Should Cruise Lines Drop ‘Adult’ Entertainment?

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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

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