Sea ViewsFrom President and COO, Adam Goldstein

Sea Views Blog with Adam Goldstein

One Last Performance: Royal Caribbean’s Director of Entertainment Takes Her Final Bow

Over recent months we have featured a number of our crew in “day in the life” entries such as the one immediately below.  The response to them has been very favorable but I would like to hear a little more about specifically what makes them enjoyable to read and how we might make them even more so.  From my standpoint, I find it interesting that the authors of these guest blogs appear to be so schedule driven.  Our shipboard colleagues rightfully speak about how flexible and guest-centric they must be because just about everything is happening onboard at all times.  Their blog entries indicate that the way they accomplish the seemingly impossible is to inject structure (i.e., a schedule) into their endlessly unique days.  When we ask them to tell us about their “typical” day they often respond by reciting their schedule.  When I see this I sometimes ask them to give us more “color commentary” to go with the “play by play”.  The goal is to give you (and me!) as much insight into their world as we can bring to a blog entry.
__________

My name is Maryann Delany and I am the Director of Entertainment for Royal Caribbean Productions. My team and I are located in Hollywood, Florida in a 38,000 square foot rehearsal facility. We are approaching our 11th year here where we audition, cast, contract, house, costume, teach and rehearse singers, dancers, actors, flyers, gymnasts, ice skaters, swimmers, divers and DreamWorks® costume characters, to name a few,  We create and produce all entertainment and entertainment-related activities for 22  Royal Caribbean International ships, and two Azamara Club Cruises ships.  Collectively we have 14 ice shows, 18 Parades, four water shows, 56 theater productions and three Broadway shows, Hairspray, CHICAGO: The Musical and Saturday Night Fever.

Sovereign of the Seas


As I am nearing my final weeks as Director of Entertainment, I was asked to share my thoughts on my 23-year relationship with Royal Caribbean International. Making the decision to retire was a difficult one. I have found a home and family here and both will be hard to leave. I started my career as a dancer and worked professionally until I was in my late 30′s at which point I began thinking I was getting too old to be on stage with eighteen and nineteen year old dancers. I also worked behind the scenes with a production company that I had I danced in before I became their rehearsal choreographer, company manager and eventually worked in the office auditioning, hiring and contracting the performers. Not long after, the company began producing shows for Carnival and Royal Caribbean International.  At that time Royal Caribbean had five ships (Sun Viking, Song of Norway, Nordic Prince, Song of America and Sovereign of the Seas). When the production company closed their doors, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. asked me to join the company to help bring the entertainment program in-house. At the age of 45 I began working in a corporate environment for the first time.

Royal Caribbean has been an amazing company to work for because it provides so many opportunities for their employees.  When I began working at Royal Caribbean we were located at an off-site location on Miami Beach.  This space consisted of one rehearsal room with a pole in the middle of the floor.  We didn’t have any use for the pole so our performers had to dance around it.  Shortly thereafter we expanded to the second floor and added another studio.  We had four ships at the time. 

Shortly thereafter I began to campaign for the company to build a larger rehearsal studio, and all of my colleagues said it would never happen.  When I started up this campaign Adam Goldstein was the SVP of Hotel Operations. Adam was a big supporter of the entertainment division.  Over the years he would visit the studio and watched many rehearsals.  Sometimes he’d bring his wife and children along.  I remember Adam telling me that if I can justify the expense of building the facility and bringing all entertainment services in house while maintaining our high quality, no one will be able to say “no” to my proposal.

There were times that I thought about giving up on my quest to build a new facility, but Adam continued encouraging me, asking me to remember what Winston Churchill said.  I had to admit to him that I didn’t know what he was referring to and he said, “Never, never give up”.

We moved into the new entertainment facility 10 years ago.  Anything having to do with developing an entertainment production is done here for all 22 ships.  There are 10 of us that work full time at the studio and we manage a cast of hundreds. Our production offices consist of four buildings, a fully equipped rehearsal facility, two costume departments, one for new builds and the other for maintenance, vocal studios and audio and video rooms.  We house approximately 150 performers, rehearsal choreographers, vocal directors, and producers per month and currently rehearse eight ship casts at a time. We are open from 8:30am to 11:30pm, 6 days a week.

We have a team that travels around the country and the world on a continual basis to audition over 4,000 singers and dancers per year and we hire close to 1,000.  Just to provide some context on how much our need for performers has increased, when I started working for the company we had 12 cast members per ship on a total of four ships.  Oasis and Allure now each have 52 cast members.

Every new ship class requires us to create something new to WOW our audiences.  When we were planning for the Voyager class of ships, the first to have an ice skating rink and Royal Promenade, we had some big challenges.  The Production team selected a vendor to build the ice rink and that required collaboration with the ship builder. Small ice measures approximately 40 by 60 feet and it was our only option as we needed to fit several other entertainment venues into the then largest cruise ship in the world.  We wanted to hire National and Olympic Skating Champions; however we quickly discovered that not all skaters, even Champions, can skate on small ice. We hired an Ice Producer to create our shows and hire the champions we were looking for.  Our Ice Producer is a former National Ice Champion and 10 years later he is still creating ice shows for our 10 largest ships in the fleet which each contain an ice rink. Our reputation in the industry keeps bringing us the best performers from all over the world who now skate on small ice. 

Ice Rink on Explorer of the Seas   

I am proud to say that we are the only non-entertainment company that has developed an entertainment career path. Over the years we have created a vehicle for so many young dancers and singers who have the opportunity to follow their passion long after they leave the stage by working in the Royal Caribbean Production offices.

I am proud of what we have accomplished at the Royal Caribbean Production facilities; we’ve come a long way since 1993.  I have been very fortunate in my career. I have spent my professional working years doing what I love. How many people can say that?  I started as a dancer and am ending my career as Director of Entertainment for the # 1 Cruise Line in the Industry. I am so lucky to have been able to do what I love for my entire life. Thank you Royal Caribbean…I will miss you!

27 responses to:
“One Last Performance: Royal Caribbean’s Director of Entertainment Takes Her Final Bow”

  1. Linda Hays

    Thank you for all your years in this industry. My husband and I have done some cruising and only with Royal. As they say”If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” My favorite show was the ice show we saw on the Independence during it’s inaugural year. It was remarkable the way the skaters performed on a moving ship and a small rink.
    Enjoy your retirement and may God bless you for the joy you have help we cruiser and your entertainers achieve.
    Sincerely,Linda & Eldon Hays

    • Adam

      Thanks to you both, it truly means a lot.

  2. Jacquie

    Maryann, thank you for so many years of amazing productions. I have enjoyed every single show on Royal Caribbean over the last 22 years. My new favorite is Earth on the Allure, just spectacular. Good luck and all the best as you enter this new phase of your life.

    • Adam

      Thank you for your kind words, Jacquie.

  3. Saragene Davis

    I am curious to know if there is a cruise during Passover if there will be food Kosher for Passover? ie: Matzoh? etc…

  4. Bob amendola

    We sailed on Oasis in April 2011 with the family, when people asked me how it was I said it was absolutely incredible and the shows (we saw all of them) were phenomenal! You truly did an unbelievable job..the next person has some huge shoes to fill. I will be sailing (hopefully) on Allure in April 2012 and looking forward to all of those shows also..

    • Adam

      Thanks Bob, we look forward to having you back onboard this April.

  5. Lisa

    I’ve only been on one Royal cruise, but I saw every show on the Allure and I must say they were amazing! Chicago, Blue Planet, Ocean Aria, Ice Games each and every one was so well put together. The entire production was amazing.

    • Adam

      Thanks for sharing, Lisa. We hope you will join us back onboard sometime soon.

  6. C-J White

    Best wishes in your retirement. It’s been many years since I last saw you. A new adventure awaits you. Enjoy the ride. XOXO

    • Adam

      Thank you, C-J.

  7. Mary

    My favorite show was on Radiance of The Seas in November 2001 on a Panama Canal cruise when there were flyers on silks who literally flew over the audience……best, most surprising show on five RCCL ships!!

  8. ELIZABETH mCkINNON

    Maryann, thank you for your comments about your career with Royal Caribbean. We have certainly enjoyed the entertainment aboard ship for many years. Good luck in all your future endeavors and thanks for all the hard work and memories we passengers take with us.

    • Adam

      We are happy to hear you enjoyed it, Elizabeth. Thank you for the warm wishes.

  9. lisa clark

    My favorite show on Royal Carribean was the Beatlemania that we saw in 2008 on the Mariner of the Seas. They were awesome, much better than the Beatles group we saw in 2010, also on the Mariner. But all shows we have seen were awesome.

  10. Ian Glenday

    My wife and I thank you for the many years you have been providing us such great entertainment. We started out cruising on Song of America and were always amazed at what the singers and dancers did on such a tiny stage during pretty rough weather. The best to you in your well deserved retirement!!!

    • Adam

      Your kinds words are appreciated, Ian. Thank you for your support.

  11. Jackie C.

    Maryann – You have left quite a legacy and should look back proudly on having truly left an indelible mark on the company and a mighty big pair of shoes to fill. Heartiest congratulations on your retirement.

    Adam – You ask what it is about the “Life in the Day” posts that we find captivating. While I can’t speak for everyone, for me it is a glimpse at a career that might have been. How many of us do you think walk off one of your ships that last day of a cruise and have that fleeting thought, “wow, how cool it would be to work on this ship”? I bet it’s hundreds of us. Your onboard staffers actually did it. While we were daydreaming, they did the proverbial “run away and join the circus” thing. Through the posts, we read about what goes on behind the curtain, something few of us get to learn about. Some of the very best evenings I’ve had on a ship has been at the bar, talking to the bartender about his experiences working and living on a cruise ship. The tales are incredibly entertaining. I don’t know, I guess it’s akin to a magician telling you some of the tricks of the trade.

  12. bjorn jakobsen

    Thank you for the great entertainment and for remember
    the old 4 small ships. . We were there to,and we are still cruising. Oct.15 back to back on Oasis.
    Sun Viking need only 1 of the lifeboats from Oasis.
    Thats a differents.
    Thank you again.

    Bjorn & Gitte

  13. Donald Hapward

    My greatest regret is not having the time to travel more on the ships of Royal Carribean. We average a cruise every two years and each has been special with wonderful memories. We are ‘lifers’ and will always travel on RCCL.
    We love those itineraries that have two or more days of cruising. The lure of the ocean each hour and day aboard
    ship is our main goal when taking a cruise. We can’t imagine not traveling on one of these beautiful ships in the RCCL fleet. Our two favorites are gone: Sovereign and Song of America but Serenade and Voyager are our favorites now. The beauty of each ship and its personnel just add to the anticipation of the next cruise. We are currently exploring the next adventure.

    • Adam

      Thank you for sharing with us, Donald. We’re glad to hear that such fond memories could resonate with you over the years.

  14. ellen gluck

    When will the new ships be ready to sail? And what are the sizes of them. I hope they will go to Northern Europe. I am looking to cruise to Northern Europe, but unfortunately you do not sail to Germany and Poland. Is there a reason for that?
    I would like to know what ship Simmeon, the cruise director is on. Sailed the Jewel of the Seas and Simmeon was by far the best cruise director I have seen on any ship. I will be diamond plus after cruising for the second time on The Oasis of the Seas. I have been cruising a long time with RCCL. Keep up the good work

    • Adam

      Thank you for the question. While not as plentiful as other destinations we do have calls to Germany and Poland. Next year Vision of the Seas has a call to Berlin (Warnemunde), Germany on June 18, 2012 as part of her June 16 sailing between Oslo and Stockholm. In addition, Vision of the Seas has several calls into Gdansk (Gdynia), Poland as part of her 7 night itineraries out of Stockholm next July.

      For more information on Project Sunshine please read our blog on the subject: Project Sunshine: Adam Sheds a Little Light on the Next Fleet Member

  15. Carol

    Maryann, you have produced some fabulous shows and I will be enjoying them once again aboard Allure of the Seas in Dec. This will be our 3rd cruise on Allure and Oasis last year was just as great both for the entertainment and service. I have been on many of the other ships at RCCL and love the small as much as the larger ships. As a diamond member this shows that I thoroughly enjoy the entertainment etc. on all of the ships. Everyone deserves a pat on the back. See you in Dec.

    • Adam

      We’re glad you had such a great time onboard, Carol. Thanks for your comments and we look forward to having you back onboard.

  16. Pingback: Ovations: Preparing a New Cast for a Broadway Show on Liberty | Why Not?

  17. Samantha Taylor

    Dear Maryann,

    Your story has been very inspirational. I am currently working as a high school teacher of drama and performing arts. I have spent a year teaching and travelling in Australia and I am currently in my third year of teaching in the UK. I have recently finished my masters in education too. I am really passionate about directing theatre and would love your advice on whether my qualifications and experience would be suitable to take on a role which you have so much experience in. It seems like a very exciting prosect.

    Thanks.

    Sam.

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