Regal Princess Cruise: Movies, stage shows part of entertainment options

ABOARD THE REGAL PRINCESS – Spock saved the day. Again. But this wasn’t the Spock I knew as portrayed by actor Leonard Nimoy. Nor was I watching the new Star Trek movie in some theater.

I was enjoying Movies Under the Stars on the mammoth screen of the Regal Princess. Lounge chairs and blankets were waiting for cruisers on the upper deck. A corner snack shop was making fresh popcorn and twirling cones of ice cream for movie-goers.

The film tonight is “Star Trek Beyond,” the 2016 voyage of the USS Enterprise with Chris Pine as Captain James. T. Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Commander Spock. It seems quite appropriate to be watching this SyFi movie under the stars with a moon riding high in the sky and waves crashing alongside as the Regal Princess cruises the sea.

During the day, the screen is alive with other action.

That huge screen by the ship swimming pool is getting a lot of use. During the day, I’ve seen concerts by performers like Elton John, Paul McCartney, Billy Joel and Pink. We’ve also had NFL football action with giant-screen live action for sports fans.

When we boarded the ship, our daily Princess Patter schedule had a listing of the entertainment highlights we would see in the Princess Theater, Princess Live, Vista Lounge, Wheelhouse Bar, the Piazza and Movie Under the Stars. It was good to have that overview but I could tell from the first Princess Patter that there is going to be a whole lot of entertainment choices during our weeklong cruise.

Movies Under the Stars will be showing some good ones – “Alice Through the Looking Glass” (with Johnny Depp), “Ant Man” (with Michael Douglas), “Café Society,” “Finding Dory,” “Now You See Me 2,” “Sing Street,” “The Man Who Knew Infinity” and “The Legend of Tarzan.”

Special effects create the illusion of a roller coaster ride in the stage production of “Fiera.”

In the Princess Theater, there will be three big stage production numbers – “Sweet Soul Music,” “Fiera” and “Spectacular.” On other nights, the main theater will have entertainment provided by comic Tom Briscoe and vocal impressionist Tyler Bryce. On the last night of our cruise, we will be treated to “The Voice of the Ocean” where prescreened passengers will get to show their singing talents.

The Snake Lady dances as part of the fairground setting for “Fiera.”

After seeing my first production in the Princess Theater, I can understand why the singers and dancers don’t put on a new show every night. It’s a major deal with many costumes, sets and carefully choreographed numbers. As Cruise Director Kelly Rose noted, it took two days just to arrange the stage for the presentation of “Fiera.”

I had been told by fellow passengers that “Fiera” is the best of the three shows and I shouldn’t miss it. I don’t plan to miss any of them and after seeing “Fiera,” I agree that it is top notch. The 45-minute extravaganza has 17 performers and is the story of two lovers at an elaborate fairground. No dialogue. Just pop songs to tell the story – from Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” to Michael Jackson’s” Man in the Mirror” and Guns & Roses’ “Sweet Child of Mine.”

Colorful costumes and sets highlight stage productions aboard the Regal Princess.

The production was created by a powerhouse team – “American Idol” choreographer and director Danny Teeson; musical arranger Nelson Kole who arranges for the Academy Awards and such artists as Beyoncé and Queen Latifah; and lighting director Mark Foffano who has designed for Billy Joel, Blake Shelton, Elton John, Harry Connick Jr. and others.

A new digital backdrop on the stage is quite an eye catcher. In it the performers appear to be riding a roller coaster so they sing and sway back and forth with their hands raised in front of the backdrop projected on the screen. Lavish costumes and vibrant colors add to the circus atmosphere.

Lavish sets require extensive set-up and take-down time.

Although many of my dining companions have seen the show before on other Regal Princess cruises, they were enthusiastically looking forward to seeing it again. I wouldn’t mind watching it again myself. That’s the ultimate compliment.

Photos by Jackie Sheckler Finch

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