Carnival LIVE Concert Series Welcomes Carly Rae Jepsen

Carly Rae JepsenPHOTO: Carly Rae Jepsen takes her music aboard a Carnival cruise ship this February. (photo via Flickr/Julio Enriquez)Grammy Award-nominated, multi-platinum, singer/songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen—who has sold more than 20 million singles worldwide—will perform a free concert aboard Carnival Splendor in February 2018 as part of the Carnival LIVE Concert Series.The concert marks the first time the cruise line is collaborating with Universal Music Group and Brands (UMGB), the brand strategy and partnership division of Universal Music Group.

While the concert is a departure from previous Carnival LIVE performances—in that it is free and open to all guests sailing on Carnival Splendor’s February 17, 2018, seven-day voyage—it continues the line’s mission of bringing the best in live entertainment to the seas and providing guests an opportunity to enjoy captivating performances by top artists in a memorable setting.

The concert will take place on Carnival Splendor’s Lido Deck February 18 while the ship is at sea during a week-long Mexican Riviera cruise that operates round-trip from Long Beach, California. The voyage features a day-long call at Puerto Vallarta and two days at Cabo San Lucas.

Jepsen broke onto the music scene in 2012 with her major label debut Kiss that included the smash hit “Call Me Maybe.” This song climbed to #1 on the iTunes Singles charts in more than 47 countries and earned her Grammy Award nominations for Best Pop Solo Performance and Song of the Year.

After earning rave reviews starring in the Broadway production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, she released her next album, E·MO·TION, which received critical acclaim and featured the Billboard Top 40 hit “I Really Like You.”

Jepsen also starred as the iconic Pink Lady, “Frenchy,” in FOX’s four-time Emmy award-winning musical GREASE: LIVE. Most recently, she voiced the character of Odette in the animated movie “LEAP!” “LEAP!” featured Jepsen’s song “Cut To The Feeling,” which has been hailed by critics as a top song of 2017 and showing up on year-end lists for Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Billboard, Noisey and more.

Jepsen joins an impressive lineup of Carnival LIVE artists who run the gamut of musical genres, from rock, country, R&B and pop, as well as some of the biggest names in comedy. Previous Carnival LIVE artists include music superstars Tim McGraw and Carrie Underwood and comedians Jim Gaffigan and Chris Tucker.

“While I’ve performed all over the world and on Broadway, I’ve never performed on a cruise ship before, and I’m really looking forward to a night with my fans in what promises to be a unique venue for an incredible night,” Jepsen said.

“We’re delighted to have Carly bring her signature brand of pop music to guests sailing aboard Carnival Splendor,” said Sarah Beth Reno, Carnival’s vice president of entertainment. “A free open-air concert on Lido Deck is an exciting new twist for Carnival LIVE, and we can’t wait for our guests to experience this one-of-a-kind entertainment concept in an entirely new setting,” she added.

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Princess passengers on why they booked direct

The number of travelers booking directly with cruise lines keeps growing, despite efforts by cruise lines to direct business to travel agents.

On a recent cruise aboard the Ruby Princess, I surveyed 25 passengers at random about how they bought their cruise. It was an unscientific sample of a fraction of the ship’s 3,000 passengers.

Ten of the 25 passengers I talked with had booked directly with Princess Cruises. Of the 15 that booked with a travel agent, nine had used agents they had some personal relationship with, while six booked through online agencies or non-traditional travel retailers, such as Costco.

So about 40% of my sample group booked direct. That’s a little higher than the most recent CLIA survey data, which suggests about 30% are booking direct, up from a 20-80 split 10 years ago.

In this report, I’ll address the passengers who booked direct and the reasons they gave for doing so. In next week’s follow-up, I’ll discuss the passengers who used a travel agent.

Donald and Erika Smith, of Melbourne, Fla., cited convenience as the reason they booked directly with Princess. “If you want to make a change, it’s easier than going through an agent,” said Donald Smith, who is retired from the aircraft parts industry and was on his 26th cruise.

James Wetherill, from Queensland, Australia, said that agents in Australia are “not knowledgeable” about the details of cruises in North America.

Another passenger said she knows someone who works for Princess and got a friends and family discount.

Mark from Las Vegas, who declined to give his last name, sang the praises of the Princess website. “You can see exactly what’s available very clearly. You can make an informed decision,” he said.

Some passengers said they used travel agents for previous or future trips but decided to book this particular trip with Princess directly. Others expressed an indifference that is remarkable to anyone who sells cruises for a living or knows someone who does.

It was basically six of one, a half-dozen of the other to Karen Brown, of Southern California, who bought the seven-day Mexican Riviera cruise from Princess.com. Brown shrugged and said, “Sometimes we use a travel agent,” citing a past cruise when an agent offered a free gratuities promotion.