There was plenty of good entertainment on board the Norwegian Jewel during our recent Mexican Riviera cruise. All of the cruise line cost cutting measures that we have seen so much of lately haven’t extended to Norwegian’s entertainment budget, as we were pleased to note.
Day 1–Sail Away
The calypso band Essence provided the music for our sail away party out of the Port of Los Angeles. Later on that night, cruise director Archie introduced us to some of the entertainment that would be provided this week. We had a short singing and dancing vignette by the singers and dancers. Then the gymnast couple Hajime and Maud performed a few artistic feats. Jean Pierre did a magic and comedy show. The show lasted more than an hour and was very good. Many times we skip the welcome aboard show, but this one was definitely worth attending.
Day 2–Sea Day
Our first production show was Band on the Run with the Jewel Production Cast Singers and Dancers. It was your usual Las Vegas style show with nice costumes and popular songs, but was entertaining nonetheless. The music was provided by the Jewel’s 7-piece show band! It was great to hear a show with a live band rather that a soundtrack, which is all too common these days. The show band also played in some of the lounges around the ship during the week. I was pleased that they kept the volume below the usual eardrum-busting decibel level.
Day 3–Sea Day
The main production show was the comedian Michael Sommerville, who is somewhat laid back and has a self-deprecating kind of humor. He is great at ad libbing and with repartee with the audience. Later on that night we went to the Spinnaker to hear the party band Next Stage do a Beatles tribute, which had everyone dancing. Next Stage performed on deck and in some of the clubs several other times on the cruise.
Day 4–Cabo San Lucas
The acrobatic team performed their main show Luminescence in the main theater. They do a Cirque de Soleil-esque show with aerial rings, and perform many feats of strength and flexibility. The show also has considerable artistic merit.
A local Mariachi band came on board for three performances at 12:00, 1:00, and 2:00. We were out and about in port and missed them, but I think they also played briefly during the folkloric festival performed at 3:00. Fortunately I was back on board for the folkloric dance troupe. They did a performance similar to what you see if you go to a Ballet Folklorico in Mexico City. It was very well done, but I was embarrassed that it was so sparsely attended. I guess this is what you would expect when you schedule something when most people are off the ship on a port day.
The evening’s entertainment in the Stardust Theater was Jean Pierre Parent, who performed comedy and magic in the welcome aboard show. A. and I agreed that his funniest lines were non-scripted.
Day 6–Puerto Vallarta
This nights performance in the main theater was Le Cirque Bijou, which closely channeled Cirque de Soleil. The acrobatic duo also performed in this show, but this time, the Jewel dancers also performed on aerial rings and scarfs. I recommend sitting no closer than in the middle of the theater, because two performers drop down from the ceiling and perform right over your heads. We were sitting in the second row, and we had to keep turning around so we could see the simultaneous performances on stage and above the audience.
Later on that night we saw the packed adults-only comedy show with Michael Sommerville in the Spinnaker lounge. As with his G-rated show earlier in the week, it was the repartee with the audience that was so hilarious.
Day 7–Sea Day
The Farewell show had performances by both comedians and then some staff came up onstage for a quick wave and goodbye.
Odds and Ends
There are several other performers that really provide most of the entertainment and play for hours and hours in the lounges. Randon accompanies himself on guitar and has a wonderful voice, but he does songs by mainstream musicians that I don’t particularly care for (Neil Diamond, James Taylor). There are several other lounge performers but we didn’t spend time in the lounges to really form an opinion.
Norwegian still provides great entertainment, and I don’t see evidence of any recent cut-backs. Quality acts, a live show band, and good shows every night really made the cruise.