, with greater investment in the field leading to significant developments & innovations in music, choreography, technology, pyrotechnics and general showmanship. Not to mention also the sheer amount of natural talent on offer from a much wider net being cast around the world to find the world’s best singers, dancers and performers.

It all combines these days to leave cruise travellers utterly spellbound in most circumstances when it comes to their pre or post-dinner theatre entertainment. No longer are cruise ships a bastion vehicle for a dying or cringeworthy act – quite the opposite in fact.

Armed now with this significantly improved reputation for delivering quality entertainment, the world’s biggest superstars in music and theatre are no longer dismissing cruise ships as avenues of desperation for their performing abilities. One line taking entertainment up a notch to superstar levels is Carnival Cruise Line, with its Carnival LIVE initiative.


Guests enjoy a Carnival Live concert from 1980's band Journey aboard Carnival Liberty.
Guests enjoy a Carnival Live concert from 1980’s band Journey aboard Carnival Liberty.

As the line informally known as the “Fun Ships”, Carnival has found a way to increase the fun on a selection of its sailings in America. Already home to some of the best acts afloat and an ever increasing rotation of guest entertainers joining Carnival’s roster, it was a matter of time before the line began knocking on the door of some of the biggest names in the music and entertainment industry and signing them to perform in a Carnival Live show.

However before you get excited and think you’ll run into some globally recognised superstars at the morning buffet, Carnival LIVE is essentially an extra special show which takes place on a ship during an extended port call, where the talent boards, performs and disembarks.

Shows take place in the main theatre when ships have extended calls into two ports in the Caribbean (Nassau, Bahamas and Cozumel, Mexico) and one in California (Catalina Island). No expense is spared for the performer and his/her entourage and crew, all flown into the port exclusively for the show. They will then typically perform one show in the evening, with guests able to buy meet and greet opportunities and VIP packages to interact with the star.

Faith Hill and Tim McGraw are just two of the big names coming to Carnival Live concerts in 2017.
Faith Hill and Tim McGraw are just two of the big names coming to Carnival Live concerts in 2017.

Highlights lined up for 2017 include comedian Jay Leno, country music Hall of Famers Tim McGraw and Faith Hill and songstress Carrie Underwood. Previous luminaries to have plied their trade on Carnival Cruise Line stages include Lionel Richie, Kathy Griffin and Jennifer Hudson. New performers are constantly being added with the line scheduling shows six months in advance, still plenty of time for Aussies to book a cabin.

Guests wishing to book onto a voyage featuring a Carnival Live concert should first consult their travel agent or Carnival’s US website. An opportunity to purchase tickets to the show itself will then be available once final payment for the cruise has been made.

Tickets start from a very affordable US$30 per person for General Admission for most performances, up to US$150 per person for the VIP experience with priority seating and a meet and greet opportunity. Ticket pricing and availability is dependant on the popularity of the artist, with more famous names such as Carrie Underwood commanding ticket prices at the higher end of the scale, while older favourites such as Lionel Richie will likely be found at a more fan-friendly price point.

Carnival Cruise Line recently welcomed Grammy-award winning star Jennifer Hudson onboard to perform for guests.
Carnival Cruise Line recently welcomed Grammy-award winning star Jennifer Hudson onboard to perform for guests.

Access to the show is limited to the capacity of the theatre – which on Carnival means there will be no more than 1,300 people in attendance. This ensures each performance will have an intimate and exclusive feel. Guests are encouraged to get up and dance to add to the concert vibe, with many guests spilling out into the aisles to bust their favourite moves.

Have you taken in a Carnival Live performance before? Who did you see perform and what did you think of it? Tell us below in the comments!