Video: Disney Magic to get new ‘Villains Tonight!’ stage show

disney villains show

The malevolent world of the Disney villains takes a comical spin in “Villains Tonight!,” a musical spectacular that Disney Cruise Line is premiering in spring 2010. The revue-style show will debut during the March 27 voyage aboard the Disney Magic and will debut aboard the new Disney Dream cruise ship in early 2011.

“Villains Tonight!” is the first full-scale musical production dedicated to the Disney villains. The show is a family-friendly, fun-filled musical extravaganza that places these famous evil-doers in some irreverent funny moments.

“We pride ourselves in delivering exceptional entertainment and magnificent stage spectaculars aboard our ships,” said Jim Urry, vice president of entertainment for Disney Cruise Line. “With ‘Villains Tonight!’ we are bringing the lovable and loathsome Disney villains to life in a way never seen before — as the stars of the first musical comedy devoted to the anti-heroes of our films.”

Disney Cruise Line assembled an all-star creative team headlined by the Broadway writing duo of Hunter Bell and Jeff Bowen. They are joined by director Allison Narver, choreographer Karma Camp and musical director Ben Cohn.

“Villains Tonight!” begins as Hades and his faithful sidekicks, Pain and Panic (“Hercules”), welcome new souls (the audience) to the Underworld. But instead of a frightening realm, guests will discover that Hades has turned the Underworld into an upbeat and happier place. The lively fun comes to a halt when The Fates arrive and predict that Hades will lose his position as Lord of the Underworld if he doesn’t ramp up the evil factor.

Worried by the news, Hades checks his Evil-O-Meter and discovers it is running dangerously low. So he comes up with a plan: He’ll conjure up the very best of the worst — the most powerful Disney villains — to help him replenish the world of evil. What ensues is a comical journey as Hades, Pain and Panic embark on a quest filled with wacky antics and amusing musical numbers featuring Disney villains and their sidekicks.

“Villains Tonight!” features a “Who’s Who” of the Disney villains, including Disney’s newest crook, Dr. Facilier from “The Princess and the Frog.” The show also features classic divas and scoundrels like Ursula (“The Little Mermaid”), the Evil Queen (“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”), Captain Hook (“Peter Pan”) and Scar (“The Lion King”).

During “Villains Tonight!,” the 977-seat Walt Disney Theatre becomes a hilariously wicked world through the use of elaborate sets and special effects, extravagant costumes and a fun-filled, contemporary musical score. The show’s scenery takes guests on a dazzling journey through many villainous worlds, from the deck of Captain Hook’s ship to Scar’s Elephant Graveyard to Ursula’s Undersea Lounge.

“Villains Tonight!” features irreverent versions of classic Disney villain tunes including a dance club version of “Cruella De Vil” (“101 Dalmatians”), a Copacabana-inspired take of “Poor Unfortunate Souls” (“The Little Mermaid”) and an electrifying version of “Friends on the Other Side,” from Walt Disney Pictures’ newest animated feature, “The Princess and the Frog.” In addition, Bell and Bowen developed two original songs especially for the show, “Welcome to the Underworld” and “Villains Tonight.”

The show was produced by Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment, which has received acclaim for its productions around the world, including “Finding Nemo — The Musical” (Walt Disney World Resort in Florida), “Disney’s Aladdin — A Musical Spectacular” (Disneyland Resort in California), “Twice Charmed” (Disney Cruise Line) and “The Golden Mickeys” (Hong Kong Disneyland and Disney Cruise Line).

“Villains Tonight!” joins the lineup of shipboard stage musicals as the Disney Magic gets ready to embark on an unprecedented five-month season of Mediterranean and Northern European cruises. Departing from Barcelona, Spain, Mediterranean cruises go from April 24 to May 26 and Aug. 7 to Sept. 8, visiting ports in Italy, France and North Africa. Departing out of Dover, England, the Northern European cruises will sail from June 12 to July 18, visiting St. Petersburg, Oslo, Copenhagen and other enchanting ports.

To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, guests can visit disneycruise.com, call Disney Cruise Line at 888-DCL-2500 or contact your travel agent.

Onboard: The Great Escape – Carnival Liberty a welcome reprieve

carnival liberty

Cruise News Weekly Editor Michael Coleman is aboard Carnival Liberty on a Western Caribbean itinerary this week. Here’s his latest dispatch:

AT SEA, En Route to Grand Cayman Island, Dec. 8, 2009 — The cares of the world seem to disappear at sea and nowhere is that more evident than aboard Carnival Liberty in the Western Caribbean this week.

While CNN and other news channels (beamed to the ship via satellite) remind us of a sagging economy, a nation at war, and the titillating trials and tribulations of Tiger Woods, passengers aboard this mega-ship have been embracing a week-long respite from the daily grind and 24/7 news cycle.

They’re enjoying a host of resort-style amenities — 22 bars/lounges, four pools, a 214-foot-long corkscrew water slide, four dining venues, 13,300-square foot spa, a 4,200-square foot kid’s play area and high energy Vegas-style revues, nightly.

Even the ship’s interiors are enough to boost spirits. The 110,000-ton, 2,974-passenger vessel features design themes which celebrate the work of talented craftsmen from the mediums of ironworking, wood carving and stone cutting to jewelry making, pottery and photography.

But there’s more than just design elements to stir the soul at sea aboard Liberty. Much more.

A sports park features nine-hole mini-golf, there’s ping pong, basketball and volleyball courts and a jogging track (to put the size of Liberty in perspective, nine laps around the track equals one mile). A golf professional is onboard to host both lessons and trips to the links in Mexico (Cozumel), Grand Cayman and Jamaica (Ocho Rios).

Want more? There’s a casino, shops, tattoo booth, cigar lounge and an Internet café with private workstations featuring flat-screen monitors, along with Wi-Fi access available in virtually all public rooms and areas. Passengers can also make and receive cell phone calls whether the ship is at sea or in port.

Non-stop daily activities also include everything from bingo and hairy chest competitions to karaoke, art auctions, trivia competitions and a plethora of games, events, and seminars.

Need a breather? There’s always a deck chair available to enjoy the Caribbean sun as this seven-night voyage also includes three days at sea. Liberty also features a massive, 270-square-foot Seaside Theater which hovers over the Lido Deck. Look for concerts, movies and, as was the case departing Cozumel last night, live Monday Night Football before a packed at-sea audience.

Culinary choices aboard Liberty abound. Two main dining rooms (Silver and Golden) are complemented by Harry’s Steakhouse, a reservations-only, $30 per person specialty restaurant.

Emile’s is the Lido/poolside venue plus Liberty offers a Mexican burrito station, a Mongolian Wok (the busiest venue bar none featuring beef, chicken, shrimp, pork or salmon, choice of noodles and fresh vegetables); fish ‘n chips counter, poolside grill, deli, dessert station, 24/7 pizzeria and ice cream, and room service.

When calling it a day — or night — passengers return to their respective suites and a restful sleep on a “Carnival Comfort Bed” complete with plush mattresses, luxurious duvets, comfortable pillows and high-quality sheets and linens.

Passengers can also slip into terrycloth bathrobes when retiring for the night as they reach (sans TV remote control) for the Carnival newsletter featuring a detailed list of tomorrow’s events and activities.

Later this week: We’ll delve deeper into the culinary component of a Carnival Liberty cruise.

Follow us onboard Carnival Liberty this week

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Officers stood watch on the bridge of Carnival Liberty as she departed Miami, Saturday. The 2,974-passenger ship, trailing fleet-mate Carnival Destiny, has just begun a seven-night Western Caribbean voyage to Cozumel, Mexico; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; and Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Cruise News Weekly Editor Michael Coleman is onboard and will be posting dispatches from the ship this week.

Photo by Michael Coleman

Onboard: Eurodam offers palate pleasing culinary fare

An all-female Asian team of servers greets passengers in Tamarind, Holland America’s superb Pan-Asian themed restaurant aboard the 2,104-passenger Eurodam.
An all-female Asian team of servers greets passengers in Tamarind, Holland America’s superb Pan-Asian themed restaurant aboard the 2,104-passenger Eurodam.

Cruise News Weekly Editor Michael Coleman is aboard Holland America’s Eurodam as she sails an Eastern Caribbean itinerary this week. Here’s his latest dispatch:

HALF MOON CAY, Bahamas, Dec. 4, 2009 — Here on this sun-drenched oasis where Carib Indians used to smoke meat over open flames centuries ago, cruise ship passengers aboard Holland America’s Eurodam ponder their evening’s gourmet culinary choices.

The ship features a two-level main dining room (Rembrandt); there’s a casual eatery to enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner (Lido); a pool grill (Terrace); and of course a pizza venue aptly named Slice.

But, as guests splash in these turquoise waters, thoughts move to Eurodam’s superb, reservations-only specialty restaurants where Pan Asian, Pacific Northwest and Italian offerings abound.

Tamarind, with seating for just 144 patrons, features Asian-inspired entrees from sea bass with a hoisin-lime glaze to steamed shrimp and scallops with garlic, ginger and chili. The wasabi soy-crusted beef tenderloin is not to be missed. The all-female Asian team of servers may also offer Rijsttafel, a Dutch adaptation of the traditional Indonesia dinner of rice accompanied by more than a dozen, often spicy, side dishes. Meals are just $15 per person. The venue is open for complimentary lunch – look for dim sum, an assortment of classic Asian dumplings, and accompanying fusion sauces for dipping.

Excellent fare and service with a smile are Pinnacle Grill staples.
Excellent fare and service with a smile are Pinnacle Grill staples.
Pinnacle Grill is without question one of cruise travel’s most beautifully-appointed alternative dining venues. Featuring Pacific Northwest specialties (Holland America’s ancestry dates back to Rotterdam in 1873 but corporate headquarters are now in Seattle) look for select cuts of Sterling Silver beef plus seafood appetizers and entrees. Select wines from the Pacific Northwest are a nice accompaniment. Distinctive Bvlgari china, Frette linens and elegant Riedel stemware add to the experience. Meals are $20 per person.

Canaletto, meanwhile, comes to life for dinner when a section of the Lido restaurant is transformed each evening into an Italian venue. It’s casual and walk-ups are accepted although reservations for the 72-seat locale are encouraged. The family-style menu features traditional Italian favorites daily with entrees rotating nightly.

In the main dining venue, Rembrandt, Eurodam features what Holland America dubs “As You Wish Dining’’. Passengers may choose either traditional pre-set seating and dining times, they can make specific reservations daily, or they may simply walk into the venue anytime during dining hours.

Rembrandt features regional favorites, vegetarian and healthy lifestyle options plus a daily alternatives menu which includes fish, chicken or sirloin steak. Look for Rosenthal china, starched linens, silver service and fresh flowers in the venue, daily.

Rounding out Eurodam’s culinary journey is a late-night feast in Lido, evenings, after 11. Complimentary room service is available 24/7.

Sushi is prepared fresh daily by chefs in Tamarind, a 144-seat venue.
Sushi is prepared fresh daily by chefs in Tamarind, a 144-seat venue.

Photos by Michael Coleman

Port Postcard: Trunk Bay in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

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One of the world’s most beautiful quarter-mile, white-sand beaches, Trunk Bay in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, played host today to guests aboard Holland America’s Eurodam. The beach break was one of 22 shore excursions offered by the ship in St. John and neighboring St. Thomas. Guests aboard the vessel have a day at sea tomorrow en route to Holland America’s private Bahamian island — Half Moon Cay — Friday. The ship is in the midst of a seven-night Eastern Caribbean itinerary.
Photo by Michael Coleman

Video: Seven celebrity godmothers help name Oasis of the Seas

Oasis naming

Royal Caribbean International officially named its newest cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas, yesterday, during an elaborate maritime celebration designed especially for the world’s largest and most revolutionary cruise ship.

Putting a new twist on one of maritime’s longest standing traditions, the global cruise line had not one, but seven celebrity godmothers — Gloria Estefan, Daisy Fuentes, Shawn Johnson, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Michelle Kwan, Jane Seymour and Dara Torres — preside over the festivities. The celebration took place throughout the seven signature neighborhoods onboard Oasis of the Seas, culminating with the traditional Champagne bottle breaking ceremony followed by a fireworks display in the AquaTheater, the ship’s dazzling oceanfront theater.

Marking the finale of 10 days of preview sailings, the naming ceremony provided Royal Caribbean the opportunity to give back to the community, doubling as a one-night inaugural celebration-fundraiser to benefit the non-profit Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. Celebrities including NBA legend Michael Jordan, Corbin Bleu of High School Musical and Olympic gymnast, Oasis godmother Shawn Johnson and Dancing With the Stars professional dancer, Karina Smirnoff were in attendance, granting the wishes of several children that wanted to meet them.

Royal Caribbean has enjoyed a long relationship with Make-A-Wish. Since 2000, the cruise line has hosted more than 1,300 children who wished to go on a cruise to destinations around the world and has contributed more than $2.8 million in in-kind services and $372,000 in discount savings through its Wishes at Sea program.

Through employee and guest fundraising efforts, Royal Caribbean has also raised more than $480,000 and 460,000 frequent flier miles, used to secure airline tickets for children’s wish travel and help the Make-A-Wish Foundation conserve critical financial resources. The cruise line donated 1,000 staterooms for this inaugural, once-in-a-lifetime event to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, with all proceeds benefiting the nonprofit organization.

Cruise Guide: Oasis of the Seas review, photos and videos

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Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world, recently made her much anticipated debut at her home port in Ft. Lauderdale. Oasis is unlike other ships in more ways than one. She sets a new standard in cruising …

Click Here to read the full review, view videos and more than 100 photos.

Onboard: Eurodam sparkles under Caribbean sun

The 2,104-passenger Eurodam, the newest vessel in Holland America’s 14-ship fleet, docked Monday on Grand Turk in the Turks & Caicos. She’s in the midst of a 7-night itinerary and will call on San Juan, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay, Bahamas, later in the week. Photo by Michael Coleman
The 2,104-passenger Eurodam, the newest vessel in Holland America’s 14-ship fleet, docked Monday on Grand Turk in the Turks & Caicos. She’s in the midst of a 7-night itinerary and will call on San Juan, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay, Bahamas, later in the week. Photo by Michael Coleman

Cruise News Weekly Editor Michael Coleman is aboard Holland America’s Eurodam as she sails an Eastern Caribbean itinerary this week. Here’s his latest dispatch:

GRAND TURK ISLAND, Turks & Caicos, Nov. 30, 2009 — The question facing passengers during a seven-night Caribbean cruise this week aboard Holland America’s Eurodam isn’t what to do onboard but whether there’s enough time to enjoy all that’s being offered.

The 2,104-passenger, 86,000-ton ship features a host of events and activities in some 31 public rooms.

Highlights include demonstrations in the Culinary Arts Center, presented by “Food & Wine Magazine”; health, fitness and wellness opportunities in the ship’s Greenhouse Spa and Salon; and Digital Workshops, daily, where passengers learn the nuances of personal web page design, photography, computer safety and maintenance.

Holland America has been making its name the past couple of years tied to an ambitious, hands-on passenger approach to culinary education. Eurodam has its own dedicated space, a theater-style venue on Deck 3 which features an elaborate show kitchen complete with large plasma video screens and a display counter where guests participate in cooking demos, culinary classes and one-on-one learning. Top chefs, leading cook book authors and wine experts lead the charge.

The spa, meanwhile, offers a range of services and treatments complete with a gymnasium featuring both aerobic and strength training equipment. Eurodam features 46 “spa’’ suites, located close to the facility.

The ship features self-guided i-Pod tours where guests learn more than just how to get around. Tours feature details about Eurodam’s multi-million dollar art collection.

There’s a screening room showing feature films — odd these days at sea aboard modern vessels but an extremely nice touch — plus an Internet café (Explorations on Deck 11), a casino, shops and art gallery.

Eurodam features two pools — Lido surrounded by cabanas for rent and Sea View, an adults-only retreat on Deck 9 aft.

On the entertainment side look for a piano bar, string quartet, and two bands: The Neptunes and Marisha & The HALCats plus the ship’s singers and dancers performing nightly on the main stage.

Look also for bridge play, afternoon tea, volleyball and basketball games on the Sports Court, Pilates, cycling, Wii games and trivia contests. Eurodam also features a port shopping ambassador who hosts seminars and guides passengers on their port quests to find the best trinket or diamond.

There are nine bars/lounges onboard plus seven restaurants where everything from burgers to gourmet offerings are on tap.

Still trying to decide what to do? Let’s not forget Eurodam’s varied port calls featuring tours and beach offerings under the Caribbean’s warm sun.

Later this week: The culinary choices aboard Eurodam abound, from Pan-Asian to Pacific Northwest specialties. We’ll take a closer look in the day’s ahead.