Photo courtesy of Windstar Cruises
Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Jewel was recently the setting of the television show “Transparent,” for the last episode of season three. In the program, where Jeffrey Tambor portrays a transgender father, the show’s family comes aboard as the ship and its venues are positively showcased. It’s a nice change of pace because over the years the industry has been cinematically depicted in a mixed fashion.
“Speed 2: Cruise Control”
Perhaps the worst portrayal of a cruise ever was in 1997’s “Speed 2: Cruise Control” during which Seabourn’s former Seabourn Legend, now Windstar Cruises’ Star Legend (pictured above), is embarrassingly lampooned as a luxury ship operated by an incompetent crew and boarded by traveling imbeciles.
Thankfully, the ship itself showed well after the production spent an entire month filming on location. Otherwise, according to the awful script, only an LAPD officer with Sandra Bullock’s returning character are capable of overcoming the terrorist threat of a former disgruntled employee wreaking havoc onboard.
Those who green lit this film bought too much into the notion that any advertising is good advertising because for nearly two decades, this was my only impression of the Seabourn brand before sailing onboard this year, and it was not a good one. Luckily, as I knew better all along, the Seabourn product is nowhere near as poor – actually the polar opposite is true – as it is conveyed in this forgettable B movie.
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“Out to Sea”
From the same year as the latter film also came a more delightful film as well, Walther Matthau’s and Jack Lemmon’s comedic “Out to Sea,” a sort of unofficial “Grumpy Old Men at Sea.” A hilariously tyrannical cruise director, perfectly played by Brent Spiner (Data from the TV show, “Star Trek: The Next Generation”) keeps a watchful eye on the would-be dance hosts attempting to cruise for free and pick up eligible ladies onboard one of Holland America Line’s older Westerdam iterations.
This one actually shows the cruise line is a far more positive and accurate light, the cruise director notwithstanding, as well as Cunard’s original Queen Mary to an extent. The classic ocean liner, now permanently moored in Long Beach, California was used in part as a double to the Westerdam.
“After the Sunset”
In 2004, Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Seven Seas Navigator, then called Radisson Seven Seas Cruises, featured Pierce Brosnan and Salma Hayek as jewel thieves attempting to steal a diamond from the a hypothetical gem exhibit onboard in “After the Sunset.” The so-called “Diamond Cruise” also actually represents the luxury cruise line well, including glamor shots of the vessel’s actual atrium, promenade deck and pool deck. All in all, it’s a fun heist film.
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“Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked”
More recently in 2011, the second “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked” sequel shot partially aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Dream. In typical fashion, the squeaky “fab fur” mischievously take over the ship with their playful antics as some actual shipboard features are highlighted. The adult-only Serenity deck is mentioned as are some other outdoor decks and waterslides shown, but mostly sets pick up the slack, still dressed with genuine Elemis toiletries at least. Befitting the “fun ship.” the film is also fun but not quite as much as the first two in the series.
“Jack and Jill”
Lastly, Adam Sandler’s 2011 “Jack and Jill” similarly showcases Royal Caribbean International’s Allure of the Seas as the vacation of choice for the male and female twins played by the goofball actor. The ship was filmed shortly before its inaugural voyage, but a number of its scenes ended up on the cutting room floor. Still, one of the largest cruise ships in the world does get some good featured time in the cinematic spotlight, accurately displaying some of its more kinetic activities.