Our friends had invited us to join them on the Inaugural cruise of the Sky Princess for two weeks from Athens to Rome. Although we had cruised the Mediterranean several times in the past, and although we were veteran Platinum Princess cruisers, this seemed to offer an interesting itinerary and the excitement of being on the maiden voyage of a brand new ship. While we expected there to be some last minute adjustments necessitated by these circumstances, we thought that this would be compensated for by extras added in celebration. Disappointingly, there were no extras, only deletions.
These two weeks were actually two one-week cruises back-to-back, with different itineraries. Our major disappointment was in the caliber of entertainment offered. The first week featured a couple of outstanding comedians, one of whom was a clever ventriloquist as well, but this type of entertainment belonged in a lounge, not in a large theater. There were a couple of good singers, but once again, not suited to a large stage, especially with a lack of backup singers and dancers. Finally, on the last night of the first week (when many of the one-week cruisers were concerned about packing for the debarkation the following morning), the ship presented the premier of its Rock Opera, an over-amplified set of singers who sounded like they were screaming at the top of their lungs. Some of these singers appeared for us the following week in smaller productions and we were pleased to hear that they actually had pleasant voices when the sound engineers allowed them to project in a more natural way. Although the singers in Rock Opera strutted about the stage, there was still a minimal amount of dancing, if any.
Rock Opera was repeated during the second week, but we naturally declined to be subjected once again to the screaming. The only other production during the second week was the premier of a Jim Henson Muppet review, very cleverly directed by John Tartaglia (original star of Avenue Q on Broadway), who apparently trained the regular crew entertainers to be puppeteers. They did an outstanding job. My only complaint was that since this was performed in a small lounge we had to get there one hour early to obtain seats. The second week also featured a comedian who was better suited to entertaining elementary school students with his mock improvisations.