It was a busy day on and off the Norwegian Dawn.
A few protestors awaited the arrival of the cruise ship and were primarily ignored by those aboard the ship, who headed out to explore Nassau, the final excursion of the trip. By mid-afternoon the ship was back out in the waters headed for our final destination, New York City.
Before the evening's entertainment began, Gregg Kaminsky, co-founder of r family vacations, and Rosie O'Donnell took to the stage of the Stardust Theatre to announce that another cruise will be held next July. That trip will begin in Boston and will venture to Maine, Provincetown and Nova Scotia. A complete itinerary and information about booking will be announced shortly (stay tuned for more). There was also a raffle to give away two tickets for the 2005 cruise, and two women from New Mexico won the free trip. When O'Donnell heard that the women were traveling with several other friends from New Mexico, she said they would receive free passage as well.
O'Donnell then introduced "The View" co-host Joy Behar, an entertainer she deemed "the funniest woman now on television." Behar was in fine form - riffing on her Italian upbringing, Presidents Bush and Clinton and a host of other subjects - and kept the audience laughing for nearly an hour.
But Behar was only the beginning of the entertainment available to those on board. There were several musical performances from cast members of the O'Donnell-produced Taboo. Cary Shields, who played Marcus in the Boy George musical, went solo at the Spinnaker Lounge at 9 PM. Singing mostly original rock tunes, Shields impressed with his rangy pop voice and his appealing, down-to-earth persona. He also chose a clever way to present his songs, offering several tunes he wrote while in a relationship with the woman he said was "arguably the love of his life." The song cycle explored that relationship from its beginning to its end, and Shields delivered each tune with great emotion. The singer-actor also did well with other songwriters‚ works, including a finale by the late Marvin Gaye. At 11 PM in the piano bar, two Taboo understudies, Brooke Elliott and Denise Summerford, belted their hearts out to a packed crowd. They began their set with the Rent show-stopper, "Take Me or Leave Me," and also dueted on Side Show‚s "I Will Never Leave You." Elliott possesses a clear, focused Broadway belt, while Summerford's voice has a bit more jazz inflection, and both let their voices soar. Among the songs they covered were "Fever," "Someone Else's Story" and "Back to Before." As wonderful as the women were, I think I was most impressed with their special guest, Jeffrey Carlson, who starred as Marilyn in Taboo. On the small cabaret stage, Carlson has the persona of a wounded bird, which made his renditions of Stephen Sondheim's "Take Me to the World" and Maury Yeston's "Unusual Way" entrancing.
Tomorrow evening, the last night on board the ship, also promises to be a terrific one with the multi-talented Seth Rudetsky hosting an evening of "Broadway Belters," which is set to include performances from, among others, Gavin Creel, Jose Llana and that belter of belters, Julia Murney. I'll report about that evening in my weekly column on Friday, July 23, which will also include my final thoughts about the cruise.
Well, that's all for now. Happy sailing, and, of course, happy diva watching!