Huge Poolside Screens: Jumbo Fun or a Giant Pain?

December 17, 2011 | By | 46 Comments

Do those giant poolside screens growing ever larger and louder on cruise ships drive you batty? No way, says NeuroQueen, who submitted one of our Reviews of the Week and recounts this dreamy experience with one of the behemoths on Carnival Dream: ” I know many do not like the Jumbotron movie screen by the main pool but I really enjoyed our time there. On Thanksgiving morning seated in comfortable loungers, the bloody Mary cart waiter making our favorite cocktails while watching the Macy’s parade, priceless! … There were several who enjoyed the many football games here, as well.” Ok, now that sounds like fun, but we’re still not completely sold. NeuroQueen — along with Elliegal, dwolfe, nolaguys and chiefbell — receive Cruise Critic over-the-shoulder travel bags for their efforts.
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    46 Responses to “Huge Poolside Screens: Jumbo Fun or a Giant Pain?”

    1. Andrea
      December 17th, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

      I like the big screens! Not so much during the day, but I find it relaxing to see a movie on the deck of the ship at night. I wouldn’t want to go to one of the inside movie theaters because I want to appreciate the fact that I am on a ship, so the outside theaters are the best combination for me.

    2. Donald Schoengold
      December 17th, 2011 @ 12:32 pm

      Some of us can’t stand movies and we never go to them. Then, when we are on a cruise, we can’t get away from the trash they show on the big screens. They should rip the damn things down.

    3. david
      December 17th, 2011 @ 4:40 pm

      Sorry, I don’t go on a cruise to watch TV or movies. There’s too much noise at the pools to begin with, this just adds to it.

      Then we have the issue of the fact that they cater to sports fans.

    4. Susan Hofer
      December 17th, 2011 @ 11:32 pm

      They play either children’s films or action movies at incredible volume. You have to go inside to get away from it. If you don’t have your own balcony and you are driven away from the pool area, then a big part of your cruise is missing. I would much rather hear a band play then have to endure the drivel that is shown.

    5. Charles
      December 17th, 2011 @ 11:46 pm

      Fine as long as they mitigate the sound. They keep them too loud to comfortably sit and watch. How about providing headphones for the sound?

    6. Larry
      December 18th, 2011 @ 7:41 am

      On the Star Princess while cruising through Antarctica at 30 degrees it was an awesome experience watching movies at night on the deck with a dozen people. Loved it!

    7. Carole Rosenthal
      December 18th, 2011 @ 8:22 am

      It is a nice reason for two people to get together and watch a movie, especially if there are free snacks. Unfortunately, the times we had this, you either couldn’t see the screen (daytime) or they scheduled the movies when we couldn’t get to see them. Cruising is a vacation, and sometimes you go to a movie you’ve missed otherwise! Relaxation is just that!

    8. Gracie
      December 18th, 2011 @ 11:45 am

      I like them. Watching Oklahoma State beat Oklahoma on that big thing was AWESOME!!!!!

    9. Jen F
      December 18th, 2011 @ 1:11 pm

      Donald S. What a terrible attitude. \I don’t care if EVERYONE else on the ship does like it. It bothers me. I don’t like it, so they should tear it down so no one has the opportunity to enjoy it.\

    10. Holly Watson
      December 18th, 2011 @ 3:51 pm

      I hate them. Noisy distraction from what I go on the ship to see. Nothing better to look at than the ocean and sunset.

    11. Jeffrey
      December 18th, 2011 @ 4:19 pm

      I like the screens. If there is a night movie I like, I watch it. If I don’t like it, there is plenty of other things to do.

    12. Alan
      December 18th, 2011 @ 4:32 pm

      Large screens, can’t say I’ve enven noticed them, must have been too busy enjoying my holiday….

    13. Mark Blei
      December 18th, 2011 @ 4:41 pm

      I hate the big screens on ships with a burning passion. The last thing I want on my vacation in the middle of the ocean is a giant jumbotron playing loud videos.

      It would be a great thing for the occasional movie under the stars, but it’s way way overused and I really try and stay away from ships that have them, and when I’m on ships that have them, I stay waaaay the hell away from any deck where I can see or hear them.

      Hate them .

    14. Mark
      December 18th, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

      Wow! It is amazing to me the things people will complain about. I mean really folks! If you can’t stand the amenities of mass-market ships like giant video screens or for-fee restaurants, then CHOOSE ANOTHER LINE!!! Don’t waste your time being crabby and miserable on the forums! I can assure you, you are the minority in your miserable opinions otherwise the cruise lines would not invest millions adding these features to their ships. What it sounds like to me is that you should be cruising with a small ship luxury line, but either are too cheap, or too broke to actually book it… So you continue to book the mass-market lines because of the prices, and complain about EVERYTHING! Why not just stay on land? Us happy cruisers and likely the crew would be glad if you did!

    15. Connie
      December 18th, 2011 @ 5:16 pm

      ok, we were docked next to a big ship with a BIGGG screen and loud music. We were relaxing on our pool deck but couldn’t even hear each other talk because of the music and noise coming from that screen. Please Lord, do not have me go on a relaxing cruise on a ship with a Big Screen.

    16. Brian H
      December 18th, 2011 @ 5:28 pm

      I can’t believe people are so worked up over this. They have their place like for movies under the stars or the sail away party. What I find more annoying are smokers and unruly children.

    17. Marcie Byers Gunkel
      December 18th, 2011 @ 7:06 pm

      HAL just played nature/scenic video during the day, movies were only on a few nights. It was great fun, just like the old drive-in!

    18. Patrick
      December 18th, 2011 @ 7:33 pm

      For Mark, we can turn your argument around and say if you want to watch loud movies and American Football, stay home and watch it on your 80″ tv. The rest of us go on a cruise to get away from all of that crap.

    19. Jen F
      December 18th, 2011 @ 8:04 pm

      Brian H.
      I completely agree. It’s crazy for people to get so worked up over this. I have heard from people who like MUTS. I can see how jumbotrons could be aggravating during the day, but to each his own.

      Enjoy your cruise in whatever way you wish. Some people like to listen to bands by the pool. Some like to spend all day in an adults only zone. Some like to spend their time napping on their balconies. Some like to gamble in the casino.

      The great part about a cruise is that people can go on the same vacation and have many different experiences. We vacation with family. My parents love to just enjoy their balcony and spend some time being quiet. My husband and I enjoy excursions and having a chance to get out and see the local culture. We all enjoy the MDR. Many like only buffet. Many like only pay venues.

      You can have thousands of people in the same place with thousands of different expectations.

    20. Neta Platt
      December 18th, 2011 @ 8:24 pm

      I am still undecided. I couldn’t just jump to a conclusion at first when I read this. And after reading all the replys above not one person has been able to convince me which way I would vote if asked???? I am leaning towards most ships have more than one pool, outdoor area, or indoor area, so I think the people who do not like it could go elsewhere for an hour or two while the movie plays or until the game is over. We were recently on a cruise with a jumbo screen in the mall entrance way. It was constantly standing room only anytime we went by it. We saw people watching videos, movies, artists singing and all kinds of things going on. If we didn’t like what they were playing we just went on to the next thing we wanted to see or just stroll around and check back later. We have taken over 14 cruises and have never talked with people about this on our cruises either. We are going again in April so will check with other cruises then.

    21. Mark
      December 18th, 2011 @ 10:22 pm

      Patrick, you didn’t really turn my argument around… You proved it. If you want a quiet, relaxing cruise, then Carnival, RCI, Norwegian, etc. are not good options for you. If you notice more premium brands like Celebrity do not have giant poolside screens, water parks, or slides. As such, the demographic that Celebrity attracts is generally a bit more mature. The point I was trying to make was simply that people who complain about certain amenities on a mass-market cruise, need to consider a line that more closely fits their idea of a cruise vacation, rather than complaining about it.

    22. Scott
      December 19th, 2011 @ 9:26 am

      Nothing better than relaxing in a pool-side hot tub while watching a new movie on the jumbo-tron under the stars in the early evening, while being served strawberry margaritas by the cocktail waitress! Thats how I spent one evening with my family on the Liberty a couple years ago. It was a great stress-free evening!

    23. Ryan
      December 19th, 2011 @ 10:48 am

      I’llbe on the Carnival Liberty during the superbowl in February. I can’t wait to watch it on the jumbotron!

    24. Len
      December 19th, 2011 @ 11:02 am

      As a veteran of 24 cruises and a Carnival Platinum member I can say “turn down the volume on the jumbotron” when you are just playing music videos. They have their place and are nice for sports and movies.We have sailed on other line but Carnival is the worst for overly loud lido deck music. We for the first time in years do not have a Feb.or Mar. cruise planned because of the riseing cost and lowering quality of cruiseing and then add the annoying volume on the Lido deck and it is just not worth it anymore.

    25. Calandria d'Avalon
      December 19th, 2011 @ 11:07 am

      Bah on the big screen near the pool. If movies were noted in the daily bulletin and held in an area that didn’t intrude on others’ quiet, relaxing time, then fine by me. As long as we all know where and when (to go or avoid), there might be less discord. Perhaps ya’ll should CONSIDER AN UPGRADE TO A SMALLER SHIP!!! OCEANIA is a truly WONDERFUL cruise line…the BEST WE EVER HAD! Marina was superior to any ship we’ve sailed on. This ship had a much smaller compliment of passengers, and that makes a HUGE difference. Cruises we’ve taken on other ships that were stuffed with folks weren’t as relaxing and fun. We took Marina’s inagural cruise in January from Miami and it was SPECTACULAR. The spacious ship (with its newness and smaller passenger list), the wonderful staff, cooking lessons from the pros, breathtaking artwork, library, spa, food/buffet/restaurants with wow food blessed by the likes of Jaques Papan, the excursions, made this the trip of a lifetime. The cabins were delightfully roomy. Eighteen days is the longest time we’ve sailed, but it was great. There were three small, well-behaved children on board, who were great. Alas, the poorly behaved ones were the adults. Be nice/Behave/Be mindful of others. Enjoy da ride. Best cruising advice I can give.

    26. Paul S
      December 19th, 2011 @ 3:13 pm

      We were next to a Carnival ship in Cozumel and they were showing a movie in the afternoon and the volume was so loud it was bothering us on our ship. It might be fun at night to watch a movie at sea, but otherwise I would not be interested.

    27. Bonny Cadwallader
      December 19th, 2011 @ 4:51 pm

      Love, Love, Love the Jumbotron. Last spring we cruised the W. Carribbean on the Valor and we really enjoyed the MUTS big screen several nights laying on the loungers watching movies and eating pizza. And in the day time laying out by the pool to, all though I have to admit it could be just a bit quiter in the day time.(For relaxing and napping by the pool.)

    28. Al and Nancy
      December 19th, 2011 @ 8:44 pm

      We just returned from a cruise on the Freedom of the Seas and enjoyed the big screen. Watching a football game or movie was so, so relaxing and enjoyable under the stars. Nothing like it–great idea!!!

    29. Dave Morris
      December 19th, 2011 @ 9:37 pm

      If you don’t like it, don’t cruise it! GEEZ!
      We book Princess and Carnival to watch an OCASSIONAL movie. We did MUTS on Princess and had a good time watching a concert with snacks of cookies and milk. Ya can’t please everyone so tell the hyper-critics to find other cruise lines.

    30. Jessie
      December 19th, 2011 @ 11:46 pm

      They had me at bloody Mary cart =)

    31. Catz4001
      December 20th, 2011 @ 11:47 am

      I loved watching the superbowl on it…and a trivia game one day,,,,evening movies were nice especially for the kids. but don’t think they need to run it all day. can’t see it due to the sun, plus all the noise at the pool.

    32. Sabrina
      December 21st, 2011 @ 7:32 am

      I like the movies under the stars at night or even a game at night. However, during the day on warm tropical cruises, I miss the Reggae bands they used to have that played by the pool. Oh sure, some bands still play by the pool, but these bands play for far less time than they used to because the screens are on for much longer amounts of time now. If the band had a CD, I always bought one.

    33. Ingrid Windsor
      December 21st, 2011 @ 7:56 am

      Hate them!

    34. Lou Salvino
      December 21st, 2011 @ 9:52 am

      I think its a great idea for announcements and showing on deck activities, like the belly flop contest, so everyone can watch and enjoy. Also for special events like The Thanksgiving Day Parade,a major sporting event or other events that the majority of the people may be interested in. However, just showing movies and shows should be only during non-peak deck hours, like in the evening.

    35. Lisa
      December 21st, 2011 @ 11:20 am

      I liked the big screen on ships when the cruise director comes on and shares information about the day as well as his comedy routines. I like it in the AM because I can get OUT of my cabin and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine and still see the show.

    36. Angus Lawson
      December 21st, 2011 @ 1:09 pm

      Loud, they take over both pool areas. they also have the only comfortable lounges on Princess. Okay for movies in the evening but don’t need during daytime.

    37. Pat C
      December 21st, 2011 @ 1:21 pm

      We were docked next to one of these monstrous screens on a recent cruise and it was horrible. Don’t like them. We travel to get away from this and now it’s all around us.

      It’s great for those who like this but when the ship is docked with many others around it’s very disruptive.

    38. Lee
      December 21st, 2011 @ 1:59 pm

      We were on a Princess ship a couple of years ago that had movies under the stars. Our balcony stateroom was under the bigscreen. We could not enjoy our balcony or even our stateroom for that matter as the glass in our door and window vibrated from the noise. We asked for them to turn down the bass or volume and someone came to our stateroom to check it out, but nothing was done. We thought well, maybe we could take a nap in the afternoon, but no, they had movies in the afternoon,too.
      Our whole room vibrated. We did get some compensation from Princess after our cruise was over and we complained. From now on, when we sail on a ship with a movie screen, we make sure are cabin is far from the screen. We did notice on our cruise in November that the noise level was down whenever we walked by the screen.

    39. Mike
      December 22nd, 2011 @ 12:48 am

      I realize I’ll get flamed for expressing my opinion but here goes: When MUTS was introduced a few years ago on Princess it was wonderful to curl up under a blanket and watch a movie in the evening with popcorn and milk and cookies.

      However, on a recent cruise the damn thing played all day – they should give us some quiet breaks occasionally. Even a couple of hours would be welcome. And for those who say ‘enjoy the cruise in whatever way you wish’ – well, how exactly do you do that when there is only one pool area?

    40. AMoore
      December 22nd, 2011 @ 5:38 pm

      Just got off Carnival Freedom. Enjoyed the jumbotron for the football games but It was difficult to hear. The rest of the time was just Carnival “commercials” of ports of call, very boring after the twentieth time. Also had only one lido deck dance party during this cruise as opposed to nightly activity on other cruises. Vote NO on subject of jumbotrons.

    41. Jennifer
      December 24th, 2011 @ 9:27 am

      I have only took one cruise on Carnival and it didn’t have a big screen. I really enjoyed the bands so i’m not sure how fond of the screen I would be during the day but I like the idea of a movie at night.

    42. vanessa
      December 27th, 2011 @ 7:37 pm

      In 2010, I watched the Academy Awards on the big screen. It was March and I was on the Carnival Liberty. We`had big blankets and laid on the beach chairs to watch. It was so luxurious watching the stars come out under the stars! Loved loved loved it!

    43. Arubalisa
      January 2nd, 2012 @ 11:31 am

      I will not cruise on a ship with a big screen jumbotron. They are too noisy and not relaxing at all. I for one, do not need to be entertained 24/7 while on vacation, but rather see a cruise vacation as a way of “getting away from it all” and relaxing.

    44. Ann Pearce
      March 20th, 2014 @ 1:40 pm

      At night is fine, I enjoy movies on the deck at night. I also don’t go on cruises to watch TV and listen to loud music. At least on some ships, Princess is one, there is a separate area away from all the noise.

    45. Trish Coppock
      April 3rd, 2014 @ 1:58 pm

      I personally don’t like MUTS. However there are many places on the outside decks which are quiet & relaxing. These cruise lines can’t please all the people all the time! Live & let live, find your own favourite place to enjoy the top deck.

    46. Annette24
      March 5th, 2015 @ 4:57 pm

      Like the idea in principal! But generally find the volume too high and sound distorted, there should be a volume limit. Found you could hear it even on your balcony, so no peace there. We had to give up on (late!!) buffet breakfasts outside as screen too loud. Location in port should also be considered, why should local’s have to put up with this type of intrusion during the day. The first time we experience this only two films were shown, one matinee and one late and were not intrusive at all. The second time there were five, starting at 10am and finishing after midnight and sound did carry over the whole top deck. For this reason my DH and I are reluctant to consider ships with big screens. Perhaps headsets or localised speakers might help. I am happy for it to be part of the cruise experience but not to take over!

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