by Jason Leppert
Last updated: 1:00 PM ET, Mon September 12, 2016
For the biggest cruise ship in the world, Royal Caribbean International has pulled out all the stops aboard the Harmony of the Seas, and everything from live performances to integrated technology is employed to make it happen across three distinct main venues.
"There is nowhere else in the world that you could experience the kind of entertainment that Royal Caribbean brings to Harmony of the Seas," said Michael Bayley, President & CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "I mean it really is leading, world-class; it's the best that there is."
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Even the most traditional show house onboard, the 1,380-seat Royal Theater, impresses with fresh approaches to major productions like "Grease." At a preview, Nick Weir, VP, Entertainment at Royal Caribbean, described the show as a hybrid of both the Broadway performance and the film, incorporating the best elements and numbers from each to create the ultimate version at sea. There's even a live orchestra that plays in a unique dedicated studio backstage to accompany the talented singers and dancers out front with perfect audio.
"Then you go into our Studio B, the ice show," said Mark Tamis, SVP, Hotel Operations, Royal Caribbean International. "We're going to be not only continuing to have world-class figure skaters doing these really fun interactive shows, but we're even bringing technology to that show."
"1887" is a show, initially set in Paris at the time of Jules Verne, that with its incredible steampunk staging, colorful costuming and talented skating alone is impressive, but new video projection effects ramp it up even more. By using the ice surface as a screen, the floor is animated to appear like it is crumbling and washed away or caught in a cosmic vortex, and the effect is quite stunning in conjunction with the live performers.
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Lastly, outside at the Boardwalk, is the AquaTheater complete with an impressive diving tank and array of dancing fountains taunted by live swimmers. Christi Coachman-Orengo, Director, Entertainment at Royal Caribbean, points out the inclusion of, "synchronized swimmers, high-divers, slack-liners, high-liners, 3D flying, you name it."
"The Fine Line," as with all the shows mentioned here is just one of many shows presented at each venue, as previewed during our sailing, and even while still being workshopped and finalized, it was truly jaw-dropping. There's nothing else quite like watching swimmers gracefully activate the water and then have a dance-off with the fountains themselves. Plus, the rigging above, according to Weir, takes the flying system used for floating stadium cameras and applies it to one or two performers gliding high above the audience, fully engaging the al fresco space in an all-encompassing spectacle.
"We are going to make sure that the Harmony of the Seas has entertainment that is literally the best in the world," added Weir. "There's going to be something for everybody." To see for yourself, Royal Caribbean has released a behind-the-scenes video, hosted at my Popular Cruising YouTube channel and embedded below…
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