Evenings aboard a cruise ship are all that you make of them! There are so many options for eating, drinking and entertainment it is truly a matter of deciding what is right for you. Tonight is our favorite show on a Carnival cruise… 80’s Pop to the Max! After which we have a ball as the party continues at the Michael Jackson Showdown.
We love dinner time!
After spending the day in Belize we were starving and ready for dinner time! One thing I like that Carnival does with their dinner menu is that there is a section labeled ‘Port of Call’ which will feature specialties from the port you visited for the day. For Belize, this was Belizian Fry Jacks for an appetizer and Chili Rellenos as a main with a Grand Sunset cocktail. I decided to branch out of my comfort zone and try the fry jacks… unfortunately, they were not my favorite… Basically just fried dough with a spicy dipping sauce. But I give Carnival an A for effort in bringing the local culture onto the cruise ship.
Another interesting menu area is the ‘Rare Finds’ which used to be called the Didja as in ‘didja ever try this before?’ These are menu oddities that the teenage boys in our group always enjoy trying. Tonight was the Ox Tongue which was determined to taste like roast beef so I would be ok eating that.
We love dinner time as we all get to sit down and relax with dinner served at a slow pace. We may have split up during the day but all come together to talk about our experiences. The full meal can take up to two hours, but that is all part of it. In your normal life, you go into a restaurant, maybe order an appetizer and then your meal. And the servers get you in and out. On a cruise, you sit back and enjoy the meal being brought to you in courses… Bread service, appetizers, main dishes, and desserts. I promise you will never leave hungry!
Tonight the table is covered with fried chicken, beef tenderloin, linguine with Italian sausage, swordfish, ribs… basically, if it was on the menu then someone in our large group ordered it. All of it was so good!
And for some light entertainment… it’s shhhhoowwwwwtime! We had the BEST wait staff and they pulled us up into the show when it was time to dance. Tonight the featured song was ‘Happy’ and Jason and the kids all learned the special dance while I made sure to record all of the memories.
Where is the best bar on a Carnival ship??? Hands down it is the Alchemy Bar! After dinner, we made a stop to visit our favorite bartenders and Ufuk decided I needed a special drink. After determining that I am a chocolate lover, he whips up the ‘Deal Closer’ which is a chocolate martini. But this is not just a drink… he wrote my name on the inside of the glass in chocolate syrup and shaved dark chocolate on top. One word… YUM!
The most fantastic 80’s show ever!
Last year on the Carnival Freedom was the first time we had ever been blown away by a show on a cruise ship. So we were pleasantly surprised to learn the same show was on the Dream. We made sure to get to the theater very early so when the door opened we made a beeline to the front row center. We were both born at the end of the 70’s so our childhoods were made from this music. Needless to say, we know most of the words and are ready to sing along! Jason gives this show on a scale from 1-10… a 12!
They start out with a pre-show where the performers come out with hair teased as big as it will go. The crew ‘plugin’ their camera to the big screen and point out members of the audience to interact with and make them larger than life for everyone to see. This is always fun and gets the crowd excited for what is to come.
I mentioned the big screen before, but once the show starts it is an integral part. For those of us who remember the birth of MTV (yes back when they actually played music videos), Max Headroom was the face of this movement and is how this show is started. The first official song of the show is ‘Hungry Like the Wolf’ where we meet the performers as they rise in front of us from under the stage. Another really cool effect they use is treadmills to allow them to run in place. I guess it is something you have to see but is very visually appealing.
Girls just wanna have fun!
Well of course they do! Big hair, big poufy skirts, and leg warmers… Yep, it’s definitely the 80’s! Wow, so many songs from our childhoods! Wake me up before you go, go! And be sure to hit that high note! Here the stage goes dark but is lit with almost a black light. All of the performer’s costumes glow under the light and the background screens dance wildly and then the bright colors return in a flash.
‘Take on Me’… This is the one that blew us away last year. You have to remember the music video that moves between real life and comic with the characters reaching back and forth…. Yes, they were able to duplicate this to perfection! The screens rotate back and forth as the scene changes and they open to reveal the performers behind.
And now for the silly stuff
You have to have a part of the show that just makes you laugh and they achieved this with Van Halen’s ‘Jump’. This was hilarious between the singing back to back and the over exaggerated use of the microphone stand to literally jumping when they said ‘Jump’. I had a huge smile on my face the whole time.
There were several small montages of songs grouped together. But my favorite was the ‘One Hit Wonders’ with songs like ‘Relax’, ‘Supersonic’, ‘Tainted Love’ and of course Devo with the traffic cone looking things on their heads singing ‘Whip It’!
The only part of the show that verged away from family-friendly was, well, Madonna. But let’s be honest, Madonna was not family friendly. They did a good job of making it sexy without being too risqué.
What would any 80’s show be without the Jacksons??? Each cast takes this show and makes it their own so the Janet Jackson part was completely new to us. They did a fabulous job with the costuming and songs of ‘Rhythm Nation’, it felt very authentic to the original music video. This song ends with the performers being lowered into the stage, very dramatic.
But the show stealer would have to be Michael Jackson! As the cast is brought down into the depths after ‘Rhythm Nation’, the screens light up with the shiny black shoes and high-water pants that we know and love. One of Michael’s songs would not be enough so we start with ‘PYT’ (Pretty Young Thing) as he rises from the stage donning a black suit, fedora, and sparkly white glove. And yes, he goes straight into a perfect moonwalk! He does a great job of pulling off the iconic MJ.
Next up is a duet singing of ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’ but the show stopper is ‘Smooth Criminal’!!! The entire cast is dressed in old gangster style and they nail the leaning in and out that is so iconic with this song. We are not sure if Annie is ok? But we know we have been hit by a smooth criminal! Then boom, the finale, the lights go dark and the gangsters sink away into the stage. GREAT SHOW!!!
The party continues in the lobby…
We are directed by the cruise director – Chris ‘the Flying Scotsman’ – to head out to the lobby for the Michael Jackson Showdown. We had attended the Motown Showdown earlier in the cruise so knew it would be a lot of fun… out we went!
We grabbed a prime spot and Chris comes out wearing a sparkly black jacket… you’ve gotta love a man who is confident enough to wear this! We are split into two sides for the competition… Team Michael and Team Janet. It was a battle of the sexes, men vs women.
The first song plays and we are trying to determine which side can dance the best. These things really bring out the fun and it was a blast watching people let loose! This one went to Team Janet… Of course, there has to be some Jackson Five included and everyone knows the words to ‘I Want You Back’ and sings along as loud as they can! This one goes to Team Michael!
My childhood comes flooding back!
The songs keep rocking on covering the entire span of MJ’s career and it was so much fun watching our fantastic cruise director as we were singing and dancing along. Let’s see how many of the song lyrics are still stuck in my head and how many I have no clue what they are?? When everyone knows a song and hundreds of people are singing along together… it’s pretty amazing!
On Chris’ favorite song, he makes us repeat a vow that “I will sing my face off as loud as I can, hallelujah!” So, of course, we follow suit and sing loud and proud to ‘Who’s Lovin’ You’. Chris surprises us as he goes down on his knees to belt out this song to a lovely lady in the audience.
The highlights of the night were seeing everyone moonwalk in unison to ‘PYT’ and the famous ‘lean’ during ‘Smooth Criminal’! I cannot express enough how much fun this was. These showdowns are hands down the most fun we have ever had on a cruise ship and is something we will never forget!
Want to see more from this trip? Here is the full playlist.
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