Should Cruise Lines Drop ‘Adult’ Entertainment?

About 15 minutes into “Rock Of Ages”, the Broadway show which is among the featured entertainment aboard Norwegian Breakaway, a woman upset by the musical’s content quickly (if not quietly) ushered her children out of the theater. In the Punchliner Comedy Club aboard Carnival Sunshine, a 40-something couple, offended by some of the humor being dispensed, walk out. It happens on ships large and small pretty much every night of the week as people looking for some post-dinner entertainment wander into a show that’s bluer than they’re used to.

Sometimes, these folks will show up in Facebook groups and on message boards, complaining about the shows and lamenting the lack of family entertainment. And while almost every “adult” show performed on cruise lines comes with a warning, the complaints continue.

The Freedom To Laugh

In addressing this very topic on his Facebook page, Carnival’s senior cruise director admitted that not every show is for everyone. “If you have any doubts that your mind is open enough to attend an adult show, if you go in there wondering if you will be offended, I ask you to please stay away,” he implored. “Enjoy live music, the shows with the singers and dancers or the other fun stuff going on around the ship.”

Heald added that he said this “respectfully, because in France, Germany, Orlando, and beyond, there is a group of vicious bastards with beards who are trying to take away our freedom to live our lives as we want. One of those freedoms is to laugh and to choose what we laugh at, and that’s why [Carnival] should not cancel our adult-themed comedy shows.”

Should Some Lines Not Be Crossed?

Not everyone, however, agrees… especially when it comes to shows like “Rock Of Ages.” As one message board poster recently opined, “Cruise ships sell themselves as a family vacation. In my mind, that means the entertainment – especially the big shows – should be acceptable for the whole family.”

Another pointed out what they saw as a problem with evening entertainment geared toward adults. “If my husband and I want to see a show,” she mused, “we either have to leave our children unsupervised, or consider taking them to a show which might not be appropriate for them. And seeing as people constantly complain about kids running around unsupervised, that doesn’t seem like a great answer. Are we supposed to just not take part in one of the things that help make a great cruise because we have children?”

Others have said that while they don’t mind a little “blue” humor, some topics should be off limits. Of course, that naturally leads to the question of what those lines are and, more importantly, who should make that call.

Should cruise lines limit the amount of “adult” content offered by the comedians and entertainers aboard their ships?

image: Portal MTV/flickr

12 Responses

  1. Its amazing how parents will blame others for their bad parenting. I always review and check out anything my children would be attending or participating in.
    Oh yes, my answer is NO!!!!!

  2. This is ridiculous. I’m a parent and this is ridiculous – if I go on a 5 or 7 night cruise and there is an adult show like “Rock of Ages” one night, then I don’t go to the show ONE night. Or if I really want to go I either (a) drop my kids at kids care or (b) pay for a babysitter – OR if the cruise line doesn’t offer evening kids care or babysitting services, then I catch the show next time I’m cruising with just my husband. The comedy club is even easier to avoid AND the comedians change up their routines so if someone offends you one night they might make you laugh until you cry the next night. Cruising is all about having options. Cruise ships market towards families, but they also market towards adults only as well – the whole point is there is supposed to be something for everyone, that doesn’t mean there has to be something for everyone every single night. Ridiculous.

  3. Thanks so much for being a parent and approaching this issue as you did. When I was on the Escape in December, I watched people with kids come into the performance of ‘After Midnight’ (which should kind of be a clue right there as to what might possibly be involved). Excellent show, but I laughed to myself when one performer dropped an F bomb during the lyrics to one song about male and female relationships – and a slew of adults jumped up with kids in tow and quickly exited the theater. (I had never seen any of them when I was settling into the theater, but as this was now en masse, it was all too obvious). My first thought was “DId you bother to research the show?” And later, other questions that went thru my head included: Did you bother what the rating might be and why, treating it as you might a movie? Would it be PG-13 or R? Or did you assume that because it is on a cruise ship that automatically makes it family friendly? I’m guessing (and hoping) that had they asked guest services if the show was appropriate for kids, someone may have been able to provide an answer. As an adult I shouldn’t be punished because someone else isn’t being a parent. If an adult tried to bring ‘underage’ kids into say Howl at the Moon at 11 PM, and then was abhorred at the language and material, then they have no one to blame but themselves. So I hope the cruise lines will continue to provide a bit of everything for everyone, and won’t pull some knee-jerk reaction nonsense.

  4. That’s the other thing: the majority of cruise line daily newsletters will tell you “this program is for adults” or “rated mature” or something. They don’t falsely advertise it like “bring your kids”. The starting times are also usually a kind of clue. Bottom line: don’t be an idiot parent, lol.

  5. Parenting is so hard. You have to check the shows out to make sure they are appropriate for kids and keep them from eating ice cream after 10 and… Be the parent and know what your kids are doing and seeing. Don’t penalize me because you can’t be bothered to be a parent while on vacation.

  6. There should be a variety of entertainment, if I so choose to want to see an “adult” show, I should be able to, without any restrictions. I’m not saying like the Richard Pryor of the 80’s, but adult topics. I’m not saying Disney should have these kind of shows, but Disney is a family company. If any adult situations or topics offend you….stay at Disney

  7. There was a time when comedy could be funny without being dirty!! There was also a time when entertainment was entertaining without being dirty. We keep pushing the limits just to see how nasty we can be. There is something wrong with that train of that!!! I guess the talentless writers of today need to use the shock value of crossing over into tastelessness to achieve some semblance of having any kid of talent. AS limited as that may be!! Try going back the other way, therein lies the talent!!

  8. They say over and over that Rock of Ages has adult themes and adult language.. there is a spectacular youth program called the Splash Academy which is FREE and there is no reason to go to the show and let your children run around unsupervised… just another reason to complain…

  9. The ships already have a child-specific area where the children do their own thing and the parents don’t have to deal with them. Why does it suddenly become a “family cruise” when the sun goes down? They were perfectly happy not to deal with their kids all day long. Now it’s “waah, I can’t do stuff with my kids.” Either maintain a separation of adult and child activities (play areas, blue comedy, etc.) or just make the whole ship family friendly from top to bottom. Turn it into a giant McDonald’s Playland. Ditch the alcohol and the Margaritavilles and bring on the juice boxes and ball pits.

  10. Castration of entertainment has grown men trembling like snowflakes when they see a pretty girl, pretending not to notice, acting like little boys afraid of their wife/mom.

  11. Perhaps cruiselines should drop ‘Adult’ food . How dare they serve snails , food with spices or icky foreign food . After all there may be children exposed to this filth .

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