Royal Caribbean may begin charging for some entertainment

By Tom Stieghorst
For the first time, Royal Caribbean International may charge extra for some shows on its cruise ships, according to Nick Weir, Royal Caribbean’s vice president of entertainment.

Weir commented in an online Google+ Hangout chat that Royal Caribbean presented from the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. Weir was asked about charging for entertainment by one of a half-dozen questioners who were picked by Royal Caribbean to appear in a video feed.

“Is there an opportunity to charge in the future? Maybe,” Weir answered.

He drew a parallel between entertainment and dining, where dining was traditionally included, but now has both complimentary and for-charge elements.

“We’re thinking about doing that in the future with entertainment,” he said. “It will be in addition to the core product.”

Premium entertainment would “change the experience in the direction we want to change it,” Weir said.

Sonic OdysseyCarnival Cruise Lines has introduced fee-extra entertainment on some of its ships through its Carnival Live series, in which name acts such as Chicago and Olivia Newton-John do single concerts in the ship’s main theater at a price of $20 to $40 per person, or $100 to $150 for VIP seats.

Cruise lines have typically included entertainment in the ticket price.

The Google+ Hangout chat was staged to unveil some aspects of the entertainment on Quantum of the Seas, due to enter service in November. The general public could question Weir and co-host Kristin Chenoweth via chat.

The two said that contemporary harpist William Close will present a show called "Sonic Odyssey" in the main theater. The centerpiece is a giant instrument called Earth Harp, which has strings that reach various corners of the theater.

During the hangout, Royal Caribbean also showed a short video of the six robotic video screens that form part of the show in the Two70° aft lounge on Quantum.

The large screens will be programmed to move and converge in coordination by a computer. The effect is a little like a 21st century kaleidoscope.

Chenoweth hinted that some of the entertainment in Two70 will be given by performers in remote locations and delivered by satellite to video screens or in other ways.
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Follow Tom Stieghorst on Twitter @tstravelweekly.
 
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