A Quest for Seabourn Entertainment
Photo by Jason Leppert
When most consider cruise ship entertainment, the expectation these days is for lavish production shows not unlike those on Broadway, but such are generally reserved for vessels carrying thousands of guests. On luxury lines, like Seabourn, only accommodating hundreds, the lineup is understandably less elaborate but not without its own talent.
On the Seabourn Quest, the Grand Salon is the primary entertainment venue, one reminiscent of cruising’s past, with a single-decker cabaret lounge, a simple stage positioned over the stern and seating fanned out with a slight incline from there. A live band consists of four members – a keyboardist, guitarist, bassist and drummer – backing a sextet of vocalists who serve double duty as dancers.
A 10-day cruise consisted of three main productions: “On the Six,” “Songs in the City” and “Crossroads” (pictured above) in order. The singers are generally very good and sound better individually than as an ensemble at times, which was the case for the first occasionally a cappella performance that sadly suffered from a poor sound mix and several instances of muted microphones.
Thankfully, the second “Songs in the City” show was considerably better across the board, and “Crossroads” was especially great, showcasing the most energy and vocal prowess of the three main performances. Of course, a lack of backing dancers and extensive set design puts a greater emphasis on the vocalists, and they were mostly up to the challenge.
From what I’ve gathered from excellent cruise director Handre Potgieter, the upcoming Seabourn Encore, befitting its showman name, will have an upgraded audio visual package complete with LED wall. Such enhancements to the Grand Salon will likely up the presentation bar accordingly.
Otherwise, the singers also occasionally performed in The Club with its smaller stage and dance floor for more intimate song stylings that, when all else was stripped away, were sometimes more effective showcases of the cast’s talent, as well as a nice accompaniment to one afternoon’s tea time.
Other cabaret acts and film screenings infilled the remaining evenings with a Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist and pianist Judy Carmichael and stand-up comedian Fred Klett headlining. In all honesty, the comedian was mostly unfunny in our opinion, and for being touted as a clean humorist, his occasional possessed growl voice was unnecessarily crass. She, on the other hand, was far more delightful as an accomplished piano player, even if less so as a singer who tended to talk too much.
In-suite entertainment is also a nice alternate option for pulling up many new and classic films on demand and complimentarily, but as a continuation of the great service onboard, the highlight of the entertainment on the Quest was definitely the equally great cruise director. He will be heading off with us tomorrow as he goes to launch the new Seabourn Encore, a wonderful choice for the position.
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