Sea ViewsFrom President and COO, Adam Goldstein

Sea Views Blog with Adam Goldstein

Find out how Guest Blogger Peter J. Compton Sang His Way to the Top of Cruise Ship Entertainment

Adam Goldstein asked me to think about how the entertainment offered on our ships has evolved since I joined the Cruise industry.  As I reflected on this I started remembering that when I was a young man I was a California Dreamer “Boy Singer” living in Los Angeles trying to be the next Jack Jones  (If you don’t know who Jack Jones is think a taller, better looking Michael Buble… just kidding Michael).  The only problem was there already was a Jack Jones so when I was offered a gig on a cruise ship sailing from Miami, I jumped at it.  I had never been on a cruise ship so I really wasn’t prepared for what I discovered. 

After I boarded my assigned ship I walked off three times looking for the show room!  The ship had originally been a combination cruise ship and car ferry sailing between South Hampton and Gibraltar where the sea could be pretty rough.  The “stage” also served as the dance floor.  Railings were built around the dance floor in case people lost their balance in the heavy seas on the way to Gibraltar.  The effect was that the stage looked like a boxing ring with a very low ceiling.  I remember I was considered a bit of a prima donna because I asked for a black out after “my big closing number”.  The Cruise Director at the time said “Sure you can have a black out.  Just reach up and turn the toggle switch off”.  Since the ceiling was so low it wasn’t too hard! 

Needless to say cruise ships and entertainment facilities have come a long way since the early 1970s.  Today’s vessels are not your father’s cruise ships!   But it took a while to get here.  I eventually moved to Royal Caribbean International where the first generation of ships, and the rest of the industry for that matter, had relatively limited entertainment facilities.  The ceilings were quite low and the theatrical equipment minimal. The theaters were multipurpose lounges for shows, dancing and activities.  The best site lines, or best “seats” in the house for viewing the shows, were FROM the stage.  By the next class of ships, however, we started to upgrade.   

The Sovereign class ships introduced large theaters with good sight lines and better facilities.       Thanks to these enhancements and growing management commitment to entertainment productions onboard, the shows were produced with elaborate sets and costumes including video walls and featured larger casts.  Royal Caribbean Productions was born in 1990 committing us to in-house produced shows designed specifically for our ships and guest demographics.  Prior to that we staged shows by outside producers which were also playing elsewhere and not designed for our audiences.  Following the Sovereign class ships each new class of ship introduced even more theatricality and we continued to evolve our commitment to our entertainment product.  The Vision class ships introduced orchestra pits, enhanced show automation, and even better sight lines and back stage facilities.


Peter Compton at the "Chicago: The Musical" poster presentation


Who knew then that we were headed for the Voyager Class and ultimately the Oasis class ships which would feature more elaborate theaters, introduce ice shows, parades, Aqua Theaters or that we would enter into partnerships with the likes of DreamWorks and iconic Broadway producers for Chicago, Hair Spray and Saturday Night Fever?  The journey through the evolution of our entertainment facilities and programming was an exciting creative trip made possible by the relationships developed with visionary architects, designers, creative staffs, consultants and a committed senior management who encouraged and supported us with the necessary resources along the way. 

The lines between entertainment and guest activities have blurred and merged delivering exciting personal experiences through land based quality sports facilities, full court basketball, rock climbing walls, FlowRiders, zip lines, mini-golf courses and yes – Presidential table tennis facilities.

The ideas for all these innovations are the result of many creative minds with the help of serendipitous occasions during the process.  One of my favorites, for example, includes when we introduced concepts to our management team for activity in Studio B, our onboard Ice Skating rinks.   We mentioned we might even do some limited glice skating as a demonstration for our guests. When Richard Fain saw this he said ”No way!  If you are going to do that we will have a REAL ICE RING there”   Needless to say my staff and I would never have had the nerve to ask for the first ice rink at sea.  

The same sort of surprise occurred the first time we saw the drawings for the aft space of the Oasis of the Seas.  The architects had placed a pool in the open deck.  Everyone in the room upon seeing the suggestion for the first time shouted that it looked like a perfect amphitheater.  This space, of course, became the focal point AquaTheater for the Boardwalks onboard our Oasis and Allure cruise ships.

This story, quite naturally, leads to an exploration and discussion of all the great talent, personalities, designers, and entertainment concept development teams who have brought all these spaces to life. The introduction of those talented characters (and I mean characters in the most respectful and fun way) is a story I’ll save for another time!

5 responses to:
“Find out how Guest Blogger Peter J. Compton Sang His Way to the Top of Cruise Ship Entertainment”

  1. Don gruber

    You have the beginning of what would be an interesting book. I can see it now; “The History of Entertainment at Sea.”
    I have been sailing on cruise ships sincce 1960 – 50 years – and a lot has changed. The low point was on a Med cruise when the entertainment was a comedian who told the jokes in 5 languages and followed by Bulgarian Acrobatic dancers.

    • Adam

      We’re glad you enjoyed Peter’s blog, Don. 50 years of cruising is an impressive feat, we are glad we could share so many wonderful memories with you over the years. Also, we are happy to hear that the onboard entertainment has changed for the better over the years, it is certainly an important part of the cruising experience.

  2. Ron Kurtz

    I worked with Peter at NCL and feel he is a very talented and creative man. He deserves a lot of credit for raising the bar on the quality of shipboard entertainment.

    If Peter would write a book it could be filled with a multitude of great stories about the entertainers and cruise staff on ships.

    • Adam

      We are proud to have Peter as a member of our staff and we will be sure to share your warm adorations with him, Ron. He sounds just as fortunate to have worked with someone as thoughtful as you in his life. We’re sure if he did ever write a book, it would definitely be full of great stories. Thank you again for your kind comment.

  3. Marcia Da Pont

    Hi Pete,

    We’ve never met, but share an old friend- Jeanne Spottiswood (Templeman). I was her roommate during our first years of being “stewardesses” at United in the 60′s. I have done much cruising in the past 10 -15 years (but only on smaller ships(Seabourn, Silversea, and Regent). Was interested in this blog and knowing you are still involved in the industry!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Connect With us

Tab indicator
Royal Caribbean's avatar
Royal Caribbean@RoyalCaribbean
@Countrygrl76 We’re sorry to hear this. Please contact us at
Royal Caribbean's avatar
Royal Caribbean@RoyalCaribbean
@G1regory3 It will be here before you know it. What are you most looking forward to?
Royal Caribbean's avatar
Royal Caribbean@RoyalCaribbean
Isle of Pines: our little secret. #southpacific
Royal Caribbean's avatar
Royal Caribbean@RoyalCaribbean
Vacation days are the best kind of days. #welcomeaboard
Royal Caribbean's avatar
Royal Caribbean@RoyalCaribbean
@chrisefaw See you soon!
Explore even more of the world. See where your favorite ship is sailing from in 2015.
When are you constantly moving, but always in the same place? 
Next step in building #QuantumOfTheSeas: putting the azipods into place.
Countdown to November: Today the final block of #QuantumOfTheSeas was moved into place. 
You've got questions, he's got answers. CEO Adam Goldstein is hosting a Google hangout today at 1:30 / 12:30 CST to talk about Quantum dining: 
Watch Adam Goldstein and Moderator Colleen McDaniel as they answer questions and discuss the latest innovations coming to Quantum of the Seas
Get a taste of our next Quantum reveal. Stay tuned for an exciting announcement next week.
Disembark to a new world. #norway  
So much more to explore.  #stmaarten  
The options are endless.  #allureoftheseas  

JavaScript and Flash are required to view video content. View the playlist on YouTube.

  • Learn to surf in Bar Learn to surf in Barbados. 1 day + 12 hours ago
  • Palm trees at sunset Palm trees at sunset on a Barbados beach. 1 day + 12 hours ago
  • Sea, sky, sand. #car Sea, sky, sand. #caribbean 1 day + 12 hours ago
  • Swim with dolphins i Swim with dolphins in Roatan, Honduras. 2 days + 15 hours ago
  • Glowing pink sunset Glowing pink sunset in Bathsheba Beach, Barbados. 2 days + 15 hours ago
  • Bridgetown, Barbados Bridgetown, Barbados in the crystal clear Caribbean. 2 days + 15 hours ago
  • A taste of the Medit A taste of the Mediterranean. The Greek farro salad at Michael's Genuine Pub is made from the freshest ingredients available. ... 3 days + 15 hours ago
  • The banana toffee pa The banana toffee panini. Simple, sweet, sublime. Enjoy it this November at Michael's Genuine Pub. #MGPUB #quantumoftheseas ... 3 days + 15 hours ago
  • The ultimate comfort The ultimate comfort food: thick-cut potato chips with pan-fried onion dip pairs perfectly with Michael’s Genuine Home Brew. ... 3 days + 15 hours ago
  • Love 150 Central Par Love 150 Central Park? We're partnering with Michael Schwartz again to create his newest restaurant onboard Quantum of the ... 3 days + 15 hours ago
  • First stop on our Mediterranean trip: Venice, built on 118 submerged islands. Follow the link in our profile for Mediterranean itineraries.
  • Your #royalwow view awaits in the Mediterranean. Set sail with us tomorrow as we explore the European coast.
  • The banana toffee panini. Simple, sweet, sublime. Follow the link our profile to see the full menu for Michael's Genuine Pub.
  • A taste of the Mediterranean. The Greek farro salad at Michael's Genuine Pub, made from the freshest ingredients available. (Follow the link in our profile to see the full menu.)
  • The ultimate comfort food: thick-cut potato chips with pan-fried onion dip. Coming this November to Michael's Genuine Pub onboard Quantum of the Seas. (Link to full menu in our profile.)
  • Love 150 Central Park? We're partnering with Michael Schwartz again to create his newest restaurant onboard Quantum of the Seas. All this week we're giving you a sneak peek of the menu (or follow the
  • When are you constantly moving, but always in the same place?
  • Your chance to be the captain.
  • Skip along the tree tops in St. Maarten.
  • Not to be missed in Labadee: speeding 30 mph down the Santa Maria Mountain on our Dragon's Tail coaster.
Why Everyone Should Get Involved and Volunteer Everywhere

Friday, April 18, 2014 11:50 AM

GIVE Day (Get Involved Volunteer Everywhere) is the corporate global volunteer day for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and is our largest employee community event. My name is Helen O’Connell, Manager... Continue Here to Read More…

Quantum Class Ships: Empowering Guests to Take Full Control of Their Dining Experience

Thursday, April 10, 2014 2:14 PM

Hi everyone. I’m excited to begin our Quantum of the Seas blog series by sharing details about a new approach to dining at sea onboard Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum Class ships. Our... Continue Here to Read More…

How to Connect with a Colleague When You Have Conflicting Interests

Monday, March 10, 2014 10:11 AM

We are not all the same.  Not in life and not in business.  As a consequence, maintaining a healthy perspective on differences among people is a critical success factor in a business career. Some... Continue Here to Read More…

Humorous Travel Stories

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 3:30 PM

It might be my impending trip to Shanghai for dinner with four red eye flights in five nights.  I want to believe this will be tolerable.  So I find myself thinking of some of the humorous things I... Continue Here to Read More…

Why We Needed Bumper Cars to Go Head to Head

Friday, February 14, 2014 1:56 PM

Guest post by Nick Weir I’m Nick Weir, the Vice President of Entertainment at Royal Caribbean International.  As usual we’ve been hard at work and are very focused on Quantum of the Seas in... Continue Here to Read More…

She’s Back…Navigator of the Seas Emerges After Massive Makeover

Friday, February 7, 2014 6:20 PM

Guest blog by Lisa Lutoff-Perlo It’s a very exciting week for us here at Royal Caribbean International. After spending a month in drydock, we’re pleased to announce Navigator of the Seas is... Continue Here to Read More…

Productivity Hacks: Build a Great Team at Work and at Home

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 12:35 PM

When you live at the outer limits of multitasking, you never feel productive enough. So it’s nice of LinkedIn to assign a topic on the premise that I am in fact productive. Time is the scarce... Continue Here to Read More…

Why Project Radiance Didn’t Turn Out as Planned

Monday, January 13, 2014 3:00 PM

A reader recently asked if there was a time where I did something and it didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to, and what I did after that.  There are probably many relevant examples, but the one... Continue Here to Read More…

The Importance of Shipyard Visits

Monday, January 6, 2014 5:59 PM

Recently I visited both shipyards that are currently building ships for Royal Caribbean International.  First I traveled to Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany (builders of Quantum of the Seas,... Continue Here to Read More…

Looking Forward to 2014

Tuesday, December 31, 2013 12:17 PM

Happy New Year to all of our loyal readers and especially to our loyal Royal Caribbean cruisers.  As we head from one intense year in the cruise industry to the next, I would like to express my... Continue Here to Read More…