July signals festival season for many UK holiday-goers, but last month saw plenty of cruise lines also upping their game when it came to entertainment at sea, announcing theatrical shows, musical line-ups and even something new for sweet-toothed foodies from Princess Cruises! So as you settle back in the sun to watch your favourite bands play, take a look at the latest news from the cruise industry and start daydreaming about your top on-board performance picks for this year…

Drama on-board the Queen Mary 2

Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts on the Queen Mary 2

Cunard are re-introducing a touch of the theatrical to their entertainment programme on Queen Mary 2 this year.

The cruise line’s special relationship with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) continues into the autumn months, with a series of classics including Arabian Nights, Pride and Prejudice and Hamlet performed on-board by graduates of the prestigious London drama school on the 20th August and 8th October westbound transatlantic crossings.

Coming back from New York to the UK? There’ll be evening shows of equal calibre on the 27th August, 27th September, 28th October and 19th November, with expert jazz performances from Juilliard School students on these voyages.

Norwegian Cruise Line festivals at sea

Norwegian Cruise Line music festival

Fancy getting the music festival experience on a luxurious cruise ship (rather than in a muddy field!)? NCL have teamed up with Sixthman to offer a full line-up of music events and big-name acts on their Miami-docked ship, the Norwegian Pearl.

From November this year, you can see Heart, Emmylou Harris and The Indigo Girls as part of the Grammy Festival at sea ‘Women Who Rock’ event. 2015 will see bands like Barenaked Ladies come aboard as part of ‘The World’s Greatest Floating Music Festival at Sea’ plus a Valentine’s treat from Train, as they host a hand-picked programme of comedy, music and celebrity chefs on the ‘Sail Across the Sun’ Caribbean cruise in February.

A chocolate-lovers’ dream from Princess CruisesChocolate lovers cruise, Princess Cruise Lines

Princess Cruises have made a tempting announcement about their new ‘Chocolate Experiences’, designed in partnership with master chocolatier Norman Love. Introduced on their newest vessel, Regal Princess, in 2014, the treat will also be expanding to the rest of the fleet from next year onwards.

Not only is the pastry chef conjuring a menu of 15 new desserts for the cruise line’s main dining rooms and top-end restaurants, there will be specialty chocolate drinks like the unusual-sounding Chocolate Bacon Bourbon Bliss available from the bars on-board and chocolates will be making pop-up appearances at the Captain’s Welcome Reception!

Add to this some expert demonstrations by Princess Cruises’ culinary team, and even chocolate-themed treatments at Lotus Spas, and you have a serious enticement for any chocoholics out there.

Would a chocolate programme tempt you to book a cruise?! What kind of entertainment do you look for from a cruise holiday? Share your opinions on this month’s stories below.

RADA image courtesy of Cunard. Other images by johnsember and Nicole Yeary, used under Creative Commons licence.

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