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Cruising for Laughs


We like to go on cruises for the comedy shows. Nowhere else do we have such easy access to stand-up comics pitching jokes at multiple performances. And forty minutes of belly laughs provide a boat-load of stress relief. When we find ourselves in need of guffaws, we book a sailing on a Carnival Cruise Line ship.

That’s because each vessel hosts between 16 to 20 comedy shows per seven night voyage. No other cruise line offers as many different comic performances as Carnival. Fleetwide, Carnival presents more than 20,000 comedy shows a year, making the line the largest operator of comedy clubs in the world. Yes, we also like cruising’s lazy sea days, upfront pricing and multiple ports, but we especially enjoy the chance to laugh—deeply and often.

Carnival always offered a late-night, “adult” comedy show at least once on most of its cruises. In 2011, however, the line increased its commitment to humor, launching Punchliner Comedy Clubs presented by George Lopez. Since Lopez’s involvement, Carnival rolls out even more comedy presented by engaging comics, both headliners and up-and-comers.

Comics on cruise ships no longer limit their routines to buffet and bathroom jokes. Mark Tamis, Carnival Cruise Line’s senior vice president of guest operations, says “Back in the day, being labeled a ‘cruise ship comedian’ certainly carried a negative connotation as it was believed that performing on a cruise ship meant it was either the beginning or the end of your career, “ says “That is certainly not the case these days.” Many shipboard jokesters come aboard between appearances in top clubs and on late-night television shows.

On a recent week-long voyage aboard Carnival Valor two sets of comics entertain for two nights each, performing a total of 16 shows, 14 of which feature new material. For “laughaholics” like us, that proves to be the cruise highlight.

Each pair of entertainers teams up for a family-friendly show at 7:30 pm, lobbing jokes about kids, families and work. Afterward, the performers alternate, providing a total of three adult-only shows. The emcee introduces these by saying “If you are under 18, then get the f…out. If you are easily offended, then get the f… out.”

The first two-days of shows by John Wing and especially by Happy Cole prove screamingly funny. At Cole’s show on sex on his second day, not only is every seat taken but more than 145 people stand along the sides and the room’s rear. The language is “blue,” but the situations described are human and humorous.

The second pair of comics, Jason Andors and Al Romero, reap giggles, but don’t elicit thigh-slapping guffaws. Still, it feels good to laugh. For us, that’s the great bonus of a Carnival Cruise Line sailing.

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Content copyright © 2014 by Candyce H. Stapen. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Candyce H. Stapen. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Candyce H. Stapen for details.

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