Aboard its newer megaships, Carnival has spent millions on stage sets, choreography, and sound equipment. The theaters on the Conquest-class, Spirit-class, and Destiny-class ships are spectacular three-deck extravaganzas, and the casinos are so large that you'll think you've died and gone to Vegas; but even aboard its smaller, older ships, Carnival consistently has some of the most lavish entertainment extravaganzas afloat.
Carnival megaships each carry about 8 to 16 flamboyantly costumed dancers (fewer on Celebration and Holiday) for twice- or thrice-weekly Vegas-style musicals. One or two live soloists carry the musical part of the show, while dancers lip-sync the chorus. A 5- to 10-piece orchestra of traditional and digital instruments deftly accompanies the acts each night, sometimes enhanced by synchronized recorded music. You'll also find comedians, jugglers, acrobats, rock-'n'-roll bands, country-and-western bands, classical string trios, pianists, and Tommy Dorsey- or Glenn Miller-style big bands, all performing during the same cruise, and sometimes on the same night. Special entertainment may include a local mariachi band when a ship's in port late in Cozumel.
Besides the main theater, most entertainment happens somewhere along the indoor Main Street-like promenade (except on the Spirit-class ships, which are more spread out). Many are called the "Something-or-other Boulevard" or "Something-or-other Way." This area stretches along one entire side of each ship and is lined with just about the entire repertoire of the ship's nightclubs, bars, lounges, and patisseries, as well as its disco and casino. One bar on all the Fantasy-, Destiny-, Spirit-, and Conquest-class ships welcomes cigar smoking, and fleetwide, cigars are sold at the pool bar and during midnight buffets.
By day, entertainment includes an ultraloud Caribbean-style calypso or steel-drum band performing Bob Marley tunes and other pop songs on a deck poolside, and a pianist, guitarist, or string trio playing in the atria of the line's newest ships. The Dream, Splendor, Liberty, Freedom, Conquest, Glory, Valor, Victory, Destiny, and Triumph all sport a giant video screen up on the Pool Deck (and all newbuilds will get one) and it tends to monopolize much of the day by loudly (and we mean loudly) broadcasting concerts, movies, and shipboard activities. Personally, we don't like 'em. Sure, a couple of movies in the late afternoon and evening are nice, but who needs the thing screeching away all day long?
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Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.