Posted June 11th, 2005, 08:31 PM
The Piano Man: This is a brand new production show for the CB. They have done away with "Letís Rock." This new show features the music of such notable piano men as Billy Joel, Elton John, Neil Sedaka, Barry Manilow and Liberace. I watched the entire show from the first note to the end. I must say that, for what it was, a production show on a cruise ship, it was absolutely first rate. No, this is not Broadway quality, but it was extremely well done.
Every song in the show was a number one hit, I am told. Other than the Liberace numbers, I knew every word to every song and I am 44 years old. Of course, I used to manage bands.
The music was all done live by David Pitchfork and the CB Orchestra. The band was in a neat layout, in a "Hollywood Squares" kind of scaffolding set. It was actually quite cool. For the most part, the singing was on key, on pitch and excellent, although there were a few "clinkers" along the way. The dancing was first rate, with some very intricate choreography at times. They even set the Liberace stuff in the context of a spoof on "Chopsticks" with the guys in half white and half black tuxedos. Youíve got to see it for yourself. I loved the very beautiful ladies dancing with lighted candelabra on their heads. Very camp with a great sense of humor. The only one who didnít like it was my 11 year old son who exclaimed, "This sucks!" I didnít expect him to like it and it was the one thing he didnít want to do that I demanded he do on the cruise. I would definitely recommend it if you need to choose between it and Caribbean Caliente, the other production show. No disrespect to the Caliente as I have not seen it. I base my statement on countless reviews from others who have seen it.
Tenacity: I have enormous respect for musicians (hey, thatís not something you hear every day, is it?). Like I said, I used to manage bands. Few people know how hard these people work. Practicing, playing dives, going on the road, getting paid next to nothing, working til 3AM, etc. That being said, Iíve got to say that I found Tenacity wanting. The basic musicianship is there, but guys, the vocals, the vocals, the vocals. Either get this guy to sing on pitch or get rid of him. Heís killing you. Whereís Deep Blue? Enough.
Comedian Troy Thirdgill: This guy is good. "A Black comic from Oregon." Hey, thatís part of his act, not some political incorrectness. We saw him in Explorers the first night of the cruise. Very good material. He had our whole party rolling, including my 11 year old son and my 70 year old Mother. Definitely worth seeing. By the way, for all shows in Explorerís Lounge, get there at least 30 minutes early or you will not get a seat.
Comedian Ross Bennett: He gets off to a slow start, but donít leave. Itís part of his shtick. He does a lot of self-depricating humor. His bits about his Father, the Lt. Col., are hilarious. This guy has some "major daddy issues." Very entertaining.
James "The Kid" Michael and Hal Spear, Comedians, were also performing, but I didnít catch their act.
Bert Stratton was not at Crooners. That was a disappointment as Iíve heard all about him and thought I might finally get to see/hear him. Neil Archer and Ali Adams were playing.
Comedy Juggler Jonathan Stamp. We did not see him this year. He was on the cruise last year and does some great juggling of a chain saw and balancing of a full surf board on his chin. Good for some chuckles.
Comedian Magician James Michael. Did not catch his act.
Sil Vous Plait. House band in Explorerís Lounge. OK, but the lead singer has some of the same issues as the one in Tenacity in terms of staying on pitch.
Ralph Rubino Trio. Playing now in Wheelhouse Bar. Heard them a couple of times while passing by, but really canít comment.
Denise Canby Trio. Playing in Wheelhouse Bar. Same deal as Ralph Rubino.
MUTS: Meet the Fockers, The Wedding Date.
During the day, they ran Tina Turner, Tom Jones, Beyonce in concert and the movies, Hard Dayís Night and a midnight showing of Rocky Horror. One night was Kids Night at MUTS, but I donít know what was playing.
Ports of Call:
Princess Cays: The first stop on our trip. Beautiful and pristine. In excellent shape after being wiped out and reconstructed after the hurricane last year. Nice BBQ starting at 11:30 with burgers, dogs, ribs, fries, macaroni salad, brownies, loads of great fresh fruit, etc. One of the few nice weather days we had.
Montego Bay: We docked in MoBay. I just went ashore and did some shopping. Did no excursions there. Stayed on the ship and chilled.
Grand Cayman. Must tender into Grand Cayman. Had booked "Stingray City" and was really looking forward to it. Then, the rains came. Many early risers got it in, but when our appt. time came, it was really very nasty. Wife and Son wanted no part of it, so we stayed on ship. I know, wet blankets are we.
Cozumel. We docked in Cozumel. Spent the morning shopping at the duty free area, etc. Then, the time came to go to our Dolphin Swim Encounter at the Nature Park. The skies grew more threatening. Took a cab out there, paid admission to the park and checked in. Then, it hit. The rains came on fierce. Since there was some rumbling of thunder, we collectively decided to pack it in and returned to the ship. This was the biggest disappointment of the trip. Yes, many stood and waited it out and probably did it and had a ball, but I have one son and no spares. Call me what you will.
By the way, Iíve got to tell you about this one rather enormous woman in a bike driven "rickshaw" who showed up at the last minute seeking to board the CB in Cozumel. She was "drunk as a skunk." I pity her poor husband. This woman was literally falling down drunk. Her husband, the rickshaw guy, and a Princess staffer had her by the arms, trying to pull her out of that rickshaw. At first, she refused to budge. Then, she tried to get out of it and fell back into it. Then, they all tried to pull her up, got her up and she fell into it again. This was quite a show. I tell you half of our ship was out on our balconies along with those of the Carnival Inspiration docked right next to us for this ridiculous display of wanton drunkenness. They finally got her out of the rickshaw and on her feet. She took 2 steps towards the gangway and, you guessed it, she fell right back down on her "brains." She was screaming and laughing at the top of her lungs the whole time. They finally got her on board. I can only imagine her hangover the next day.